The salad days of challenging for NASCAR Cup Series championships and logging multiple victories per season are long gone at Richard Childress Racing.
But on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, the good times made a return as RCR drivers Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick finished first and second respectively in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.
The victory was the first for Dillon since 2018 and just the third of his 247-race career.
The runner-up finish was a career best for Reddick, who has been a pleasant surprise in his rookie season of 2020.
The 1-2 finish was the first in nine years for RCR, the team for which Dale Earnhardt Sr. won six of his seven championships.
It all came courtesy of a series of late race wrecks and cautions at steaming hot TMS, as several drivers who led large hunks of laps got caught in unplanned pitting sequences.
Among those drivers were Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin who each managed big leads during the day.
Joey Logano of Team Penske, Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing and Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing – all of whom appeared to have cars strong enough to win – wound up third through fifth respectively.
Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson has dominated at TMS with seven wins – four more than anybody else in the field – but on Sunday, the track dominated Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team. He had a fast car but pit penalties, a brush with the wall and a third-stage wreck, negated impressive drives up through the field. He finished 26th, 12 laps off the pace.
Chase Elliott, who won the NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway last Wednesday evening, twice failed pre-race inspection and was sent to the rear of the field for the start. He had originally drawn the eighth starting position. But he steadily battled back, spent most of the race among the leaders and finished 12th.