Bill Sedgwick has been around the block a time or two.
The five-time K&N Pro Series West champion crew chief is coming off his mot recent title last season with Derek Thorn. As Thorn departed the organization on top, Sedgwick remains with Sunrise Ford and is calling the shots for Rookie of the Year contender Jagger Jones.
A 17-year veteran atop the pit box, Sedgwick’s transition from Thorn to Jones has been a relatively easy one thus far.
Racing-Reference: Bill Sedgwick Career Crew Chief Statistics
"It’s been good," Sedgwick said. "He’s a good student of the sport. He listens, really a pleasure to work with. I’ve worked with rookies before and I’ve driven before, so I know what they’re up against and how situations are."
Previously, Cole Rouse (2016) and James Bickford (2014) were crew chiefed by Sedgwick in their rookie seasons. Bickford scored one win and finished fifth in the points and Rouse scored four top fives and ended eighth.
"Nothing is ever a walk in the park, but everybody’s different and unique," he said of working with rookies. "I’ve got a lot of respect for his abilities and his willingness to learn. He’s doing a good job for us."
Sedgwick has never called the shots for Ryan Partridge, runner-up last year to teammate Thorn. But the two have always had a solid relationship. So much so that when Partridge time as a driver for Sunrise Ford was up, Sedgwick was determined to keep him in the fold.
A surprise to many, Partridge showed up at Las Vegas without his firesuit, but a headset and backpack. He’ll be helping Jones as a driver coach, as well as spotting for the Scottsdale, Arizona native, all season long.
"I asked him to come do it," he said. "Last year I prepared all the cars. I took care of my car and Jeff Schrader took care of Ryan’s car at the race track, but they all got prepared by me at the shop. Ryan’s a good asset as a driver coach because he’s been there, done that. He’s worked with rookies before also, so I thought he’d make a good coach/spotter combination."
The trio kicked things off at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track with a bang, leading 31 laps in Jones’ first career K&N Pro Series West event. After being passed by Hailie Deegan on the final lap for the win, he finished second.
Sedgwick was pleasantly surprised by Jones’ performance.
"I was very surprised," he said. "Unfortunately his radio communications weren’t working well. He had a substantial lead and then didn’t really know that Hailie was coming. It was kind of tough and I feel bad for him because he got caught off guard. Plus, trying to not make mistakes getting around the lapped cars. It’s one of those things. You’ve gotta lose some before you win some."
Sunrise Ford is a perennial championship contender, and this year is no different. With Trevor Huddleston already garnering a victory and Jones with back-to-back top five finishes, another title isn’t out of the question.
But Sedgwick isn’t putting those lofty expectations on the 17-year-old Jones.
"My expectation is to finish every race and let the cards fall where they fall," he said. "Obviously we’re running for Rookie of the Year and if we could get that, that’d be great. I just want to run every lap in every race and see how the chips fall. Stay out of trouble."
The K&N Pro Series West will be back in action at for Twin 100’s at Tucson Speedway on Saturday May 11. Kody Vanderwal is the defending winner of both races.