News & Media


Addington denies he's leaving No. 22 team

October 14, 2011, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

CONCORD, N.C. -- Rumors continue to swirl he's a candidate for 2012 opening at SHR with Patrick

Steve Addington, crew chief for the No. 22 Dodge driven in the Sprint Cup Series by Kurt Busch, denied reports Friday that he would be leaving the team and Penske Racing at the end of this season.

Sources have said for weeks that Addington was unhappy in his current situation, however, and speculation has run rampant that Addington may join Stewart-Haas Racing in some capacity in 2012. He is in his second season as Busch's crew chief, with Busch entering Saturday night's Bank of America 500 sixth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings, 16 points behind leader Carl Edwards.

"We're here to concentrate on winning the Bank of America 500 and this championship. I don't know where this is coming from. That's all I can say."

--STEVE ADDINGTON

"We're here to concentrate on winning the Bank of America 500 and this championship," Addington said. "I don't know where this is coming from. That's all I can say."

Asked if he expected to be back with Penske as crew chief of the No. 22 car in 2012, Addington added: "That's the game plan."

Yet Addington's name has surfaced again and again in connection with Stewart-Haas Racing, as SHR is seeking both a competition director and a crew chief for the car that will be driven part-time at the Cup level in 2012 by Danica Patrick. A team spokesman confirmed earlier through Darian Grubb, Tony Stewart's crew chief, that Grubb was not a candidate for competition director and expected to remain Stewart's crew chief in 2012.

That could leave Addington as a viable candidate to become Patrick's crew chief.

Greg Zipadelli, Stewart's former crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing, also has been rumored as a candidate to become SHR's competition director. But J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, said on Thursday that he still expects Zipadelli to return next season as crew chief of driver Joey Logano's No. 20 Toyota.

A spokesman for SHR indicated Friday that the search for a competition director is "ongoing," while adding that the Patrick crew chief situation is " very fluid" as the organization's focus continues to be on making the Chase cars of both Stewart and Ryan Newman "as competitive as possible as they pursue this championship."

That source added that "Darian Grubb is Tony Stewart's crew chief this week, next week and in the weeks to come."

Kurt Busch declined comment at CMS on Friday. But he has had issues with Addington and others in the Penske organization, with one source saying he "trashed the hauler" after posting a sixth-place finish in the first 2011 Chase race at Chicagoland Speedway following testy verbal exchanges with both Addington and team owner Roger Penske. If Addington were to move on at season's end, Busch would move on to his fourth primary crew chief since joining Penske Racing in 2006.

Addington has 16 career wins as a Sprint Cup crew chief, including two in each of the past two seasons by Busch, who won at Dover on Oct. 2. Addington's other 12 Cup wins came during a stint atop the pit box with Kurt's younger brother, Kyle, at Joe Gibbs Racing before Addington was replaced when Kyle Busch failed to make the 2009 Chase.

The only other major crew chief opening known to be available for next season right now is that of driver Clint Bowyer, who will be joining Michael Waltrip Racing when he leaves Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season. Sources have said Brian Pattie and Pat Tryson are believed to be the leading candidates to fill that position, with Bowyer himself confirming earlier that Pattie was being considered.