By admin | February 17, 2010
By Richard Allen
After their first two races together the pairing of driver Matt Kenseth and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer seemed like a match made in heaven. That match was broken on Wednesday.
The two combined their efforts to win the Daytona 500 and the Auto Club 500 to open the 2009 season. From that point, the Roush Fenway Racing #17 team had little to get excited about. Kenseth posted only seven top-5 and twelve top-10 finishes over the course of the entire season. Both of those numbers are off from the norm for this team.
And more, the 2003 NASCAR title winner missed the Chase for the Championship for the first time since the inception of the playoff system in 2004.
Perhaps worst of all, listening to the scanner talk between the two revealed that the chemistry was simply not there for this tandem. Frequent disagreements about car setups and race strategy marked their in race time together for much of last season.
Despite an 8th place finish in the 2010 Daytona 500, the #17 Ford was never serious contender for the win.
Blickensderfer will be replaced immediately by long time pit boss Todd Parrott, who helped guide driver Dale Jarrett to some of his most productive years with Yates Racing. Blickensderfer will be moved to RFR’s Research and Development crew.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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