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Tony Stewart gets new crew chief for 2014

November 19, 2013, Kenny Bruce,

Chad Johnston to lead Stewart's No. 14 team; other SHR changes announced

Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart will have a new crew chief in 2014, one of several moves announced Tuesday by Stewart-Haas Racing officials.

Chad Johnston, previously the crew chief for Martin Truex Jr. at Michael Waltrip Racing, has been named crew chief for Stewart and the No. 14 SHR team. A race engineer when he joined MWR, Johnston was elevated to the crew chief role in June of 2011.

According to a statement from SHR, Johnston and Stewart worked together briefly in 2004-05 while Johnston was race engineer for the Morgan-Dollar Motorsports team competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Stewart raced three times with the team, scoring two top-three finishes.

Johnston replaces Steve Addington, Stewart's crew chief since 2012. According to the team, Addington has left to pursue other opportunities.

Stewart has been sidelined since early August when he suffered a broken right leg while competing in a sprint car race in Iowa. He is currently undergoing physical therapy and is expected to be back behind the wheel when the 2014 season gets underway in three months at Daytona International Speedway.

SHR, located in Kannapolis, N.C., will field four teams next season, with drivers Stewart, Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch.

Harvick is making the move from Richard Childress Racing, where he will replace Ryan Newman. Busch, the 2004 Cup champion, exits Furniture Row Racing as driver for the fourth SHR Cup entry.

Rodney Childers, like Johnston a former MWR crew chief, will oversee the No. 4 Chevrolet of Harvick. He worked with the team's No. 55 entry this past season, and drivers Mark Martin, Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip.

Daniel Knost, who has served as a race engineer with the No. 39 of Newman, has been promoted to crew chief, and will work with Busch. The team's car number has been changed to 41 with sponsorship provided by Haas Automation.

Veteran Tony Gibson will continue to serve in his current role as crew chief for Patrick and the No. 10 team.

On the management side, former competition director Greg Zipadelli has a new title, vice president of competition, and additional duties -- he's tasked with overseeing all four teams and working closely with each of the crew chiefs.

Zipadelli, a former crew chief, guided Stewart to two Cup titles while the two were at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Additionally, Matt Borland will move from his crew chief role (he worked with Newman and the No. 39 team) to serve as vice president of engineering.

He will run the four teams' research and development program as well as technical initiatives. He will also work closely with Knost, who is making his crew chief debut.

"Our greatest asset at Stewart-Haas Racing is our people," said Stewart, co-owner of the organization since 2009. "Obviously there is a lot of change happening … as we grow to four teams and bring in Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch.

"But with our new management structure and the crew chiefs we have in place, we're well positioned to handle whatever challenges come our way."


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