News & Media

Harvick diagnoses the cure for RCR's ailments

October 06, 2012, Mark Aumann,

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Driver thinks an experienced competition director could turn things around

After finishing 1-2 in this race last fall, Richard Childress Racing should come into this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway brimming with confidence and positive momentum.

After all, Clint Bowyer's victory -- with help from Jeff Burton -- was not only the organization's third Talladega win in the past five races but also RCR's 100th overall.

"When you don't have that guy in there, it just didn't pan out the way that we all thought it would pan out and mesh together and really have things run like they needed to."


Now, the driver who scored that win is with another organization, and RCR hasn't found Victory Lane in the Sprint Cup Series since. It's a situation which has many, including Childress, scratching their heads as to what has happened and what needs to occur to turn things around.

Kevin Harvick's 2012 season pretty much sums up the situation. On a positive note, he ran well enough to make this year's edition of the Chase. But after winning a combined seven races in 2010 and 2011, Harvick has struggled to find his way to the front this season.

He's led just one of the past 17 races -- 101 laps at Atlanta, the week after Gil Martin replaced Shane Martin as crew chief -- and has finishes of 12th, 11th and 13th since the Chase began.

When asked what the team needs to work on to return to prominence, Harvick said, "I don't have enough time" to list it all.

RCR's director of competition position has been somewhat of a revolving door since Scott Miller left the team last fall for a similar position with Michael Waltrip Racing. And that's a "key piece" to solving the problem, according to Harvick.

"I think Richard would have a lot more answers on these things than I would," Harvick said Friday during his media availability. "I know he has been working hard to fix a lot of things. A lot of it comes with that piece falling into place and structure.

"When you don't have that guy in there, it just didn't pan out the way that we all thought it would pan out and mesh together and really have things run like they needed to. It just kind of became a little bit more disruptive than I think everybody had anticipated."

When a team the size of RCR goes off the tracks, Harvick said it takes a while to get everything -- and everyone -- moving in the right direction again. He's experienced that firsthand as owner of Kevin Harvick, Inc.

"It's a big machine," Harvick said. "When you get just from the small team that we had with the trucks and the Nationwide [Series], when something goes sideways, it definitely takes a while to get it back to where it needs to be.

"Sometimes it's hard to find the problem, and when you are looking for people of that magnitude, there is not a lot of them in the garage. I think it's just something to where the wheel is really big, and sometimes when you get to the top of that wheel to the bottom it's hard to get it back going again. [Childress is] definitely working hard to make all of that happen."

Martin is expected to return as Harvick's crew chief in 2013, adding to a sense of stability there. But the instability within the organization, in Harvick's opinion, can't be solved from atop the pit box.

"As far as I'm concerned, the team is set and going forward," Harvick said. "We have a lot bigger issues to work on than crew chiefs. You can throw crew chiefs at it all day long, but we need to work on things in-house."