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What’s Going Wrong With Richard Childress Racing?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

Richard Childress Racing’s 2024 season has so far been defined by bad luck and mistakes. It’s not been limited to just one driver, and it’s a trend that goes back to 2023. What’s happened to Richard Childress Racing this year?

  • Kyle Busch has one top-10 finish despite leading multiple laps in 3 of the 4 races this season. Bad pit stops have dominated his 2024 headlines.
  • Austin Dillon may be the unluckiest man in the United States currently. He has been caught up in a crash on lap 6 or sooner in not one, not two, but three races so far this season.
  • Fans are beginning to grow anxious about RCR’s 2024 start. While not everything has been the fault of RCR, many are concerned that the team could fall back if things do not change sooner.

Kyle Busch: Bad Pit Stops

Kyle Busch has 2 major snafus on pit road this season. The first came during the Daytona 500 when a loose wheel dropped him out of the top-5. The second came at Las Vegas when he slid just past his pit box, but, the crew serviced the car anyway. Busch finished 22nd that day.

This meant three new crew members were inserted into the pit crew for Phoenix. The crew seemed to have a clean day on pit road, even if the car did not comply. Regardless, these two penalties played a big role in Busch’s season.

At Las Vegas, Busch was solidly inside of the top 10 for most of the day, but he wound up 22nd after the penalty. At Daytona, he was battling for the lead before the penalty. After falling to the back, Busch elected to play it safe, and he finished 12th. Two races where he could have recorded solid, top-10 finishes, done in by issues on pit road.

Austin Dillon: Bad Luck and Accidents

Austin Dillon has been caught up in a wreck before lap 6 three times this season. The first came at the Daytona 500, where Dillon’s car was crunched after Harrison Buront and Carson Hocevar came back up across the race track. He finished 54 laps down in 37th.

Then came Atlanta, where Dillon qualified inside the top-10. A good qualifying run was not the antidote on this day as a stack-up in the front of the field caused Dillon to get caught up in the largest pileup in Atlanta Motor Speedway history. He fought his way back onto the lead lap, but, he finished 22nd.

Then came Phoenix, where Dillon started on the penultimate row on the grid. Derek Kraus spun out in front of him and that was it for Dillon’s day. Dillon finished 8 laps down in 32nd place.

Three major accidents, all of which were no fault of his own, and all of which happened before each respective race completed a half-dozen laps. That’s about as bad luck as any driver can have.

When Dillon was able to complete a full race with no issues at Las Vegas, he finished 16th, and he spent some time in the top 10. That’s far from an amazing race, but, it’s still respectable. Dillon is asking for just one thing this weekend, a clean race.

Can They Turn it Around?

Richard Childress Racing’s 2023 season was a tale of two halves, particularly for Kyle Busch. While Busch won 3 of the first 15 races of the season, he failed to win a race from mid-June onwards. Austin Dillon struggled, and he was also done in by a major penalty at Martinsville.

However, RCR has shown some flashes in 2024. Busch has led multiple laps in 3 of the first 4 races, and Austin Dillon qualified in the top 10 at Atlanta alongside showing some speed at Las Vegas. Busch is still well ahead of Dillon in terms of performance, but, RCR is not completely dead in the water.

Busch needs to cut down on the pit road mistakes, and Dillon needs to find some speed and better luck. If both of those things happen RCR can turn it around. The season is far from over as Busch currently is in a Playoff position. Dillon sits 32nd in points, but, there are still 22 races left in the regular season.

The season is far from over, but, these trends need to stop if RCR wants to make a splash in 2024.

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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