RCR Reshuffles the Deck with Vision

Richard Childress Racing

In the past week, Richard Childress Racing has made two separate announcements shuffling personnel within his organization. With the second announcement he brings in a new card to play in his 2012 plans. Intending to play all his cards, Richard Childress is a man of vision and his goal is to bring back what he feels belongs in his organization.  On November 23rd, a personnel shuffle was announced with the Sprint Cup program indicating, this seasons’ #29 crew chief, Gil Martin is taking on a new role as director of team operations and will report directly to the competition director, Kent Day.

Gil Martin is now Director of Team Operations

Gil Martin in his last 72 races has seven wins, twenty-five top-fives, and forty-five top-tens. His average finish is 10.2 all with Kevin Harvick and together, they won the 2010 Bud Shootout.

In the Nationwide series Gil Martin as crew chief for Kevin Harvick, Inc. has earned in thirty-nine starts, thirteen wins, twenty-nine top-fives, thirty-six top-tens, three poles and led a total of 1,347 laps.

Martin’s career stats are equally impressive with 179 starts in the Sprint Cup series, he has two wins. With the Nationwide series in seventy-six starts, fourteen wins and in the Camping World Truck series, eight wins in fifty starts.

Shane Wilson now #29 Crew Chief

Shane Wilson formerly crew chief for Clint Bowyer and the #33 team, will now take over the crew chief duties for the #29 Team with Kevin Harvick.  Wilson and Harvick have worked together before in 2006, with ten wins, twenty-four top-five and thirty-one top-ten finishes. Those results earned them the Nationwide series championship and with the 824 point difference to second place, they reigned in that series record in NASCAR.

With the end of Kevin Harvick, Inc. at the close of the 2011 season, RCR is absorbing two of their Nationwide teams and one Camping World Truck series team. Elliott Sadler and Austin Dillon are expected to run the Nationwide series, while Ty Dillon is making his first full year run in the Camping World Truck series next season.

On Monday, November 28th, RCR made another announcement playing a new card in his deck. Drew Blickensderfer is the new crew chief for the #31 team of Jeff Burton for the 2012 season. Richard Childress said, “Drew is a strong leader and will be a great complement to the Catepillar/Wheaties Racing team. He’s won some big races, including the 2009 Daytona 500, his first race as a Sprint Cup crew chief.  There’s every reason to believe the combination of Jeff and Drew will be a successful one.”

Drew Blickensderfer now #31 Crew Chief

Drew Blickensderfer comes to RCR from Roush Fenway Racing after leading the #6 team of David Ragan and has also served as a Nationwide series crew chief with drivers, Carl EdwardsDanny O’Quinn and Matt Kenseth since 2007. With Ragan, Blickensderfer earned two poles, and one win at the July Coke Zero 400 in Daytona this past season.

The Illinois native began his career with Matt Kenseth in 2009. In his first race with Kenseth at the Daytona 500, they won and went on the next week at the Auto Club Speedway and won again.  This accomplishment makes Drew Blickensderfer one of the only crew chiefs in history to win his first two NASCAR Sprint Cup races.

Blickensderfer says, “I’m excited about the move to RCR and the opportunity to help lead Jeff Burton and the Catepillar/Wheaties Racing team back into contention,” Blickensderfer went on to say, “I was around Jeff briefly at RFR and always admired and liked him.  He’s a very talented driver and I look forward to working with him and the rest of the #31 team in 2012.”

Luke Lambert’s role TBD

Burton qualified for the Sprint Cup Chase from 2006-2008 and again in 2010.  He finished 20th in the 2011 driver point standings. Luke Lambert, the interim crew chief with the #31 team since July is impressive, ending the season with four top-tens in the final five races.  His average finish in the Chase is 12.7. Richard Childress also said, “Lambert will assume a yet-to-be announced new position at RCR.”

The announcement went on to say, “Further personnel changes within RCR’s competition department will be announced in the coming weeks.

Slugger Labbe remains #27 Crew Chief

Slugger Labbe remains unchanged as crew chief for the #27 team with Paul Menard, completing the complement of crew chiefs in the RCR deck of cards. Richard “Slugger” Labbe’s pairing with Menard has produced an impressive win at the Brickyard 400 this past season and finishing 17th in the point standings with four top-fives and eight top-ten finishes.  

Richard Childress a Man with a Vision for 2012

Reshuffling the deck Richard Childress clearly feels he has a winning hand saying he “has  one goal in mind: to bring home the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship to RCR. 

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