Steve Addington in as crew chief for Phoenix’s No. 51

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After serving as crew chief for the No. 14 car over the past two seasons at Stewart-Haas Racing, Steve Addington is jumping to Phoenix Racing to be crew chief for its No. 51 Chevrolet, which is currently without a driver.

Addington helped Tony Stewart earn four wins across 2012 and 2013 (2012 – Las Vegas, Fontana, Daytona 400; 2013 – Dover), and also led efforts from substitute drivers Mark Martin, Austin Dillon and Max Papis following Stewart’s season-ending crash in a sprint car race this past August.

“I am thrilled to be part of the Phoenix Racing team and working with [owner] Harry [Scott Jr.],” Addington said in a team statement. “Harry has a vision to make this team a championship contender and I am excited to be part of it.”

“In my opinion Steve is the perfect guy for the job,” Scott himself said. “He is part of the Chevrolet family, the Hendrick family and I feel fortunate that he is now part of our family.”

Addington will replace Jimmy Elledge, who served as the No. 51’s interim crew chief for the final six races of this year’s Sprint Cup season after Nick Harrison left to become the crew chief for Richard Childress Racing’s No. 33 team in the Nationwide Series.

Phoenix hopes that Addington can be a mainstay as the team looks for a sense of stability after using a whopping 12 drivers this past season. The last of which was upcoming Sprint Cup rookie and NNS rookie of the year Kyle Larson, who finished 15th last Sunday in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

IndyCar St. Pete fans
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”