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Harvick's new black car leads Childress

Kevin Harvick Shoot
Keep your eyes on Kevin Harvick, driving RCR's first black car since Dale Earnhardt died.
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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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Editor's note: As we get closer to the 2011 season-opening Daytona 500 (Feb. 20 on FOX), FOXSports.com takes you along for the ride during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Each day through Thursday we will provide an inside look at several NASCAR Sprint Cup teams taking part in the tour, including expert analysis from members of the NASCAR on FOX team.

Richard Childress Racing had an unbelievable turnaround in 2010.

<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/lists/Kevin-Harvick-top-10-NASCAR-accomplishments" _cke_saved_href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/lists/Kevin-Harvick-top-10-NASCAR-accomplishments" "="" target="_blank" title="Kevin Harvick's Top-10 Career Accomplishments"><img alt="Kevin Harvick's Top-10 Career Accomplishments" href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/lists/Kevin-Harvick-top-10-NASCAR-accomplishments"" _cke_saved_href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/lists/Kevin-Harvick-top-10-NASCAR-accomplishments"" src="http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/02/08/020812-NASCAR-Kevin-Harvick-PI_20120208103702408_202_97.JPG" align="middle"></a> <h3> <a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/lists/Kevin-Harvick-top-10-NASCAR-accomplishments" _cke_saved_href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/lists/Kevin-Harvick-top-10-NASCAR-accomplishments" target="_blank">Happy days</a></h3> Kevin Harvick has enjoyed a stellar career. <a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/lists/Kevin-Harvick-top-10-NASCAR-accomplishments" _cke_saved_href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/lists/Kevin-Harvick-top-10-NASCAR-accomplishments">Check out his top 10 career achievements.</a></div>

Look back to 2009 and you will see that none of their teams won a race or made the Chase for the Sprint Cup. For a championship-caliber organization, it was a very bad year across the board.

But in 2010, two of their three teams drove into Victory Lane a total of five times, and perhaps more importantly, all three teams qualified for the Chase. What a difference a year makes.

This year RCR is going back to a four-car stable. It did that a few years ago and that hurt the organization. I think it learned a painful yet valuable lesson. I really believe it will do it right this time. Richard Childress has hired a lot of new people for Paul Menard’s team. I just think last time when the organization tried adding the fourth car, it became stretched too thin.

I know everyone already is pointing to Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards as the ones to watch for the championship. But don’t take your eye off Kevin Harvick in that No. 29 car. I think after coming so close to winning it all last year, Harvick will be even more of a contender.

Also don’t forget that he will be in a black car. It’s the first time RCR will be fielding a black car since the loss of Dale Earnhardt Sr. It would have been cool to see Kevin win the 2010 championship because he would have been the reigning champion all through 2011, which is the 10th anniversary of the loss of Dale at Daytona.

Naturally, this is going to be a topic throughout the year, but especially during Speedweeks at Daytona. I just really think that Harvick is the one everyone needs to watch. His consistency week in and week out is what champions are made of.

Inside Richard Childress Racing

Team No. 27

Driver: Paul Menard (finished 23rd in the 2010 Sprint Cup standings driving for Richard Petty Motorsports, zero career Cup wins)

Crew chief: Richard “Slugger” Labbe

Primary sponsor: Menards

 

Team No. 29

Driver: Kevin Harvick (finished third in the 2010 Sprint Cup standings, 14 career Cup wins)

Crew chief: Gil Martin

Primary sponsor: Budweiser (Check out its 2011 ride)

 

Team No. 31

Driver: Jeff Burton (finished 12th in the 2010 Sprint Cup standings, 21 career Cup wins)

Crew chief: Todd Berrier

Primary sponsor: Caterpillar

 

Team No. 33

Driver: Clint Bowyer (finished 10th in the 2010 Sprint Cup standings, four career Cup wins)

Crew chief: Shane Wilson

Primary sponsor: Cheerios/Hamburger Helper (Check out their 2011 ride)

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