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Richard Childress reshuffles the deck, again, pairing crew chief Todd Berrier with Jeff Burton

  Todd Berrier (standing) taking over as crew chief for Jeff Burton (L), as Scott Miller (R) is promoted to competition director (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern
   Todd Berrier, who started the season as crew chief for the Richard Childress-Kevin Harvick team, and was then moved over to Casey Mears' team in the spring, when Harvick became increasingly disgruntled with his long losing streak, will take over as Jeff Burton's crew chief next week, following Sunday's Martinsville 500.
   Scott Miller, the veteran crew chief who has been Burton's crew chief for several years, was promoted last month to competition director for the entire Childress operation, has been serving as Burton's crew chief while Childress debated the next move in what has been a season of shuffling and reshuffling.
   Three of Childress' drivers, Burton, Harvick and Clint Bowyer, made NASCAR's championship playoffs last season but none of Childress' teams made this year's chase. In fact this has been a mediocre season, filled with frustrations, for the operation. Childress is celebrating his 40th season in NASCAR this year, but the season has been short of other reasons for celebration.
   Hampering things this season was Bobby Hutchens' move to the Tony Stewart-Ryan Newman team, a satellite of the powerful Rick Hendrick operation; Hutchens, Childress' long-time competition direction, has clearly been missed, while Hutchens has helped both Stewart and Newman make the chase.
   Also hampering things is the pending loss of sponsor Jack Daniel's at the end of the season. That leaves Mears and the Mears crew up in the air. Childress says he'll be forced to make a decision on the fate of that team by the Homestead finale in four weeks, but prospects for landing a new $20 million to $25 million sponsorship seem slim. And Berrier has been talking over various options for that team with Childress lately.
   Moving Berrier out of the Mears' camp would seem to lend an increasing air of urgency to the sponsorship situation there.
   Promoting Miller to the role of competition director would seem to be a nature, considering his strong engineering background and his easy-going demeanor. However, as Jimmy Makar discovered when making a similar transition at Joe Gibbs a few years back, and as perhaps Robbie Reiser has discovered this season when making that transition at Jack Roush's, Miller might have to get accustomed to his new role – which is a bit at arm's length from his long-running role as crew chief.
   Taking over as Mears' crew chief will be veteran Doug Randolph, a well-known figure in the stock car racing garage. Dan Deeringhoff will take over Randolph's role as Childress' Nationwide crew chief for the number 29 team, which has three rotating drivers, Burton, Bowyer and Stephen Leicht. That team will be racing this weekend in Memphis.
    Thus Berrier inherits virtually the entire Burton crew.
    Childress' R&D program remains somewhat in limbo at the moment, with the leadership role there to be named later this fall.
    Berrier has been working for Childress since 1994, winning the 2001 Busch (now Nationwide) championship with Harvick, with whom Berrier spent most of his career as crew chief, highlighted by wins in Indianapolis Brickyard 400 (2003) and the Daytona 500 (2007).
    Randolph, a tour veteran since 1984, joined Childress this spring, and he crewed Childress Nationwide wins at Daytona in July and Dover in September, both with Bowyer.

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