RCR Team Information

Luke Lambert

Crew Chief

Twitter Handle: @lukelambertcc
How long have you been in racing:  22 years
How long have you worked for RCR: 13 years
Hometown: Mount Airy, North Carolina
College/Technical Degree: North Carolina State University (NCSU), Mechanical Engineering
Hobbies: Spending time with my family and enjoy cleaning up the messes made by my three kids.
Favorite Sports Team(s): NCSU Wolfpack
Most memorable racing moment: My first Cup win as a crew chief with Ryan Newman and the No. 31 team.
How did you get into racing? I went racing with my dad when I was young.
What was your dream job growing up? Racecar driver or a fighter pilot
Childhood hero? My grandpa, Jim Lambert. WWII Vet
Favorite track and why? Bristol Motor Speedway. I have been going there since I was a kid. It has an intense atmosphere.
Favorite restaurant on the road: O’s Steakhouse, New Hampshire
If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song? Good Ol’ Boys – Waylon Jennings

Darin Nestlerode

Car Chief

How long have you been in racing:  29 years
How long have you worked for RCR: 17 years. 4 years with the No. 31 team
Hometown: Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania
College/Technical Degree: Associate Degree, Automotive Technology
Hobbies: I train and deploy Search and Rescue dogs.
Favorite Sports Team(s): I really don’t have any.
Most memorable racing moment: My pictures from Victory Lane.
How did you get into racing? My wife’s father took me to a local dirt track and I was hooked from there.
What was your dream job growing up? I wanted to work for a professional race team.
Childhood hero? Jake Elder and Richard Petty
Favorite track and why? Darlington Raceway. The tradition of it all is what I love.
Favorite restaurant on the road: Any restaurant that is open and not crowded when on the way back from the track to the hotel.
If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song? Lonesome, On’ry and Mean by Waylon Jennings

Danny Efland

Engineer

Twitter Handle: @dannyefland
How long have you been in racing: 22 years
How long have you worked for RCR: 5 years. 2 years with the No. 31 team.
Hometown: Irmo, South Carolina
College/Technical Degree: University of South Carolina, BS Engineering.
Hobbies: racing and hot rods
Favorite Sports Team(s): Carolina Panthers and Clemson
Most memorable racing moment: My last win with the No. 31 team at Phoenix Raceway in 2017.
How did you get into racing? My father
What was your dream job growing up? I wanted to be a racecar driver.
Childhood hero? Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Favorite restaurant on the road: Darlington Raceway since it is my hometrack.
If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song? Despacito by Luis Fonsi

Jose Blasco

Engineer

How long have you been in racing: 14 years
How long have you worked for RCR: 1 year
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
College/Technical Degree: Cranfield University, United Kingdom. MSc Automotive Engineering. ITESM-CEM BSc Mechanical Engineering
Hobbies: Racing
Favorite Sports Team(s): Richard Childress Racing
Most memorable racing moment: It was in the NASCAR Mexico Series at the Chiapas race. After wrecking in qualifying and it was an impound race, we had to borrow a backup car that we set up in less than five minutes. We came from the back all the way up to fifth and ended up eighth
How did you get into racing? Started racing in BAJA and then got invited to help a team in Mexico but when I was a child, I received a F1 toy when I was about 7. It made a roar sound and I just loved that. I was hooked.
What was your dream job growing up? Something in racing
Childhood hero? I don’t have a true hero but I was very interested in Nicola Tesla’s work.
Favorite track and why? I love Bristol Motor Speedway because of the sound.
If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song? Ride of the Valkyries – Richard Wagner

Mark Gutekunst

Shock specialist

How long have you been in racing: 20 years
How long have you worked for RCR: First year on the 31
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
College/Technical Degree: MATC Network Specialist
Hobbies: Fishing
Favorite Sports Team(s): Green Bay Packers
Most memorable racing moment: First win at Daytona with Austin Dillon
How did you get into racing? I was raised in it.
What was your dream job growing up? I wanted to work for a race team.
Favorite track and why? Darlington. All you have to do is go there and you will know. Favorite restaurant on the road: Anywhere with beer

Matthew Lombardi

Engine Tuner

How long have you been in racing: 13 years
How long have you worked on this RCR team: Four years going on five.
Hometown: Johnston, Rhode Island
College/Technical Degree: New England Tech/ Associates Degree
Hobbies: golf, cigars, shooting guns
Favorite Sports Team(s): New England Patriots
Most memorable racing moment: Winning Phoenix. It was my first Cup win.
How did you get into racing? Through a friend.
What was your dream job growing up? Chef
Childhood hero? My father
Favorite track and why? Texas because it is Texas!
Favorite restaurant on the road: Hard Eights BBQ
If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song? Shook Ones – Mobb Deep

 

Chad Tigert

Mechanic

Race duty: 8th Man

Twitter Handle: @ChadTigert
How long have you been in racing: 13 years at RCR. 1997-2004: drag racing
How long have you worked on this RCR team: 13 years
Hometown: Caney, Oklahoma
College/Technical Degree: B.S Business Management
Hobbies: hunting, fishing, restoring old cars
Favorite Sports Team(s): Oklahoma Sooners Football
Most memorable racing moment: 2011 Brickyard 400 win
How did you get into racing? From working on cars
Childhood hero? Lane Frost
Favorite track and why? Darlington Raceway
Favorite restaurant on the road: Jack Stack BBQ in Kansas City

Scott Widener

Mechanic

How long have you been in racing: 25 years
How long have you worked on this RCR team: 5
Hometown: Kernersville, North Carolina
College/Technical Degree: USC Masters
Hobbies: racing, spending time with family
Favorite Sports Team(s): Dallas Cowboys
Most memorable racing moment: winning at Charlotte
How did you get into racing? I worked on race cars at a local track with my family when I was a kid.
What was your dream job growing up? Working in racing
Childhood hero? Dale Earnhardt
Favorite track and why? Darlington Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway
Favorite restaurant on the road: Babe’s Chicken Dinner House

Loren Kern

Front End Mechanic

How long have you been in racing: 11 years
How long have you worked on this RCR team: 1 year
Hometown: Auburn, California
Hobbies: drag racing and family
Favorite Sports Team(s): San Francisco Giants and Major League Baseball
Most memorable racing moment: Winning the Nashville Xfinity race with family present.
How did you get into racing? Through a friend
What was your dream job growing up? Architect
Childhood hero? Will Clark
Favorite track and why? Nashville and Bowling Green
Favorite restaurant on the road: Hard Eight BBQ
If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song? Nirvana - Lithium

James Bender

Tire Specialist

How long have you been in racing: 29 years
How long have you worked on this RCR team: Five years
Hometown: Duryea, Pennsylvania
College/Technical Degree: I come from the School of Hard Knocks.
Hobbies: Home improvement projects
Favorite Sports Team(s): Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Phillies
Most memorable racing moment: Winning ’91,’94 and ’95 Daytona 500s
How did you get into racing? My father
What was your dream job growing up? I wanted to be a restaurant/nightclub/bar owner
Childhood hero? My parents
Favorite restaurant on the road: Hard Eight BBQ

Kyle Kelley

Aero Specialist

How long have you been in racing: 21 years
How long have you worked on this RCR team: Six years
Hometown: Whitter, Calif.
Hobbies: Housework, cigars
Favorite Sports Team(s): Chicago Bears
Most memorable racing moment: Won the 2000 XFINITY Series championship
How did you get into racing? Harold Holly
Childhood hero? Mel Tillis
Favorite restaurant on the road: Daan Sushi in Texas, In-N-Out Burger

Jeff "Rooster" Craven

Truck Driver

Twitter Handle: @31rooster
How long have you been in racing: 29 years
How long have you worked on this RCR team: Nine years
Hometown: High Point, N.C.
College/Technical Degree: High Point, N.C.
Hobbies: Enjoying time with my grandkids, McKayla and Mason
Favorite Sports Team(s): Atlanta Braves
Most memorable racing moment: Winning the NASCAR Cup race with driver Bobby Hamilton at Rockingham
How did you get into racing? A good friend with MAC Tools as well as friends at Caraway Speedway made some introductions. Then Robbie Loomis at Petty Enterprises got me started as a mechanic.
What was your dream job growing up? Working in racing
Childhood hero? My father, Harry
Favorite restaurant on the road: bd’s Mongolian Grill - Kansas
If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song? Rooster by Alice and Chains

James Nunn

Co-Truck Driver

How long have you been in racing: 13 years
How long have you worked on this RCR team: Seven years
Hometown: Ararat, Virginia
College/Technical Degree:
Hobbies: Enjoying time at home and gardening
Favorite Sports Team(s): LA Dodgers, University of Virginia Cavaliers
Most memorable racing moment: Winning a NASCAR championship with Jimmie Johnson
How did you get into racing? I had a friend who worked on the No. 24 team
Favorite restaurant on the road: bd’s Mongolian Grill

 

Ethan Tingler

Front Tire Changer

How long have you been in racing: 2 years
How long have you worked on this RCR team: 2 years
Hometown: Stokesdale, North Carolina
Hobbies: Xbox
Most memorable racing moment: Winning Truck race in Canada
How did you get into racing? I knew someone who knew someone in racing.
Childhood hero? Sean Taylor
Favorite track and why? Bristol Motor Speedway. It’s a really cool track.
If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song? Safety Dance – Men Without Hats

J.D. Holcomb

Front Tire Carrier

How long have you been in racing: 18th season
How long have you worked on this RCR team: Eight years
Hometown: Whitesburg, Kentucky
Hobbies: Spending time with family, fishing and boating
Favorite Sports Team(s): University of Kentucky
Most memorable racing moment: First Cup win, the 2003 Southern 500
How did you get into racing? I moved from Kentucky and harassed every crew chief I could.
What was your dream job growing up? race car driver
Childhood hero? My dad
Favorite track and why? Bristol Motor Speedway because it is closest to home.
Favorite restaurant on the road: JP’s Wharf in Dover, Delaware
If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song? Foggy Mountain Breakdown

Carey Wimbish

Welder/fabricator

How long have you been in racing: I am starting my 17th year.
How long have you worked on this RCR team: I’ve been with RCR since 2005
Hometown: Granite Falls, North Carolina
Hobbies: Spending quality time with my family.
Favorite Sports Team(s): All N.C. State teams
Most memorable racing moment: My first Cup win.
How did you get into racing? I grew up racing myself
What was your dream job growing up? I wanted to play football in the NFL.
Favorite track and why? I love the Bristol night race. There are a lot of sparks and it’s live.
Favorite restaurant on the road: The Buzzard’s Roost
If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song? Thunderstruck by AC/DC

Brian Bottlemy

Rear Tire Changer

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Sam Abney

Gasman

How long have you been in racing: 11 years
How long have you worked on this RCR team: 1 year
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Hobbies: Fishing
Favorite Sports Team(s): Texas Longhorns
Most memorable racing moment: Winning the Nationwide Championship
How did you get into racing? My family
What was your dream job growing up? I wanted to be a ninja.
Childhood hero? Ken Griffey Jr.
Favorite track and why? Dover
Favorite restaurant on the road: Silver Fox
If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song? Texas University Fight song

Ashley McCluney

Partnership Marketing

Hometown: Gaffney, S.C.
Resides: Kannapolis, N.C.
Twitter handle: @AshleyMac13

How long have you worked in racing: Since 2006
How long have you worked on No. 31 team: It’s my rookie season!
Hobbies: Going to sporting events, concerts and spoiling my godson
Favorite sports team: Clemson Tigers, Carolina Panthers
Best/most memorable moment since working in racing: Winning the 2013 NASCAR XFINITY championship with Austin Dillon.
What was your dream job growing up: Working in NASCAR, but I didn’t know what that meant!
Childhood hero: My mom
Favorite restaurant on the road: “O Steaks & Seafood” in the Lake Opechee Inn, New Hampshire
If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song: “Only Prettier” by Miranda Lambert

Traci Hultzapple

Senior Manager, Communications, No. 31 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Hometown: East Petersburg, Pennsylvania
Resides: Charlotte, N.C.
Twitter handle: @THultzapple

How long have you worked in racing: 20 years
How long have you worked on No. 31 team: This is my fourth season
Hobbies: Golf, watching films and spending time with family
Favorite sports team: Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, golfers Rickie Fowler & Lexi Thompson
Best/most memorable moment since working in racing: Going to victory lane with Michael Waltrip in the NCWTS at Daytona International Speedway on the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s passing in 2011. Plus, 2013 NSCS win with Martin Truex Jr. at Sonoma Raceway.
What was your dream job growing up: I wanted to be Katie Couric and co-anchor the “Today Show”
Favorite restaurant on the road: Morimoto’s and Cordeiro’s Steakhouse in Napa, Calif.
If you could pick a song, what would be your Bristol intro song: “Dancing Queen” by ABBA