Drew Blickensderfer is out at Richard Childress Racing, according to an announcement from the team on Monday. RCR issued a press release on Monday stating that Blickensderfer has been released from duties as crew chief on the No. 31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team (driver: Jeff Burton).
“I want to thank Drew for all of his effort with the No. 31 Caterpillar team this season,” team owner Richard Childress said. “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.”
So far, with only three races to go in the 36-race 2012 season, the No. 31 team is winless with two top-five and six top-10 finishes. Burton is 19th in the points standings.
According to a report from FOX Sports, Blickensderfer is heading to Richard Petty Motorsports to replace Mike Ford as crew chief on the No. 9 team (driver: Marcos Ambrose), but no official announcement has come from RPM. Ford started the year with Petty’s No. 43 team (driver: Aric Almirola) before being moved to the No. 9 just a handful of races ago.
Shane Wilson will call the shots from atop the pit box for Jeff Burton for the remainder of 2012. Luke Lambert, currently crew chief on RCR’s No. 2 NASCAR Nationwide Series team (driver: Elliott Sadler) will take over as permanent crew chief on the No. 31 team in 2013.
“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 number one priority. We mrely wanted to show that we have both an interim plan for the rest of this season and a long-term plan for the future.”
Lambert worked as crew chief for Burton and the No. 31 team in the second half of the 2011 Sprint Cup season before making the move to Sadler and the No. 2 Nationwide team for 2012.
Elliott Sadler is the championship points leader in the Nationwide Series with only three races remaining on that circuit’s schedule. With Lambert at the healm this season, Sadler and company has claimed four wins, 15 top-fives and 23 top-10 finishes.
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