CUP: Friday Talladega Notebook

Editor’s note: This notebook will be updated several times throughout the day. Check back for additional news items.

FORD’S NEW JOB ONE — The vacation is over for Mike Ford, who on Monday was named crew chief for Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford Fusion. Friday morning at Talladega Superspeedway, Ford said he was glad to be back to work after being unemployed since he was let go from Joe Gibbs Racing after the end of the 2011 season.

“Through the winter and into the beginning of the race season I have never been able to spend time at home with family and friends and do things,” said Ford. “We took four or five trips with family and it was awesome. ... We’ve just been having a good time traveling and spending time with the family. I have actually been working in the garage a lot and have grease under my fingernails. I can actually still work on cars. I’ve just been having fun.”

But now it’s back to work and time for Ford to get caught up on what he missed.

“The difficult part of this is that it is so technical,” Ford said. “Ten years ago making a change midseason wouldn’t be that big of a deal but there are so many reasons for evolving to where you are in this sport. I am the guy that is on the steep learning curve even though I’ve got the experience behind me and a good record behind me. It is very difficult to come in and be able to take advantage of your resources from day one.”

ETC… — Virginia-based Federated Auto Parts will be title sponsor for the Sept. 8 Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway. … Rockwell Tools will be primary sponsor for Kasey Kahne and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at Darlington Raceway next week. It will be Rockwell’s first Sprint Cup championship.

Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for You can follow him online at