News & Media

Notebook: Addington has good feeling about a title with SHR

January 20, 2012, Dave Rodman,

It took Tony Stewart just three years to figure out how to win a Cup Series championship as an owner/driver. And in the process, he's converted a couple of former teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing into believers of a calmer, but no less effective driver on the race track.

Stewart's former crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, took a position as Stewart-Haas Racing's director of competition in mid-December. Just before that, Steve Addington left Penske Racing to become Stewart's crew chief.

"To have a shot to go win a championship with this driver right here [Stewart] and this organization is the best feeling I've had in a long, long time."


Addington said last week during testing at Daytona that he's feeling pretty sharp heading into 2012 and considering he's worked with championship contenders for years, that's saying something.

"It's exciting and the thing is, [Stewart's] about his guys and I can see that already," Addington said. "The guys have all the confidence in the world in [Stewart] and they should. It's a great atmosphere.

"He's more relaxed. He's got a competition director in place that he's worked with before and he can trust and it's just bled it down to he's comfortable coming to the race track right now with the group that he has over there."

As happy as Stewart is with his group, and as much as Zipadelli expressed the same emotion at the end of testing, Addington appeared to be in a state of bliss.

"Getting back to work with Zippy," Addington didn't even have to finish the thought to know how much it meant to him. "And Tony Gibson [teammate Ryan Newman's crew chief] is my type. He's just a racer that's down in the shop digging and working on his stuff, hands-on and that's the way we all want to race. That's the cool part about it -- everybody in this organization likes each other.

"If you look and see what this organization did [in 2011] and having been in this business as long as I have -- through the Busch Series, Nationwide, whatever -- into the Cup Series... To have a shot to go win a championship with this driver right here [Stewart] and this organization is the best feeling I've had in a long, long time."

That'a great news to a lot of Stewart fans. Even better news is Addington's reaction to several changes NASCAR made during Preseason Thunder in an effort to promote pack racing.

"From the work standpoint of all the changes NASCAR was making while we were down here, we understand what they're doing," Addington said. "Tony liked the idea of when we went out there in a big pack, of having it like that to race all day long. So I think the fans will like it, but that part of it is going to continue to be a moving target."

Paralyzed Vets to be Penske beneficiary

Team owner Roger Penske and Brad Keselowski will be on SPEED at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday from the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction at Westworld of Scottsdale (Ariz.).

Both owner and driver, along with representatives from Discount Tire and the Paralyzed Veterans of America, will be present to auction off the car Keselowski drove to his first win at Penske Racing.

Proceeds from the sale of the No. 22 Dodge Charger, which won the rain-delayed Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway in 2010, will benefit the Paralyzed Veterans.

Waltrip working angles

At the end of last season, Red Bull Racing closed up shop and left NASCAR as a team owner and Michael Waltrip Racing announced plans to expand, which included negotiations for MWR to buy Red Bull's team.

"I'm sure we have 10 things on ours that they don't have yet, but what if they have one or two that we don't?"


"We saw that as an opportunity to buy the assets of a race team that had won one of the last couple races [of 2011]," Waltrip said. "Obviously, some smart people worked there and a lot of money was spent to build Red Bull Racing, the machinery and parts and pieces.

"To be able to take the car they won Phoenix with, or maybe a copy of it and look at it -- MWR's got some really smart people and I'm sure we do things as good as anybody. But what if they had one little part or piece on that car that we didn't have yet? I'm sure we have 10 things on ours that they don't have yet, but what if they have one or two that we don't? I thought it was important to try to get it."

A bigger issue looming on the verge of the 2012 season, as it has every year since NASCAR went to the locked-in top 35 owners in the Cup Series. The previous season's top 35 are locked-into the starting field for the Daytona 500. Some teams always don't return and arcane deals are always done to reapportion those points prior to Speedweeks.

The former Red Bull team has two of the four sets of owners' points that might not be used full-time in 2012. Roush Fenway Racing has already announced that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will race RFR's No. 6 Ford, a car that's been set aside from lack of sponsorship, in the Daytona 500. RCR says plans for the No. 33's 2011 points will be announced in the near future.

"We needed some points for our team, too ... so we need to figure that out," Waltrip said. "But it was more than the points. There's a lot of good stuff there. So we tried to buy it, and it didn't work out."

Malsam back with Nationwide opportunity

Tayler Malsam, who has tried to gain a foothold in NASCAR the past four seasons, might have his best opportunity yet via a full-season Nationwide Series program with TriStar Motorsports. The deal includes 20 of 33 races sponsored by Green Earth Technologies' G-OIL.

Malsam, 22, has made 50 Nationwide and Truck series starts since 2008. He has one top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in the Truck Series, all with Randy Moss Motorsports.

Tim Andrews hanging tough

Tim Andrews, oldest son of former Cup Series champion crew chief Paul Andrews, has an opportunity for the Nationwide Series opener at Daytona. Andrews will drive Go Green Racing's No. 37 Ford as a teammate to full-season driver Joey Gase in the No. 39.

Go Green says they plan to announce soon, a multi-driver lineup for the balance of the season in its No. 37.