Stewart-Haas Racing Announces Hires for Director of Competition, Crew Chief for No. 39 U.S. Army Team; Bobby Hutchens to Serve as Director of Competition for SHR, Tony Gibson to be Crew Chief for Ryan Newman KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Nov. 14,...
Stewart-Haas Racing Announces Hires for Director of Competition, Crew Chief for No. 39 U.S. Army Team; Bobby Hutchens to Serve as Director of Competition for SHR, Tony Gibson to be Crew Chief for Ryan Newman
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Nov. 14, 2008) -- Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) announced today that two NASCAR industry veterans will take leadership positions with the team.
Bobby Hutchens, formerly the vice president of competition at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI), will serve as SHR's director of competition. Tony Gibson, currently the crew chief for DEI's No. 8 team, will continue in the crew chief role, but with SHR's No. 39 U.S. Army team and driver Ryan Newman.
"These are two really important hires for our race team," said Tony Stewart, co-owner of SHR. "Bobby Hutchens brings a ton of technical and management experience to SHR, and Tony Gibson has helped a lot of well-known drivers earn their recognition by getting them to victory lane. I'm very proud to have both of these guys as a part of my team."
Hutchens, who has a mechanical engineering degree from North Carolina State University, comes to SHR with 20 years of experience at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series level. A longtime member of Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and its No. 3 team with driver Dale Earnhardt, Hutchens was a part of four championships (1990, 1991, 1993 and 1994) and numerous victories, including the 1998 Daytona 500. The Winston-Salem, N.C., native was promoted to general manager of RCR in 1998, director of competition in 2001 and vice president of competition in 2004. His duties were expanded in 2005 to include oversight of RCR's expansive research and development program, a role which transitioned Hutchens nicely to his 2007 appointment as general manager of Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines. In August of this year, Hutchens became vice president of competition at DEI.
"Stewart-Haas Racing has an incredible amount of potential, and to be an integral part of what we all believe can be a championship-winning organization was an opportunity I could not turn down," said Hutchens, who in addition to leading race teams, used his mechanical expertise to help develop the Hutchens Device, a head-and-neck restraint system used in motorsports. "It's important that a race team's front office is in sync with what's happening on the shop floor, and having lived in both worlds, I'm committed to making Stewart-Haas Racing a strong and efficient operation."
Gibson has been a crew chief in the Sprint Cup Series since 2002, working with such drivers as Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Steve Park and Michael Waltrip. Prior to becoming a crew chief, Gibson served as car chief for such notable drivers as four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon, 1992 Sprint Cup champion Alan Kulwicki and 1988 Sprint Cup champion Bill Elliott. Gibson was there for three of those aforementioned title runs -- two with Gordon in 1998 and 2001 at Hendrick Motorsports, and one with Kulwicki, who like Stewart, was also a driver/owner.
"I've known Tony a long time and have always respected him as a racer and as a person," said Gibson, who grew up in Daytona Beach, Fla., and began his racing career working on his family's team, with his father Bo serving as crew chief and his brother Mark driving -- a trio that won the 1978 track title at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway. "He understands people, works well with them, and genuinely wants to see them succeed. And he's smart enough to know that their success is also his success. He's building an impressive race team, and I'm very happy to be a part of it and I look forward to working with him and Ryan."
In addition to being an extremely dedicated racer, Gibson is an equally avid outdoorsman, a trait that puts him in lockstep with his new driver.
"Tony (Gibson) and I have talked as much about racing as we have about hunting and fishing," said Newman, the reigning Daytona 500 winner. "I feel like we're already on the same page, so to speak. I'm not sure who's more excited about next year -- him or me."