Name: Brian Burns
Pit Crew Position: Crew Chief
Date of Birth: March 19, 1976
Hometown: Winslow, Ind.
Hobbies: Golf, Playing Guitar, Mountain Biking .
Years of hard work and dedication in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series paid dividends for Purdue University mechanical engineer graduate and former Indiana Army National Guard Sergeant (E-5) Brian Burns. The Indiana native eyes his second full-time season as crew chief for the JTG Daugherty Racing single-car operation that formed a technical alliance recently with Richard Childress Racing (RCR). Burns also has a new full-time driver with AJ Allmendinger behind the wheel of the No. 47 that will sport the Chevrolet emblem with ECR Engines under the hood.
Burns’ era at JTG Daugherty Racing began in January 2011 providing assistance as a race engineer while still an employee at Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) through a technical partnership. Some of his responsibilities included producing and analyzing fully dynamic simulation results for test and race events, coordinating geometry setup changes during the race weekend /testing, creating build sheets for the shop assembly group to facilitate with chassis setup, assisting the crew chief with race weekend assignments to name a few.
Near the end of the 2011 season, there was an opportunity for him to slide into an interim crew chief role with 2000 champion and 21-time winner Bobby Labonte behind the wheel of the No. 47 in the final six events. Burns then became a full-time employee of JTG Daugherty Racing as a race engineer in January 2012 when the team ended its engineering alliance with MWR.
His responsibilities were quite similar, but a little more in depth at JTG Daugherty Racing. He was also responsible for scheduling, planning and executing all 7-post and wind tunnel testing events along with being responsible for installation, maintenance, and configuration of Motec data acquisition equipment for the organization. Additionally, he served as I.T. support for the team.
Midseason Burns was at the helm again when crew chief and general manager Todd Berrier parted ways with JTG Daugherty Racing to pursue other endeavors. Burns best finish as crew chief with Labonte turned out to be a ninth-place effort at Martinsville Speedway that year.
Burns has been in the sport for over a decade. He has always enjoyed a lifetime of unordinary paths, such as, a military sergeant, a martial arts instructor, an engineer and a crew chief. His first big-time racing job opportunity came at the right moment upon finishing up his mechanical engineering degree in Indiana. Learning of an opening at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, he jumped at the chance making the team his home from 2003 to 2009.
Racing was always in Burns’ blood and growing up he recalls the times he spent at local tracks watching from a distance until he was entering the pit areas at local go-kart dirt tracks and a dirt track in Haubstadt, Indiana. From there, he learned the ropes with Late-Model and Sprint Car teams that would help him take the next step in his career.
Before his racing career began, Burns had a rather interesting title with the Indiana Army National Guard (Washington, Ind.). He lists it as Sergeant E-5, Tube Launched Optically Tracked Wire Guided Missile Specialist (TOW).
To summarize, he was the acting platoon leader with control over four Humvees transporting 15 soldiers and two TOW missile systems. Additionally, he functioned as the unit’s part-time recruiter and completed Army Infantry Combat Lifesavers Course to serve as a unit medic.
While serving our country, some of his merits include: Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Physical Fitness Soldier of Excellence Award, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal and Top Gun Award.
It was a unique experience for Burns and one that he will never forget. Today, his path is different, but some of the skills that he learned in the military apply to his goal of creating a cohesive unit that wins races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Burns is ready to take the next step in his career and to add race winning and Chase contending crew chief to his résumé. It all begins with the 2014 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in February with his new driver, a new technical alliance, a new manufacturer and some of the greatest sponsors involved in the sport.