Richard Childress Racing has gotten off to a strong start with both Paul Menard and Ryan Newman currently on the Chase Grid. However, the No. 3 team has been stuck in neutral with just one top 10 through the first 15 races.
RCR is hoping to change that by shifting the man at the top of Austin Dillon’s crew with Richard “Slugger” Labbe taking over. The veteran crew chief served as the head of Menard’s crew from 2010-14 after leading the way for drivers like Sterling Marlin, Dale Jarrett and Terry Labonte.
In turn, Gil Martin—Dillon’s previous crew chief—will move to the Research and Development department for RCR.
The decision comes just days after Labbe helped lead Ty Dillon to the top 10 at Michigan before he fell back to 14th when rain shortened the race. Meanwhile, Austin has struggled to find any consistency with two DNFs this season.
Labbe will have a difficult task for his first race with Austin Dillon at Sonoma Raceway, a road-course track. But with 11 races before the Chase begins, it should be interesting to see if Labbe can lead the No. 3 car back to the Chase Grid after an underwhelming return to Sprint Cup thus far.
Follow Chicken Bone Alley on Twitter.