WELCOME, N.C. — Even as Richard Childress Racing celebrates its history with a 50th anniversary celebration, there’s plenty of new surrounding the team’s two-car fleet for the upcoming Monster Energy Series season, including a new driver in Daniel Hemric and a new car number — 8.
One constant for RCR in 2019: the return of Luke Lambert, who is back with the organization for his ninth season as a crew chief. Lambert has presided atop the pit box for driver Ryan Newman and the No. 31 Chevrolet for the last five seasons. Newman will join Roush Fenway Racing next season, and RCR will change the team’s number from 31 to 8 to mark Hemric’s arrival.
Lambert has already gotten to know his new driver, as the two worked together in offseason testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Team owner Richard Childress said that Hemric and Lambert have quickly developed chemistry, something he hopes will continue in 2019.
“They’ve already done one test at Charlotte and they blended, both of them,” Childress said. “They’ve got a lot of respect for each other and they both want the same thing and that’s to win.”
Lambert has worked for RCR for more than a decade, starting with the company as a mechanical engineer. He rose to a crew chief position midway through the 2011 season with Jeff Burton, and served in that role on the Xfinity Series side for Elliott Sadler the following year, with the pair winning four races together and finishing second in the season standings.
In his second full year with the No. 31 (now No. 8) team in 2014, Lambert helped guide Newman’s underdog march to the Championship 4 field in the Homestead-Miami finale, where he finished as the runner-up. He also called the shots on Newman’s most recent major-league win, at ISM Raceway in Phoenix in March 2017.
“He’s been here for years and he’s won races for us,” Childress said, “so I’m proud to have him back.”