Penske Racing’s No. 22 Sprint Cup Series team is in store for a shakeup in the offseason, according to Jim Utter of the Charlotte Observer. Steve Addington will not be back next year as Kurt Busch’s crew chief, the Observer reported, citing multiple unnamed sources.
A spokesman from Penske would not comment on whether or not Addington would return, nor would Addington address the situation.
If the report is true, this would be Busch’s fourth crew chief since joining Penske in 2006. When Busch joined the team, Roy McCauley was his crew chief. But, he left the team in April of 2007 to tend to his ailing wife.
Troy Raker, an engineer with Penske, took over crew chief duties on an interim basis, beginning at Texas Motor Speedway. Nine races later, in June, Pat Tryson, who had been released as Greg Biffle’s crew chief, took over as crew chief duties for Busch while Raker returned to the engineering department.
Tryson served as Busch’s crew chief until then end of the 2009 season, when he left the team. Steve Addington, who had been released by Joe Gibbs Racing as Kurt’s brother Kyle’s crew chief, signed on to replace Tryson.
It is no secret that Kurt Busch has a temper and can be difficult to work with under certain circumstances. There is no word as to whether Busch’s well-documented outburts under Addington had anything to do with the decision not to bring him back next year. But, it stands to reason based on the radio communication that the two have a difficult working relationship.
What is most interesting about this story is that Busch currently sits sixth in points, 16 points behind leader Carl Edwards, and he is still in the title hunt. This news is sure to be a distraction to the team, and it could derail any chance Busch has at a title. So, it begs the question, “Why now?”