Stewart-Haas Racing is ready for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series seasons. The team has finalized its crew chief lineup with some changes.
Stewart-Haas Racing announced the news on Friday, January 6. The team confirmed that the majority of the crew chief lineup will remain the same for the 2023 season. There are two changes in that engineer Jonathan Toney has landed a promotion to become the crew chief for Cole Custer while Chad Johnston has returned to the organization to take over the No. 41 team.
The rest of the lineup remains unchanged. Rodney Childers will return to the No. 4 pit box, and he will kick off his 10th season with Kevin Harvick. John Klausmeier will stick with Chase Briscoe on the No. 14 team, Drew Blickensderfer will remain with Aric Almirola’s No. 10 team, and Richard Boswell will stay with Riley Herbst’s No. 98 team.
“In Chad Johnston and Jonathan Toney, we’ve got two guys who are hungry to win that also bring a lot of smarts and experience to each of their roles,” said Greg Zipadelli, chief competition officer at SHR. “Both are very familiar with our program and our people.
“It’s great to have Chad back with our race team. A lot of the people he worked with when he was here before are still here today, and he already has a rapport with Ryan Preece. Chad fits in seamlessly and has a tremendous work ethic.”
Johnston Previously Worked as a Crew Chief for SHR
Putting Johnston atop the pit box is fitting considering his previous experience working for SHR. He makes his return after guiding Tony Stewart during the 2014 and 2015 Cup Series seasons.
Johnston has extensive experience as a Cup Series crew chief, dating back to his time at Michael Waltrip Racing with Martin Truex Jr. He spent three seasons with the New Jersey native and helped him secure a win at Sonoma Raceway in 2013.
Following two seasons with Stewart at SHR, Johnston secured an opportunity with Chip Ganassi Racing. He took over the No. 42 team in 2016, and he kicked off a partnership with Kyle Larson that led to six wins and four playoff appearances.
Johnston hasn’t worked in the Cup Series since 2020, but he has some experience with Preece. He served as a part-time crew chief for the No. 17 Ford F-150 at David Gilliland Racing in 2021 and 2022, and he was atop the pit box as Preece won at Nashville Superspeedway in 2021.
Toney Has Extensive Experience at Stewart-Haas Racing
Johnston has experience working as a crew chief at Stewart-Haas Racing, and he will use it while guiding Preece and the No. 41 team. Toney hasn’t spent time atop the pit box, but he has been with the organization — then HAAS CNC Racing — since the 2003 season.
This long tenure featured Toney serving as the lead engineer for Stewart’s No. 14 team from 2009 until 2012. The Hall of Famer won 14 races during this stretch, and he captured the third Cup Series championship of his career.
Toney also has experience working with Custer. He has continued to work as an engineer, which included time with the No. 00 team during the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Xfinity Series seasons. Custer was wildly successful during this era with nine trips to Victory Lane and two appearances in the championship four.
“Jonathan has been a workhorse and his fingerprints are on a lot of the success this team has enjoyed,” Zipadelli continued. “He’s been here since the very beginning and knows this place inside and out. Jonathan has definitely earned this opportunity and all of us are proud to see him take on this new role.”