Back in December, crew chief Mike Ford was relieved of his duties at Joe Gibbs Racing after a very disappointing season for Denny Hamlin and the #11 team in 2011.
Since being let go, Ford was not able to find a job even with the 2012 season kicking off. Once May came around, Mike Ford's job status would change with a little phone call from "The King" himself, Richard Petty.
Since Ford was named crew chief of the #43 Ford Fusion on May 6th, Aric Almirola has finished a tad bit better. In the three races that Ford has been on top of the pit-box, Almirola finished 12th at Talladega, 19th at Darlington, and 7th during the Sprint Showdown (despite not making the All-Star Race). Those finishes aren't necessarily bad, but Almirola has done alot better at finishing consistently with Ford on top of the pit-box.
Mike Ford talks about winning a pole in only his third race with Richard Petty Motorsports
24 seconds (via nascarmedia.com)
Not only has the Coca-Cola 600 pole brought back confidence to the #43 squad, but it has also brought much needed confidence for Almirola. Overall, Mike Ford has made an impact on this team. The pole now has people talking about the RPM teams being actual contenders to win the Coca-Cola 600.
I have been impressed with how well Almirola and Ford have been working together. When you find a crew chief that you can be good friends with, it really helps. I say that because when you have a good relationship with that particular crew chief, that makes the racing side of the operation more comfortable and less-stressful. That will in turn lead to strong runs and finishes.
Since Ford and Almirola have worked together, he has finished no worse than 21st.
In general, I've been a fan of those teams who have not had the spotlight shined on them alot. Richard Petty Motorsports is one of many teams who have received very little attention from the media. When Almirola won the pole for the Coca-Cola 600, the media went nuts to me! I'm just glad to see this tean have the spotlight for a change. It makes NASCAR abit more exciting.
Can Aric Almirola finish well in the Coca-Cola 600? Will this pole boost his overall moral and confidence for the future ahead? Only time will tell folks!