Ford Wins Crew Chief of the Race award After a pressure filled season with the No. 11 FedEx Ground Chevrolet team getting painstakingly close to victory on many occasions, crew chief, Mike Ford, and his young driver, Denny Hamlin, combined to give the Joe Gibbs Race Crew their first taste of victory for the 2007 season. A gutsy call by Ford during the final stages of the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 put Hamlin in a position to take the win. For his race winning pit strategy and “never give up” determination, Ford won the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
Between leading numerous laps throughout the season and providing the car to beat at prior races, the No. 11 team was primed to go the extra step and take the checkered flag in New Hampshire. An earlier two-tire pit stop had deemed successful for Ford; therefore, when a caution 46 laps from the end of the race brought the front runners down pit road for servicing, he opted again for a two-tire change in an attempt to pick up track position. The No. 11 team sent Hamlin off pit road in first place after hovering in the top five in the latter stages of the race. Hamlin was able to hold of several charges from those behind to pick up his third career victory.
“I knew we had a top five car today, but didn’t think we could catch the front runners,” said Ford at the conclusion of the race. “So we went for two tires again to get some good track position, which we did, and hoped that Denny could hold them off. It is great to finally get that victory that we have been so close to reaching many times this year.”
A panel of voters, including a member of the local media, Kenny Francis, Robbie Reiser, Tony Eury Jr. and a WYPALL* Wipers representative, all agreed Ford’s call was deserving for him to be awarded the crew chief of the race. “Mike [Ford] knew he had to do something to get to the front and have a shot at the win,” said Reiser on Ford’s race winning strategy. “He really set the team up for a victory and his driver came through with the goods at the end.”
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