Richard Childress racing is among one of the sentimental favorites in the garage. But since 2001 and the death of 7 time champion Dale Earnhardt the organization has not been the same. The familiar Black #3 is replaced by the bright red and yellow #29, the once young up coming driver Mike Skinner and the #31 is driven by maybe NASCAR's most corgil drivers Jeff Burton. and Now RCR was expanded to 4 teams with Clint Bowyer and a 4th driver to be named at a later date.
In my previous article I eluded to the fact that Sponsorship drives this sport. And While Shell Pennzoil may be no Dupont the money adds up. Rumors broke this week that RCR may have accumulated a total of 5 sponsors for 4 cars; Shell Pennzoil, Caterpillar (announced to replace AT&T on the #31) and now UPS who is rumoured to be on Clint's #07 in 2009 at some point as well as General Mills who will appear for the first time without the famed #43 in 2009. The latest rumor has Jack Daniels the current sponsor for the #07 to be going to the new HASS CNC who's driver is rumored to be Ryan (no neck) Newman.
RCR has locked up Driver Jeff Burton to a multi-year contract, and have picked up the option on the young Clint Bowyer for 2009. Kevin Harvick is also signed thru 2009. So the last remaining piece of the puzzle that is RCR remains the 4th driver. Rumors put Casey Mears in that ride, sources also say that this is a done deal and could be announced in early August, maybe at Indy.
But is Casey Mears the right fit. In this day and age with the danger of missing a race, RCR (if Mears is indeed the 4th driver) would no have the luxury of a past champion provisional. I believe as well the other RCR drivers have been noted as saying that who ever fills that 4th seat needs to be able to contribute to what is already at RCR as well as fit in with Harvick, Burton, and Bowyer. Mears has shown time and time again he will sacrifice for the good organization, but has not produced in the #5 car, a car which as recent had the potential to win and win a championship.
One other unlikely option but one that makes more sense is hiring Ryan Newman he is a smart driver both on and off the track with a engineering degree from Purdue University. Newman could bring much needed speed on pole day to an organization that does not qualify well....ever. I also don't think Newman would crack under pressure, not saying that Mears would but would be more prone to.
RCR has had this plan for a 4th car in the works for quite some time. The car was supposed to be running full time this year but RC pulled back and waited for the right sponsor and package. While it is fun to speculate who the 4th driver may be, one thing does ring true RCR has done the best they can by attracting top notch Sponsors and with good sponsors come hopefully good results.
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