Wth Chevrolet struggling at the NASCAR Cup Series compared to its rivals, Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing will work together in their hunt for manufacturer glory. On Thursday, the two teams announced they will collaborate to form a unified Chevrolet engine program starting in 2021. The effort will be spearheded by Hendrick’s new executive vice president Jeff Andrews and ECR Engines president Richie Gilmore.
“Following the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing will formalize a joint venture focused on engine R&D and the establishment of a common Chevrolet engine specification,” read a joint statement from the teams. “While our two championship-winning organizations will collaborate on research and development, our respective engine shop operations will continue to function independently as they currently do. We look forward to working together to fully leverage the knowledge and intellectual property of our two successful programs to advance Chevrolet’s engine for NASCAR.”
RCR and Hendrick have dominated the Cup Series landscape with a combined twenty titles and 369 races, along with 39 total national series championships. Today, the two teams field six combined cars, four of which made the 2020 playoffs. Chip Ganassi Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing, and Spire Motorsports also receive engines from Hendrick, while RCR’s ECR Engines’ customers include Germain Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, and StarCom Racing.
In the Cup Series, the three manufacturers have four major engine builders: while Ford (Roush-Yates Engines) and Toyota (Toyota Racing Development) have one program each, the Chevrolet camp is mainly split between Hendrick and ECR. However, despite the legacies of the two organisations, Chevrolet has fallen on tough times in recent years. It currently lags behind Ford and Toyota in the manufacturers’ standings and has finished last in that championship every year since 2017, a far cry from its thirteen-year run of winning the manufacturers’ title from 2003 to 2015.
“We started talking about this about two years ago,” said Andrews while speaking with SiriusXM NASCAR. “The day was going to come when we really needed to figure out how to get these two programs together. (There’s) a tremendous amount of talent and people, and a tremendous amount of equipment and resources between the two programs.”