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Steve Addington Embarks On A Working Vacation

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, January 23 2012

Tony Stewart introduced the 2012 lineup at Stewart-Haas Racing on Monday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

CONCORD, N.C. – NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart couldn’t resist the temptation Monday to casually remark that his new crew chief, Steve Addington, felt like he was on vacation at Stewart-Haas Racing.

After all, Addington’s previous two drivers were the Busch brothers – Kurt at Penske Racing and Kyle at Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart’s remark caused the more than 200 journalists attending the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour to break into laughter.

It doesn’t, however, mean that Addington is without pressure. The laid back Addington replaces Darian Grubb, who with Stewart, led the team to five victories in last year’s 10-race Chase and the coveted Sprint Cup title. Now it’s up to Addington to make sure Stewart contends for his fourth NASCAR Cup title.

“Steve is one of those guys who is a lot like Darian,” explained Stewart, who knew Grubb wouldn’t be his crew chief in 2012 before the 2011 Chase began. “He may not have all of the engineering background that Darian has, but I think he has the practical knowledge and is a better fit for me. Steve is one of those guys that has a lot of practical knowledge of being in the sport for a long time.”

Stewart knew Addington from his days at JGR when Greg Zipadelli was Stewart’s crew chief. Now, the

Steve Addington said life is getting better for him. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

three are reunited. Addington with Stewart and Zipadelli as Stewart-Haas Racing’s competition director and Danica Patrick’s Cup crew chief.

“In team meetings with him (at JGR) he was easy to talk to,” Stewart said about Addington. “It wasn’t always easy to talk to some of the other crew chiefs that we had.”

Addington is Stewart’s third crew chief since he moved to NASCAR more than a decade ago. First it was Zipadelli, with whom he won two Cup championships, and then Grubb when he became a team owner in 2009.

Addington, who won’t argue with a driver over the team’s two-way radio during a race because “it doesn’t accomplish anything”, says he likes Stewart because he’s “about his guys.”

“He knows the people who put the hours in and he takes care of them,” Addington said. “He appreciates them and he lets them know he appreciates them. Every time I have seen him walk through that shop, I’ve not seen a guy make an effort to come over and shake his hand and thank him for everything that he does for his employees. I think it’s pretty neat to sit back and watch all of that take place.”

– Deb Williams can be reached at dwilliams@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, January 23 2012
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