The 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Tony Stewart, is not resting on his laurels after winning his third title. Stewart has already rescued Steve Addington from a bad situation at Penske Racing and now he has brought in another former crew chief from Joe Gibbs Racing, Greg Zipadelli.
The combination of Stewart and Zipadelli captured two Cup series titles in their 10 year stint as a pair with Joe Gibbs Racing. Zipadelli was the perfect foil for the hot-headed Stewart and when he left JGR he was vocal in missing his crew chief, Zipadelli. He was the only crew chief he had ever worked with in NASCAR’s top series.
On Friday, Stewart-Haas Racing announced Greg Zipadelli would become the competition director for the organization. Stewart went half the 2011 season with the job unfilled. Zipadelli will also be instrumental in Danica Patrick’s coming into the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.
Patrick will drive the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet with Zipadelli on the pit box giving her guidance. Patrick will not be the first rookie he has worked with. He groomed Tony Stewart as a rookie and even taught the Joey Logano the ropes of the top series until the end of the 2011 season.
Zippy will be huge help to the organization in his new role as competition director. This is the first time for Zipadelli to be in this role but he did learn from one of the best in NASCAR, Jimmy Makar. Makar will be in his 10th year as senior vice president of racing operations for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Stewart’s desire for Zippadelli in his organization since he gained 50 percent ownership never ended and now he has finally pulled off the deal.
The signing of Darian Grubb to the No. 11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs is a possible understandment between Stewart and Gibbs. Gibbs signs Stewart’s old crew chief days before he grants Zipadelli a release? Interesting timing.
One thing is definite with this deal. Tony Stewart will be a happy man next season from the first day of the season in Daytona. He is now surrounded by a talented group of behind the scenes people. Don’t be surprised if Stewart repeats in 2012 with his new all-star lineup behind the wheel and behind the wall.