Editor’s note: Today’s Richard Childress Racing preview continues NASCAR.com’s countdown of team previews for the NASCAR Cup Series season, ranked in order of best finish in last year’s owner standings.
RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING
Engine: ECR Engines
Drivers: Austin Dillon (No. 3), Tyler Reddick (No. 8)
Crew chiefs: Justin Alexander (No. 3), Randall Burnett (No. 8)
What’s new: Tyler Reddick makes the move up to the Cup ranks, taking over Daniel Hemric’s previous ride. Reddick spent last season with RCR in the Xfinity Series, where he won the team its 13th championship across all NASCAR ranks. Reddick is bringing his championship-winning team with him to the top series. Hemric, meanwhile, moves back to the Xfinity Series with JR Motorsports. Dillon is paired with Alexander, who was previously paired with the driver of the No. 3 in 2017-18.
Team strength: A fresh face in Tyler Reddick may be exactly what Richard Childress Racing needs in the Cup Series. Both of the team’s drivers missed the NASCAR Playoffs and finished outside the top 20 in 2019. They were outside the top 10 from 2015-18, too. This puts a lot of pressure on the new rookie, but for the team as a whole, he could be the spark it needs.
The Action Network’s Best Bet: Tyler Reddick, the two-time defending Xfinity Series champion, is Kyle Larson 2.0. Reddick excels at tracks with high-tire wear that require the use of multiple grooves, especially the high line. Early-season races at Auto Club Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway come to mind as good spots to back Reddick. – PJ Walsh
Racing Insights’ Number to Know: Four. Austin Dillon (Gander Trucks in 2011, Xfinity Series in 2013) and Tyler Reddick (Xfinity Series in 2018 and 2019) combined have four NASCAR championships. Also, Richard Childress Racing may have failed to win a 2019 Cup Series race, but the team had four poles after having only five total in the prior 11 seasons (2008-18).
AUSTIN DILLON: No. 3 Chevrolet
2019 stats: Six top 10s, three poles; 16.5 average start, 19.5 average finish
2020 championship odds: 300-1
Fantasy Live Five (five tracks to consider for Dillon in NASCAR Fantasy Live): Daytona, Auto Club, Darlington, Talladega, Michigan — RJ Kraft
Outlook: Last year was Austin Dillon’s first time in six full-time seasons without a single top-five finish. It also was the first time since 2016 he closed out a season without a trip to Victory Lane. With that said, Dillon did manage to snag a career-high three poles in 2019. Can he right the ship? It helps that Dillon has Justin Alexander back on top his pit box since it was Alexander who helped Dillon win the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 and then 2018 Daytona 500, his only victories in the Cup Series.
TYLER REDDICK: No. 8 Chevrolet
2019 stats: (NCS) a top 10 in two starts; (NXS) champion with six wins, five poles, 24 top fives, 27 top 10s
2020 championship odds: 300-1
Fantasy Live Five (five tracks to consider for Reddick in NASCAR Fantasy Live): Miami, Kansas, Atlanta, Pocono, Talladega
Outlook: Tyler Reddick enters the Cup Series after back-to-back championships in the Xfinity Series. The 2020 Sunoco Rookie of the Year competition is stout, but Reddick’s name will certainly be in the mix throughout the season. He may even win his first race in the big leagues during his freshman year. Reddick’s sole top 10 in the Cup Series came at Kansas Speedway last year. It was one of his two starts in a top car for Richard Childress Racing. He also finished 27th due to a crash in the 2019 Daytona 500.
NASCAR.com 2020 team previews schedule
Jan. 20: Teams outside the top 30
Jan. 21: Go Fas Racing
Jan. 22: Front Row Motorsports
Jan. 23: Richard Petty Motorsports
Jan. 24: Germain Racing
Jan. 27: Leavine Family Racing
Jan. 28: Richard Childress Racing
Jan. 29: JTG Daugherty Racing
Jan. 30: Wood Brothers Racing
Jan. 31: Roush Fenway Racing
Feb. 3: Hendrick Motorsports
Feb. 4: Chip Ganassi Racing
Feb. 5: Team Penske
Feb. 6: Stewart-Haas Racing
Feb. 7: Joe Gibbs Racing