How did RCR’s Sprint Cup stable measure up to expectations in 2012? Was it a year of over-achievement, or underwhelming execution?
RRO motorsports editor Luke Krmpotich and NASCAR lead writer Sam Salo have taken on the task of evaluating last year’s performances by the major teams and drivers from the Sprint Cup garage. Today’s edition features Richard Childress Racing.
Stay tuned for more updates over the coming days!
Richard Childress Racing
Sam’s grade: D+
Luke’s grade: C
RCR roundup: The only RCR wheelman to make the Chase, Kevin Harvick was also the only one to win en route to a an eighth-place point finish. Paul Menard finished 16th while Jeff Burton was 19th.
#27: Paul Menard
Sam’s grade: C- Menard’s humble statistics were in line with RCR as a whole. He had a mildly-decent nine top-10′s, but only one top-five adorned the year. Considering RCR had only 8 top-fives total during 2012, Menard wasn’t in incongruous company.
Luke’s grade: C The Wisconsin native had the best points finish of his career (besting his 2011 performance by one position), but hardly ran up front at all a year after becoming a surprise Brickyard 400 champion.
#29: Kevin Harvick
Sam’s grade: C+ After two consecutive third-place years in the championship battle, Harvick squeaked into the 2012 Chase on the strength of top-15 finishes and ultimately finished eighth in the standings. A late-season win at Phoenix was RCR’s lone high points in 2012.
Luke’s grade: B- Speed was severely lacking in the RCR camp all year long, dropping Harvick in the standings and causing him to announce a move to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. How will the lame-duck driver perform this season? Your guess is as good as mine.
#31: Jeff Burton
Sam’s grade: D+ Burton scored 25% of RCR’s top-fives (two of eight), and somehow managed to garner half a dozen top-10s as well. Burton desperately needs to contend for the Chase in 2013.
Luke’s grade: C- What can I say? The highlight of 2012 for NASCAR’s “Mayor” may have been his interview with…myself. Okay, I admit my opinion may be ever-so-slightly biased. In all seriousness, 2012 was an improvement over the previous season in the No. 31 camp, but nothing near the level that Burton & Co. would like to see.
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