Sirius Speedway has learned that a press conference will be held early next week to announce personnel changes on Jeff Burton’s #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team, including the signing of crewchief Todd Berrier. Berrier will replace Scott Miller, who was recently promoted to Director of Competition at RCR.
Berrier has been a crewchief in the RCR organization since 2002, most recently working with drivers Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears. He has eight career Sprint Cup Series wins, including the 2007 Daytona 500 with Harvick. Sources close to the team say a meeting was held this week between Childress, Miller and Berrier to implement a transition plan, and to decide which members of Burton’s over-the-wall and race day crews will be retained. Sources say some personnel changes will be implemented as soon as next week, with an official announcement expected on Tuesday.
Burton told reporters yesterday that the team is close to finding a new crewchief, and that a reorganized RCR will be stronger and better-prepared in 2010. "We're real close," he said. “I don't have a definite date, but we're real close to having all that figured out. We're really optimistic that we have that put to bed and we'll be able to talk about that fairly soon."
Burton also said that Childress is not solely to blame for the recent downturn at Richard Childress Racing, saying the ban on off-season testing and an unwillingness to try new things led to the team’s poor performance.
“We didn't change quick enough, and we're all guilty of that,” he said. “That's not Richard's fault. Richard relies on the people that work for him to provide him with the insight.”
In a related story, Burton said he does not expect teammate Kevin Harvick to remain with RCR beyond the end of his current contract in 2010. Harvick said in a pre-race interview with ESPN’s Marty Smith Sunday that he doesn't plan to compete for RCR beyond next season, and Burton said he believes the time may have come for a parting of the ways.
"Sometimes you are just better off going to the dentist and getting it over with," he said. "I think everybody is behaving in a very professional manner. Everybody is understanding that Kevin has a year left on his contract, and he's going to do everything in his power to do the best job for RCR."