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Richard Childress Racing finalizes 2017 driver, crew chief lineups


Richard Childress Racing will return all three of its Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers in 2017 while fielding five cars in the Xfinity Series.

Austin Dillon (No. 3), Paul Menard (No. 27) and Ryan Newman (No. 31) are back in the Cup Series. Richard “Slugger” Labbe, Matt Borland and Luke Lambert will work with each driver respectively.

All three teams will be seeking to end a winless streak for RCR that stretches back to 2013 when Kevin Harvick was still with the organization.

In the Xfinity Series, RCR will have multiple drivers piloting the No. 2 and No. 3 cars. Menard and Austin Dillon will be the primary drivers of the No. 2. Ty Dillon, who will drive the No. 13 Cup car for Germain Racing full-time, will drive the No. 3 along with unannounced drivers.

The No. 2 team won three races in 2016 with Austin Dillon and Michael McDowell.

Crew chief Justin Alexander will lead the No. 2 team in his second season and the No. 3 team will be led by rookie Matt Swiderski. A 10-year veteran of RCR’s engineering department, Swiderski made his debut in the 2016 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, in which the No. 3 team finished second.

Veteran Brendan Gaughan will be back for his sixth full-time Xfinity season and his fourth with RCR. Gaughan, 41, qualified for the inaugural Xfinity Chase before being eliminated in the third round. Gaughan is once again paired with crew chief Shane Wilson for their 12th season.

Brandon Jones returns to the No. 33 team with crew chief Nick Harrison. Jones finished his rookie campaign 10th in the point standings after earning 12 top 10s. Jones’ only NASCAR win in 94 starts came in the K&N Pro Series East in 2014.

New to the RCR family is Daniel Hemric, who will drive the No. 21 after spending two seasons in the Camping World Truck Series, including driving for Brad Keselowski Racing in 2016. Hemric has yet to win a Truck race.

Hemric will be working with crew chief Danny Stockman, who has won two NASCAR titles with Austin Dillon in the Xfinity and Truck series.