Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Confirmed: Crew Chiefs Blickensderfer and Kelley Heading to Front Row Motorsports

FONTANA, CA – FEBRUARY 22: Drew Blickensderfer, crew chief for the #17 Carhartt Ford driven by Matt Kenseth, watches from pit road during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway on February 22, 2009 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Toby Christie     

January 16, 2019 update: Front Row Motorsports has confirmed the acquisition of Drew Blickensderfer and Mike Kelley as crew chiefs with the No. 34 and No. 36 teams for 2019.

The team sent out a press release on Wednesday morning.


According to a report from Lee Spencer at, Front Row Motorsports has finished crafting their crew chief lineup for 2019. If the report is ultimately true, the team has made some pretty big acquisitions

The organization will expand from two full-time teams a season ago to three full-time teams this year. Their driver roster will consist of Michael McDowell (No. 34), Matt Tifft (No. 36) and David Ragan (No. 38).

The report names Seth Barbour as returning to crew chief duties for the No. 38 for this upcoming season.

Also, according to the report Former FRM crew chief Derrick Finley — who was the No. 34 crew chief in ’18 — will move to the technical director role for the team. Replacing Finley will be Drew Blickensderfer, who is fresh off of working with Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 43 team since 2013.

Blickensderfer has three-career victories in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, including two with Matt Kenseth in 2009 and one with David Ragan in 2011.

If the report is accurate, Mike Kelley — a long-time Roush Fenway Racing NASCAR Xfinity Series crew chief — will be on loan to the team to crew chief the No. 36 team.

Kelley was the crew chief on the ever-frustrating No. 60 team in the NXS this past season. However, he was the crew chief for back-to-back championships for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 2011 and 2012. Kelley also has racked up 12 victories with four different drivers since 2006 in the NXS.

I reached out to a team representative for Front Row Motorsports, but they declined to confirm the report saying, “We should be announcing our 2019 crew chiefs soon.”

Stay tuned for an official announcement for the organization.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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