NO. 9 CREW CHIEF
Growing up in Decatur, Ill., Drew Blickensderfer began his racing career at the age of 17. The young teenager cut his teeth in the racing industry by building his own cars and competing in dirt UMP modifieds around Illinois.
Blickensderfer continued to race as often as he could the next four years as he attended Indiana University, where he was an all-star member of the university's wrestling team. In 1998 the Illinois native was named NCAA All-American for his wrestling skills.
Upon graduation Blickensderfer packed his bags and moved to Charlotte, N.C., where he got his first job in the NASCAR industry. The former UMP driver began working for Ultra Motorsports as the tire specialist on the No. 1 Camping World Truck Series entry, before moving on to work with their No. 7 Sprint Cup Series team.
In 2002 Blickensderfer moved to Dale Earnhardt Inc., where he served as the setup mechanic for their No. 1 Sprint Cup Series team for two years before moving to Roush Fenway Racing in 2004 as a setup mechanic and tire changer for their Nationwide team.
2005 brought more responsibility to Blickensderfer as he was promoted to car chief on the No. 6 Nationwide entry driven by Mark Martin. In 2006 he received yet another promotion as he was named crew chief for development driver Danny O'Quinn.
For the next three seasons Blickensderfer severed as crew chief for Roush Fenway, leading O'Quinn to a Nationwide Series Rookie of the year title in '06, Matt Kenseth to three Nationwide victories and Carl Edwards to seven wins, helping to secure a second-place finish in the Nationwide Series driver point standings.
Blickensderfer entered the Sprint Cup Series scene in 2009 with a bang after he was tapped with crew chief responsibilities for Matt Kensesth and the No. 17 team. In just their first race together the pair won the most prestigious event of the year, the famed Daytona 500. The duo then went on to win the following week at California Speedway, making Blickensderfer one of the only crew chiefs in NASCAR history to win in his first two races at the Sprint Cup level.
2010 saw more Nationwide Series racing with driver Carl Edwards before Blickensderfer returned to Cup Series competition with David Ragan for the final 10 races of the season. Blickensderfer continued as Ragan's crew chief in 2011, scoring one win, two poles, and four top-five and eight top-10 finishes.
The 2012 season brought more change as he began the season as crew chief for Richard Childress Racing's driver Jeff Burton. After 33 races together, Blickensderfer left Burton to join forces with Richard Petty Motorsports driver Marcos Ambrose.
With three races remaining in the 2012 campaign, Blickensderfer and Ambrose laid a great foundation to build off of in 2013. In just their first race together, Ambrose ran in the top-10 for a large portion of the event, until a flat tire took him out of contention. The pair earned an 18th-place finish the next weekend in Phoenix and closed out the season with a 13th-place finish after starting on the front row and leading multiple laps at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Blickensderfer and Ambrose met the 2013 season with a lot of adversity. Although the team had shining moments, bad luck relegated the team to a 22nd-place finish in the championship standings. Despite the hardship, Blickensderfer and Ambrose showed true team work, growing closer throughout the season. The pair hope the stronger relationship will springboard the team to Chase contention in 2014.
Blickensderfer and his wife Candice live in Terrell, N.C., with their two children Viktoria and Slater.