CONCORD, N.C. – On Nov. 8, 2020, Chase Elliott climbed out of his No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet for the primary time as a NASCAR Cup Sequence champion. Because the Georgia local let the emotional second sink in, his automobile leader, Matt Barndt, discovered what he had achieved too. His arduous paintings and determination had performed a a very powerful position within the younger motive force’s career-defining second in simply his first season because the No. 9 automobile leader.
RELATED: Rick Hendrick reminisces on ancient thirteenth name: ‘It was once a really perfect day’
Rising up as a racer himself, Barndt spent maximum of his formative years at the back of the wheel. From quarter midgets to past due fashions, he raced the rest he may get his fingers on. However his desires took a distinct shape after he set to work at Hendrick Motorsports complete time in 2013 following his school commencement.
The Pennsylvania local labored his means in the course of the ranks from intern to design engineer, race engineer for each the No. 24 and No. 9 vehicles, and after all to automobile leader for the No. 9. His activity offers most commonly with the setup of the race automobile, however additionally insures that the entirety is in operating order earlier than the automobile ever hits the racing floor.
“The primary activity is to be sure that the automobile does not have problems,” Barndt mentioned. “We are taking a look on the finite main points. This automobile will get put in combination over the route of 3 weeks. We get it and in 3 days undergo it with a fine-toothed comb looking for any doable problems.”
The background of racing in his adolescence gave Barndt the enjoy had to translate his wisdom from at the back of the wheel to outdoor of the automobile. His accountability with the setup will have to fit what his motive force is in search of, however his paintings isn’t restricted to the store. Each and every race weekend, he travels to the observe and works with Elliott and the No. 9 group to insure that the driving force is proud of the stability of his automobile.
Just like the remainder of the No. 9 team, Barndt’s favourite reminiscence comes from the group’s championship run in 2020. However the name weekend didn’t get started smartly in anyway. After failing pre-race inspection two times, Elliott was once pressured to begin on the rear of the sector, leaving Barndt with an uneasy feeling earlier than the fairway flag even dropped.
“Inspection went horrible. We failed two times and handed at the 3rd, so we needed to cross to the again,” he recalled. “I believed I stopped our hopes.”
Barndt’s paintings gave Elliott the automobile he had to make his technique to the entrance very quickly. Elliott led a race-high 153 laps and by the point the checkered flag flew, the Dawsonville, Georgia, local had claimed no longer handiest the race victory however extra importantly, the championship.
“Chase made fast paintings of having to the entrance. It was once simply an all-around just right day,” Barndt mentioned.
With the No. 9’s fresh win at Nashville Superspeedway and a powerful run at Highway The usa, Brandt and the group want to prolong their level standings lead over the remainder of box. With the postseason temporarily coming near, Elliott has his eyes set on his first common season championship and the 15 playoff issues that include it.
Music in on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on USA Community, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to peer if the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 can declare victory within the Peach State at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
RELATED: Speedy details, stats to grasp for Atlanta weekend