Dearborn, Mich. - Call him Ford Racing's new "crew chief." One of the most respected and well-liked personalities in auto racing will be joining Ford Racing as Greg Specht, Manager of Ford Racing Operations, announced today that former Winston...
Dearborn, Mich. - Call him Ford Racing's new "crew chief."
One of the most respected and well-liked personalities in auto racing will be joining Ford Racing as Greg Specht, Manager of Ford Racing Operations, announced today that former Winston Cup crew chief Robin Pemberton has been hired as the manufacturer's NASCAR Field Manager.
Pemberton, who assumes his new duties on Feb. 1, has signed a multi-year agreement and will be responsible for overseeing Ford's development in the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series. He will attend key test and wind tunnel sessions, in addition to being available at the race track on selected weekends.
"This isn't a new idea at all for us. We've been wanting to have someone in this Field Manager role for a couple of years, and we just wanted to make sure we had the right person for the job," said Specht. "When Robin became available, we contacted him right away.
"Having someone like Robin with 25 years experience inside the sport, working closely with NASCAR and with the teams ... well, that's just not something we can do as well on a regular basis from up here in Dearborn," added Specht. "He'll be able to go on our behalf to team shops to discuss pressing issues, or go to NASCAR and have meetings ... and be able to do those things on a very regular basis."
The addition of Pemberton, a native of Ballston Spa, NY, reunites Ford with the man who played a major role in the development and success of Taurus. Pemberton and his Penske South crew did much of the aerodynamic work on what became the first full-time four-door entry in NASCAR Winston Cup. He led an effort that produced the first race Taurus ever built, and was rewarded when Rusty Wallace took the new car to Victory Lane in its inaugural race - the 1998 Budweiser Shootout.
Pemberton comes to Ford after one year as a vice president at Petty Enterprises, the place where he started his NASCAR Winston Cup career as a mechanic in 1979. He joined the crew chief ranks in 1985 when he worked with Bobby Allison and Greg Sacks, but it wasn't until 1989 with Mark Martin that he reached Victory Lane. Pemberton is most remembered for his seven-year stint with Wallace (1995-2001), a period in which they teamed up to win 12 races and finished in the top-10 of the point standings each season.
"I'm looking forward to this because it's an opportunity to work with a number of different teams," said Pemberton. "I've spent a lot of time through the years with Ford. Between the five years I was with Jack (Roush) and the seven years I was with Rusty (Wallace), I've made a lot of friends and I hope that will help make this a win-win situation for everyone."
"From a team standpoint, what I think is going to help is that when I talk to them about an issue, I'll be coming from a direction that they know and understand," continued Pemberton. "I'll have respect for the pains and the problems they go through because I've been there myself. Hopefully, that perspective will allow me to get the teams and Ford engineers working together in an efficient manner so everyone benefits."
In 17 years as a crew chief in NASCAR's top division, Pemberton recorded 23 wins, 149 top-five finishes, 250 top-10 performances and 39 poles in 499 races.
"Robin is a good fit for us. He's the kind of guy that people in the garage area already respect, and he fits with us in terms of personality and the way we want to do business in the sport," said Specht. "He's a hard worker, he's knowledgeable, and he's ready for this challenge. We're thrilled to be able to have him as part of the Ford Racing team."
Pemberton and his wife, Lisa, have two children - Bray (17) and Briggs (15) - and they reside in Cornelius, NC. He will be based in the Ford Racing Technology office in Mooresville, NC.