NASCAR RACEDAY TALKS TO RICHARD CHILDRESS; A SEASON OF FIRSTS FOR THE VETERAN OWNER RCR FINALLY RECOVERS FROM DALE EARNHARDT'S DEATH Wendy Venturini once again got behind the scenes on this weekend's edition of NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED. For...
NASCAR RACEDAY TALKS TO RICHARD CHILDRESS; A SEASON OF FIRSTS FOR THE VETERAN OWNER
RCR FINALLY RECOVERS FROM DALE EARNHARDT'S DEATH
Wendy Venturini once again got behind the scenes on this weekend's edition of NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED. For the first time, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team owner Richard Childress has not one, but two cars (No. 29 of Kevin Harvick; No. 31 of Jeff Burton) in this year's NASCAR 'Chase for the Championship.'
In the previous two Championship Chases, Harvick's 14th-place point's finish last season was the closest any RCR team had come to running for the title. Childress opened up about his teams past struggles and what the future holds.
Here is what was said on the most recent edition of NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED:
Venturini: Was there a certain point last season, or maybe before that, where you hit rock bottom, and said, 'we really need to turn things around here at RCR.'
Childress: Well, I think hitting rock bottom was in 2001 when we lost Dale (Earnhardt). Kevin carried us through that transition, which was a tough one. A lot of it was my fault because I wasn't energetic -- and not wanting to even go to the race track for a couple of years. After that, we just said, "Hey, we've go to turn this company around." We owed it to the fans. We owed it to the sponsors and that's kind of where it's at.
Venturini: I definitely see that you're having more fun this season. Is it true?
Childress: Oh yeah. There were times where I dreaded even going to the race track when you knew your cars weren't performing. It's kind of hard to even walk in, and a lot of times you just kind of had to bite your tongue and move on. I knew we would get it fixed one day, but it took longer than it should. It's fun to be there again.
Venturini: Kevin Harvick is hot on the Cup side, and just on fire on the Busch side. What's made him so competitive this year?
Childress: Well it's hard to say if there's any one thing. He's always been competitive, but he has a lot better equipment this year and he's really enjoying his teammates. He's maturing. I think he gets better every year. Sometimes it takes time to reach your peak, and Kevin, he's on his way to being a superstar.
Venturini: The resurgence of Jeff Burton. Has it surprised you?
Childress: Not really. I was disappointed in us not being able to give him better equipment the first year he came in. But Jeff Burton is a talented race driver and as focused as any individual in this sport. He carries so much experience and so much savvy in the sport. It's one of the great things he has going. He will be a champion one day.
Venturini: Clint Bowyer has had his fair share of bad luck this year. Assess his rookie year.
Childress: His rookie year has been a lot better than the finishes has shown. He's been up front and been right there. Next year, and even the last part of this year, you're going to see a lot out of Clint.
Venturini: What do you see out of RCR for the rest of the year?
Childress: We want to be a contender. We want to win the championship. We've walked on the stage in New York six times. There's nothing like it. One time Kevin and I went down to what we call 'The River.' And I told Kevin, "I want to walk on the stage in New York with you." That's still a goal. Now, I have two guys and I want to walk on the stage with one of them.
Venturini: People have been asking him if he's going to four teams next year. He said,' Roush and Hendrick, they have set the pace with those four (car) teams. But he's still not sure about going to four teams until he gets his three teams in order.
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