Just days after it became public that Kurt Busch was returning to the No. 41 at Stewart-Haas Racing, the crew chief pairings have been announced for all four teams at SHR.
It was a little curious that before today, no official press release had been put out about Busch’s return for 2018 to SHR, but it seems now that the Tony Stewart/Gene Haas owned organization wanted to combine it with the announcement of crew chief pairings in their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup shop.
No. 41 for 2018
Billy Scott moves over from the No. 10 team to the No. 41, becoming Kurt Busch’s crew chief for 2018. Scott originally came to SHR in 2016 as crew chief for Danica Patrick. Prior to coming to SHR, Scott had been a crew chief at Michael Waltrip Racing for both Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers.
Tony Gibson, who has been the crew chief for the No. 41 team since November 2014 and a crew chief at SHR since the organization’s creation in 2009, will remain with SHR in an unnamed capacity. Gibson had previously communicated that he would eventually like to step down from being a crew chief and take on another role with less travel in subsequent seasons.
No. 10 for 2018
The No. 10 team has both a new driver and crew chief, entering into the 2018 season. Previously announced was the fact that Aric Almirola, with Smithfield sponsorship in tow, was coming to SHR. Stewart-Haas Race engineer John Klausmeier will become Almirola’s crew chief. Klausmeier has been a race engineer with SHR since 2009, and already has a win with the organization. Klausmeier served as the interim crew chief for the No. 41 team during the June 2016 Pocono Raceway where Kurt Busch ultimately took the checkered flag.
No. 4 Team for 2018
The pairing of Rodney Childers calling the race, and Kevin Harvick driving the No. 4 will not change for next year. The two have been paired since 2014, and together have notched 14 wins, 15 poles and led a total of 6,665 races. They’ve also been a member of the MENCS Championship 4 three of those times, taking home the title in 2014.
No. 14 Team for 2017
Clint Bowyer and crew chief Mike Bugarewicz return to the No. 14 for 2017. Bugarewicz begins his third year as No. 14 crew chief — the first being with Tony Stewart in his final year in the Cup series. During that final year, he helped Stewart secure his last career win at Sonoma Raceway. Last year, Bowyer and Bugarewicz collected a trio of second-place finishes.
Stewart’s Take on 2018
Stewart said that SHR has some of the best talent in the Cup garage and they are confident in the leadership at all four teams.
“Obviously, we’re very happy to have Kurt Busch back with SHR and I’m proud to have Aric Almirola as a part of our race team,” Stewart said.
“He’s someone I’ve always been impressed with since we were teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing, and John Klausmeier is more than ready to be his crew chief. The partnership between Kevin Harvick and Rodney Childers is the best in the garage, and after a bunch of strong runs and second-place finishes, I think Clint Bowyer and Mike Bugarewicz are ready for a breakout year. We’re in a really good place with each of our race teams.”
Haas shared Stewart’s optimism for the 2018 season and its four teams.
“Bigger, Better, Faster, Lighter is what we strive for in the machining industry and it’s what we strive for in motorsports,” Haas said.
“These new appointments seamlessly marry our engineering expertise with our collective racing experience,” Haas said.
Vice President of Competition at SHR, Greg Zipadelli said that NASCAR is a very technical sport, but it comes down to the people.
“…we’ve got some of the best people in the business,” Zipadelli said.