RCR Looks To Step Up

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Winning the Daytona 500 and having all three cars in the Chase was nice for Richard Childress.

But the veteran team owner is looking for more in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

The performance of Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer was impressive, but in the end RCR was still dominated by Hendrick Motorsports, as was everyone else in the series.

That prompted Childress and company to work hard during the off-season in hopes of finding a way to close the gap.

"Richard Childress Racing has made a lot of investments in this sport," Harvick added. "It seems like no matter what you do in this sport, it's never enough. It never stops. We're going to close the gap and if we don't we're still going to be a pain in the ass to everybody else."

Harvick's win in the Daytona 500 as well as the All-Star race in Charlotte turned out to be his only two trips to victory lane in NASCAR's top division in 2007. That has also given Harvick added incentive to step things up this season.

"I'm excited right now based on all the work we've done in the off-season," said Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet. "I think that right now I'm excited about all the stuff we've done in the off-season. We didn't need an overall overhaul with our teams as much as we just needed to tweak on every little piece and make things better. We had a little different approach because, like I say, we didn't need to turn over everything completely."

"I'm excited heading into the new year. We had a good test at Daytona and I think we're going to make even more gains before we get back down there in February. Winning the Daytona 500 like we did last year is something I can't even describe. That's all everybody wants to talk about and now I know why."

Veteran Burton is well aware of the competitive nature of the sport and the need to continue to invest in resources and development. He believes RCR is making strides in both departments.

"It's difficult to adapt to the times," said Burton, who drives the No. 31 AT&T Chevrolet. "It used to be if you were headed in the right direction that you didn't want to change anything. It's not like that anymore. Richard is a perfect example of someone who has adjusted with the times. He's invested a lot of time and money as well as helping to employ a lot of people which helps the economy. It's really hard to understand all the reasons why Richard has made such an investment. It seems like no matter what you do it's never enough."

Bowyer, who broke through with his first career Cup win in 2007, is also energized by what he's seen from the team as it prepares for the new season.

"I felt like we had a lot of confidence, a lot of momentum built towards the end of last year, and we were able to work on that," he said. "It's comforting knowing we were running good when it was over. We weren't 43rd by any means, so hopefully we can keep that momentum strong and start off at Daytona doing good."

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