KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – Stewart-Haas Racing, the championship-winning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, has hired Rex Stump as its technical director, effective immediately.
Stump comes to Stewart-Haas Racing after an 18-year career at Hendrick Motorsports. There, he founded the organization’s research and development program and has been instrumental in chassis design and technology.
“Rex brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and innovation to Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition, Stewart-Haas Racing. “You can never sit still in this business, and Rex’s record of success will help us stay ahead of the curve.”
“Hendrick Motorsports provided me a lot of opportunities to succeed and I wouldn’t be in this position if it weren’t for Rick Hendrick, Ray Evernham and all the talented people I’ve worked with the last 18 years,” Stump said. “I’m proud of my time there, but I’m looking forward to my new role at Stewart-Haas. This is a team that’s accomplished a lot in a very short period of time. There’s a championship to defend and races to win. I’m ready to go.”
Stump graduated from Kettering University (formerly the General Motors Institute) in 1989 with bachelor’s degrees in mechanical and automotive engineering. Upon graduation, Stump worked at General Motors and participated in the Sloan Fellowship program, pursuing a master’s degree in structural analysis from Wayne State University in Detroit. While at General Motors, he began working with the Corvette team in developing the active-suspension of the C5, which was slated to debut in the early 1990s.
When the active-suspension program was canceled and the C5 was delayed, Stump delved into motorsports, becoming a race engineer for Team Penske in 1991. Working with a group of engineers dedicated to improving the performance of the No. 2 team of driver Rusty Wallace, Stump helped advance Wallace from a two-win season in 1991 to a massive, 10-win season in 1993.
By the end of 1993, Corvette had reactivated the C5. Stump returned to General Motors to assist with the project and stayed until the end of 1995, joining Hendrick Motorsports in 1996.
One of Stump’s most memorable achievements at Hendrick Motorsports was the design of Jeff Gordon’s race-winning car for the 1997 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Dubbed “T-Rex” for its Jurassic Park paint scheme that featured a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the car dominated, crossing the stripe with a 1.02-second margin of victory. While the car conformed to NASCAR’s rulebook, the design was so advanced that NASCAR requested the team never bring it to the racetrack again. The sanctioning body amended its rulebook shortly thereafter. Stump continued to build race-winning cars nonetheless, as Gordon captured Sprint Cup championships in 1997, 1998 and 2001.
Another of Stump’s notable accomplishments was the development of Hendrick Motorports’ Car of Tomorrow (CoT) program in 2006. The new car was a vast departure from the previous generation racecar, and thanks to Stump’s meticulous work, Hendrick Motorsports was the class of the field when the car debuted at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in March 2007. A Hendrick Motorsports’ CoT car won at Bristol and the next four events where the CoT raced.
Through the development of the CoT in 2006 and well after its debut in 2007, Hendrick Motorsports won five straight Sprint Cup championships (2006-2010). And the 2011 Sprint Cup championship Stewart-Haas Racing won with driver/owner Tony Stewart came with CoT chassis built by Hendrick Motorsports.
About Stewart-Haas Racing:
Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team co-owned by three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in the western world. The team fields four entries in the elite Sprint Cup Series – the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet for Stewart, the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet for Danica Patrick, the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick and the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet for Kurt Busch. Based in Kannapolis, North Carolina, Stewart-Haas Racing operates out of a 140,000-square-foot facility with approximately 270 employees. For more information, please visit us on the Web at www.StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing and on Twitter @StewartHaasRcng.
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine