McArdle expands role with RCR

Richard Childress Racing is ramping up its front office as it solidifies its 2014 NASCAR plans.

Mark McArdle has left his post with Furniture Row Racing and will work full time as director of operations for RCR.

The move comes at a time when RCR is looking to fill the ride vacated by Kevin Harvick and hoping to retain its technical alliance with Furniture Row and is in exploratory discussions with JTG-Daugherty Racing to add the organization’s No. 47 team to the fold as well. Currently FRR is weighing its options with other manufacturers since its contract with Chevy runs out at the end of the year. Toyota has visited FRR in Denver but nothing has been formalized either way. FRR principals have put their driver selection on hold until after the manufacturer decision has been made, which should be over the next couple of weeks.

As for RCR, sources say Ryan Newman has taken the lead in the search to find a driver to replace Harvick, who is leaving at the end of the season.

For the last four years McArdle worked at FRR, most recently as executive director of competition. This season, however, McArdle was splitting time between the Denver-based Furniture Row NASCAR Sprint Cup shop and the RCR shop, which is located in Welcome, N.C. Although McArdle has signed on with RCR, he will continue to work as a liaison between the two organizations for the rest of the season.

Team owner Richard Childress said on Saturday that McArdle brings “leadership, organizational skills and respect” to his new position at RCR.

“That was three of the key traits we were looking for,” Childress added.

McArdle brings 35 years of racing experience to RCR. Although he started in open wheel and built Indy 500-winning engines for Penske Racing and Ilmor, McArdle made the transition to NASCAR in 1999 as part of Cal Wells Precision Preparation Inc.

In the last 15 seasons, McArdle has worked with Penske, Yates Engines, Evernham Motorsports, Richard Petty Motorsports and FRR. During his tenure at FRR, McArdle’s family remained in North Carolina. The opportunity with RCR will enable him to balance his time between home and work.

McArdle’s move to RCR also reunites him with director of competition Eric Warren, with whom he worked for eight seasons at Evernham.

“If you study my history in the business I tend to be somewhat focused on process and organization and procedure,” McArdle said. “Generally speaking, that means the people that are responsible for finding speed in the race car can spend their energies doing just that and not worrying about issues that are things they shouldn’t be concerned with or have to be concerned with.

“Fundamentally, my role is to solve organizational level problems to ensure that the efforts are going to speed.”

RCR is hoping to hear from Furniture Row by mid-month to solidify its team and driver lineup for 2014. An announcement regarding Newman could come between now and Bristol race weekend on Aug. 23 — with a new twist to the story. Newman’s crew chief Matt Borland could be part of the equation as a package deal for RCR. The reunion between the pair (they began working together again in October 2012 after initially partnering from 2002-05) has been strong with the introduction of the Generation 6 car this season – including their win at the Brickyard. Borland started at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009 as technical director and was promoted to director of competition in 2011. He added crew chief to his duties when he was reunited with Newman over three of the final four races last year after Tony Gibson was moved to the No. 10 car and Danica Patrick.