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Zipadelli leaves JGR to rejoin Tony Stewart

Veteran crew chief Greg Zipadelli is to leave Joe Gibbs Racing with immediate effect to take up the role of director of competition at Stewart-Haas Racing.
Greg Zipadelli, crew chief of the #20 Home Depot car since it was set up in 1999, is to leave Joe Gibbs Racing with immediate effect in order to take up the position of director of competition at Stewart-Haas Racing.

Zipadelli still had a year to run on his contract at JGR, but was growing increasingly unhappy with the team and with the performance of his young driver, Joey Logano, with the two exchanging sharp comments over the team radio during the previous season and Zipadelli reportedly keen to end his time as one of NASCAR's longest-serving crew chiefs.

"We're very proud to have Greg Zipadelli join Stewart-Haas Racing," said driver and team co-owner Tony Stewart, who won his third Sprint Cup championship last month. "Greg and I have a long and successful history together. I know him and he knows me, and we both know what it takes to build race teams."

"Tony had an unbelievable opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing, and he's obviously made the most of it," said Zipadelli. "To become a part of what he's already built, but to do it in a new role with a new set of responsibilities, was a challenge I wanted."

Zipadelli's move reunites one of modern NASCAR's most formidable partnerships, with 'Zippy' and Stewart having won 33 races and two NASCAR Sprint Cup championships in 2002 and 2005 over the course of ten years together, before Stewart opted to leave JGR where he had been for his entire NASCAR career up to that time in order to set up his own team in 2009.

Zipadelli would likely have followed his close friend to the new team if he had not been signed to a long-term contract at JGR through 2012. JGR finally agreed this week to an early release for Zipadelli, presumably after reaching a mutual agreement and/or a financial arrangement with SHR: "I really appreciate Joe and JD Gibbs for all that that they've given me over the years and for allowing me to seize this opportunity," said Zipadelli after the today's news.

Zipadelli is replacing Bobby Hutchens, who was released by SHR during the summer. In that role, Zipadelli will oversee car crew chiefs and making or approving key hirings. "We took our time in searching for a competition director because it's an important role with a lot of responsibility," explained Stewart. "Greg knows all that goes into the job, understands the importance of teamwork and communication across all levels of the organization, and is ultimately someone I have a great deal of trust in."

Zipadelli will also oversee the setting up of a third car team for Danica Patrick for her 10 Cup appearances with the team in 2012. No crew chief has been announced for the #10 car, and it's likely that Zipadelli himself could fill the role if no one more suitable is identified in the meantime.

Zipadelli's move to SHR had been heavily rumoured for some days, ever since he tweeted a picture of himself in a bar with Stewart's new SHR crew chief Steve Addington with the caption, "Looking forward to a great year..."




Related Pictures

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Tony Stewart and Greg Zipadelli during Practice at Bristol in March 2007 [Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Greg Zipadelli and Joey Logano on the grid at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in June 2009. [Photo credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Tony Stewart and Greg Zipadelli in the garage at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in June 2009. [Photo credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Greg Zipadelli during a media visit with Joey Logano to The Hall at Patriot Place celebrating the NFL New England Patriots` Super Bowl wins. [Photo Credit: Lesley Ann Miller 2011]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, races to win with Kyle Larson, driver of the 42 Target Chevrolet SS beside him finishing in eighth place Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win with a burnout Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by his Hendrik Motor Sports teammates Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS (left), Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS (center) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS (right) after his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne joins Gordon, Johnson, and Earnhardt Jr. in the Chase. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase.  (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, races during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 on August 31, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, races Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ford, during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, takes the green flag waved by Evander Holyfield to start the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualified for twelfth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. After a three-race absence, Tony Stewart has returned to the track at Atlanta. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, qualified for fourth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Newman is 9th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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