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NASCAR Cup: Stewart-Haas Racing swaps crew chiefs

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Daniel Suarez, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Ford, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #14 Toco Warranty Ford, lead the field at the start of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Stewart-Haas Racing is shuffling its crew chief lineup ahead of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. The only crew chief driver pairing that won’t be changing within the four-car operation, at the Cup level, is driver Kevin Harvick and crew chief Rodney Childers on the No. 4 team that was among the championship four in the 2019 season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway last month.

“Our biggest asset at Stewart-Haas Racing is our people, and we strive to put each person in the best position to succeed,” Stewart-Haas Racing Vice President of Competition Greg Zipadelli said. “Our driver/crew chief pairings for next season reflect this ideology, and we believe this lineup provides the best opportunity to win every time we unload our Ford Mustangs at the racetrack.”

SHR’s No. 41 team is getting both a new driver and new crew chief for the upcoming season. Cole Custer is being promoted from the NASCAR Xfinity Series to drive the No. 41 in place of Daniel Suarez. Stewart-Haas has elected to move Custer’s crew chief, Mike Shiplett, up with him. Together, Custer and Shiplet won seven Xfinity races last season, and Custer finished 2019 second in the Xfinity Series championship points standings.

Crew chiefs John Klausmeier and Mike Bugarewicz will swap teams for 2020, with Klausmeier moving from the No. 10 team of Aric Almirola to the No. 14 team of Clint Bowyer and Bugarewicz from the No. 14 to the No. 10. Klausmeier came to SHR with Almirola in 2018, while Bugarewicz was the crew chief on the No. 14 team since 2016, SHR co-owner Tony Stewart’s final season as driver of that car.

Childers has been Harvick’s only crew chief at Stewart-Haas, serving as crew chief on the No. 4 team since 2014. He came to SHR from Michael Waltrip Racing, while Harvick came to the organization from Richard Childress Racing. Together, they won the 2014 Cup Series title. The pairing of Harvick and Childers has produced 26 wins, including a season-high eight in 2018.

Harick was the only Stewart-Haas Racing driver to win in the Cup Series in 2019, getting to victory lane four times. He finished the season third in the standings. Bowyer and Almirola also made the playoffs. Bowyer was ninth in the standings at season’s end and Almirola 14th.

“We don’t want to be satisfied with just making the playoffs,” Almirola said Wednesday during Champion’s Week festivities in Nashville. “You want to make a run in the playoffs like we did last year (in 2018) and win races. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that.”

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Posted by on December 5, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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