Blickensderfer, Lambert on the move
Silly Season is in full swing for Sprint Cup crew chiefs.
Drew Blickensderfer resigned as Jeff Burton’s crew chief on Sunday.
Blickensderfer, 35, will return to the Ford camp as the crew chief for Marcos Ambrose and the No. 9 team at Richard Petty Motorsports. Given Blickensderfer’s nine-year tenure at Roush Fenway Racing, he will be a valuable conduit for RPM with its technical partner.
“Blick” replaces Mike Ford, who joined RPM at Talladega Superspeedway in May as Aric Almirola’s crew chief. Before the Chase for the Sprint Cup began, Ford, 42, swapped teams with veteran crew chief Todd Parrott and began leading the No. 9 crew with Ambrose. Ford said on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway that he worked this season sans contract with RPM but had “options” for 2013, including working with BK Racing. Sources confirmed that Ford has been offered a crew chief’s post at BKR.
Luke Lambert will revive his role with Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar crew at Richard Childress Racing starting in 2013. Shane Wilson will be interim crew chief for the final three races of the season.
"I want to thank Drew for all of his effort with the No. 31 Caterpillar team this season," team owner Richard Childress said in a news release. "He’s a great crew chief and I can’t say enough about his dedication to RCR. Making the move now, before the season is over, gives Drew some additional time to pursue other opportunities.
"Shane is a proven winner and I appreciate his willingness to step into this role for the balance of the 2012 season."
Lambert was named interim crew chief for Burton last year at Indianapolis when he replaced Todd Berrier. In their final 17 races together, Lambert led Burton to two top fives, five top 10s and 10 finishes of 15th or higher. Burton was 25th in points when Lambert inherited the team and finished the season 20th. Burton is currently 19th in the points standings.
Lambert, 30, is currently crew chief for Elliott Sadler. He has guided the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Nationwide Series team to four wins. Sadler is the Nationwide Series points leader with three events remaining in the season.
"Luke is proving this season that he’s a strong, young crew chief who can win races and compete for a championship," Childress said. "Announcing his move to the No. 31 team in 2013 will not take anything away from his focus on the No. 2 team winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship. That’s his No. 1 priority. We merely wanted to show that we have both an interim plan for the rest of this season and a long-term plan for the future."