Speculation became official Monday when Stewart-Haas Racing announced Steve Addington would move from Penske Racing to crew chief Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart in 2012:
From News Release
KANNAPOLIS, N.C., (Nov. 28, 2011) – Steve Addington, winner of 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races as a crew chief, has been named to the same position for three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart and the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 team of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) effective immediately.
The Spartanburg, S.C., native is only the third crew chief Stewart has had during his 13-year Sprint Cup career, and it comes just a week after Stewart captured the 2011 Sprint Cup title.
“I know Steve well and I know how he goes about setting up a racecar,” said Stewart, who worked with Addington from 2005 through 2008 during his time at Joe Gibbs Racing. “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.”
Addington has served as crew chief for Bobby Labonte (2005), J.J. Yeley (2006-2007), Kyle Busch (2008-race No. 33 of 2009) and Kurt Busch (2010-2011) during his ongoing Sprint Cup career. Twelve wins were scored with Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing and four wins were notched with older brother Kurt during his most recent tenure at Penske Racing.
Prior to rising to the elite Sprint Cup ranks, Addington spent 15 seasons as a crew chief in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, 11 of which came with driver Jason Keller where the duo won 10 races, 11 poles and scored 69 top-five and 122 top-10 finishes.
“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.”
Addington has proven he can win with all kinds of drivers at all kinds of tracks. From the quiet and low-key drivers of Keller and Mike Bliss, whom Addington worked with in the Nationwide Series, to the competitive personalities of Kyle and Kurt Busch, Addington has steered his pilots to victory, and he’s done so at every conceivable type of racetrack – superspeedways, road courses, intermediates and short tracks.
“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.”
Addington replaces Darian Grubb, who served as Stewart’s crew chief since the inception of SHR in 2009.
“Darian was a very important part of the success we’ve had at Stewart-Haas Racing,” Stewart 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.”
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