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NASCAR's Gibbs releases Denny Hamlin's crew chief

December 6, 2011 |  7:08 pm


Joe Gibbs Racing said Tuesday it released Mike Ford as crew chief for NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin after a disappointing year for the driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota.

"Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing appreciate what Mike has done for our organization over the past six seasons" as Hamlin's crew chief, the team said.

Gibbs did not immediately name a replacement for Ford, 41.

After a series-high eight wins in 2010 lifted Hamlin to second in the Sprint Cup Series standings, the Virginian won only one race this year and finished ninth in the points.

Hamlin had only five top-five finishes during the 36-race Cup season, compared with nine for champion Tony Stewart and 19 for runner-up Carl Edwards.

Ford's departure is the latest in a series of moves involving crew chiefs in NASCAR's top-level series.

Steve Addington left Kurt Busch and Penske Racing and then was named Stewart's crew chief. (Busch and Penske parted ways as well Monday.) Last month, Richard Childress Racing said Shane Wilson would replace Gil Martin as crew chief for Kevin Harvick, who finished third in the standings.


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Photo: NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, left, talks with crew chief Mike Ford at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 13. Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images