Friday, November 18, 2011

Bowyer, Harvick set to get new crew chiefs for next season

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - The 2011 Sprint Cup Series season is not quite over but a litany of crew chief changes for next season is already in the works.

Brian Pattie, who spent most of the past four seasons as crew chief for Juan Pablo Montoya until he was replaced in July, will become the crew chief for driver Clint Bowyer at Michael Waltrip Racing and its No. 15 Toyotas, multiple sources confirmed to the Observer and have learned.

Pattie has remained under contract with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing since he was released as Montoya crew chief but is expected to move to MWR as early as the beginning of next month, sources said.

A MWR spokesman declined to comment on the report but said the team would announce its choice “soon.”

In addition, it appears Kevin Harvick, who is currently third in the Cup series standings but out of title contention, will have a new crew chief next season as well, sources said.

Shane Wilson, who worked with Harvick in the Nationwide Series and currently serves as crew chief for Bowyer, is expected to take over crew chief duties for Harvick next season, sources said.

   Harvick's current crew chief, Gil Martin, is expected to take another role invthe RCR organization.

“Any changes Richard Childress Racing makes will be announced in due time,” RCR team spokesman David Hart said.

Asked on Friday whether he expected personnel changes on his No. 29 Cup team next season, Harvick said anticipated some changes.

“Well there’s definitely a lot of things happening at RCR with the one Cup team going away. We’re adding three Nationwide teams and a Truck team so obviously there’s going to be some personnel changes and I think if we had gone out and won a championship you’d say you probably don’t need to do anything,” he said.

“But if we sit on our hands and don’t evaluate everybody’s position at this particular point I think we’d be fools.”

In addition to those teams, changes are expected on Tony Stewart's No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team and Kurt Busch's No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge team.

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