Richard Petty Motorsports announced a new crew chief Thursday for its No. 43 Chevrolet and driver Bubba Wallace, promoting lead engineer Derek Stamets to the post for the 2019 Monster Energy Series season.
Stamets replaces Drew Blickensderfer, who had been a crew chief for RPM since the end of the 2012 season. Blickensderfer will shift to Front Row Motorsports’ No. 34 Ford team and driver Michael McDowell this year.
RELATED: On the move: 2019’s changes
Stamets’ transition is effective immediately, with his work for the No. 43 team starting Thursday with a key organizational test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He has been a top engineer within the Richard Petty-owned organization since 2012.
“Derek was a logical decision for us to move up,” said Philippe Lopez, RPM’s 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 finished 28th in his first full season of Monster Energy Series competition last year. He said he looked forward to what the team termed an engineering-focused approach to his new role.
TEAM PREVIEW: Richard Petty Motorspots outlook for 2019
“Derek has a lot of knowledge of our program,” Wallace said. “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.”