Jason Ratcliff (born December 8, 1967) is an American NASCAR crew chief. He began his career in racing working on mini Sprint Cars. In 1995, he became a mechanic and rear tire changer for Sadler Racing. In 1999, Ratcliff became a crew chief for the first time. He is currently employed by Joe Gibbs Racing as the crew chief for the Leavine Family Racing No. 95 NASCAR Cup Series car, driven by Christopher Bell. In 2009, he scored his first championship in the Nationwide Series with Kyle Busch.
Born on December 8, 1967 in Sumter, South Carolina, Ratcliff moved six times throughout his childhood before settling in Westlake, Louisiana. As a resident there, he began his racing career working on mini Sprint Cars. In 1985, he graduated from Westlake High School. Afterward, he moved to Texas, while he continued to work on mini Sprint Cars for the next nine years.
Professional racing career
Ten years after graduating high school, Sadler Racing in Nashville, Tennessee hired him. While being employed there he became a mechanic and rear tire changer for drivers Chuck Bown and Gary Bradberry in the Nationwide Series. He worked there for only two years before being employed at LAR Motorsports (headquartered in Columbia, Tennessee) as a chief mechanic for Casey Atwood and Jeff Purvis during the 1997 and 1998 seasons. In 1999, Ratcliff became the crew chief for then Nationwide Series rookie, Casey Atwood while being employed at Brewco Motorsports. After working as the crew chief for him two years, Casey moved to Evernham Motorsports. Afterward, Jamie McMurray became Ratcliff's new driver.
During the 2003 and 2004 seasons, he became the crew chief for David Green. While together they won three races, achieved 11 top-fives, 21 top-10s and two pole positions, which resulted in a second place in the final standings, 14 points behind Brian Vickers. By the end of their relationship, they scored seven wins and seven pole positions. In 2005, Ratcliff moved to Joe Gibbs Racing as the crew chief for J. J. Yeley. He remained the crew chief for Yely until 2006. During the two years, Jason Ratcliff was able to achieve 13 top-fives and 34 top-10 finishes. During the next season, Ratcliff was the crew chief for three different drivers: Aric Almirola, Brad Coleman and Kevin Conway, in which they earned two poles, four top-fives and five top-10s.
In 2008, he was the crew chief for Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, which were both drivers of the 18. He was able to win five races total during the season, four with Busch and one with Hamlin. During 2009, Kyle Busch became the full-time driver of the 18. Ratcliff and Busch won the championship, with nine wins, 11 runner-up finishes, 25 top fives and 2,698 laps led. With their teamwork, Busch was able to lead in all the races except for three. They also led more than 50 percent of the laps in a race an twelve times. Busch led the series points standings after 30 of the 35 events, including the last 29 weeks of the season, leaving little room for doubt in the championship chase. After seven years being the crew chief for the No. 18 Nationwide Series car, Ratcliff was announced to replace Greg Zipadelli as the crew chief of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup Series car, driven by Joey Logano, on December 16, 2011. In 2013, Ratcliff served as crew chief for Matt Kenseth, but was suspended for one race after the No. 20 engine failed postrace inspection following Kenseth's victory in the STP 400.
On September 24, 2019, after two successful Xfinity Series seasons, Ratcliff and driver Christopher Bell were announced to move to the Leavine Family Racing No. 95 Toyota for the 2020 Cup season.