Published on April 27th, 2011 | by Michael J Smith0
Rumor: Crew Chief Swap At JGR Imminent
Captain Thunder Racing is reporting that a crew chief swap is imminent at Joe Gibbs Racing due to a dismal start to the season for Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano. The swap would send crew chief Mike Ford to the No. 20 team, and Greg Zipadelli to the No. 11 team.
Hamlin currently sits 17th in points. After eight races last season, Hamlin was 11th in points. Logano is currently 24th in points, compared to being 12th in points after the eighth race last season.
According to Captain Thunder, JGR wants Zipadelli to move to Hamlin’s team because Zipadelli has championship experience — winning two Sprint Cups with Tony Stewart — and JGR officials believe the No. 11 team needs that experience.
Hamlin has only one top 10 finish this season; a season in which many expected him to dethrone five-time champion Jimmie Johnson. Ford has taken much of the blame for this season’s performance, as he did at the end of last season for Hamlin’s failure to win the championship.
Logano has been just as bad as Hamlin this season — posting only one top 10 in eight races. Some selected him to be a dark horse to make the Chase. At this rate, he will not.
While JGR experienced engine problems earlier this season, Captain Thunder contends that chemistry issues may be the bigger problem. Ford and Hamlin have been at odds since last season, he claims. And, Zipadelli was not enthused to go from two-time champion Stewart to an 18-year old rookie.
Update: Several media members are reporting via Twitter that this rumor has been denied by officials at Joe Gibbs Racing. At this point, this should be considered a rumor only.
Update 2: Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin have both denied the rumor that a crew chief swap between the two teams is imminent.
It was news to me. [Joe Gibbs] called me as soon as he saw it and I was like, “Maybe I should be part of this decision.” And he was like,”‘There is no decision.” Mike is my guy. He will always be my guy.