Concord, NC (Sports Network) - Richard Petty Motorsports revealed on Monday
that Mike Ford will replace Greg Erwin as crew chief for Aric Almirola's No.
43 team in the Sprint Cup Series.
Ford will begin his crew chief duties with the team in this weekend's race at
The 42-year-old Morristown, Tennessee native spent the past six seasons with
Joe Gibbs Racing as Denny Hamlin's crew chief on the No. 11 team. He also
served in the role for Bill Elliott at Evernham Motorsports and Dale Jarrett
at Robert Yates Racing prior to his tenure at Gibbs.
"Richard Petty Motorsports has proven to be a winning organization with the
potential to be a Chase contender," Ford said in a team statement. "Sammy
Johns [RPM's director of operations] has built a solid foundation from a
competition standpoint and I'm looking forward to working with Aric and the
rest of the team."
Ford guided Hamlin to 17 wins and 108 top-10 finishes. The two qualified for
the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship each year since Hamlin started
competing in the series full-time in 2006.
"Mike Ford is an elite crew chief who knows what it takes to be a winner at
this level," team owner Richard Petty said. "We're fortunate that he was
available and that we could reach a deal to bring him over to our place. We've
taken a lot of big steps at Richard Petty Motorsports in the past year, and I
think this might be that one piece of the puzzle we were missing."
Hamlin recorded a series-season-high eight wins and finished second to
champion Jimmie Johnson in points in 2010. But Hamlin struggled the following
season, posting only one victory (Michigan spring race) and finishing ninth in
During the offseason, Gibbs replaced Ford with Darian Grubb, who had guided
Tony Stewart to his third series championship last year. Hamlin and Grubb have
since won two races (Phoenix and Kansas). They are currently third in the
rankings, just nine points behind leader Greg Biffle.
Since joining Petty's organization at the start of this season, Almirola has
scored only one top-10 finish in nine races. He is currently 24th in the point
"I can't wait to start working with Mike," Almirola said. "Everyone in the
garage respects him and knows what he's capable of. It's a goal of the No. 43
team to make the Chase this year, and I think Mike's experience and knowledge
can help get us there. We've got some ground to make up, but I think we can do
Last year, Erwin served as Biffle's crew chief for the first 18 races before
joining RPM to guide driver A.J. Allmendinger for the final 16 events.
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