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Richard Childress Racing was one of the smaller teams coming into the 2022 Cup Series season with elevated expectations due to the introduction of the new Next Gen car, which NASCAR officials insisted would level the playing field.

When the season ended, RCR confirmed that the new car had, in fact, given smaller teams a chance at winning. It was a very successful season for the team on the track. Off the track, however, was more complicated. Here’s a look back on the 2022 season for RCR.  

Richard Childress Racing has successful season 

Tyler Reddick celebrates
Tyler Reddick celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Auto Trader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on September 25, 2022. | Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

In racing, it’s all about the results. Wins are the best result possible and the barometer for a successful season. By that metric alone, Richard Childress Racing had a great year in 2022. But wins only tell part of the story.

Tyler Reddick, who most experts had suggested was due for his first Cup win, got teasingly close early in the season, including a shocking runner-up finish on the Bristol dirt after Chase Briscoe took him out on the final lap, and another second-place finish at Darlington. In July, the 26-year-old finally broke through, winning at Road America.  

Just a few weeks later on the Indianapolis road course, he did it again. Reddick wasn’t finished with his trips to Victory Lane, making a final visit there on an oval at Texas in the fall. His wins were reason enough to categorize the organization as having a successful year. But his teammate Austin Dillon joined in on the action, pulling off an improbable win during the regular-season finale at Daytona, clinching a berth in the playoffs.  

Although both drivers made the postseason, they didn’t make it very far. Reddick didn’t make it into the Round of 12 and finished 14th, while Dillon ended the season 11th.  

Tyler Reddick replaced by Kyle Busch in 2023

Reddick’s success was one of the top Cup storylines for the year. However, it was overshadowed at one point by the driver’s announcement mid-season that he would be leaving RCR for 23XI Racing in 2024

The team owner was not happy with the decision and made that clear on multiple occasions. Reports indicated that Childress was potentially exploring moving on from Reddick before the 2024 season.

Enter Kyle Busch. All of the frustration and heartburn of losing what most consider an up-and-coming talent in Reddick was offset in September when Childress and Busch put their differences in the past behind them and announced that the two-time Cup Series champion would be driving the No. 8 car in 2023. 

Overall grade: A

Reflecting on 2022, Richard Childress Racing proved that the Next Gen car leveled the playing field with four wins, compared to none the year before. The Tyler Reddick to 23XI news could have been a setback for the organization, knowing a key component to what appeared to be a promising future was leaving. But to Childress and his grandson Dillon’s credit, the team landed the biggest free agent available in Kyle Busch. 

That bodes well for 2023. Busch is getting a fresh start and has something to prove. Dillon will have a wealth of knowledge and experience readily available to him. The team’s on-track performance, combined with the organizations’s response to losing Reddick earns a solid A for the year. 

By the numbers

Austin Dillon
2021 | 2022
Tyler Reddick
2021 | 2022
Wins0 | 10 | 3
Top 5s1 | 53 | 10
Top 10s8 | 1116 | 15
Top 20s31 | 2427 | 19
Average Start15.5 | 18.915.4 | 9.5
Average Finish14.4 | 16.515.0 | 17.6
Laps Led27 | 2443 | 503