In a surprising -- indeed, almost Steinbrenneresque -- move, Drew Blickensderfer has been relieved of his duties as the crew chief of Matt Kenseth's No. 17 Crown Royal Ford. Todd Parrott, an experienced crew chief who won a Sprint Cup championship with Dale Jarrett, will take over immediately.
Blickensderfer will get the Tony Eury Jr. treatment, getting reassigned to a role on Roush Fenway's research and development team. Roush Fenway has not as yet provided any comment on the change, but the empirical evidence is clear -- Kenseth won the first two races last year, then went on a long, slow slide that left him well out of the Chase. Interestingly, though, Kenseth did finish 8th last week in Daytona.
Blickensderfer, who became crew chief in December 2008, amassed those two wins, plus seven top-5s and 13 top-10s in 37 races atop the 17's pit box.
So, interesting times around the 17 garage. Season's off to with a bang, isn't it?
- Roush Fenway