Full house: Smoke, Zippy have work cut out for them in '14
NOV 28, 2013 9:00a ET
There have already been a lot of changes at Stewart-Haas Racing. On the team front, there is a brand new fourth team being added. On the driver front, there are now two new drivers. On the crew chief front, there are three new crew chiefs in place. As if that wasn't enough, they are still dealing with Tony Stewart's injury/rehabilitation and possibly an issue of literally not having enough space in their current location for all four teams.
So, it's going to be a really interesting match-up over there. They have a lot of challenges to overcome. If you think simply adding a fourth car to your already three-car operation is easy, well, go ask Rick Hendrick, Jack Roush and Richard Childress and see what their reply is. It's tough. When you try and add a fourth team when you aren't ready, your performance across the board suffers. It affected RCR so much that Richard cut back to only three teams because of it.
So Stewart-Haas has to build a complete fourth team for Kurt Busch. Daniel Knost has been promoted internally at SHR to be his crew chief. Tony's crew chief, Steve Addington, is gone. He's been replaced by Chad Johnston, who moves over from Michael Waltrip Racing. Kevin Harvick has come over from Richard Childress Racing. He's being paired with Rodney Childers, who also left Michael Waltrip Racing. Danica Patrick and crew chief Tony Gibson are the only constant from 2013.
So SHR now has four drivers who each have strong personalities. I guarantee you none of them want to play second, third or even fourth fiddle in the organization. You know who I feel sorry for over there? I feel sorry for Greg Zipadelli, who is overseeing all four cars. He's the one tasked with organizing it, orchestrating it and trying to make it all work.
I've been through this in my career, so I know what they are facing. It's hard enough in today's NASCAR Sprint Cup competition to keep one car competitive week after week. I don't envy Greg trying to do it with four teams with four distinct personalities behind the wheel.