Bumgarner will fill the role normally occupied by Kevin Meendering. Meendering is serving a one-race suspension as it was determined last Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway that two lugnuts were not satisfactorily fastened to the No. 1 car at the end of the Ticket Galaxy 200. NASCAR announced the infraction and penalty following the event.
"We let Kevin ultimately make this decision because it's his team," said general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller. "Kevin chose Mike to sit in the crew chief's seat and for good reason – he is experienced atop the pit box and very dependable. We have a great deal of confidence in Mike to give Elliott his best opportunity to win on Saturday."
As one of the drivers left standing in the Xfinity Series Championship 4, Sadler can win his first NASCAR title in Saturday's season finale. The Emporia, Va., native enters the race with three wins in 2016, 13 top-fives and 28 top-10s in 32 starts. He will compete against JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier and Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez.
Bumgarner, a native of Huntersville, N.C., is a 22-year veteran in NASCAR. He spent 18 years at Hendrick Motorsports, where he worked on cars for Terry Labonte, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch. In 2007, he was crew chief on Busch's No. 5 Chevrolet, which won four races and three pole awards. Bumgarner came to JRM in 2013 as crew chief for Kasey Kahne and Brad Sweet in the No. 5 NXS entry. The following year he was promoted to oversee race operations for all JR Motorsports teams.