Stewart-Haas Racing unveils crew chief pairings

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Just days after Kurt Busch’s confirmed return to Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) to complete the team’s quartet of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers, the organization has unveiled the list of crew chiefs that will work with them in 2018.

SHR announced their four driver-crew chief pairings, shedding light on a few changes within their race teams to accommodate the acquisition of Aric Almirola and longtime signal caller Tony Gibson’s urge to step away from the full-time travel schedule that comes with crew chief duties.

Billy Scott, who formerly served as crew chief for Danica Patrick, will shift over to Busch and the No. 41 team in 2018. He’ll fill the spot of Gibson, who has served as the team’s crew chief since 2014 but will pivot to a thus-far unannounced role within the company.

Replacing Scott at the No. 10 team will be John Klausmeier – a veteran in motorsports who has served as a race engineer for SHR since 2009. While he’s never before held full-time crew chief duties, Klausmeier does have a win from atop the box – tallying a victory in an interim role with Busch at Pocono Raceway in June 2016.

The dynamic duo of Rodney Childers and Kevin Harvick will remain unaltered in 2018, continuing a partnership that’s seen three Championship 4 appearances and a 2014 Cup Series title in the first four years of the elimination-style playoff format.

Clint Bowyer and Mike Bugarewicz will also continue to work together after falling just short of the playoffs in their first season. Bugarewicz famously made the postseason with SHR co-owner Tony Stewart in 2016, scoring a victory at Sonoma Raceway to give the three-time Cup Series champion a final playoff pursuit.

 

“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,” Stewart said in a 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.”

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