Danica Patrick, Tony Stewart get new crew chiefs in Stewart-Haas Racing overhaul


Stewart-Haas Racing reshuffled half of its crew chief lineup Monday, naming new team leaders for Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick.

Michael Bugarewicz, the lead engineer for Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet the past two seasons, was shifted to take over Stewart’s No. 14 team in the 2016 Sprint Cup season.

Billy Scott, who was a crew chief for Clint Bowyer, Brian Vickers, David Ragan and Michael Waltrip last season at Michel Waltrip Racing, was named to become Patrick’s third Sprint Cup crew chief in three years.

Scott replaces Daniel Knost, who was promoted to a senior leadership position within SHR as a manager of vehicle dynamics.

Bugarewicz takes over for Chad Johnston, who left to become Kyle Larson’s crew chief after two seasons with Stewart.

Bugarewicz began his NASCAR career at Roush Fenway Racing’s engineering department in 2005. He was the race engineer for Matt Kenseth (2011-12) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (’13) before joining SHR in 2014 to help Harvick win his first Sprint Cup championship.

Bugarewicz, 33, is from Lehighton, Pa., and graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering (’04) and a master’s in mechanical engineering (’05).

Stewart, who is entering the final season of his NASCAR career, finished 28th in the 2015 standings with a career-low three top 10s.

“We have great people at Stewart-Haas Racing and these changes prove that,” Stewart said in a statement. “We were able to promote from within while also adding new talent.

“Change isn’t easy, and that’s particularly true when it comes to my relationship with Chad Johnston. He served as my crew chief during two very difficult seasons. He was always supportive and he’s become like a brother to me. I think very highly of Chad and wish him nothing but the best in his new opportunity.”

Scott, 38, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2005 and worked in stock cars, sports cars and sprint cars before joining MWR in 2008. The Land O’ Lakes, Fla., native worked as an engineer for the team under Rodney Childers, who has been Harvick’s crew chief at SHR the past two seasons.

Scott becomes the third crew chief for Patrick since she entered NASCAR’s premier series full time in 2013. She finished a career-best 24th in the 2015 points standings, her first full season with Knost.

Knost, 36, will oversee several SHR technical efforts with a focus on track simulation and race car performance. In two seasons as a crew chief, he led Kurt Busch to the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup through a March 2014 win at Martinsville Speedway.

The team will keep its crew chiefs intact for Harvick (Childers) and Busch (Tony Gibson). Both teams made the Chase and combined for five wins in 2015.

“We made these changes after thoroughly evaluating our program to ensure that all four of our teams are consistently strong and competitive,” SHR vice president of competition Greg Zipadelli said in a release. “In this business, you can’t rest and you can never be satisfied. You have to constantly improve. We feel these personnel changes enhance our strengths and shore up areas where we needed to be better.”