Richard Childress Racing is talking four teams again for 2011, and after a failed attempt in 2009 with Casey Mears, they need to get this one right.
Last season was a disaster for RCR with no wins and no drivers in the chase. This year, all three teams are stronger and contending for chase berths including Kevin Harvick who has led the points standings most of the season.
Running at this level will make an open seat desirable to any driver not happy in their current setting. Let us look at the most likely candidates for RCR's fourth team.
Childress did everything he could to keep Casey in the No. 07 after 2009, but no sponsor could be found.
Mears had just begun to gel with the team at the end of the season and looked to be improving. Would Richard bring back Casey for a second chance?
Menard has never won a race, but he brings sure and secure sponsorship with him wherever he goes.
Rumors say he has no deal in place in the No. 98 for Richard Petty Motorsports for 2011, so a move to RCR may be in the works.
The IRL and Indy 500 champ Hornish has experienced a slow learning curve in his transition to stock cars and with a sponsor shuffle at Penske Racing, he could be the odd man out.
If a sponsor is not found for the No. 77, might RCR take on the Indy car great?
Rick Hendrick has Kahne locked up for 2012, but has yet to find a ride for him in 2011. He needs a Chevrolet team for a one year deal and Childress could benefit from having a proven name in his fourth car startup season.
There would be some downsides but Childress and Hendrick could work out an arrangement if the price is right.
Or...perhaps Mark Martin gets tired of the No. 5 car drama and bows out himself. Childress would love nothing more to get the veteran driver in one of his race cars, even if it was only for a year or two.
The hardest part of starting a team is credibility for the sponsors to feel safe, and Martin would bring that and more.
Look at the picture...need I say more? Dale Junior hadn't won any type of race in two years, and the one race he teams with Richard, they end up in victory lane.
Earnhardt is under contract with Hendrick through 2012, but if the No. 88 team misses the chase again in 2010, look for heads to roll and changes to happen.
One possible change? Dale leaves Hendrick Motorsports for RCR. It would solve the Kasey Kahne problem for Hendrick and give millions of Junior fans what they have wanted since 2008.