By admin | May 9, 2012
By Richard Allen
A look back at the past record of Richard Childress Racing indicates that the organization has had difficulty maintaining consistency at the sport’s top level from year to year. Since 2008, the company that has produced six NASCAR Sprint Cup titles over the course of its history has gone through a series of ups and downs. And so far after the first ten races of 2012, the team is still searching for success such as that they have previously achieved.
To this point in the current season, RCR drivers Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Paul Menard have not delivered a victory and have scored only three top-5s and eleven top-10s. These numbers are headed toward a sharp drop off from those posted last year.
In 2011, RCR amassed six wins, 19 top-5s and 48 top-10s with four cars running out of their stable. This year they have trimmed to three fulltime Sprint Cup teams but have added multiple Nationwide Series operations after they acquired Kevin and Delana Harvick’s company during the off season.
The Nationwide team has produced two wins for Elliott Sadler and he currently holds down the 2nd spot in that series’ standings. Austin Dillon is 3rd in Nationwide points.
RCR had perhaps the worst season in its recent history when in 2009 they did not win a single race. It was thought by many back then that the organization had spread itself a bit thin by adding a fourth car for driver Casey Mears.
After reducing to three cars for the next season, five wins came along with three Chase for the Championship entries. So the lowered number of teams appeared to have helped. But that doesn’t help explain why in 2011 RCR posted six wins and a 3rd place finish in the standings for Harvick after once again expanding to four cars.
Over the most recent off season, changes were made within the teams of drivers Paul Menard and Jeff Burton. Depth from the scaled back #33 team(driven last season by Clint Bowyer but essentially eliminated in 2012) in an attempt to upgrade those efforts. That has not fully come to fruition yet as those two drivers are 14th and 18th respectively in the Sprint Cup standings. Harvick currently sits 5th in the standings.
Harvick could conceivably be even higher but for mistakes made on his pit box that have cost him on more than one occasion. After running out of fuel prior to a pit stop in Talladega he angrily pointed out over his team radio that, “We run out of gas a lot.”
The driver’s frustration became more evident as he added, “I don’t know if it’s the guy figuring it or the guy fueling it. But once won’t get you yelled out… twice will, and three times…ummm.”
For whatever reason, RCR’s fortunes in Sprint Cup seem to run in cycles. A lack of consistency over the last four seasons have plagued the Welcome, North Carolina based organization. This season is not yet even one-third of the way through and a turnaround could easily happen, but their lack of consistency over the past several seasons has to be at least somewhat of a concern regarding the rest of 2012.
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