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2024 Cup Series Team Previews: Richard Childress Racing

(Photo Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

By Adam Carabine & Logan Morris

This year, in preparation for the 2024 NASCAR season, we present our Team Previews Series. Each day until the end of January, a new Team Preview will be live on our website. Check back every day to see what we have to say about your favourite team!

Adam Carabine: Back at it again with some more Team Previews, let’s discuss Richard Childress Racing.  Last year was the debut of the new-attitude-new-number Kyle Busch.  Dare I say he was more likeable this past year? He returns to the 8 for a second year in a row, alongside long-time RCR stalwart, Austin Dillon in the 3.  What do we make of RCR’s chances this year, Logan?

Logan Morris: Any time you have Kyle Busch you have a chance. For my money, he remains the most talented driver in the field. The results fizzled some in the second-half for “The Rowdy One” last season. I don’t expect there to a significant drop off for Busch this season. He’s still a student of the game, and demands that of his team. Expect a more consistent season out of the 8 car this season. Shifting gears to Austin Dillion, every year I wonder if this is the year he could be on the hot-seat. He never seems to be. However, I have to ask the question, if he isn’t more consistent this season, will he finally be on the hot seat? 

AC: I hate to say it, because I don’t mind the guy, but does he have this long of a leash without his grandpa at the helm?  How do you fire your own grandson? I get it, but I also think it might be time for Austin Dillon to take a step back.  Maybe he can go run in the Xfinity Series for RCR, and he would likely be one of the favourites there.  I think Austin’s greatest hope will be that Kyle Busch can elevate the entire organization with his talent and work ethic.  I remember when Busch first joined the team last year, Austin Dillon was saying that things were already changing at the shop at Kyle’s request.  Hopefully that willpower to win can carry over to the 3 team. 

Last season, both Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon were DNF machines.  With 6 for Busch and 10 for Dillon, they’ll certainly want to clean that up this year.  What can the teams do to improve on this in ‘24?

LM: For Busch, he was very open about the fact that sometimes he was probably pushing the car too hard at various points last season. I would expect that to change with another year of experience with the Next-Gen car.  One has to wonder if Dillon was similarly struggling with that as well. I would assume that Dillon’s biggest goal of the season is to take better care of his equipment. Some years there’s just not much rhyme or reason to it, it just isn’t your year. Last year was not Austin Dillon’s. 

AC: I can’t imagine the pressure of having a Kyle Busch come and be your teammate, too. It’s easy to compare yourself to him when he’s on a different team and say ‘hey, he’s better than me,’ but now you’re running essentially the same equipment.  There’s got to be some internal pressure there, if not from Kyle himself.  Let’s also not forget that Kyle Busch had his first year in a Chevrolet, which may have contributed to some of the growing pains there.  I’m not sure exactly how different the interior of one of these cars would be, but I imagine there’s enough of a difference to notice it.  

I do truly believe that RCR needs to improve as a whole this year if they want to make any noise.  Do you think both cars are playoffs or bust?

LM: Absolutely. Richard Childress brought Kyle Busch in to compete for championships and to make the organization as a  whole better. If both cars don’t improve this season, he’ll likely be less than thrilled with his investment.  

AC: And by the sounds of it, it was a fairly sizeable investment, at that.  It’ll be fascinating to watch.  

Stay tuned to our Team Preview series - next up is TrackHouse Racing!


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