Stewart-Haas Racing announced Wednesday that three of its four Cup Series teams would have new crew chiefs in 2020.
The only driver and crew chief pairing staying intact is that of Kevin Harvick and Rodney Childers. That’s a no-brainer, as Harvick and Childers have been one of the most productive driver-crew chief combos since they arrived at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. Harvick won the championship that season and has won 26 races over the past six seasons.
“Our biggest asset at Stewart-Haas Racing is our people, and we strive to put each person in the best position to succeed,” SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli said in a statement. “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.”
Mike Bugarewicz will move from Clint Bowyer’s No. 14 car to the No. 10 car of Aric Almirola while Almirola’s crew chief Johnny Klausmeier will become Bowyer’s crew chief. Bugarewicz has been the crew chief of the No. 14 car since 2016 and Tony Stewart’s final season. Bowyer has made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons but was winless in 2019 after winning two races in 2018.
Klausmeier and Almirola have been together since Almirola came to the team in 2018. Almirola won at Talladega in 2018 and finished fifth in the standings in his first year with the team. In 2019, Almirola was 14th in the standings and went winless.
The other crew chief change comes on the No. 41 car, which will be driven by Cole Custer in 2020. Custer replaces Daniel Suarez, who wasn’t retained by the team. Custer will have Mike Shiplett as his crew chief next season. Shiplett was Custer’s crew chief in the Xfinity Series in 2019 as Custer won nine races and finished second in the standings for the second straight season.
Billy Scott had been the crew chief of the No. 41 car for the past two seasons. He and Kurt Busch won at Bristol in August of 2018 as Busch was seventh in the standings. Suarez finished 17th in the standings in 2019.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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