NASCAR: Coble's Racing Notes | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

NASCAR: Coble's Racing Notes

Posted: October 30, 2012 - 1:48pm

Blickensderfer gets jump on 2013 by joining Ambrose for Texas

Drew Blickensderfer will get a three-race head start on next year as Marcos Ambrose’s new crew chief for the No. 9 Ford at Richard Petty Motorsports.

Blickensderfer left Jeff Burton’s team at Richard Childress Racing after last Sunday’s race at the Martinsville Speedway. He will in Ambrose’s pit stall for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway.

“Drew has a lot of experience with Ford Racing and also how our current operation works,” Petty said. “His knowledge can immediately improve the performance of the No. 9 race team. Marcos has proved to win races and compete in the top-five. The addition of Drew will hopefully provide those results on a more consistent basis.”

Shane Wilson will replace Blickensderfer at RCR for the final three races. Luke Lambert, who current works with Elliott Sadler’s Nationwide program at RCR, will be Burton’s full-time crew chief in 2013.

Mike Ford, who was Denny Hamlin’s crew chief last year, left Petty’s team after working as crew chief for both Ambrose and Aric Almirola.

Hurricane Sandy spares three NASCAR tracks

Three race tracks – Dover International Speedway, Pocono Raceway and the New Hampshire Motor Speedway – in the path of Hurricane Sandy were spared any significant damage.

Dover was just south of the storm’s direct impact, but there wasn’t a lot of damage.

One of the steeples atop the main grandstands was toppled during the storm. The structure was built to resemble the steeples at Churchill Downs. Pocono, which is 100 miles west of New York City, also was without power on Tuesday.

The storm veered westerly after making landfall late Monday, and that kept New Hampshire far enough north of its destructive path.

Vickers stays part-time at Michael Waltrip Racing

Although he had talked with Joe Gibbs Racing about a full-time ride in the Nationwide Series next year, Brian Vickers accepted a nine-race schedule to remain at Michael Waltrip Racing.

Vickers, who made eight appearances in the No. 55 Toyota this year while sharing the driving duties with Mark Martin and Waltrip, said he hopes the move will make him the No. 1 candidate for the job if, and when, Martin finally retires.

Martin originally planned to retire before the 2006 season, but he’s put it off every year. He currently has a 23-race schedule at MWR.

He will drive 24 races next season, adding the season-opening Daytona 500.

Waltrip will drive the July race at the Daytona International Speedway and both races at the Talladega Superspeedway.