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Monday, February 22, 2010

After strong start, can RCR hold on to Kevin Harvick?

At the end of last year, the long-successful Richard Childress Racing was at a low point.

All of its drivers had missed the Chase, and one of them (Kevin Harvick) appeared in a hurry to get away from the organization and move to greener pastures. Their experiment of a fourth car, driven by Casey Mears, had failed horribly, and they were watching the other teams battle for the title while they struggled to figure out what was wrong in their organization and constantly swapped crew members between teams.

Now, two races into the 2010 season, that’s ancient history. All three of the team’s drivers – Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton – are in the top-5 in points, with Harvick and Bowyer sitting 1st and 2nd. After the debacle of 2009, this is an amazing story. Childress deserves credit for getting his teams turned around in such quick fashion, as that isn’t an easy task in the super-competitive world of NASCAR.

Of course, it means little now, as the season just began. The team’s drivers could easily tank and miss the Chase again … but I wouldn’t bet on them being shut out again. The RCR guys are showing a renewed vigor on the track and I don’t see that going away from the front pack for a while.

The biggest question now is what happens to Harvick. After last year, everyone agreed he was gone after 2010. But what if he runs for a title this year? If RCR can be competitive again and have the kind of success it did when Dale Earnhardt was the face of the organization, will Harvick want to escape and start a new career path at Stewart-Haas Racing or elsewhere?

At this point, I don’t think anything is set in stone. I’m sure after last year, Harvick probably had his mind made up to go. But now, he has to be having some second thoughts. It’s only logical.

And if the next 34 races are similar to the first 2, and he wins several races along the way, it’s very possible he’ll be in that #29 car for longer than we had predicted.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha at this article...instead one should question "Can Harvick hold on to RCR?"! ALL 3 cars are running in the front, and after harvicks crappy attitude last year, including cursing his team, screaming at his crew chief and berating his pit crew...not to mention disrespecting his owner/boss RC, one would think RCR has the upper hand. Put Kasey Khane in this 29, paired with Gil Martin, and you have a championship contender. With no wins in 3 years, KH will be lucky to keep his ride, much less get a better one.

February 24, 2010 at 7:16 AM 

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