Kyle Busch Motorsports officials announced late last week that NASCAR veterans Eric Phillips and Dan Stillman will serve as crew chiefs for KBM's two entries in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Phillips will head up the #18 Toyota Tundra, which will be driven by team owner Kyle Busch and Brian Ickler. Busch will pilot the #18 Toyota whenever the Camping World Truck Series runs in companion with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, while Ickler will drive in the non-companion events.
Stillman will serve as crew chief on the #56 Toyota Tundra for KBM, which will be driven full-time by 20-year-old Tayler Malsam.
“I don't think it's any secret how badly I want to win races,” Busch said. “We want to create a culture of winning at Kyle Busch Motorsports and the way you do that is to hire people who know how to win and how to build winning teams.
“Eric and Dan both came highly recommended and with impressive resumes. I look forward to working with them to get KBM off to a great start in our first year in the Camping World Truck Series.”
To say that KBM has assembled an all-star cast for its inaugural season might be a bit of an understatement when you consider that Busch, Phillips and KBM director of competition Rick Ren combined to win 16 of the 25 Camping World Truck Series races in 2009 when they were with other teams. Busch found victory lane seven times as a driver, Phillips was on top of the pit box for three wins with driver Mike Skinner, and Ren served as crew chief for Ron Hornaday's six victories and his 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
The 2009 season also saw Busch, Ickler, Malsam, Ren, Phillips and Stillman combine for two championships, 34 wins, 140 top-10 finishes and 23 poles in their respective efforts in NASCAR's top-three divisions and ARCA competition. In addition to Ren's Truck Series championship, Busch won the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series title driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Phillips comes to KBM after stints at Morgan Dollar Motorsports and Randy Moss Motorsports, where he had plenty of success with Skinner and veteran driver Dennis Setzer in the Camping World Truck Series. In 2005, Phillips and Setzer combined for four wins and a second-place finish in the standings while 2009 saw Phillips guide Skinner to a third-place result in the championship.
“I've always enjoyed working in the Camping World Truck Series and this is a great opportunity to work with KBM, as well as everyone at Toyota and Toyota Racing Development (TRD),” said Phillips. “I'm looking forward to working with Kyle and Brian on the #18, but also partnering with Tayler and Dan to make sure that both KBM Toyota Tundras have a shot a winning each time we go to the racetrack.”
Stillman moves to KBM after one year as crew chief for Carl Edwards' Roush Fenway Racing entry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Edwards and Stillman teamed up for five wins and a second-place finish in the Nationwide Series point standings – just one spot behind 2009 champion Busch.
“After competing against Kyle all of last year in the Nationwide Series championship, I know how important winning is to him,” said Stillman, who has also had stints Dale Earnhardt Inc., and Kevin Harvick Inc. “This is a great opportunity to work with Tayler and the #56 Toyota team and also share information with the guys on the #18 Tundra. We've got all the pieces in place and a lot of support from Toyota and TRD and that's all you can ask for as a crew chief.”