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Scott Miller, competition boss at Richard Childress', leaving, another part of unexpected shakeups; Chicago TV ratings down

  Scott Miller (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern


   JOLIET, Ill.
   More on the shakeups at Richard Childress' operation, as NASCAR's championship playoffs head toward Loudon, N.H., and Week Two of the 10-race chase:
   Scott Miller, Childress' veteran competition director, is leaving the company and moving to another team, expected to be Michael Waltrip's.

   Miller, who has a long and solid engineering background, from his Indy-car days to his NASCAR career, will be replace, on an 'interim' basis by Kent Day, Childress announced Tuesday.
   The unanticipated switch up isn't the only change this week in the Childress camp. The team owner switched up virtually the entire pit crew for Kevin Harvick for the Chicago 400, putting Clint Bowyer's crew over-the-wall for Harvick.
   That surprise move, all but denied by Childress himself Sunday when directly asked, was finally confirmed by Harvick's crew chief Gil Martin after Monday's 400.
   Harvick is the only one of Childress' four drivers to make the title playoffs. And Bowyer himself is expected to be leaving the team at the end of the season, possibly to move to Waltrip's Toyota team too.
    Day called his move "a tremendous opportunity.
   "Scott set up a great team of people….and whose focus is now on a number of moving targets."
    Not unexpectedly, but still not a great kickoff for NASCAR's championship playoffs: TV ratings for Monday's Chicago 400 were way off.
    ESPN reports the rain-delayed 400 earned a 1.8 household coverage rating, averaging 2,179,000 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company.
    ESPN2’s live telecast of the Saturday Nationwide race at Chicagoland Speedway earned a 1.1 household coverage rating, averaging 1,453,000 viewers.

    Harvick, who played the fuel mileage game well Monday, is atop the Sprint Cup standings after the first race of the chase…on a day when a number of other title contenders had bad luck.
    Chicago winner Tony Stewart, whose season has been more down than up, is just seven points – essentially seven finishing positions – behind.
    The rest of the title contenders:
    -- Carl Edwards finished fourth Monday;
    -- Kurt Busch, who led the most laps of the 400, faded to sixth at the end.
    --  Dale Earnhardt Jr. surprised many perhaps, using good fuel mileage to finish third, his best finish of the season.
    -- Brad Keselowski finished fifth.
    -- Ryan Newman finished eighth.
    -- Jimmie Johnson had one of the best cars at the end but ran out of gas and finished 10th.
    -- Kyle Busch didn't have a good day, and then he ran out of gas and finished 22nd.
    -- Matt Kenseth may have had the car to beat at the end but had to conserve fuel, and yet still ran out. He was ruled 21st.
    -- Jeff Gordon had a bad day, with a flat tire, and then running out of fuel, finishing 24th.
    -- And Denny Hamlin, who came close to winning last year's title, may have lost any real shot at winning this one, finishing the 400 31st, three laps down.

   And, as if to remind everyone there's more to NASCAR racing than just the racing, here's a brief Tuesday note from Infineon Raceway's John Cardinale, who is battling cancer:
   "Getting ready to head into treatment in about an hour and I feel good. Had a great workout early this morning at the gym. I'm increasing reps and adding weight. I think that's a good sign. Also, did another 2-mile run on Sunday night to prove to myself that it wasn't a fluke. I'm not breaking any speed barriers around the track but to do it again felt great.
   "Next goal is to run up this very steep mountain up at the park. I walk up it frequently now, but I will one day conquer that beast by running up it. I know my determination will get me there.
   "I find setting goals for myself, whether physical or otherwise, is a great motivator and helps keep my head on straight. That's what works for me.
   "Had a good weekend, highlighted by a pedal boat ride and lunch at the Lafayette Reservoir on Saturday with my daughters, Emma and Lauren. I cannot put into words just how much I love those two girls. Along with my wife, Andrea, they are my life.
   "Wish me luck today at the center."

Sure sounds like Clint and

Sure sounds like Clint and Scott are heading to MWR. Sounds good to me, now maybe Reutimann and Truex will have a very good driver to help the organization. Scott will definitely be an asset to MWR. MWR is definitely headed in the right direction if these two go there.

It's a sad commentary when a

It's a sad commentary when a fan since the 50's turns off the Chicago fuel mileage EVENT and watches 'The People's Court' instead. I got lulled into believing NASCAR had gone back to actually racing after Atlanta and Richmond. Silly me. Looks like I'm going back to reading the results and not wasting my time watching a remake of the Mobile Economy Run.

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