RCR Going for Broke With Eight NASCAR Teams in 2017
Things are heating up for the 2017 NASCAR season, and legendary team owner Richard Childress is spearheading one of the more aggressive planning efforts for the year ahead. In addition to the return of the three Cup teams Childress ran in 2016 (Austin Dillon’s No. 3, Ryan Newman’s No. 31, and Paul Menard’s No. 27), the enterprise is planning to enter five full-time teams in Xfinity competition. The five Xfinity entries is the most ever for the Welcome, North Carolina-based operation, hoping to build on its history of 17 championships and more than 200 victories across NASCAR’s top three series.
Announced drivers for the Xfinity entries include three full-time drivers and a rotating slate of drivers for the remaining two teams. Brandon Jones (No. 33 and Brendan Gaughan (No. 62) will be joined by Daniel Hemric (No. 21) as the full-time drivers, while Austin Dillon and Menard will be the primary drivers for the No. 2 and Ty Dillon will be behind the wheel for some of the No. 3’s events. Additional drivers will be announced for the No. 2 and No. 3 entries as the season progresses.
With this field of entries, Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will be seeking improvement over its two top-ten finishes in a points chase dominated at the top by JR Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing. RCR will also be hoping to achieve improvement over last year’s performance in the Cup Series, where their teams finished 14th (Austin Dillon) and 18th (Newman). Historically, the the three RCR drivers have accumulated 18 Cup-level wins (17 by Newman [pictured at right], one by Menard). Richard Childress himself competed as a driver in NASCAR’s top series, competing in 285 events and recording six top five and 76 top ten finishes. Far more successful as a team owner, 71-year old Richard Childress stands sixth on the all-time list of wins with 106.