NASCAR

RCR names Blickensderfer crew chief for Burton

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)

Richard Childress Racing hired Drew Blickensderfer as crew chief for Jeff Burton on Monday, its second change since the season ended.

In all, there have been five crew chief changes in the Sprint Cup Series since the season ended Nov. 20 at Homestead, including champion Tony Stewart's announcement Monday that Steve Addington had been hired to replace Darian Grubb.

Blickensderfer replaces Luke Lambert, who had been working on an interim basis with Burton and will now be moved to a new position at RCR.

Blickensderfer spent nearly a decade with Roush Fenway Racing and led David Ragan to his first career victory this season in Daytona at July. RFR is likely closing Ragan's team because of a lack of sponsorship, which freed up Blickensderfer.

Burton spent nearly 10 seasons at Roush before moving to RCR late in the 2004 season.

''I was around Jeff briefly at RFR and always admired and liked him,'' Blickensderfer said. ''He's a very talented driver and I look forward to working him and the rest of the No. 31 team in 2012.''

Burton, who made the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in 2010, finished 20th in the final standings this season.

''Drew is a strong leader and will be a great complement to the Caterpillar/Wheaties Racing team,'' team owner Richard Childress said. ''He's won some big races, including the 2009 Daytona 500, his first race as a Sprint Cup Series crew chief. There's every reason to believe the combination of Jeff and Drew will be a successful one.''

RCR says more competition changes will be announced in the coming weeks but Slugger Labbe will return next season with Paul Menard.

Tagged: Jeff Burton

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