By AMANDA VINCENT
Richard Petty Motorsports continues to make personnel changes with the goal of improving the performance of its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program, specifically the No. 43 Ford team of driver Aric Almirola. The latest change is the appointment of Drew Blickensderfer to crew chief on the No. 43, replacing Trent Owens. Owens, meanwhile, is expected to remain with RPM in a different role.
“We are continuing to analyze every part of our organizations and make adjustments where needed,” RPM CEO Brian Moffitt said. “We’ve made significant investments in both teams, and the results for the No. 43 team have not been what we expected. By making this change now, we hope that Drew can begin momentum to improving on-track performance and get the team in a good place for the 2017 season. Trent Owens has been a valued member of our organization and will continue to play a significant role with Richard Petty Motorsports.”
Blickensderfer arrived at RPM during the 2012 season and was crew chief on the No. 9 (renumbered No. 44 team). He was replaced in that position during the 2015 season. He began 2016 as crew chief on Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 43 team in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, but RPM shuttered its Xfinity Series operation earlier this year. Most recently, Blickensderfer held the position of Director of Research and Development at RPM.
Previously, Blickensderfer worked as a Cup-level crew chief at Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Childress Racing. He has 196 races of experience as a crew chief at the Sprint Cup level, resuling in three wins. All three of those wins came while at RFR — two with Matt Kenseth as driver in 2009 and another with David Ragan behind the wheel in 2011.
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