Denny Hamlin’s former crew chief, Mike Ford, has been hired by Richard Petty Motorsports effective immediately for Aric Almirola’s team.
Ford had been released from his duties at Joe Gibbs Racing last year after the title chase of 2010 was not carrying the same momentum.
Hamlin made six Sprint Cup Chases with Ford guiding his team to 17, 66-top=five finishes in that six-year time span. Ford, previous, was crew chief for Sprint Cup champs Dale Jarrett (at Robert Yates Racing) and Bill Elliott (at Evernham Motorsports – which was merged into RPM).
Ford replaces crew chief Greg Erwin (who previously worked with Greg Biffle at Roush Fenway Racing).
"Mike Ford is an elite crew chief who knows what it takes to be a winner at this level," said team owner Richard Petty. "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."
This year, In eight races with Petty, Almirola has one top-10 and one top-15 finish in the 2012 Sprint Cup season.
"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 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 it."
Ford commented "Richard Petty Motorsports has proven to be a winning organization with the potential to be a Chase contender," said Ford. "Sammy Johns has built a solid foundation from a competition standpoint and I’m looking forward to working with Aric and the rest of the team."