Concord, N.C. – On Nov. 8, 2020, Chase Elliott climbed out of his No. 9 NAPA Vehicle Elements Chevrolet for the 1st time as a NASCAR Cup Series champion. As the Georgia native let the emotional instant sink in, his auto chief, Matt Barndt, understood what he had achieved way too. His challenging perform and devotion experienced played a essential role in the younger driver’s profession-defining instant in just his first period as the No. 9 vehicle main.
Escalating up as a racer himself, Barndt expended most of his childhood behind the wheel. From quarter midgets to late styles, he raced everything he could get his palms on. But his dreams took a different form after he started out doing the job at Hendrick Motorsports whole time in 2013 adhering to his school graduation.
The Pennsylvania native worked his way through the ranks from intern to design engineer, race engineer for both of those the No. 24 and No. 9 automobiles, and ultimately to motor vehicle main for the No. 9. His job offers generally with the setup of the race car or truck, but also insures that anything is in operating buy before the automobile ever hits the racing surface area.
“The principal career is to make confident that the automobile won’t have troubles,” Barndt explained. “We’re wanting at the finite facts. This automobile gets set alongside one another more than the system of three months. We get it and in a few days go by it with a high-quality-toothed comb attempting to obtain any opportunity problems.”
The history of racing in his youth gave Barndt the knowledge necessary to translate his knowledge from guiding the wheel to exterior of the motor vehicle. His obligation with the set up should match what his driver is hunting for, but his perform is not confined to the store. Each and every race weekend, he travels to the track and works with Elliott and the No. 9 team to insure that the driver is content with the equilibrium of his motor vehicle.
Substantially like the rest of the No. 9 group, Barndt’s preferred memory will come from the team’s championship operate in 2020. But the title weekend did not start out properly by any signifies. Immediately after failing pre-race inspection twice, Elliott was pressured to start off at the rear of the area, leaving Barndt with an uneasy experience right before the inexperienced flag even dropped.
“Inspection went horrible. We failed two times and passed on the third, so we had to go to the again,” he recalled. “I imagined I finished our hopes.”
Barndt’s get the job done gave Elliott the vehicle he essential to make his way to the front in no time. Elliott led a race-large 153 laps and by the time the checkered flag flew, the Dawsonville, Ga, native had claimed not only the race victory but a lot more importantly, the championship.
“Chase built speedy work of acquiring to the entrance. It was just an all-close to great day,” Barndt claimed.
With the No. 9’s the latest get at Nashville Superspeedway and a potent operate at Street The us, Brandt and the team are hunting to extend their place standings lead in excess of the relaxation of industry. With the postseason promptly approaching, Elliott has his eyes set on his first regular period championship and the 15 playoff points that appear with it.
Tune in on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on United states Network, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to see if the No. 9 NAPA Vehicle Elements Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 can claim victory in the Peach Point out at Atlanta Motor Speedway.