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Is Richard Childress Racing Still a Powerhouse Organization?

November 13th, 2012 at 8:14 PM
By Clayton Caldwell

Richard Childress Racing has been one of the premier race teams in NASCAR since the company hired Ricky Rudd to drive their famous #3 Chevrolet in 1983. Since then Childress has had 101 wins and six championships, the last one coming in 1994 with Dale Earnhardt. Earnhardt drove for the company from 1985 until his death in the 2001 Daytona 500. Earnhardt won all six championships for the organization and was the organization's best driver ever.

1994 was the last season the organization won a championship, that was 18 years ago. A lot has changed since then and Richard Childress Racing has put up a competitive team in NASCAR. Competitive, but is Richard Childress Racing still a powerhouse organization?

Of the five major organizations in NASCAR, Childress is the only one to not have a driver finish in top two in points in the last 12 years. The last driver to finish in the top two in points for Richard Childress Racing? You guessed it! Dale Earnhardt when he finished runner-up to Bobby Labonte in 2000.

'IMG_2692' photo (c) 2012, Parker Anderson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In that same time period Hendrick Motorsports has had 11 drivers finish in the top two in points. Roush Fenway Racing has had seven drivers finish in the top two, Joe Gibbs Racing has had four drivers and Penske Racing has had one, Brad Keselowski this season. Even Stewart-Haas Racing, a satellite team to Hendrick Motorsports, has done that at least once.

If you look at those same five organizations, Hendrick, Roush, Gibbs, Penske and Childress, Childress is last in wins in the last five seasons. They have had 15 wins in that time period, compared to Penske Racing who has 16, Roush has 28, Hendrick has 40 wins and Gibbs has 42 wins.

If you look at Chase wins in the last five years, again Childress is near the bottom of the list. Hendrick has 12 wins in the Chase in the last five years, the exact same total as Roush Fenway Racing. Stewart-Haas Racing has seven Chase wins and Joe Gibbs Racing has six wins. Childress has five wins and Penske Racing has four.

If you look at this season, Richard Childress Racing will have three drivers leave for other organizations. Elliott Sadler was the first one to jump ship, as all rumors have him going to Joe Gibbs Racing next year. Joey Coulter has left and he will run for Kyle Busch Motorsports next season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Now Kevin Harvick is leaving for Stewart-Haas Racing although not until the 2014 season. Harvick left for a team that is a satellite team to Hendrick Motorsports. What does that say about Richard Childress Racing?

There have been reports that the organization's horsepower is down this year and Jeff Burton is in his final year of his contract. The other driver at the organization, Paul Menard, has never made the Chase in his five year Cup career. He's never even come close. With Kevin Harvick in a lame duck status for the entire 2013 season, it could be another long year for the organization.

It begs the question. Is Richard Childress a powerhouse organization? With all the stats in line, you decide.

Tags: Dale Earnhardt, Elliott Sadler, Jeff Burton, Joey Coulter, Kevin Harvick, Motorsports, NASCAR, Paul Menard, Richard Childress Racing

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