Team Preview: Richard Childress Racing

Austin Dillon

Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman (pictured) and Paul Menard will be looking to end RCR's winless streak this season. (Photo: Getty Images)


Richard Childress Racing is looking to break a long Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winless drought this season and get back to the playoffs.

While the organization has had a presence in the championship picture the last few years, RCR hasn’t found Victory Lane in more than three years since Kevin Harvick won at Phoenix in the fall of 2013. Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard hope to change that in 2017.

"No one likes to go winless," Dillon said of the organization's 109-race winless streak. "We want to wipe that out as soon as possible."

Dillon did make the playoffs last year despite not scoring his first career series win. He was consistent as his 13 top-10 finishes prove, but Dillon understands the need to kick things up a notch.

RCR"We have a lot to build on from last year," said Dillon, who returns to the No. 3 team with veteran crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe. "We have to find a way to keep that going and if we can, then Wins, the playoffs and a chance to run for the championship will follow.

“We were a points-chasing organization the last couple years. Myself and (Ryan) Newman did a good job of getting into the Chase and making a name for ourselves by getting through each round. But now, we’re going to have to show speed early and often for these segments. We’ve got our organization headed in the right direction. We can be aggressive this year and do what it takes to be ahead of the pack."

Newman missed the post-season last year but two years ago, made it to The Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway thanks to his consistency. But like Dillon, Newman also knows the performance must ramp up this year.

"We can compete when everything is running right for us," he said. "We missed on some things last year that I’m confident we can improve upon for 2017. We have the right people and the right parts. We have to put it all together. Getting that first victory of the season to end the drought, especially with the new format, would be awesome."

Menard will be paired with new crew chief Matt Borland.

"Every time we spend time together, I get more impressed with him," Menard said. "We’ve made an effort since early November to talk all the time, get lunch, get breakfast, do walk-throughs at the shop ... things like that to try to understand each other. He has a particular way of asking questions. He knows the answer, but he’s going to ask you the question to see how you perceive it and he’s always pushing you to think outside the box."

And Menard echoed the sentiments of his teammates about the coming year and the optimism for better performance.

"We have the potential to do well," he said, "and I can’t wait to get started at Daytona."

Daytona International Speedway will open for NASCAR teams on Friday, Feb. 17, with the season-opening Daytona 500 scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26. Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" will have live coverage of "The Great American Race" beginning at 1 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at and on the MRN App.

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