Las Vegas Sun

November 18, 2017

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How successful does a crew chief have to be?

After less than two seasons on top of Kyle Busch’s “war wagon,” Steve Addington will no longer be the crew chief for the No. 18 car. The change will take place after Sunday's race at Talladega. Kyle has won 12 times under Addington’s direction and has established himself as one of the hottest drivers on the Sprint Cup circuit.

There are drivers and crew chiefs that would kill for that kind of performance. TV ratings would probably soar if Dale Earnhardt Jr. had 12 wins in the same time period. Maybe Addington should send his resume over to the No. 88 shop.

When I read the news of the decision regarding Addington I was left scratching my head. The duo seemed like a good fit that usually made Busch a threat to win. Not only did they win, but Addington also seemed to have the leadership skills necessary to direct an often-temperamental driver like Busch.

But this decision was obviously about getting into the Chase and competing for the championship. That didn’t happen this season for Busch’s team. Still, it seems too early to throw Addington under the bus.

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Is it too early to remove Steve Addington?

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Will Busch’s new crew chief now be expected to get the No. 18 car into the Chase every year or lose his job? Has the phenomenal success of Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus created an environment of unrealistic expectations?

Some of the most successful driver/crew chief combinations in stock car racing were the result of relationships that were given longer than two years to grow and develop.

Addington and Busch seemed to be on the right path. But, barring a return to Busch’s pit box at some time by Addington, we may never know what this combination could have accomplished.

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