NASCAR

Stewart nabs Roush vet for Danica's team

Tony Stewart (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart makes a key hire for Danica Patrick's team.
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Lee Spencer

Lee Spencer is the Senior NASCAR Writer for FOXSports.com. She has provided award-winning coverage of auto racing over the last 15 years. Spencer has lent her expertise to both television and radio and is a regular contributor to SiriusXM Radio and the Performance Racing Network. Follow her on Twitter.

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Todd Zeigler is the latest addition to the No. 10 GoDaddy.com race team with Danica Patrick at Stewart-Haas Racing.

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After 13 seasons with Roush Fenway Racing in a variety of roles, Zeigler was looking for a new challenge. The 39-year-old native of Albion, Ind., joined SHR as the new car chief for Patrick on Tuesday.

Zeigler will oversee the crew and supervise the setup of the car. He will report to Greg Zipadelli, who is serving as the interim crew chief this season along with his duties as competition director. A full-time crew chief is expected to be named later this year

“This opportunity came up and it seemed perfect for me,” Zeigler said. “I went to Stewart-Haas with an open mind and everyone was so welcoming. I’ve never been treated like that before. I feel their enthusiasm and with Danica just starting out in Sprint Cup the timing was right.

“If Tony (Stewart, SHR team owner), Matt Borland (SHR vice president of competition), Dale Jr. (Earnhardt, team owner JRM) and the Eurys (Tony Jr. and Tony Sr., JRM crew chiefs) all believe in her, then I believe in her, too I haven’t met her yet, but she’s made great strides over the last year. It’s going to be great for the sport. I’m really excited to get started.

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Zeigler started as a tire changer with Roush Fenway Racing in 1998 and served as car chief for Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Jamie McMurray. Most recently he worked as the shop foreman with the No. 16 team after opting to get off the road crew. After Mike Lingerfelt was injured, Zeigler was asked to substitute and found himself going over the wall again.

At the end of the 2011 season, Zeigler was asked to help rebuild the No. 16 team with driver Greg Biffle. He declined. The prospect for working with Stewart, NASCAR’s reigning Sprint Cup champ, was too tempting.

“I’m very lucky to be where I am and get an opportunity to work with an organization that’s building,” Zeigler added. “The whole Stewart-Haas organization is getting a lot of attention right now because Tony won the championship; he probably didn’t get enough credit for what he accomplished because I know what Roush Fenway put into their title effort.

“But there are a lot of people that dedicate their hearts and souls at Stewart-Haas Racing. They’re racers. They believe in what they’re doing. I feel really lucky, just blessed. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Tagged: Danica Patrick, Tony Stewart

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