The preparations for the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season have already begun.
Richard Childress Racing announced Monday that Luke Lambert would be the crew chief for Jeff Burton and the No. 31 in 2013 and that current crew chief Drew Blickensderfer would be replaced by Shane Wilson atop the team's pit box for the final three races of 2012.
"I want to thank Drew for all of his effort with the No. 31 Caterpillar team this season," Richard Childress said in a release, "He's a great crew chief and I can't say enough about his dedication to RCR. Making the move now, before the season is over, gives Drew some additional time to pursue other opportunities.
"Shane is a proven winner and I appreciate his willingness to step into this role for the balance of the 2012 season."
Wilson was Kevin Harvick's crew chief for the first 24 races of the season before he was replaced by Gil Martin, Harvick's old crew chief. Wilson also served as interim crew chief for Paul Menard when his crew chief, Slugger Labbe, was serving a NASCAR suspension. So after Texas, Wilson will have crew chiefed for all of RCR's teams in 2012.
According to a report from Fox Sports, Blickensderfer will be the crew chief for Marcos Ambrose in 2013, replacing Mike Ford, who became Ambrose's crew chief for the final 10 races of 2012 when Richard Petty Motorsports swapped crews before the Chase. Before coming to Richard Petty Motorsports, Ford crew chiefed for Denny Hamlin, and was atop the pit box when Hamlin finished second to Jimmie Johnson in 2010. Per the Fox story, Ford has an offer to crew chief at BK Racing in 2013.
Lambert and Burton worked together for the final 17 races of 2011 when Lambert replaced Todd Berrier as Burton's crew chief. Lambert is currently the crew chief for Elliott Sadler in the Nationwide Series. Sadler is leading the points standings with three races to go. Burton is 19th in the Sprint Cup Series standings.