Tony Stewart gets new crew chief in Chad Johnston

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Johnston, formerly of Michael Waltrip Racing, will be the new crew chief for Tony Stewart.

When Tony Stewart returns from injury in February he will work with a new crew chief, his third in four years.

Chad Johnston has been named as crew chief for the No. 14 team replacing Steve Addington, who is expected to join Phoenix Racing and has been Stewart's crew chief for the past two seasons.

Formerly of Michael Waltrip Racing, Johnston had been the crew chief for Martin Truex Jr. since June 2011. In two full seasons together Johnston led Truex to the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2012 and a near berth this year before sanctions again MWR resulted in Truex's exclusion from the Chase. Those penalties came after NASCAR determined MWR manipulated the outcome of the Sep. 7 race at Richmond International Speedway.

As part of the fallout from Richmond, NAPA announced it was pulling its multi-year sponsorship of Truex's team. This led MWR to downsize from three full-time cars to two, and permitted Johnston and Truex to sign with other organizations.

Stewart won three races with Addington in 2012, but struggled through the early part of this season before breaking his leg Aug. 5 in a sprint car accident. Using various drivers, the No. 14 team finished 18th in owners' points.

A three-time Cup champion, Stewart is expected to be back in time for the start of the 2014 season, which begins Feb. 23 at Daytona International Speedway.

"It's a great opportunity for me to be put with someone like Tony Stewart who is a proven winner, a proven champion," Johnston told "Obviously, the expectations are high so I'm looking forward to prove what I can do and prove that I deserve this position."

Johnston is the second crew chief with ties to MWR to recently sign with Stewart-Haas Racing. He joins Rodney Childers, who will lead Kevin Harvick's team. SHR also announced Tuesday Daniel Knost has been promoted from engineer to crew chief for Kurt Busch, who will drive the No. 41 Chevrolet beginning next season.

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