Stewart-Haas Racing reveals driver-crew chief pairings for 2018


Jared C. Tilton
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Stewart-Haas Racing has shaken up the leadership on the Nos. 10 and 41 teams going into the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

Kurt Busch, who announced earlier this week he had re-signed with the organization to continue driving the Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, will work with Billy Scott. Scott moves over from the No. 10 team after working with Danica Patrick, who is stepping away from racing, the last two years.

Tony Gibson had been paired with Busch since late 2014, but Gibson had expressed interest in coming off the road in the near future. He will remain with SHR in an unnamed capacity.

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On the No. 10 team with newcomer Aric Almirola will be John Klausmeier, who moves into a crew chief position after serving as a race engineer at SHR since 2009. Klausmeier earned valuable experience atop the pit box in 2016, serving as Busch’s interim crew chief at Pocono Raceway and going to Victory Lane.

“We wanted to maximize our strengths and address the areas where we needed to improve, and we feel this lineup gives us our best chance to succeed every time we bring our Ford Fusions to the racetrack,” said Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition for SHR. “This is a very technical sport, but it’s the people who make it go, and we’ve got some of the best people in the business.”

2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champions Kevin Harvick and Rodney Childers will continue to work together. The pairing has 14 races wins together in four seasons and has made the Championship 4 in three of the last four years.

Clint Bowyer – who joined SHR in the No. 14 Ford last year – will also continue to work with Mike Bugarewicz. The 2018 season will be Bugarewicz’s third year as a crew chief, having started in 2016 with Tony Stewart.

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“We have some of the finest talent in the industry and we’re confident in the leadership of each of our teams as we pursue wins and a championship in 2018,” said team co-owner Stewart in a team release. “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. 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.”