Zipadelli And Stewart Are Reunited At SHR
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
Sprint Cup Series team owner/driver Tony Stewart has been reunited with Greg Zipadelli, the crew chief with whom he won the 2002 and 2005 series championships.
Zipadelli on Friday was released from his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing and was quickly hired by Stewart to serve as competition director at Stewart-Haas Racing.
Hired to replace Zipadelli as crew chief for driver Joey Logano at JGR is Jason Ratcliffe, who has served as crew chief for JGR Nationwide teams.
At SHR, Zipadelli will work with vice president of competition Matt Borland and oversee the Nos. 14 and 39 teams, while also building the No. 10 team for which Danica Patrick will run a 10-race Sprint Cup schedule with in 2012, the team announced.
“We’re very proud to have Greg Zipadelli join Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Stewart, the three-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion. “Greg and I have a long and successful history together. I know him and he knows me, and we both know what it takes to build race teams.”
The job of director of competition has been open since Bobby Hutchens was released by the team early in the season.
“We took our time in searching for a competition director because it’s an important role with a lot of responsibility,” Stewart said. “Greg knows all that goes into the job, understands the importance of teamwork and communication across all levels of the organization, and is ultimately someone I have a great deal of trust in.”
Zipadelli has served as crew chief for driver Joey Logano at Joe Gibbs Racing since Stewart’s departure. During that time, Logano has won just one race. Stewart, meanwhile, won this year’s Cup championship.
“We appreciate everything Greg has done for us here at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of JGR. “He has been a big part of our success, but we felt the timing was right to make this transition for our race team which allows Greg the opportunity to pursue a director of competition position with Tony (Stewart). We also felt that the timing was right to bring Jason (Ratcliff) to our Cup operation. He is a proven leader with a tremendous track record in our Nationwide program and we think he and Joey will work well together.”
During his drive to the 2011 championship, Stewart decided to let crew chief Darian Grubb go. That empty position, however, was filled when Stewart hired Steve Addington.
Zipadelli said in a late-morning teleconference that he enjoyed relative security at JGR and that a job with Stewart would be about the only thing that could lure him away.
“Joe Gibbs always says that you win with people, and Tony Stewart is a winner,” Zipadelli said. “We won a lot together at Joe Gibbs Racing, and it was a sad day when he left. But Tony had an unbelievable opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing, and he’s obviously made the most of it. To become a part of what he’s already built, but to do it in a new role with a new set of responsibilities, was a challenge I wanted. I really appreciate Joe and J.D. Gibbs for all that that they’ve given me over the years and for allowing me to seize this opportunity.”
(This story will be updated shortly)2 Comments