Earlier this week,Stewart-Haas Racing announced its crew chief lineup for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, including high-profile changes for two of its four teams.
As reported by NASCAR.com, Michael Bugarewicz will become the new crew chief for team co-owner/driverTony Stewart as he embarks on his final full season in the No. 14 Chevrolet. Billy Scott will take over as crew chief for Danica Patrick in the No. 10 Chevy.
Bugarewicz, a 33-year-old native of Lehighton, Pennsylvania, makes the transition from his previous role with SHR as race engineer on the No. 4 Chevrolet team for 2014 series champion Kevin Harvick. He previously spent time with Roush Fenway Racingin an engineering role for the No. 17 Ford and drivers Matt Kenseth andRicky Stenhouse Jr. from 2011-13.
Bugarewicz replaces Chad Johnston, who left to become the crew chief forKyle Larson and the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet team. The 2016 season will mark Stewart’s last campaign in the sport’s top series.
“We have great people at Stewart-Haas Racing and these changes prove that,” Stewart said in a release provided by the team. “We were able to promote from within while also adding new talent. Change isn’t easy, and that’s particularly true when it comes to my relationship with Chad Johnston. He served as my crew chief during two very difficult seasons. He was always supportive and he’s become like a brother to me. I think very highly of Chad and wish him nothing but the best in his new opportunity.”
Scott joins Stewart-Haas after an eight-year tenure as an engineer and later a crew chief with Michael Waltrip Racing, which shut its doors at season’s end. The transition reunites Scott with Rodney Childers, who joined SHR in 2014 after five years with the Waltrip-owned team.
The 38-year-old from Land O’ Lakes, Florida, replaces Daniel Knost, who has been promoted to the senior leadership role of manager of vehicle dynamics within the Stewart-Haas organization.
The driver/crew chief lineups remain intact for the two SHR teams that qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs this season. Childers will return atop the pit box for Harvick’s No. 4 entry, and Tony Gibson will again be paired with Kurt Buschin 2016.
“We made these changes after thoroughly evaluating our program to ensure that all four of our teams are consistently strong and competitive,” said Greg Zipadelli,Stewart-Haas Racing’s vice president of competition. “In this business, you can’t rest and you can never be satisfied. You have to constantly improve. We feel these personnel changes enhance our strengths and shore up areas where we needed to be better.”