Richard Childress Racing moving closer to setting 2017 driver lineup
INDIANAPOLIS — Car owner Richard Childress anticipates he’ll know his 2017 driver lineup within three weeks.
While Childress told NBC Sports on Thursday that “we’ve still got a couple of months before we make any real decisions,’’ he did say that “we’ll kind of know in the next two or three weeks. We’ll have a direction.’’
The main question for the three-car organization is Ryan Newman’s status. He’s in the final year of his contract, and Childress’ grandson, Ty Dillon, appears set to move to Sprint Cup next season.
Newman is in his third season at RCR and enters Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) 12th in the points after back-to-back top-10 finishes.
The team also includes Paul Menard, who is 23rd in the points. Childress said Menards is expected to return to the team as sponsor next year. The final member of the team is Austin Dillon, who is 13th in points and seeking to make the playoffs for the first time.
Ty Dillon, who won the 2014 Xfinity race at Indy, is third in the Xfinity points heading into Saturday’s race on NBCSN — the final Xfinity Dash 4 Cash event of the season.
Ty Dillon also has driven eight Sprint Cup races this season. He drove three races for Tony Stewart early in the season and has run five races for Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing.
“I think he’ll be in a Cup car next year,’’ Childress said of Ty Dillon. “I’m pretty sure he’ll be in a Cup car. We’re working on some different programs. Hell, he may be with us, who knows? We’re just working on a lot of different things.
“Right now it’s just a lot of things are hanging. We’re trying to put together what’s going to be the best for everybody, not just for RCR, but for the drivers and the sponsors, we’re trying to put together good programs.’’
That also includes performance on the track. RCR last won a Sprint Cup race in 2013 when Kevin Harvick was with the team.
“I feel that our cars have gotten better over the last month, month and a half,’’ Childress said. “We were real fast to start out with, we took a little dip, now I think we’re coming back.’’