With Kevin Harvick stuck in a 79-race winless streak and 16th in the points standings, and Casey Mears 22nd in points, team owner Richard Childress announced Wednesday he will swap the crews Harvick and Mears work with in the Sprint Cup Series.
The changes will start following this weekend's race at Talladega Superspeedway. The swap of crews includes virtually all personnel with the exception of spotters.
“The decision to interchange the 29 and 07 teams was made to make both programs stronger and more successful,” Childress said in a news release of the cars fielded for Harvick and Mears, respectively. “Our main objective has always been to have all four of RCR's teams qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Neither team has had the success this season that we know they're capable of, so we decided it was time to make a change to improve the two teams and the overall strength of RCR. We feel this change positions us to achieve that goal.”
The move means an end to the long-time association of Harvick and crew chief Todd Berrier. Gil Martin is the crew chief for Mears.
“Todd and Gil are proven winners who have strong and successful teams behind them,” Childress said. “Chemistry is an important part of any successful organisation, and I felt it was time to change the makeup of these two teams. We've done this before with positive results.”
Harvick, who won the 2001 Nationwide Series title with Berrier as his crew chief, has been paired with Berrier on the Cup side since March 2003. Harvick and Berrier, who has been with RCR since 1994, won eight races together but had not been to victory lane since the 2007 Daytona 500.
Martin and Berrier are accustomed to getting into the Chase. Berrier has led Harvick into the Chase the past three years, and Martin led Clint Bowyer into the Chase the past two. Martin became Mears' crew chief when Mears joined RCR this season and Bowyer moved from the #07 to the #33.
RCR's other two teams are in the top twelve in points, with Bowyer sixth and Jeff Burton eleventh.