Frontstretch‘s Matt Taliaferro is reporting he’s learned Paul Menard has agreed in principle to move to Richard Childress Racing for 2011. Sponsorship would continue to come from his father’s company, Menards, with a car number and crew chief to be announced. No word on an official announcement yet from either side, but the team would expand to four cars while retaining their current driver lineup of Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer.
Menard is having a career year in Cup this season, with one top-five and three top-10 finishes in 21 starts. 23rd in the Cup Series standings, he briefly flirted inside the top 12 this spring in his first year driving for the newly-merged Richard Petty Motorsports. RPM had been trying to retain him for 2011, but now has just AJ Allmendinger returning amongst their current four-driver fleet next season.
For RCR, their expansion back to four cars comes just one year after contracting to three, shutting down the No. 07 driven by Casey Mears in February. However, doing more with less seemed to revitalize the program, which is having one of its best years in the series since Dale Earnhardt‘s death in 2001. After going 0-for-4 in Chase berths in ’09, they could go 3-for-3 in ’10 with Harvick, Burton and Bowyer all inside the top 12 with five races left in the regular season.