Richard Childress has seen enough down years for his NASCAR Cup Series team that he’s ready to make gains again. He proclaimed as much last November at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. See, Childress knew that he needed to shake things up at Richard Childress Racing in order for the trajectory to come back upwards. They’ve been in a rut and something drastic needed to happen.
While Daniel Hemric was going to win the Rookie of the Year title in NASCAR’s premiere series last season, Childress still made the difficult decision to replace him after just one season at the helm. Then, he make wholesale changes in personnel on each of the two cars.
Childress, thought that bringing a driver of Tyler Reddick over to the team and mix him with these changes and you’d see a team back on the rise again.
“You know, I think he’s an amazing talent,” Childress said of Reddick following his championship last season. “I seen that before he even won his first championship, watching him race. He drove some loose race cars that year for Jr. and those guys. Really loose. That gets you in trouble. First thing I told Randall, you keep him tight enough, he’ll go out and win a lot of races for us. And he did.
“We’re so excited. I just felt if we could get here, we’d have a great shot of winning the championship, and the talent that he’s got next year is going to be — it’s going to raise RCR to another level.
“We’ve changed so much this year (2019). I’m as excited about next year (2020) as I have been in a long time, having Tyler in the Cup car and the things we know he can do and what he’ll bring to RCR.
“I had confidence in him. I know what he can do, and I know how he can drive the race car, and he’s a special talent for sure.
“We’re making a lot of changes, and I think you’re going to see a different RCR next year. Tyler is going to put everybody to work over there because he’s going to bring some speed and some talent with it.”
So far, that move is paying off. Reddick looks the part as the real deal as he’s coming off of a fourth place finish last Sunday night at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. His teammate and grandson of Richard Childress in Austin Dillon is thriving. Dillon, just scored a seventh place effort on the same Homestead race track giving RCR two cars in the top 10 for a race since 2018. It was also Dillon’s third top 10 and fourth top 11 in his last five starts on the season too.
Now, it’s to Talladega. Dillon, started on the pole for this race last year and finished sixth in the Fall race. He’s usually really good on superspeedway’s in general.
Reddick, won last year’s NXS race in the spring on the 2.66-mile Alabama oval. They both look primed to give RCR their 109th win in the Cup Series in the GEICO 500 (3 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN).
That’s right, Richard Childress Racing has reached victory lane 108 times over the course of their storied NASCAR career in NASCAR’s premiere series. But, after Dale Earnhardt passed in the 2001 Daytona 500 and Kevin Harvick departed the team for Stewart-Haas Racing following the 2013 season, RCR has been a bit of a work in progress.
Harvick, won four times alone in 2013 — they’ve had three combined wins in the last six years since. From 2001 through 2013, RCR won 35 times, Harvick won 23 of them.
They’ve gone through countless changes from 2014 through 2019. From three cars down to two. The only constant has been Dillon who’s won two of those three races since 2014. Childress’ grandson won the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 and the 2018 Daytona 500.
Now, they’re looking like they’re close to being contenders again.
Just last Wednesday, Dillon was needing medical attention in Martinsville. The crash panel was knocked out of his No. 3 Chevrolet during an early race incident which saw Dillon not only get sick while trying to rough it out, his water pack in his car spilled and started boiling in his seat, causing burns to his backside.
It was a rough night for him. That came after a rough race at Atlanta in a 500 mile event run in high temps under humid conditions. Then, his wife delivered birth to their first child early Sunday morning before the Homestead race.
Dillon, still finished with a top 10.
“It feels great to be able to capture a top-10 finish for my first race as a new dad, and to bring home a solid result for everyone on the Dow Coatings and Behr teams,” Dillon said last Sunday in South Florida. “The No. 3 Dow Coatings Chevrolet was much stronger at the end of the race than it was at the beginning of the race, so I am proud of everyone for sticking in there until the end.”
Dillon, said his plans for Sunday’s race in maneuvering through the pack will see him be a little more cautious and a little less aggressive.
“I’ve done a lot of different strategies when it comes to speedway racing, but my favorite is just going out there and racing and kind of throwing caution to the win,” said Dillon. I feel like that usually plays out better for us.
“I won the Daytona 500 being a little more cautious, but it’s just more fun that way when you go out there and race. So we’ll see. We’ll make a decision quite early in the race to kind of figure out how everything is going.”