Blickensderfer joins SHR as Almirola's crew chief for 2022

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Blickensderfer joins SHR as Almirola's crew chief for 2022

NASCAR

Blickensderfer joins SHR as Almirola's crew chief for 2022

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Drew Blickensderfer has joined Stewart-Haas Racing as crew chief of Aric Almirola’s No. 10 team.

It was announced on Dec. 17 that Blickensderfer was leaving Front Row Motorsports after winning the Daytona 500 and making the playoffs with Michael McDowell. Blickensderfer worked with McDowell for three seasons.

In moving to Stewart-Haas, it is a reunion for Blickensderfer and Almirola. The two worked together at Richard Petty Motorsports for a brief stint in 2016 and then the entirety of the 2017 season.

“Drew has been in the sport a long time and knows how to get the best out of the people around him, and that’s really what the job of crew chief has become,” said Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition at SHR

“We have the same parts and pieces, but what we do with those parts and pieces will make the difference. Drew has worked with a lot of drivers and managed a lot of people. He already has a rapport with Aric, and that will make the learning curve in a season full of learning a little less steep.”

Blickensderfer takes over for Mike Bugarewicz, who moves into the new role of performance director. Bugarewicz and Almirola were paired together for two seasons, 2020-21, and won one race at New Hampshire last season.

“With the Next Gen car being brand new, there will be continuous development on it every time it turns a wheel. Going into it, we knew we needed to shore up our resources and really bolster our competitive approach. Buga is the right guy to tackle all the newness that’s coming at us pretty fast,” said Zipadelli.

“He’s an engineer, and he’s also a racer. He will be that glue between simulation, at-track reality, engineering, and our race teams, and his laser-like focus in this new role of performance director will be a huge asset to our team.”

No other changes were made to the driver and crew chief lineup at Stewart-Haas. Rodney Childers will continue to work with Kevin Harvick, Johnny Klausmeier with Chase Briscoe, and Mike Shiplett with Cole Custer. In the Xfinity Series, Richard Boswell continues as the crew chief for Riley Herbst.

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