Hamlin expects good things from former crew chief

Denny Hamlin (R), driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, talks with crew chief Mike Ford in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 24, 2011 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

 

Denny Hamlin (R), driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, talks with crew chief Mike Ford in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 24, 2011 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

TALLADEGA, Ala. — Denny Hamlin was shocked that Mike Ford, his crew chief through the end of last season, didn’t land a new job after being released from Joe Gibbs Racing last year.

Now that Ford has signed on with Richard Petty Motorsports, however, Hamlin expects his former pit boss to advance the career of driver Aric Almirola.

“Waiting for the right opportunity, and given the right opportunity, he can be very, very successful,” Hamlin said. “He, in my opinion, is one of the top five crew chiefs in this garage. I think he is the reason we won so many races when we were together.”

All told, Hamlin won 17 Cup races with Ford, starting with a pair of victories in his rookie season in 2006. Hamlin has won at least one race each year since then.

This season Hamlin already has two wins with new crew chief Darian Grubb calling the shots in his pit.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.