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Are More Changes Coming at Richard Childress Racing?

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What’s Happening?

Richard Childress Racing surprised everyone on Tuesday by announcing that Executive Vice President Andy Petree is retiring effective immediately, with Keith Rodden taking over on an interim basis. RCR has struggled immensely this season, so could we see even more changes at RCR in the coming weeks and months?

  • Richard Childress Racing has not won a race in over a year with Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon driving. Both drivers are out of the Playoffs, sitting 17th and 32nd in the standings, respectively.
  • Petree’s departure meant the loss of a longtime RCR employee. Petree worked with the organization in the 1990s as Dale Earnhardt’s crew chief before leaving to go into team ownership and broadcasting and finally returning to RCR in the 2010s.
  • Fans are anxious to see RCR’s next move. The team has struggled, and fans want to see them do better. However, time will tell if this leads to the team actually getting better.

What’s Wrong with RCR?

With Petree gone, RCR has a big hole at the very top of the organization that it needs to fill. What’s interesting about RCR is that it has many great selling points for someone who wants to work for it.

RCR is a Tier One Chevrolet team, meaning it gets direct support from the manufacturer. It also has its own engine company, ECR Engines, which supplies engines for multiple teams across the Xfinity and Cup Series. There’s also a successful Xfinity Series program with one of the top young drivers in the lower series, Jesse Love.

All the pieces are in place for RCR to be a top team that competes for wins and Championships every year. Unfortunately, the Cup Series team has not had a driver finish in the top 10 in the final standings since Ryan Newman finished second in 2014, a season Newman had no wins. The team hasn’t won a Championship since 1994 with Dale Earnhardt.

On top of that, RCR has had a history of ugly driver exits. From Kevin Harvick saying the Dillon brothers “Had everything fed to them with a spoon” in 2013, to “The timing couldn’t be worse” with Tyler Reddick in 2022, to Richard Childress calling Sheldon Creed the “Stupid” at Martinsville in 2023.

Something is not working at RCR, and it’s manifested itself both on and off the track. Maybe a change at the top is just what they need, but is it the only change we will see?

Personnel Changes

Given the lack of performance this season, the easiest place to look is at the drivers and crew chiefs. Well, RCR has already tried to make a crew chief with one team this season.

Keith Rodden was atop the pit box for Austin Dillon for the first seven races of 2024. The pair recorded one top-20 finish before Justin Alexander took over at Martinsville. Dillon has performed slightly better since, with two top-10s and three top-20s, but he still sits 32nd in points with no laps led.

Kyle Busch has regressed since the first half of the 2023 season. He is on pace to have his worst season since his rookie season in 2005. Randall Burnett has been the crew chief through all of it.

Both Busch and Dillon are under contract for 2025. Dillon told Bob Pockrass in 2022 that his contract ran through 2025. Jordan Bianchi reported back in April that Dillon also just signed a multi-year extension, which runs until an undisclosed year. According to Candice Lee Spencer, Busch has a team option for 2025. Driver moves seem unlikely at best.

So, the focus turns towards the crew chiefs once again. Could there be changes? It’s certainly possible, especially with how the Xfinity Series teams have performed, as both have won races this season.

Aside from that, many changes could happen behind the scenes. Competition personnel could be promoted, demoted, or let go. Given their recent struggles, RCR might also hire from the outside, which might be a good move.

What do you think about all this? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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