Late last month, RPM leadership started an aggressive strategy to improve speed, performance and future growth of RPM. The goal is to improve on-track results from 2016 and to capitalize on the progress made in previous seasons.
Blickensderfer, who most recently served as Director of Research and Development with RPM, has a proven history of winning and been a valued employee at RPM for the last four years. Blickensderfer, who brings nine years of Crew Chief experience in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, made his Crew Chief debut in 2009 at Roush Fenway Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Since that time, he worked with 13 different drivers in both series and tallied 15 wins, including a Daytona 500 win in 2009, 16 Top-Five finishes and 104 Top-10 finishes.
"We are continuing to analyze every part of our organizations and make adjustments where needed," said Brian Moffitt, Chief Executive Office, Richard Petty Motorsports. "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."
The No. 43 team and Aric Almirola have seen success on the track in recent seasons with the team's most consistent season together and highest average finish to date in 2015. They were also a race winning team in 2014 and competed in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Blickensderfer will begin his duties at the track in Chicago this weekend.