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NASCAR Crew Chief Changes Leave Mike Ford out at JGR, Brian Pattie to MWR

Connor KishContributor IIIDecember 7, 2011

LOUDON, NH - SEPTEMBER 24:  Denny Hamlin (R), driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, talks with crew chief Mike Ford in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 24, 2011 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jason Smith/Getty Images

The silly season got awfully "silly" when Penske Racing split with former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch weeks after his former crew chief, Steve Addington, bolted for Stewart-Haas Racing. 

The crew chief announcements just keep on rolling. On Monday, Brian Pattie, former chief for Juan Pablo Montoya at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing was named to lead Clint Bowyer's Toyota-backed team at Michael Waltrip Racing—the newly formed No. 15 5-Hour Energy Camry.

In what some consider yet another strange turn of events, according to Jenna Fryer at the Associated Press, Joe Gibbs Racing has informed Denny Hamlin's crew chief Mike Ford that he has been released, potentially opening up the door for Darian Grubb to join JGR—you know, that championship winner that got fired.

Ford and Hamlin had a miserable 2011 season together, and it was hinted along the way that perhaps a change was in order. The duo finished second in Sprint Cup series standings in 2010 and narrowly lost the championship to Jimmie Johnson that year.

Much like the few opportunities available for Kurt Busch, there is little place for Mike Ford to land, in my opinion. One option, however, is the open slot at Stewart-Haas Racing for Danica Patrick's Sprint Cup series races.

This offseason continues to get stranger and involves some of the biggest changes NASCAR has seen in awhile—and nobody is 100 percent sure that it is even over yet.   

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