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LAS VEGAS -- Team owner Roger Penske said Friday he was surprised to read a report that Steve Addington, crew chief for the No. 22 Dodge driven by Kurt Busch, plans to leave at the end of the season.
The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday that Addington is not expected to return in 2012.
"First, we never discuss contract situations with personnel until after the season," Penske said. "Second, Steve hasn't said anything to me about leaving. He has done a fantastic job for us and I hope to keep him here long term."
Penske is at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend to watch the IndyCar Series season finale on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, ABC). Will Power, one of Penske's three IndyCar drivers, is battling Dario Franchitti for the 2011 IndyCar championship.
Penske said he fears the talk of Addington's possible departure will damage Kurt Busch's chances at winning the Sprint Cup championship. Busch is sixth in the standings, only 16 points behind leader Carl Edwards entering the race Saturday night at Charlotte (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC).
"I don't know how this stuff gets started,'' Penske said. "But it's unfortunate because it's a big distraction to the team in the middle of the Chase."