Stewart-Haas Racing shuffles Cup Series crew chief lineup
Stewart-Haas Racing has made crew chief changes to three of its four NASCAR Cup Series teams.
The most notable change is the promotion of crew chief Mike Shiplett to the No. 41 team from its Xfinity Series program. SHR already announced Xfinity driver Cole Custer would move to the No. 41 next season and now his crew chief will come with him.
Custer and Shiplett amassed a career-high seven wins and six poles with a runner-up finish in the championship standings in 2019.
Crew chiefs John Klausmeier and Mike “Buga” Bugarewicz will swap teams, with Klausmeier moving to the No. 14 team with driver Clint Bowyer and Bugarewicz going to the No. 10 team with driver Aric Almirola.
Klausmeier has been the No. 10 crew chief since 2018, where he and Almirola combined for 29 top-10 finishes, highlighted by a victory in October at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The duo made the NASCAR playoffs in each of their two seasons together, with Almirola finishing a career-best fifth in the 2018 standings.
Bugarewicz has led the No. 14 team since 2016, where he was Tony Stewart’s crew chief for his final NASCAR season before being paired with Bowyer in 2017. Bugarewicz and Bowyer won two races in 2018 – March 26 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and June 10 at Michigan International Speedway – as part of a three-year stint that garnered 47 top-10s and two appearances in the NASCAR playoffs.
Crew chief Rodney Childers, who recently signed a contract extension, will return as Kevin Harvick’s crew chief with the No. 4 team for the seventh straight year. Since joining forces in 2014, the duo have combined to produce 26 victories, 25 poles, 106 top-five and 153 top-10 finishes.
They have led 9,608 laps and made the Championship 4 five times in the last six years, winning the 2014 series championship and finishing runner-up twice, (2015 and 2018).
“Our biggest asset at Stewart-Haas Racing is our people, and we strive to put each person in the best position to succeed,” said Greg Zipadelli, SHR’s vice president of competition.
“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 race track.”
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