By admin | July 8, 2009
By Richard Allen
The 2009 season is not going as Richard Childress Racing would have hoped, to say the least.
Things got off to an excellent start as Kevin Harvick won the Budweiser Shootout All Star race in Daytona, but there have been very few bright spots since then for this organization that produced six championships for driver Dale Earnhardt.
Among the four RCR drivers only Jeff Burton(15th) and Clint Bowyer(16th) are within the Top 20 of the Sprint Cup standings. However, both are over 100 points away from the all important 12th position with the cutoff for the Chase for the Championship is only eight races away.
Last year, this organization placed what was then all three of its cars in the Chase. This year, placing even one driver in the Chase looks iffy at best.
In 2009, RCR cars have managed only 16 top-10 finishes. With four cars running all 18 races held so far this year that means they have scored 16 top-10s from a total of 72 races run for a percentage of only 22%.
For the sake of comparison, Hendrick Motorsports has 35 top-10s among its four cars in the same number of races for a 49% rate of placing cars in the top-10.
Earlier in the season the teams of Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears were switched in hopes of giving each, or even one, team a boost. Neither has shown any significant improvement since the move.
While Burton and Bowyer have done better than their teammates, neither has demonstrated the ability to run up front and contend within the top-10 on a consistent basis.
To add to the misery of this company, word has it that two of their sponsors may be leaving. Shell, sponsor of the #29 car, is rumored to be on its way to HMS to back Mark Martin. Jack Danielâ€™s, sponsor of the #07, is also rumored to be leaving.
Without adequate funding the organization could be down to three, or even two, cars next year. And with the way they have been running this season in the midst of a lagging economy, the hope of luring new sponsors looks bleak.
And to add insult to injury for Richard Childress, this past weekend his grandson, Austin Dillon, was disqualified after taking the checkered flag in a $25,000 to win crate late model race at the Green Valley Speedway in Alabama. Track officials deemed his car to have an illegal crankshaft.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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