Childress coy on whether or not baseball owner Tom Hicks buying into team

Updated: November 11, 2007

Staying The Course

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Nextel Cup team owner Richard Childress hasn't joined the trend of adding an individual partner to his organization. Not yet, anyway.

Childress paused and had a big smile on his face when asked if Texas Rangers team owner Tom Hicks might become a future partner of Richard Childress Racing.

"Tom's a friend of mine," Childress said with a grin. "We talk a lot about different things."

Hicks, who also owns the Dallas Stars NHL team, attended the Cup race at California Speedway on Labor Day weekend as Childress' guest.

Hicks also is a business partner with George Gillett, who bought majority ownership in Ray Evernham's Cup team earlier this year. Gillett, who owns the Montreal Canadiens NHL team, partnered with Hicks to buy the Liverpool, England, soccer team earlier this year for $430 million.

Childress said he has been approached this year by several corporations wanting to invest in RCR, but he already has a relationship with the New York firm of Chartwell Investments.

"I brought Chartwell in here in 2002," he said. "They're still involved in a small percentage of the company. At this time, we still want to go in the direction we've been going."

The Great Motivator?

Hendrick Motorsports has won 18 of 35 Cup races this season, including the last six events. All four of Rick Hendrick's drivers -- Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Casey Mears and Kyle Busch -- have won at least one race this year.

Jeff Burton, who drives the No. 31 Chevy for Richard Childress Racing, was asked Friday what he thinks makes Hendrick's team so dominant.

"They are very organized and very meticulous," Burton said. "They have a plan that they execute with a lot of passion. Rick does a really good job of finding a way to motivate people."

That's Gotta Hurt

Richard Childress said it cost RCR $9 million this year for his three Cup teams to make the switch to the Car of Tomorrow.

"If you factor in everything with parts, pieces, engineering and testing, it's about $3 million a team," he said. "It's a big lick on us this year, but you have to look at where you're going to be three years down the road."

Childress believes teams will build fewer cars with the COT, which was one of NASCAR's goals for cost containment with the new model.

"You aren't going to take a car back to the shop and cut the body off it because you found something new," Childress said. "You're not going to come in and say, 'I want the right frame rail raised an inch and the left lowered an inch.' You're locked in on the bodies, so I can see it will save us money in the long haul."

But Childress said all the teams will continue to spend millions of dollars on research and development.

"We're still going to spend a lot of money on aero [testing]," he said. "Since the box is so much smaller, every little thing is going to count more."


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A Championship Visit


Four-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher was in the Cup garage Friday, talking with Mark Martin at the Army hauler for the No. 01 Chevy. The Army also sponsors Schumacher's dragster.

Schumacher has won the last two Top Fuel titles on the last pass of the final event. He doesn't mind when people say his team is a little lucky.

"That's OK," Schumacher said. "I would much rather be on the team that people say is lucky than the team that people say, 'Man they just can't catch a break.'

"But we make a lot of luck with [tuner] Alan Johnson and a crew that is absolutely flawless at crunch time. I can't write a script any cooler than the last two years, but I'm sure there's one out there."

This season was the first year of The Countdown, the NHRA's version of a Chase playoff system. Tony Stewart is the only Cup driver to win championships in the old points system and the Chase, and Schumacher now is the only NHRA driver to win titles in both formats.

"I like that a lot," Schumacher said. "It's not only that we won in both, but I won the last one the old way and the first one the new way. That's really cool. Later in life it'll probably mean even more to me."

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