Richard Petty Motorsports was left reeling when Drew Blickensderfer jumped ship this off-season from the No. 43 team to be the new crew chief for the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports team. Nearly a month later, the team has found it’s replacement atop the pit box.
On Thursday, RPM announced that the team’s lead engineer Derek Stamets will be elevated to the role of crew chief for the 2019 season.
Stamets has been lead engineer for the race team since 2012, but he has served as an engineer for several race teams throughout his NASCAR career including: Team Penske and Roush Fenway Racing.
“Derek was a logical decision for us to move up,” said Philippe Lopez, Director of Competition. “He spent the full season with Bubba and our Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 program last year and has been with our organization for seven seasons. We want to keep the chemistry that Derek and Bubba built together while continuing the experience we built with Chevrolet and Richard Childress Racing. We are confident in Derek’s leadership of the No. 43 team.”
Wallace is coming off of an up-and-down rookie campaign. The driver scored a runner-up finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 a season ago, but finished the season with just three top-10 finishes. However as the driver continues to push past the learning curve of driving in the Cup Series, it’s nice to have continuity.
“Derek has a lot of knowledge of our program,” said Wallace Jr. “He’s not having to learn a new program and I’m not having to learn a new personality. I’m comfortable working with Derek and this makes the most sense for improvement. Derek was working as our lead engineer, and I think he’s eager to make more of the decisions and put his footprint on our race team.”
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