While none of the four Chase finalists at Homestead-Miami Speedway have won a Cup title, all four of their team owners already have a championship trophy.
But it wouldn’t be surprising if some of those trophies are a little dusty.
Richard Childress last won a Cup title in 1994 with Dale Earnhardt. He now has a shot with Ryan Newman to win another, which would be the seventh for the organization that won six with Earnhardt behind the wheel of his famous black No. 3.
If there’s a sentimental favorite among the four teams, it would be Childress and Richard Childress Racing.
“We’ve been right there, but we haven’t been able to close it off,” Childress said about the last 20 years. “It’s great to be here and be in the final four and have a good shot at it. … To have Ryan in the car this year and knowing his ability and everyone at RCR is really hungry for that championship.
“We’re just going to go out and give it our all.”
Newman, in his first year at RCR, admitted he takes a more selfish look at the championship.
“Obviously, it would be awesome for myself personally, for my family, and all my friends, but at the same time to know that I’m driving for somebody that has a lot of history in our sport, that history being with a very dominant driver 20 years ago, previously winning the championship with Dale Earnhardt, so that is special,” Newman said.
“But, selfishly, I’m all about me when it comes to this. It really is a dream opportunity for all of us.”
Newman crew chief Luke Lambert said it would be premature to talk about what a championship would mean for RCR.
“We really just haven’t been having those conversations about what this could mean for the company because I don’t feel like it’s constructive at this point,” Lambert said.
“I hope that next week we’re able to sit back and have the discussion of the gravity of what this could mean, but right now that’s not where we’re trying to put our focus.”
The other three team owners have each won titles in the last 10 years. Joe Gibbs last won in 2005 with Tony Stewart. Stewart won the title as a co-owner/driver in 2011. And Roger Penske won in 2012 with Brad Keselowski.
Denny Hamlin will be the driver this time trying to win the championship for Gibbs, while it’s Kevin Harvick driving for Stewart and Joey Logano for Penske. All four drivers enter the finale Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway with an equal number of points.
Hamlin is the only driver among the four still driving for the original team he started with in Cup racing.
“Our sport has changed over the last few years since I’ve been in it, but we got here the old-fashioned way, and to work your way all the way to the top would definitely be something special,” Hamlin said. “And to do it with the group that gave me my start would mean a lot.”
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