Brian Burns made it official this week by signing a contract to continue his journey at JTG Daugherty Racing as crew chief for driver AJ Allmendinger and the No. 47 Chevrolet SS team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“I’m happy to be back on board as crew chief and I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone at JTG Daugherty Racing,” Burns said. “Last season, I was able to get to know AJ both personally and professionally and I feel like the relationship we have formed is great. Chemistry is vitally important to have between the driver, crew chief and team and we have all gotten to know each other more. I feel like great things are in store for us this season.”
Allmendinger and JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter feel the same about Burns return.
“I am really happy to have Brian back as my crew chief,” Allmendinger said. “As the year went on, he kept growing and getting better as a leader and as the crew chief to the No. 47 Chevrolet SS team. He was a huge part in bringing myself and the team its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory and I can't wait to build on that heading into the 2015 season. I wouldn't want any other guy to work with than Brian to help take our team to the next level.”
“I think continuity in a driver & crew chief relationship is important,” Geschickter said. “AJ and Brian came a long way toward learning how to communicate with each other in 2014. I feel confident that progress will continue in 2015. We also learned a lot about how to best use the resources from our technical alliance with RCR (Richard Childress Racing). I’m glad that we can build on what we did in 2014 rather than being forced to start over in both areas.”
The 38-year-old led the single-car operation to their first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Watkins Glen International on August 10, 2014, which clinched a coveted spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
“Actually, last year was a rebuilding year for us and to run as well as we did at times, win a race and make the Chase shows what an organization of our size is capable of doing,” Burns said.
In addition to a win and clinching a Chase berth, the team earned their highest points finish (13th) under Burns’ direction since their series debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Australian driver Marcos Ambrose on July 27, 2008.
“I guess it is with extreme pride to be able to do that and it makes you realize that the group of people we have in here are top-notch employees that are really experienced,” Burns said. “Their wealth of knowledge will help take us to the next level. Being able to do the things we did last year is just a testament to the group of people we have here. It’s all about the people.”
Burns, a Purdue University mechanical engineer graduate and former Indiana Army National Guard Sergeant (E-5), enters his third full-time season at the helm and is focused on having a more consistent year.
“Our focus this year is being consistent,” Burns said. “We struggled with that last season. I don’t know if many people realize it, but this is the first year we haven’t had to do something major to prepare for the season like changing manufacturers or joining an alliance and getting in new equipment. When you have to do something big like that, it clouds getting things prepped and ready. Now, we have the opportunity to go through everything and fine tune things instead of having to start from scratch like we have before. It should really help us with consistency so we can have the opportunity to finish even stronger in the points. I’m looking forward to starting the new season and seeing what this year has in store for us and all of our great sponsors.”