The crews, they-are-a-changin’.
OK, so that’s a one-word spinoff of the Bob Dylan classic, but the theme is the same: Stewart-Haas Racing is once again set to switch up its crews.
An initial report from Jim Utter of the Charlotte Observer Tuesday night indicated that the No. 41 crew currently working with Kurt Busch will switch to the No. 10 driven by Danica Patrick. Daniel Knost (No. 41) and Tony Gibson (No. 10) have been the crew chiefs for Busch and Patrick this year.
Utter indicated the switch will occur after Martinsville this weekend – a track where Busch won with Knost in the spring and where Patrick has had some of her best non-restrictor plate races in her Sprint Cup career.
Gibson announced a contract extension with SHR this past weekend and while it would be anticipated he’d continue with Patrick, this planned crew change could mean a shift across to work with Busch, instead.
Meanwhile just prior to the Chase, Stewart-Haas made a crew swap of the No. 4 and No. 14 teams, as well. However Rodney Childers (No. 4, Kevin Harvick) and Chad Johnston (No. 14, Tony Stewart) remained in place on top of the box as respective crew chiefs.
UPDATE, 2:45 p.m. ET: Houston – or Dallas/Ft. Worth in this case since this is where the change will occur – we have official confirmation from SHR of the team’s crew shift plans.
Gibson will serve as Busch’s crew chief in 2015 while Knost will serve as Patrick’s interim crew chief for the remaining four races of 2014, and “potentially” will serve as her full-time one in 2015.
The road crews assembled by each crew chief will also make the swap. However, the pit crews for each respective team will not be moved.
“We made this change to evaluate our program and to get a head start on 2015,” Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition, Stewart-Haas Racing, said in a team release. “With the ban on testing next year, the last three races of this season take on even greater importance. For Tony Gibson and Kurt, they’ll get three races together that will provide direction for next year. And for Daniel Knost and Danica, this is an opportunity for them develop a rapport that could potentially continue into 2015.”