The knowledge pool of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car team got a big infusion with the addition of champion crew chief Dickie Venables on Monday.
In January, Venables returned to John Force Racing, where he tuned Tony Pedregon to NHRA Full Throttle Series championship titles in 2003 (as co-crew chief) and 2007. Venables, the son of 1960s-era Top Fuel driver Dick Venables, is a fixture on the NHRA pro circuit, where he's logged time with teams like Don Schumacher Racing, Al Anabi Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing.
Venables makes the move within the “One Ford” fold to the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang team based in Concord, N.C immediately. He will lead the tuning trio that includes Chris Cunningham and Marc Denner.
“(Tasca) and I have known each other for quite some time now, so I just feel lucky to have the opportunity to do this with this team,” Venables said. “I'm looking forward to working with the team that Chris and Marc put together and I'm looking forward to winning some races this year.”
A versatile tuner, Venables has experience in both Funny Car and Top Fuel with drivers such as Shirley Muldowney, Gary Ormsby, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, Whit Bazemore, Cory McClenathan and Morgan Lucas. As well as serving as a support for JFR's celebrated crew chiefs, Venables helped launch the team's Top Fuel operation this season.
“At the end of the day, it's about people,” said Bob Tasca III, who's in his fifth year as team owner/driver. “People win championships, not racecars. Dickie has experience that will be a valuable asset to our team. I have all the confidence in the world in Chris and Marc but when you have the opportunity to add to your arsenal, you take it. Having Dickie on board can only help.”
Venables will spend the week getting to know the team and checking out run data in preparation for the next NHRA Full Throttle Series event on the schedule, March 30-April 1, 2012 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.