Richard Petty Motorsports changes crew chiefs on Aric Almirola’s No. 43 Ford


After missing the Sprint Cup playoffs, Aric Almirola will have a new crew chief for the final 10 races of the season.

Richard Petty Motorsports replaced Trent Owens with Drew Blickensderfer to lead the team for Almirola’s No. 43 Ford. RPM will reassign Owens within the company.

“We are continuing to analyze every part of our organizations and make adjustments where needed,” RPM CEO Brian Moffitt said in a release. “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 (Blickensderfer) 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.”

Owens was in his third season as Almirola’s crew chief, guiding the team to the 2014 playoffs with a July victory at Daytona International Speedway.

Blickensderfer, who had served as RPM’s director of R&D, has three victories as a Sprint Cup crew chief, including the 2009 Daytona 500 with Matt Kenseth. He most recently was the crew chief for Sam Hornish Jr. in 10 races last year. Between the Xfinity and Sprint Cup series, Blickensderfer has worked with 13 drivers  and tallied 15 wins, 16 top fives and 104 top 10s.