NASHVILLE, Tenn — On Wednesday, Stewart-Haas Racing announced a big shakeup in terms of crew chiefs for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. The only mainstay will be the pairing of Kevin Harvick and Rodney Childers. The duo won a championship in their first year together in 2014 and has made the Championship 4 in five of the six years.
The other teams, well they all get a facelift.
Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola will swap crew chiefs with Mike Bugarewicz moving from the No. 14 Ford that is driven by Bowyer to the No. 10 Ford with Almirola. That means Johnny Klausmeier will then shift from the No. 10 to the No. 14.
It was a move that both drivers say was needed. While both made the 2019 postseason, neither driver really made much noise. Almirola, finished fifth in the final standings in 2018, his first year with Klausmeier, but was eliminated from the first round in 2019. He had zero wins. Bowyer, was eliminated from the playoffs in the second round and also never won. He’d finish ninth in the final standings this year.
“We don’t want to be satisfied with just making the playoffs,” Almirola said Wednesday from Nashville. “You want to make a run in the playoffs like we did last year and win races. Unfortunately we didn’t do that.”
Bowyer, agrees. While he and Bugarewicz had some good times in their three years together, Bowyer feels like they just didn’t click enough. The Kansas native said that they were maybe too similar in terms of personalities which doesn’t work in the NASCAR world for a successful driver-crew chief pairing.
“You look at teams like Kevin (Harvick) and Rodney (Childers) and the success they’ve had,” Bowyer said Wednesday afternoon. “They click. All the successful pairings are that way. Obviously this is an effort to try to find a little bit more of that fit factor. I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a good fit thing for all of us. Definitely excited about what’s to come and getting things started with Johnny.
“I really enjoyed Mike and all the guys on that team, Sometimes we’re too much the same. When I get fired up, he gets fired up and then we butt heads. You need a little bit of the opposites attract thing like a marriage.”
SHR won four times all season, all came from Harvick. While they have Cole Custer coming up as a rookie for 2020, the team expects a big rebound year next season.