With Paul Menard and the millions that his fathers hardware chain brought into Richard Childress Racing (RCR) heading to the Wood Brothers for the 2018 season, the three car team from a year ago suddenly becomes a two car operation.
During the NASCAR Media Tour, Dillon confirmed that RCR will be a two car team in 2017. Dillon returns to the No. 3 car while Ryan Newman remains in the No. 31. The smaller lineup is something Dillon believes can work as an advantage to the team in 2018.
“That was something I was really excited about in the offseason, when we decided to go to a little bit smaller organization,” Dillon said. “I see a lot of two-car teams being successful. Furniture Row is going back to one car and they were a two-car team last year, won the championship. I’m really positive about that. … It’s nice to be able to focus on two cars and our crew chiefs are our best friends. … They want to put RCR where it needs to be and that’s winning championships.”
RCR has not been simply a two car operation since 2000 when Dale Earnhardt Sr. drive the No. 3 and Mike Skinnner was in the No. 31. At their peake, RCR had four full-time cars but scaled back to three cars in 2012.
It has not just been the Cup Series that has seen RCR cut its entries. RCR once had five Xfinity Series teams, now they are down to three.
“It is leaner and meaner, but as far as the depth and places you need them, it’s probably better, truthfully,” Dillon said.
RCR is also part of a technical alliance with Richard Petty Motorsports who will field the No. 43 car for Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. this year. RCR will also provide support for Danica Patrick’s No. 7 car in the season opening Daytona 500.
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Dillon believes working with Richard Petty will be an asset for the team.
“It was really cool yesterday having the King (Petty) in the room for a meeting with all of us,” said Dillon. “My grandfather, seeing those two iconic brands kind of standing together, it makes it special. I’m sure Chevrolet is excited about that, too.”