New crew chief named for Aric Almirola
December 02, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
Richard Petty Motorsports picks Trent Owens to take over as crew chief for the No. 43
Richard Petty Motorsports officials named Trent Owens crew chief for the No. 43 Ford NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team and driver Aric Almirola, according to a statement from the organization.
Owens, 38, was crew chief for Turner Scott Motorsports driver Kyle Larson this past season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Larson, the series' Sunoco Rookie of the Year and headed to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing for a Cup ride in 2014, scored 17 top-10s in 33 starts en route to an eighth-place points finish.
"This is a great opportunity to join a Sprint Cup organization and a race team that can win," Owens said in a team release. "The No. 43 team has proven they can race up front. We just need to find a little more consistency to make the Chase. I believe we can put ourselves in contention for a Chase spot in 2014."
The nephew of seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty, Owens made seven starts as crew chief at the Cup level between 2010-12 with drivers Mike Bliss, Jason Leffler, Reed Sorenson, Jacques Villeneuve and Bill Elliott.
Owens has five career wins as a Nationwide Series crew chief in 247 starts, collecting victories with drivers Dave Blaney, Mark Martin, Sorenson, James Buescher and Nelson Piquet Jr. Owens also has a win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series -- teaming with Larson to win earlier this year at Rockingham in another Turner Scott Motorsports entry.
RPM officials began the search for a crew chief for Almirola after former crew chief Todd Parrott was suspended in mid-October for violations of NASCAR's substance abuse policy.
Sammy Johns, director of operations at RPM, stepped in to act as crew chief for Almirola and the No. 43 team following Parrott's suspension and eventual dismissal. Greg Ebert, car chief for the team, took over the crew chief duties for the final four races of the season.
Almirola, completing just his second full season of Cup competition, finished 18th in the points standings. His fifth-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was his lone top-five of the year.
"I have known Trent for a while," Almirola said. "When I competed in the Nationwide Series, we raced against him every week. He's a very talented crew chief who has accomplished a lot, but he's still very hungry to do a lot more. Our team is the same. We're getting better, but we need more top-10s, top-fives and wins. I believe Trent can help us do that and he's a positive addition to the team."