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So crew chief Steve Addington helps Kyle Busch score 12 tour wins...and then abruptly gets dumped by the Gibbs? Bizarre

 Stale? Or spoiled? Kyle Busch: Addington gives Busch 12 winning cars, and Busch says things have gone stale? (Photo: Toyota Motorsports)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Steve Addington – and most of the NASCAR garage – expressed surprised at Joe Gibbs' call to change crew chiefs on one of this sport's most successful operations: with Addington as crew chief, Kyle Busch has won 12 Sprint Cup events since joining Gibbs last season.
   To put it plain and blunt, only one man, Jimmie Johnson, has won more races (13) over that span.
   So why in the world would Gibbs boot Addington (who has done a pretty darned good job behind the scenes in babysitting one of the sport's most temperamental drivers)?
   Apparently to placate the driver, who seems miffed at not making the championship playoffs this season (he missed the cut by just eight points), and maybe miffed at those three bad weeks at the start of last season's chase.
   Now the new man in charge, Dave Rogers, is a good dude, certainly up to the technical challenges. But Kyle Busch is no Jimmie Johnson in terms of patience and temperament. Can Rogers handle Busch?
   Well, Rogers and Busch better hit the ground running, otherwise there will be a lot of second-guessing this move.
   Swapping crew chiefs is seldom a magic move, and the NASCAR history book, including some very recent chapters, includes a lot of infamous mistakes. Will this be one of them too?
   Busch himself says the decision itself was made by Joe and J.D. Gibbs: "It's their organization, and they're the best at knowing what's best for their organization. 
    "I love Steve. Steve was a great asset to the team. He's done a great job the past two seasons.
    "Unfortunately we haven't quite had the success we would have liked this year; we've struggled a lot. It seems either feast or famine – we're going to win the race or finish 30th. 
    "Some of that's my fault. But some of that is just not having the right things in the cars for me.
    "And Joe and J.D. felt we needed to try something new, and see if we couldn't get more consistent…something more championship caliber."
    Think Addington won't be jumping at the next great opportunity that comes along, after that vote of no confidence.
    Maybe pencil him in for a job at Roger Penske's.
   Addington says he's getting calls, some very interesting. After all, he clearly knows how to play the game…and if he can handle Busch and those famous temper tantrums, well, a lot of rival car owners would like someone with that savvy on their team.
   Busch says he was starting to lose faith in Addington: "I would say so…not from what this situation is. But I would say that statement is true, based on previous experiences with other crew chiefs I've had -- I kind of lost faith and things would go backwards. 
    "In Steve's case, I never lost faith Steve; he was always trying 100 percent, giving 100 percent…working his people to death. 
    "I don't think it was Steve that didn't give me what I needed; I don't think it was the engineers. It was just something didn't click."
   What about those 12 wins, those hot streaks?
   Busch says he is demanding more: "When you're not beating Jimmie Johnson, something has to change."
    If that's really the case, then every other crew in the garage better brace for shakeups too.
    So Busch wanted this change in command?
    "I wouldn't say I wanted it…When I got told about it Monday morning, I gave my opinion -- sometimes the grass is greener on the other side….like it was when I came over here (after a fitful yet successful run with rival Rick Hendrick). And sometimes it's not. 
    "We can only hope that Dave will be the right fit. I'm sure the right tools are there, and as long as Dave can put those to good use, then we should be better in the future, hopefully."
    So if the team gets better it's because Busch himself finally has the right stuff under him, and if it doesn't get better then it's Rogers' fault?
    Would you want to take a job under those conditions?
   Maybe Rogers needs to talk with Lance McGrew, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief, about how to deal with situations like this.
   Hey, maybe it's never the driver's fault; maybe it's always the crew chief's fault.
   Or maybe it's just easier to fire the crew chief and plug another one in, than try to fix the driver part of the equation.
   Teammate Denny Hamlin said he sensed that Busch and Addington simply got "stale."
   How many rivals would love to be stale with 12 wins…..
    "I think what got stale were results," Busch said. "Our cars -- we just never got any better. 
    "We were the dominant force the first 20 races last year, but the last six before the chase we weren't as great. Then things fell apart in the chase, and we never regained anything. 
    "We came out this year in the Daytona 500, led the most laps, dominated that race, and had a shot to really win that one.  (It was rain-shortened.)
   "We had a couple good runs in the beginning of the year. At California, third I think. Vegas we won.
   "But Atlanta we struggled at really bad, where we'd won last year. 
    "It's just like we seemed to lose a little bit of what other people gained, as far as speed in their cars."
   Well, welcome to the club. The Gibbs bunch has been the only serious rival to the Rick Hendrick juggernaut, and the rest of the teams in the garage aren't doing well at all.
    Impatience here?
    Maybe so.
    Then again maybe the Gibbs don't really have a three-car team, with three teammates, not the way that Hendrick has his men working so closely as teammates. And maybe that's the real issue here. Denny Hamlin and crew chief Mike Ford are doing well, again, though still a bit inconsistent. Rookie Joey Logano and veteran crew chief Greg Zipadelli are making good strides, for their first season together and with NASCAR's debilitating testing ban.
    And Busch? Well, he and Rogers get to show what they've got really soon, and they'd better be on it.
   Or let the second-guessing begin.

   Kyle Busch: If he's not beating Jimmie Johnson, then he says something has to change. (Photo: Toyota Motorsports)

The Daytona 500 being rain

The Daytona 500 being rain shortened had nothing to do with Kyle not winning it.

this is great, wasnt it this

this is great, wasnt it this little brat saying that junior nation was whining about a crew chief.....what a looser

I believe it was at Dover in

I believe it was at Dover in late May, when Rick Hendrick swapped things on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team, that Kyle Busch said this:
"If Junior doesn't run well, then he (the crew chief) is going to be the problem again.
"It's never Junior; it's always the crew chief."

I am very happy for Steve

I am very happy for Steve only because he gets a chance to be the chief for a driver who appreciates the talent on the other end of the radio. I cannot imagine having to deal with Shrub on a weekly basis. The rub for the Shrub team is that you have a talented driver/whiner and one of the best crew chiefs in the business - unless you're Rick Hendrick, you won't get rid of the driver. An act, by the way, that took massive courage but shows that he will get rid of one bad apple, talent notwithstanding, for the sake of the whole team.

This is an act of desperation on the part of the team owner, the "Coach" and shows that no one can manage Shrub. In the world of business, if you can't manage your employees you will not be successful in the long run. The team may win some but it will not be consistent. Get a sports shrink for the Shrub.

Steve, have 'em show you da money, man and good luck!

I'm reading all of these

I'm reading all of these negative comments about Busch, as if he is the only reason for Addington's dismisal from the 18 team. While I like Steve Addington and think he has been an asset to Kyle Busch's success during his first two seasons at JGR I gotta point out one thing. This is the same Steve Addington who crew chiefed the 18 car through three seasons with JJ Yeley at the wheel. Just maybe we should be talking about how Busch made Addington a better crew chief than how Busch's whining cost Addington his job.

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