Front Row Motorsports announced Tuesday that Travis Peterson has been hired as the new crew chief for Michael McDowell and the No. 34 team in 2023. Peterson replaces Blake Harris, who left Front Row Motorsports at the end of the 2022 season to become the new crew chief for Alex Bowman at Hendrick Motorsports.
Peterson joins Front Row after working the past five seasons for RFK Racing, where he served primarily as the race engineer for Chris Buescher's No. 17 team. Peterson also handled interim crew chief duties for five races during his RFK tenure, guiding his teams to two top-10 finishes with Buescher and NASCAR Hall of Famer Matt Kenseth behind the wheel.
"I think there are a lot of people in the NASCAR garage who are noticing what Front Row Motorsports has accomplished with the new car and their truck program," Peterson said in a team statement. "This is an opportunity to come into a winning and championship organization and help take that next step of getting more wins in the Cup Series and be in the Playoffs. I'm ready to get to work. I've always had the goal of becoming a crew chief and now I'm ready to take advantage of the opportunity."
Peterson will have big shoes to fill as crew chief for McDowell, as Harris guided the longtime journeyman driver and 2021 Daytona 500 champion to the single best season of his Cup career. McDowell scored 12 top-10 finishes to shatter his previous career-best of five, and he also posted career-best marks in average finish (16.7), laps led (67) and lead lap finishes (24). McDowell also had two top-five finishes, both of which were third-place runs at Sonoma in June and Talladega in October.
In addition to the hiring of Peterson, Front Row Motorsports has also made several other personnel changes on their competition side. Seth Barbour has been promoted from crew chief for Todd Gilliland to the team's technical director, while Ryan Bergenty has been promoted from car chief on the No. 34 team to team performance director. A new crew chief for Gilliland will be named at a later date.