The No. 29 Richard Childress Racing road crew for NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kevin Harvick was told its services would not be needed after this weekend, sources have informed FOXSports.com.
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One crewman said he found out about the decision in the parking lot when he arrived at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday morning. Another crewman stated he found out via the Internet.
“No one knows where we’re going,” said one 17-year veteran of RCR.
Crew chief Gil Martin says his son Ford called to inform him that his job status was changing. Early Friday morning, rumors swirled that Martin, who still has two years on his contract, was out of the No. 29 crew chief’s role and moving into the director of competition position. As Martin pointed out, that role is currently filled by Kent Day.
After a second consecutive season in which Kevin Harvick is on pace to finish third in the point standings, one lieutenant characterized the situation as the “(expletive) hitting the fan” this week. Consequently, heads began to roll.
During Harvick’s media availability Friday he spoke of transitions at RCR throughout all three series.
“Well, there’s definitely a lot of things happening at RCR with the one Cup team (the No. 33 of Clint Bowyer) going away,” Harvick said. “We’re adding three Nationwide teams and a Truck team, so obviously there’s going to be some personnel changes.
“I think if we had gone out and won a championship you’d say you probably don’t need to do anything. But if we sit on our hands and don’t evaluate everybody’s position at this particular point I think we’d be fools. I would anticipate some changes, yes.”
On Friday, Childress said talk of the No. 29 team being let go is premature and most if not all men would be reassigned within the organization — including Martin.
“There are changes coming next week,” Childress said. “What we’re working on, nothing will be finalized until after this weekend. Gil will be with RCR in some form for sure next year, maybe even as a crew chief.”
Although sources say Shane Wilson was earmarked for the crew chief’s role on the No. 31 team of Jeff Burton, his name is now being linked as a possible replacement on the No. 29 Chevrolet. Another possible candidate is Ernie Cope, who has been the crew chief for Kevin Harvick Inc. Nationwide Series driver Elliott Sadler and has worked with Harvick in the past. Luke Lambert, who is currently the crew chief for Burton and the No. 31 team is expected to assume the crew chief duties with Sadler in the Nationwide Series next year.