Richard Childress Racing has rare chance at sweeping all three series’ championships
Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012
Richard Childress Racing has a chance to make some unique NASCAR history this season.
The organization is one of three – Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing are the others – to have won championships in all three NASCAR national series – Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Trucks.
This season, however, RCR has the opportunity to win all three in the same year.
RCR is in very good position to win two of them, with its drivers Elliott Sadler and Ty Dillon currently leading the series standings in both Nationwide and Trucks, respectively.
Granted the road in Cup is much harder with Kevin Harvick currently 10th in points and 49 behind leader Brad Keselowski with six races left. But Harvick remains mathematically in the hunt nonetheless.
“Obviously we need some momentum, but we’ve needed that all year,” said Harvick, who appeared on his way to a possible win in Sunday’s race at Talladega, Ala., until he was caught up in the 25-car last-lap wreck.
“You just plug along week after week and see where you are,” he said. “We’re going to try to get the best finish that we can. We need to win a race before the year is over.”
Harvick’s No. 29 Chevrolet team is the only one of RCR’s three Cup teams to qualify for the Chase this season. Harvick, however, remains winless on the year.
No NASCAR organization has ever won the championship in all three series in the same season and only Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt Inc. have won two in the same year. HMS won both the Cup and Trucks titles in the 2001 and 1997 seasons and DEI won the Nationwide and Trucks titles in 1998.
With roughly a month and a half left in the 2012 NASCAR season, RCR’s title prospects are highest in the Nationwide Series, where Sadler and RCR teammate Austin Dillon are two of the three drivers still in contention.
Sadler holds a nine-point lead over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and a 25-point lead over Austin Dillon with five races remaining.
What’s most impressive about RCR’s title opportunity in Nationwide is the organization didn’t even field any teams last year. In the offseason, Kevin Harvick Inc. merged with RCR moving its Nationwide operation into RCR’s headquarters in Welcome, N.C.
“Richard told me not to worry about the change, that I would still have a great team this year and he was right,” said Sadler, who finished second in the series last season while at KHI. “They have given us every tool that we’ve needed to win this season.”
Sadler said team owner Richard Childress takes great pride winning championships and the organization’s position this season has not gone unnoticed.
“Richard reminds us every day that this still can be a heck of a season for RCR,” Sadler said.
RCR won the Truck title last season with Austin Dillon, and his younger brother, Ty, is in good position to repeat that performance in the No. 3 Chevrolet as a rookie.
After a third-place finish last weekend at Talladega, Ty Dillon holds a one-point advantage over James Buescher for the Truck title with four races left.
Ty has already amassed impressive statistics this season, with one win, two poles, six top-five and 16 top-10 finishes in 18 races.
“I’m just so happy for how hard we’ve worked,” Ty said. “It’s our rookie year, and we’re battling for the championship. My team doesn’t give up.”
RCR’s championship history
Richard Childress Racing has won 11 driver championships in NASCAR’s three national series but never more than one in a single season.
Series, title years
Cup 1994, 1993, 1991, 1990, 1987, 1986
Nationwide 2008, 2006, 2001
Trucks 2011, 1995