Rulez....I copied and pasted the article .........Thanks for posting..
(Photo: Kevin Liles, USA TODAY
Stewart sits in 21st, Newman 17th and Patrick 28th
Zipadelli doesn't believe they're giving good enough cars to Addington
Placing the blame on one person wouldn't be right, according to Zipadelli
CONCORD, N.C. — Everyone knows Tony Stewart's crew chief is in trouble. If you listen to the conventional wisdom in the garage, Steve Addington probably is going to be fired any day now.
In fact, with three-time champion Stewart sitting 21st in the standings, why hasn't he been fired already?
Maybe it's because Stewart's struggles aren't all Addington's fault.
"You're waiting for Steve Addington to get fired, but I don't honestly believe we're giving Steve Addington good enough cars to give our driver a chance to win," said Addington's boss, Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli. "I don't think it's fair to go mess with people's lives just because we don't have our (crap) together as a group."
FAN GUIDE: Need-to-know info about Sunday extravaganza
This has been a miserable season, and many other teams already would have made the crew chief the fall guy by this point. Someone has to take the blame, right?
But SHR isn't adopting that philosophy — not yet, anyway. Zipadelli, sitting in his motor home Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, told USA TODAY Sports that pointing the finger at one person would just be making a hollow change.
"It frustrates me that people say, 'You should do this, you should do that,'" Zipadelli said. "Well, why don't you come over and sit in my seat, sit in Steve Addington's seat, sit in (Ryan Newman crew chief) Matt Borland's seat. It's easy to pick up a pen and just bash somebody when they have no idea internally what's going on."
FIVE TO WATCH: Drivers that could win Coca-Cola 600
But it's also easy to see why people would think a change is needed: The entire organization is struggling. In addition to Stewart, Newman is 17th in the standings and rookie Danica Patrick is 28th.
To say the organization's start has been a letdown is a dramatic understatement.
"The biggest disappointment (of any team) is how badly the Stewart-Haas Racing cars ... are running," Fox analyst Darrell Waltrip said. "They are going nowhere, and quite honestly they don't seem to be all that concerned about it."
The team was off to a bad start before the season began. In the midst of adding a third car, it shuffled personnel and added new people but fell drastically behind by underestimating that process, Zipadelli said.
It didn't help that SHR was late to get many parts it needed to build the new Gen 6 cars. The team had to "beg, borrow and steal" to get some of the required pieces, Zipadelli said, and is only now starting to make the cars better.
"It became pretty clear, our weak area," Patrick said. "I think we were surprised. All of us understand we have to work hard to fix it and we have to admit what we need to fix."
Now, Zipadelli said, SHR is starting over. The problem is the season is one-third complete after Sunday.
HAMLIN OUT FRONT: Gibbs driver starts from pole position
"It's tough; it's frustrating; it's pretty humbling," he said. "We aren't making light of it."
Many would trace Stewart's decline in performance to the firing of crew chief Darian Grubb. In 2011, Stewart caught fire in the Chase for the Sprint Cup and won five out of 10 races en route to his third championship — but informed Grubb halfway through the title run that his services were no longer needed.
That didn't seem to be a huge deal when Stewart made the Chase last year with Addington, but this year's struggles have revived talk that SHR made a mistake.
Grubb, also a former Hendrick Motorsports employee, served as a key link between the teams — Hendrick is SHR's engine and chassis supplier. Zipadelli says the relationship with Hendrick remains strong.
"I saw them like this before, then they went and won a championship," said Jeff Gordon, who drives for Hendrick and indicated SHR drivers hadn't been part of the weekly team debriefs as often this year.
But time is running short if any SHR cars are going to make the Chase, which Zipadelli said was the furthest thing from anyone's mind. Recent test sessions (such as one at Dover International, where NASCAR races next week) could pay off.
Still, how long can it wait?
"There's a little light at the end of the tunnel," Zipadelli said. "I'm just hoping it's not a train."