Crew chief denies leaving Penske
CONCORD, N.C. -- Steve Addington, the crew chief for 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch, denied published reports that he plans to leave Penske Racing after this season.
Addington said before Friday's first practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway the reports didn't have "a leg to stand on'' and that it was written off "pure rumors and speculation.''
Asked if he would be at Penske Racing in 2012 Addington told ESPN.com: "That's the game plan.''
Blount: Addington talk a distraction
Roger Penske said he fears the talk of Steve Addington's possible departure will damage Kurt Busch's chances at winning the Sprint Cup championship, writes Terry Blount. Story
"That's all I can say,'' Addington added. "We're here to concentrate on winning the Bank of America 500 and this championship. I don't know where this is coming from. That's all speculation and rumors.''
Team owner Roger Penske, in Las Vegas for the IndyCar Series finale, told ESPN.com's Terry Blount that Addington has not talked to him about leaving.
"He has done a fantastic job for us and I hope to keep him here long term,'' Penske told Blount. "I don't know how this stuff gets started. But it's unfortunate because it's a big distraction to the team in the middle of the Chase.''
Busch, who is sixth in the standings and only 16 points behind leader Carl Edwards entering Saturday night's race, responded abruptly to reporters.
"I don't want to talk to you guys,'' he said.
Despite Addington's denial, multiple sources in the garage said Addington is considering leaving Penske Racing for Stewart-Haas Racing where he could become the crew chief for two-time Cup champion Tony Stewart.
There also has been speculation that, Greg Zipadelli, Stewart's former crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing and a former colleague of Addington's at JGR, would become the director of competition at Stewart-Haas Racing.
JGR owner Joe Gibbs and his son, team president J.D. Gibbs, each said Zipadelli has a long-term deal with the company and they expect him to be the crew chief for Joey Logano next season.
"We have no crystal ball, but we know where our agreement is,'' J.D. Gibbs said.
Information from ESPN.com senior writer Terry Blount was used in this report. David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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