Denny Hamlin acknowledged Saturday that 23XI Racing would have its own pit crews next season instead of relying on Joe Gibbs Racing.
“We’re on our path to trying to get our pit crews,” Hamlin said after winning the pole for the Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway. “I think we’re on a good path to start that next year. We’re in the recruiting process.”
Gibbs leases out the pit crews who make up Bubba Wallace’s No. 23 team and Kurt Busch’s No. 45 team through its technical alliance with 23XI Racing. Those pit crew members are developed and trained in the Gibbs system. It means the Gibbs organization makes all pit crew decisions, such as the recent switch of some members between Christopher Bell’s and Wallace’s team.
Hamlin sees it as a benefit all-around by hiring pit crew members for their two teams. It is also the next step as 23XI continues to grow.
“I think, if anything, this should help everyone’s programs, especially Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Hamlin. “For them to try to have to field six really good pit crews, it’s tough. Can they do four? Yes. But then where does that leave our team? That means we’re always going to be fifth or sixth. It’s hard for us to win races that way, [especially with how competition relies on track position] like we have today.
“I think that we just felt that it’d be better if we had control over personnel and training and all those things. It certainly is part of the future for us. I think our relationship will always stay strong with Joe Gibbs Racing, but some things we just feel like we would be better off if we did it ourselves. That way Joe doesn’t have to listen to me coming into his office each and every week saying, ‘How can we fix this or that?’ If we stink, it’s on us.”