2019 team preview: Richard Childress Racing

Editor’s note: NASCAR.com continues its countdown of team previews for the Monster Energy Series season, ranked in order of best finish in last year’s owner standings. Today’s feature: Richard Childress Racing and drivers Austin Dillon and Daniel Hemric.

Richard Childress Racing

Manufacturer: Chevrolet

Engine: ECR Engines

Driver: Austin Dillon, No. 3; Daniel Hemric, No. 8

Crew chief: Danny Stockman, No. 3; Luke Lambert, No. 8

2018 standings: Austin Dillon finished 13th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings. Daniel Hemric will make his rookie debut in NASCAR’s premier series this season; he finished third in the 2018 Xfinity Series standings.

What’s new: Richard Childress Racing announced in December that it would bring back the No. 8 Chevrolet for Daniel Hemric in 2019 for the organization’s 50th anniversary year. Dale Earnhardt Jr. famously drove the No. 8 at the start of his Cup career, while his father Dale Earnhardt won six championship titles for Richard Childress Racing. Hemric’s move into the Monster Energy Series is also new for the team, with veteran driver Ryan Newman moving to Roush Fenway Racing in 2019.

PHOTOS: Special paint schemes for RCR’s 50th anniversary

Outlook: Richard Childress Racing brought the No. 3 back to Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway in the 2018 season-opening Daytona 500 with Austin Dillon. Dillon reunites with crew chief Danny Stockman in 2019, who helped the 28-year-old driver win the Camping World Truck Series championship in 2011 and the Xfinity Series title in 2013. With the established chemistry between the pair, the reunion should be an easy transition, with the natural chemistry between the pair, which could lead to more trips to Victory Lane for Dillon in 2019.

DRIVERS

Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet: Austin Dillon earned the second-most top 10s of his career in 2018, notching eight top-10 finishes. One of those finishes included Dillon’s Daytona 500 win, marking his second “crown jewel” win in NASCAR’s premier series (the first jewel was the 2017 Coca-Cola 600). Dillon’s new teammate Daniel Hemric, combined with his reunion with crew chief Danny Stockman, should set up an interesting sixth, full-time season for the driver of the No. 3. If he can remain consistent throughout the year, a strong season (with perhaps another win) could be in the cards.

Daniel Hemric, No. 8 Chevrolet: Daniel Hemric makes the jump to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2019, bringing back the historic No. 8 in his full-time season debut. While Hemric wasn’t able to notch a win in the Xfinity Series, where he’s spent the last two seasons, his consistency (16 top-five finishes and 23 top 10s, leading to a third-place finish in the final standings), is telling of his potential. With some time and nurturing of his talent at RCR, Hemric could be a strong favorite for Sunoco Rookie of the Year in 2019.

TEAM PREVIEWS
 Jan. 22: Assorted teams
 Jan. 23: Richard Petty Motorsports
 Jan. 24: Germain Racing
 Jan. 25: Leavine Family Racing
 Jan 28: Front Row Motorsports
 Jan. 29: JTG Daugherty Racing
 Jan. 30: Wood Brothers Racing
 Jan. 31: Roush Fenway Racing
 Feb. 1: Richard Childress Racing
 Feb. 4: Chip Ganasssi Racing
 Feb. 5: Hendrick Motorsports
 Feb. 6: Joe Gibbs Racing
 Feb. 7: Stewart-Haas Racing
 Feb. 8: Team Penske