Zipadelli Named Competition Director for Stewart-Haas Racing UPDATE
Greg Zipadelli's move to Stewart-Haas Racing as competition director was a much anticipated and expected one. However, his temporary role at Danica Patrick's crew chief for her limited Sprint Cup schedule in 2012 was a late addition to his job description.
|Tony Stewart (L) and Greg Zipadelli (R) back together again|
Zipadelli addressed his planned work with Patrick during a teleconference on Friday.
Q. Zippy, is one of your big jobs right now to get the 10 team kind of put together and is there any chance that you would end up crew chiefing that at least for the 500? ZIPADELLI: Yeah, I think that is the plan now. I mean, I will start immediately as soon as this afternoon, working on putting some of those pieces together. I know Matt Borland has done a really good job of keeping that going already, so they're not behind. And as far as Daytona, yes, Daytona test and Daytona 500, right now it looks like I'll be there to do that and just see ‑‑ most important is that we find the right person long‑term for that position.
Q. And when would kind of the target date for that be? ZIPADELLI: I think honestly, if it takes until the end of the year to make sure we look at everybody that's going to be available either now or coming available at the end of the year ‑‑ really see who that person is that fits with the other crew chiefs, fits into Stewart‑Haas's, under their umbrella and the mold and the way they like to do things, that's important is finding that right person. We'll take as much time as we need.
Q. The second part of the question is being on top of the pit box with Danica for Daytona, I mean, you know there's just going to be so much attention placed on her first Cup race, especially being the biggest NASCAR race of the year. I mean, in a lot of ways it's got to be an enviable position but also a position that can be quite difficult. ZIPADELLI: I mean, when we talked about this, this wasn't part of it. They got through it and they thought about it and they asked if this was something that I would do, and here's the deal: I'm here to help this team grow in anything that I can do. I'm looking forward to it. I think it'll be fun, it'll be exciting, and like I said, it gives me a little bit of the ‑‑ helps with the withdrawal as far as being on that box. The races are spread out throughout the year, so that'll be good. It shouldn't take a whole lot away from the things I'm trying to learn and help with over here on a daily basis. With that being said, to me I'm just looking at it as, hey, it's a good opportunity, we're going to go and do the best we can with it, surround her with the best people we can and give her a great opportunity.
Q. As the guy who helped Tony ease through the transition from IndyCar to stock car racing, how will that experience, 13 or so years ago, impact your assisting Danica through that same transition next year? ZIPADELLI: I mean, I hope just the things that I've learned over the years, the patience and the things that I've had to ‑‑ going through those transitions, we'll be able to pull from those things. I think Tony is going to ‑‑ and Ryan are going to be able to help her way more with that. They've actually experienced it and felt it and been through a lot of that stuff, and as far as that goes, she couldn't have two better teachers, you know?
12/16/11 Greg Zipadelli, winner of two championships and 34 victories as a crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been named competition director at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). He will work with Vice President of Competition Matt Borland and oversee the #14 and #39 teams, while also building the #10 team for which Danica Patrick will run a 10-race Sprint Cup schedule with in 2012.
Zipadelli comes to SHR from Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) where he served as crew chief for the #20 team since 1999. It's where the 44-year-old from Berlin, Conn., began a 10-year tenure with Tony Stewart, the co-owner of SHR along with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation. From 1999 through 2008, Zipadelli was Stewart's crew chief, with the duo winning Sprint Cup titles in 2002 and 2005 while claiming 33 victories and 10 poles. When Stewart left JGR following the 2008 season to form SHR, Zipadelli stayed and spent three years as the crew chief for Joey Logano, where he helped deliver Logano's first career Sprint Cup victory on June 28, 2009 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
"We're very proud to have Greg Zipadelli join Stewart-Haas Racing," said Stewart, the three-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion. "Greg and I have a long and successful history together. I know him and he knows me, and we both know what it takes to build race teams. We took our time in searching for a competition director because it's an important role with a lot of responsibility. Greg knows all that goes into the job, understands the importance of teamwork and communication across all levels of the organization, and is ultimately someone I have a great deal of trust in."
The addition of Zipadelli to the SHR family is a reunion on two fronts Stewart, of course, but also with Steve Addington, who spent 2004-2008 at JGR and is now Stewart's crew chief at SHR with the #14 team. (Tony Gibson serves as crew chief for the #39 team and driver Ryan Newman.)
"Joe Gibbs always says that you win with people, and Tony Stewart is a winner," Zipadelli said. "We won a lot together at Joe Gibbs Racing, and it was a sad day when he left. But Tony had an unbelievable opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing, and he's obviously made the most of it. To become a part of what he's already built, but to do it in a new role with a new set of responsibilities, was a challenge I wanted. I really appreciate Joe and J.D. Gibbs for all that that they've given me over the years and for allowing me to seize this opportunity." Stewart-Haas Racing