Richard Childress Racing
ECR Engines rev beyond RCR teams in racing
April 11, 2013
WELCOME, N.C. – ECR Engines are synonymous with speed, power and reliability when bolted inside the Chevrolets of Richard Childress Racing.
However, the ECR name and power goes way beyond RCR.
People are familiar with the three full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams of Paul Menard in the No. 27 Menards Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick in the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet and Jeff Burton driving the No. 31 CAT Chevrolet. Just as they are tuned into Brian Scott driving the No. 2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, Austin Dillon in the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet and a variety of drivers in the No. 33 Chevrolets in the Nationwide Series. When it comes to the Camping World Truck Series, ECR has power plants in the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for Ty Dillon and the No. 62 South Point Chevrolet of Brendan Gaughan.
Through a technical alliance in 2013, ECR also provides engines for the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet on a full-time basis with Kurt Busch as the team’s driver.
Created when Dale Earnhardt, Inc. merged their winning-engine department with RCR’s already solid foundation in 2007, it produced a powerhouse of horsepower and added to the Welcome-based operation’s legacy. ECR employs 133 full-time staff which includes tuners, builders, teardown, engineers, research and developers under three different roofs.
Heading up the entire operation is Richie Gilmore, chief operating officer. Prior to his time at RCR, he was in a similar capacity at DEI and before that Hendrick Motorsports. Danny Lawrence, who has been with RCR since 1978, was the chief engine builder and is now ECR’s trackside manager.
ECR’s technical director is Dr. Andy Randolph. He has been in NASCAR since 1999 and started with ECR in 2008. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, with a focus on combustion, from Northwestern University.
In 2011, ECR amassed 51 victories spread out across the various types of racing they build horsepower for on asphalt and dirt. In 2012, there were 34 trips to Victory Lane for ECR.
Wanting to enhance their performance and keep up with the competition, the off-season was spent making improvements on the actual engines and in their overall operational procedures.
“We are more organizationally efficient than we were last year at this time,” Randolph said. “We made tweaks to the work flow, enhanced our quality and inspections. Basically, we just improved on everything we already had going on here.
“As far as the engines themselves, we worked together with our partners from Okuma and now have an intake manifold that is machined from just one piece. We eliminated the process of building one from two pieces and have it down to one, in the process improving repeatability. That is just one initiative we made, there are many others starting to show their value lately.
“There was an immediate improvement in our horsepower and the results showed up on the track in Daytona.”
Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway this past February produced three trips to Victory Lane for ECR Engines. Harvick won the Sprint Unlimited in the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet on Saturday night; then his Budweiser Duel on Thursday afternoon. Tony Stewart won the Nationwide Series race in the No. 33 Ritz Chevrolet on Saturday before the Daytona 500.
In all at Daytona, ECR had 34 different power plants spread out across five different series.
Daytona wasn’t the only place ECR Engines made laps and trips to Victory Lane this year. They also produce Corvette engines for the Grand-Am Road Racing Sports Car Series. In March, they earned the victory, fourth and fifth place finishes for the event held at Circuit of Americas in Austin, Texas.
And, just last week, the ECR Engines qualified first, second and third in the same series race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. They backed that up by finishing first, second and third, as well.
“In addition to the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Truck, ARCA and Corvette engines; we also build ones for Asphalt Modifieds and Dirt Late Models,” Randolph said. “We are able to provide engines for the bigger teams, and for smaller ones on the local level.
“And, because we get asked this, every engine is built to the same recipe for that particular series. There is no favoritism to a certain team in any series at ECR. Our job is to build powerful engines. It’s up to the teams to get them to victory lane once they’re in their cars.”
To date for 2013, ECR can boast having not one single engine failure in any series.
“Our goals for this year are simple,” Randolph said. “We want to provide race and championship winning motors to all classes we deal with at ECR. And, we want to do that with zero engine failures along the way.”
For more information about ECR Engines, contact them via www.ecrengines.com and follow them on Twitter at @ECREngines