Steve Addington has been confirmed as the new crew chief for NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart's #14 car for 2012, following the departure of Darian Grubb, who served as Stewart's crew chief since the inception of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009.
The move had been widely expected after Penske Racing announced immediately after the season finale at Homestead-Miami that Addington was leaving the team where he had been working as Kurt Busch's crew chief since 2010. Addington has also worked with Bobby Labonte (2005), JJ Yeley (2006-2007) and Kyle Busch (2008-2009) in Sprint Cup competition, following 15 seasons as a crew chief in the Nationwide Series.
"Tony and I are a lot alike and we're able to push each other," Addington said. "I saw how he worked when we were at Gibbs together and I'm not surprised at all at the success he's created at Stewart-Haas Racing. He expects a lot and he knows a lot. His talent behind the wheel is obvious, but his ability to motivate and get everyone to believe that whatever goal they set is attainable is something every crew chief wants, and I plan to make the most of it."
"I know Steve well and I know how he goes about setting up a racecar," said Stewart. "My comfort level with him is already strong. He balances the technical part of our sport with the real-world experiences we get at the track, and that will allow for a smooth transition as we prepare to defend our title in 2012.
"Steve has proven himself everywhere he's been," Stewart added. "Our expectation when we unload each weekend is to win, and that's Steve's expectation, too. Getting there is never easy, but we've both been around long enough to know what it takes to be successful."
Stewart appeared to confirm that his former crew chief Darian Grubb would now be leaving SHR. "Darian was a very important part of the success we've had at Stewart-Haas Racing," he said. "I'm very proud of everything he helped accomplish, especially this year when we all rallied to win the championship. He's a great person and I know he'll continue to be successful in this sport."
Although Grubb is believed to have a standing invitation to return to Hendrick Motorsport should he wish to do so, if he did then it would not be in a crew chief capacity according to team owner Rick Hendrick.
"I hope Darian ends up back with us," said Hendrick, adding that he had the perfect engineering role for Grubb. "I think he would help our organization. [But] if he wants to be a crew chief, then we don't have that spot."
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