Monday, April 30, 2012

Mike Ford joins Richard Petty Motorsports' No. 43 team

    Mike Ford, who won 17 races and made the Chase for the Sprint Cup six times with driver Denny Hamlin, has joined Richard Petty Motorsports and will becomes crew chief for driver Aric Almirola.

   The 42-year-old Morristown, Tenn., native spent the past six seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing as Hamlin’s crew chief. He and Hamlin earned 17 wins, 66 top-five finishes and 108 top-10 finishes. Ford has also worked at Robert Yates Racing and Evernham Motorsports.

   “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.”

   Ford replaces Greg Erwin. Erwin and Almirola have one top-10 finish in the first nine races of the 2012 season.

   “Everyone in the garage respects him and knows what he’s capable of," Almirola said of Ford. "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 it.”