Richard Childress Racing

by Fraser Lovat on January 31, 2008 @ 15:24:38 PDT

 


Owner - Richard Childress

Manufacturer - Chevrolet

Cars and Drivers

No. 07 Jack Daniel's

Clint Bowyer is the driver of the No. 07 Jack Daniels car. Bowyer started 36 races during the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season and finished third overall. By finishing third, it guaranteed the No. 07 car has ownership exemption in the first five races of the 2008 season.

Calling the shots as crew chief for the No. 07 Jack Daniels car is Gil Martin. Martin is a 47-year-old from Nashville, Tenn., and is an eight-year veteran employee of RCR. He has worked with racers Robby Gordon and Kevin Harvick. He became Bowyer's Busch (now Nationwide) Series crew chief in 2005 and then moved up to the Nextel Cup Series with Bowyer the following season. Together he and Bowyer made a run at the Nextel Cup Series championship in 2007 but finished third overall in the standings. The upcoming 2008 Sprint Cup Series will be Bowyer and Martin's third full season together as driver and crew chief.

No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil

Kevin Harvick is the driver of the RCR No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil car in the Sprint Cup Series and a part-time driver of the No. 21 AutoZone car in the Nationwide Series. Harvick joined Richard Childress Racing in 2000 after a brief tour in the Craftsman Truck Series, where he met owner Richard Childress. Childress offered Harvick a car to race in the Busch Series, which Harvick accepted. In 2007, Harvick won the Daytona 500 and qualified for the Chase for the Cup but ended up finishing 10th in the final points standings. Harvick has finished in the top 10 in total points in four of the last seven years.

Some of the success Harvick has had may be due to crew chief Todd Berrier. Berrier has been with RCR since joining in 1997 as crew chief for Jay Sauter in the Craftsman Truck Series. In 2000, Berrier began his duties as crew chief for Harvick; the pair won three races and Harvick was named Rookie of the Year in the Busch Series. After 2001, Berrier became crew chief for another RCR team but was reunited with Harvick in 2003 and has been Harvick's crew chief ever since. Together they won the 2007 Daytona 500 and finished 10th in the Nextel Cup Series.

No. 31 AT&T Mobility

Jeff Burton races the No. 31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet and the No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet (Nationwide Series) for Richard Childress Racing. Burton signed a contract extension with RCR last season. He had a strong 2007, finishing eighth in the final points standings.

Scott Miller is the crew chief for Jeff Burton and the No. 31 AT&T Mobility car. He was named the crew chief in November 2005. Miller helped Burton finish inside the top 10 in each of the past two Nextel Cup Series.

Engineering and Resources

The beginning of the 2007 Nextel Cup Series started off with a bang for RCR and its team members. Harvick came from behind to win his first Daytona 500, Burton finished third and Bowyer finished 18th. Bowyer, Burton and Harvick all qualified for the Chase, and each of them finished inside the top 10 in the final standings.

In 2007, members of the RCR team raced in Chevrolet Monte Carlos. In 2008, that will not be the case. The Monte Carlo model will not be used this season; instead it will be replaced by a Chevy Impala SS model, essentially for marketing purposes - the Monte Carlo model is now defunct. However, the Monte Carlo has the most wins for a Chevrolet model in NASCAR history, holding 24 of the 31 NASCAR Cup Series championships that Chevy has won through the years.

With RCR switching to the new COT model, it will be interesting to see how the team, which had three members inside the top 10 in the final points standings, does in the Sprint Cup Series in 2008. Childress racers combined for one win, six top-five finishes and 16 top-10 finishes in the 16 COT races last season. Changes with the Impala include the addition of a rear wing, installation of a front splitter and lowering the back bumper three inches. There is less bumper overhang and a higher and wider body shape. The changes resulted in 30-40 percent less downforce (air pressure traveling over the car) with more drag (resistance the car experiences when passing through air at high speeds) and less side force. As many know, the COT brings added safety and aerodynamic improvements. The goal was to improve performance and competition while making a safer racecar. RCR hopes its version, the Impala, gives its racers the foundation on the success they had in the COT in 2007.

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About Fraser Lovat

Fraser is a Hot off the Wire Analyst with KFFL and has been with the company since 2007.

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