Childress says he's focused on future

CONCORD, N.C. -- Richard Childress doesn't appear to be too concerned about Kevin Harvick's possible departure at the end of the 2010 season.

Childress said Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway that he's focused on helping his struggling team move on following a disastrous 2009, not Harvick's status.

Harvick hinted during a television interview recently that he has no plans to remain at Richard Childress Racing when his contract expires next year.

"We'll just see how everything plays out in the future," Childress said. "I didn't see Kevin's interview. I've heard some comments on it but whatever happens, happens."

Childress is more concerned about turning around RCR's program, which failed to land any of its four Cup cars in the Chase for the championship a year removed from putting the cars of Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer in NASCAR's playoffs.

The longtime owner said peaks and valleys are to be expected, but admitted he's a little baffled by the stunning drop-off for one of the series' most successful teams.

"It's such a fine line with this car," Childress said. "If you look at it, other than three, four or five cars people can be off and on and when you get off sometimes it's hard to get back on."

Childress has made several changes during the year in hopes of kick-starting the program. He allowed Harvick and Casey Mears to switch crew chiefs and recently promoted Burton's crew chief, Scott Miller, to RCR's director of competition.

Childress is optimistic the reorganization will pay off and said he's seen progress in recent races. Harvick and Bowyer both ran in the top 10 last week at Auto Club Speedway and Mears has been a pleasant surprise in his first year with the program.

Yet Mears' success doesn't mean he'll be around next season after Jack Daniels pulled its sponsorship of the No. 07 Chevrolet he drives. Childress isn't sure he'll be able to find enough funding to sponsor the car for a full season and has no plans for the car to run a partial schedule.

"We're wanting to run it, we can't turn it into a [start and park]," Childress said. "I don't want to do that. I won't do that. ... We've got some sponsorship for a few races next year, but to be competitive that isn't the way to do it."

A decision on the No. 07 will likely be made before the season finale at Homestead.

Childress, who won six Cup titles with Dale Earnhardt Sr., has little doubt RCR will return to challenge Hendrick Motorsports atop the series.

"We can see the crest up there, we've just got to be ready for it," he said.