Thursday, December 22, 2011

Everyday I'm Shuffling...Well, the Crew Chiefs Are

"Every day, I'm shuffling."  Not only are they lyrics to a song, they also apply to this off-season; mainly in regard to the crew chief changes.  For me, it seems like last year there weren't many changes on top of the pit box, but this year, it would probably be easier to write an article on who didn't change teams.

Are you ready for a load of information?  Well, here it goes.

Steve Addington, former crew chief for the No. 22 of Kurt Busch, left Penske Racing before it was announced that Kurt Busch would too be leaving.  Shortly thereafter, it was posted that Addington would be moving over to Stewart-Haas Racing to be 2011 Sprint Cup Series Champion, Tony Stewart's crew chief.

Drew Blickensderfer, Ron Hornaday's son-in-law and David Ragan's former crew chief, is now headed over to Richard Childress Racing and will be Jeff Burton's new crew chief.  Blickensderfer helped Ragan win the Coca-Cola 400 this past year at Daytona.  As many of you may or may not remember, Jeff Burton got a new crew chief a little over half-way through the 2011 season and from that point on, his finishing spots became higher and higher.

Denny Hamlin and Mike Ford were a powerhouse in 2010, but didn't have an ideal 2011 year.  It was announced that Mike Ford would be leaving Joe Gibbs Racing and would be replaced by 2011 Sprint Cup Champion crew chief, Darian Grubb.

Greg Zipadelli, former crew to Joey Logano, is now leaving Joe Gibbs Racing and will head over to Stewart-Haas Racing to be their Competition Director and interim crew chief for Danica Patrick.  Zipadelli helped Logano win at New Hampshire in 2009.  Logano will have a new crew chief, Jason Ratcliff, who was Kyle Busch's crew chief in the Nationwide Series. 

Mike Beam will move over to Kyle Busch Motorsports as the Nationwide Series crew chief.  It was announced today that Kurt Busch will be piloting the car.  

Shane Wilson, Clint Bowyer's crew chief before he moved to Michael Waltrip Racing, is now Kevin Harvick's crew chief.  Gil Martin, Harvick's former crew chief and Richard Childress Racing employee since 2000, has been named the Director of Team Operations.

Clint Bowyer is settling into his new home at Michael Waltrip Racing and is getting used to new crew chief, Brian Pattie. Pattie, however, isn't a newbie to racing; he was Juan Pablo Montoya's crew chief.  

Finally, Chris Heroy, who formerly worked as the No. 5 team engineer with Mark Martin, has been named as crew chief for Juan Pablo Montoya.  As some of you may remember, like Jeff Burton, Montoya also received a new crew chief a little more than half-way through the 2011 season.

Only time will tell if all of these crew chief changes will have a positive or negative effect on the teams.

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