Richard Childress Finds Himself in Familiar Territory after First Half

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IJune 3, 2010

CONCORD, NC - MAY 27: Team owner Richard Childress (2R) speaks with Jeff Burton (1L), driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Clint Bowyer (2L), driver of the #33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick (1R), driver of the #29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet, on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 27, 2010 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)
John Harrelson/Getty Images

It's been 16 long years since Richard Childress Racing has tasted the fruits of winning a Sprint Cup Championship, with the last one coming back in 1994, when Dale Earnhardt Sr. won his seventh overall and sixth with the organization.

Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, made some moves late in the 2009 season in hopes of bringing his organization back up to championship form by moving crew chief Todd Berrier over to the No. 31 Caterpillar team with driver Jeff Burton.

Berrier was also the crew chief who led Kevin Harvick, who drives the No. 29 Shell Chevrolet for RCR, to his one and only Daytona 500 victory in 2007, as well as his Brickyard victory in 2003.

Berrier is one of the few crew chiefs that have won races in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and the Camping World Trucks with 19.

Over the season's first 13 races, RCR's three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries have notched eight top five and 21 top 10 finishes.

The No. 29 team kicked off the 2010 season with a win in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona and followed that up with a win at Talladega Superspeedway in April.

At the regular season's halfway point, all three of RCR's Sprint Cup Series drivers are in the top 13 of the overall championship point standings following last weekend's race in Charlotte.

Shell-Pennzoil driver Harvick remains atop the standings for the fourth consecutive week, and leads Caterpillar driver Burton, in eighth, by 241 markers.

Cheerios/Hamburger Helper-sponsored driver Bowyer vaulted two positions, to 13th, in the standings after his seventh place run in last weekend's Coca-Cola 600 and is a mere four points in arrears to the coveted 12th place spot.

Fresh off his 11th place finish last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Harvick remains the leader in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points.

Harvick has one win, four top five finishes, and nine top 10 finishes in the season's first 13 races. In 18 NSCS starts at the 2.5-mile triangle-shaped oval, Harvick owns two top five and five top 10 finishes.

Harvick, who just signed a contract extension with RCR, had this to say about Pocono’s tricky configuration: "Pocono has a lot of its own characteristics, to say the least. It's a 2.5-mile triangle-shaped race track that has three pretty tricky turns."

Harvick also added that, “Turn one is really bumpy, and the tunnel turn has a pretty big curb and it is pretty easy to make a mistake there. Turn three is one of the flattest turns we deal with on the NASCAR circuit. It definitely has its own unique challenges."

Burton, who has posted seven top five and 15 top 10 finishes along with a best finish of second on two occasions—June 1997 and July 2000—in 32 Sprint Cup Series starts had this to say about Pocono: "Our main struggle at Pocono is one of the three corners. We'll find two corners where we are good and then we'll have one corner where we are not so good."

Burton also added that, “We haven't found the balance that will allow us to lay down lap times without sacrificing too much in one particular corner. The fun thing about Pocono and the difficult thing is that every corner is different.”

Bowyer, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Sunday, is back in the thick of the Chase for the Sprint Cup battle following a seventh place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Bowyer, who is only four points out of the No. 12 spot with 13 races remaining before the cut-off race, is looking to better his third place finish which came in August of 2009 when he led a total of 23 laps.

"We had a good run the last time around at Pocono. We're confident that we can have strong runs at both Pocono races. We've seen some teams struggle there in the past and we need to capitalize on those opportunities,” said Bowyer.

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