2017 Chicagoland: Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Monster Energy Race Preview
Richard Childress Racing's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history at Chicagoland Speedway ... Richard Childress Racing has two victories at Chicagoland Speedway with Kevin Harvick's back-to-back wins in 2001 and 2002. In 51 starts at the 1.5-mile suburban Chicago tri-oval, Richard Childress Racing teams have a combined 10 top-five, 19 top-10 finishes and one pole award with Jeff Burton in 2006.
RCR in the MENCS ... In 2,816 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 48 pole awards,107 wins, 485 top-five finishes and 1,048 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 17.7 and an average finishing position of 16.1. RCR has earned 15 total championships (six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships with Earnhardt in 1986, '87, '90, '91, '93 and '94, six NASCAR XFINITY Series titles, two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series titles and one ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards title) and was the first organization to win titles in NASCAR's three national series.
Support the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma ... Sign up for the Childress Vineyards/RCR/ECR 5K presented by Performance Springs, Inc. benefiting the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma on Sept. 16 at 5 pm at Childress Vineyards in Lexington, N.C. The race includes a grape stomp and complimentary glass of wine afterward. You can Race and Stomp for $35 or Stomp and Support while relaxing in the pavilion at the winery for only $20.00. Register now and help Save Injured Kids at https://saveinjuredkids.org/5k/.
Interactive RCR ... For up-to-date news and exclusive content, visit RCR's corporate Twitter page - @RCRracing - along with the RCR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team Twitter page - @RCRCup, and driver Twitter pages @austindillon3 and @RyanJNewman. Information about the 15-time championship winning organization can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardChildressRacing and at www.RCRracing.com along with official driver pages - http://www.facebook.com/austindillon3, www.facebook.com/PaulMenard27 and www.facebook.com/RyanNewmanNASCAR.
Catch the Action ... The Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway is scheduled to be televised live on Sunday, September 17 on NBC Sports Network beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.
This Week's Dow Univar Chevrolet at Chicagoland Speedway ... Dillon has three previous Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Chicagoland Speedway, earning his best finish of 14th in 2016 and best starting position of fifth in 2015.
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Welcome to the Playoffs ... Dillon clinched a berth in the Playoffs for the second consecutive year and enters the Championship battle ranked 14th on the playoff grid. Fans can join in supporting Dillon's Playoff run by using the team's official Playoff Twitter hashtag, which is associated with its own emoji, #AD3.
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTES:
Is there a different feel or atmosphere going into Chicagoland knowing that the Playoffs are starting?
"Well, I love Chicago. We had a test there leading up to the race and I feel like we learned some valuable information that we can use for the race. It's a fast track. I have run well there in the past. So, yeah, it's a great market to be in. Chicago, the city, is fun to be around and they have some good pizza there, too."
What sets Chicagoland Speedway apart from some of the other tracks that have a very similar size and shape?
"It's got some character with the bumps. You can really run hard, the way the exit of Turn 2 is, how the backstretch never kind of quits turning. I really enjoy the angles of the track and how you can arch and find speed all over it."
This Week's No. 27 Moen / Menards Chevrolet at Chicagoland Speedway ... Menard has made 10 MENCS starts at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway since his first start there in 2007. During that time he has recorded one top-10 finish, with an average start of 15.4 and average finish of 22.9. He has completed 93.3 percent of the laps he has attempted.
Meet Menard ... Menard is scheduled to be part of the NASCAR youth autograph session at the Chicagoland display in the fan midway on Sunday, Sept. 17, starting at 10:30 a.m. local time.
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PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
Chicagoland Speedway looks like a lot of the other 1.5-mile tracks on the schedule, but what makes it unique?
"Chicagoland is one of the oldest surfaces we go to now. It has a lot of character, a lot of bumps, and it's really hard on tires. As a race car driver, those are all things you love. It's a great racetrack. It's really wide. It lays down rubber and you pick up the rubber under cautions. There are a lot of different elements you have to factor in as you prepare to race there."
This Week's Caterpillar D10 40th Anniversary Chevrolet SS at Chicagoland Speedway ... Ryan Newman will make his 558th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in the first event in the Playoffs. In 15 MENCS events at Chicagoland Speedway, Newman visited victory lane in 2003. The "Rocket Man" also owns one pole award in 2002. In total, he owns four top-five and nine top-10 finishes. The South Bend, Ind., native has an average start of 10.5 and average finish of 14.1. In the last 10 events at Chicagoland, Newman ranks second in most driver points earned. In the last four Cup races, Ryan ranks sixth in most driver points earned.
#B31ieve ... Newman kicks off his eighth appearance in what is now known as the NASCAR Playoffs. His highest finish in the championship standings is second place while driving in his first season for RCR and crew chief Luke Lambert. Newman currently ranks 11th in the Playoff standings, 48 markers out of first.
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RYAN NEWMAN QUOTES:
You are the 11th seed starting the Playoffs. With Chicagoland being the first race, how do you feel about the current state of this No. 31 team?
"We are not where we need to be, but we are in a spot where we have a chance. We continue to work on things ... make the cars better, work on the pit stops, qualify better and even I need to improve. It is going to take everything. Obviously finishing in third and having four top-10s in the last five races is a good streak for us, but we must win. We have to put ourselves in position to win to get that guaranteed bye to the next round."
Does the pressure amp up for you and the team now that the Playoffs are starting?
"It doesn't amp up. I've been having fun. It's been less stressful than the past few years and the last 20-some races. Either way, these next 10 races, it's sure nice to be back in the Playoffs after missing it last year. It's a heck of a rebound for us to be back into the Playoffs and have a chance to win a championship."
Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Chicagoland Speedway ... In 53 Series starts at the 1.5-mile raceway, RCR has captured four victories with drivers Johnny Sauter (2002), Kevin Harvick (2005 and 2007) and Elliott Sadler (2012). The Welcome, North Carolina, organization has accumulated three pole awards, 18 top-five finishes, 37 top-10 finishes, led 409 laps and averages a starting position of 10.1 and finishing position of 9.1. RCR has
completed 10,368 laps of the 10,603 (97.8 percent) that they have competed.
Richmond Review ... Ty Dillon was the highest RCR finisher in third, Daniel Hemric fourth, Paul Menard 19th, Brendan Gaughan 21st and Brandon Jones 23rd, respectively, at Richmond International Raceway.
The Points ... All three RCR XFINITY Series full-time drivers remain in the top 20 of the driver point standings as the series heads to Chicagoland Speedway for the last event before the XFINITY Series Playoffs begin. Daniel Hemric is currently fourth, Brendan Gaughan is 11th and Brandon Jones is 16th. The No. 2 RCR team is eighth in the owner point standings with the No. 3 RCR team right behind in ninth. Daniel Hemric is second in the XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year point standings.
Catch the Action ... Coverage of this weekend's Chicagoland 300 at Chicagoland Speedway will be televised live on Saturday, Sept. 16, beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. It will also be broadcast live on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio channel 90.
This Week's Rheem Chevrolet at Chicagoland Speedway ... In five NASCAR XFNITY Series starts at Chicagoland Speedway, Dillon has not finished worse than sixth, earning four top-five and five top-10 finishes. He's earned his best finish of third at the track on three separate occasions (2012, 2013 and 2015). He also has one pole award in XFINITY Series competition at Chicagoland Speedway.
Winner, Winner ... Although Dillon has not won in the XFINITY Series at Chicagoland Speedway, he is a former Chicagoland Speedway winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (2011).
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AUSTIN DILLON QUOTES:
What makes you so good at Chicagoland Speedway?
"We won a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race there, and then after that we made sure that when we go there we have a game plan. Our game plan usually is to make sure our balance is right. If we can keep our balance together and go into the track and have a plan we can usually have a productive day. It's one of my favorite tracks because it's got some uniqueness to it with the bumps."
This Week's Bulwark / Quanta Services Chevy Chevrolet at Chicagoland Speedway ... With five previous starts under his belt at Chicagoland Speedway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Ty Dillon will return to the 1.5-mile track in the No. 3 Bulwark / Quanta Services Chevrolet this weekend. He has two top-five finishes and four top-10 finishes at the track, tying his best finish of fifth place in 2014 and 2015. When he earned his best starting spot in 2014, Dillon led the field to the green from the outside lane of the front row in the second position. Dillon also has two previous starts there in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He matches his NXS stats in this series with his best finish of fifth place and a best start of second place both coming in 2013. He will also make his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at the racetrack on Sunday afternoon.
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Meet Dillon ... Fans will have two opportunities to meet Dillon on Sunday morning at Chicagoland Speedway. At 10:30 a.m. local time, Dillon will be at NASCAR's Youth Autograph session that will be at the track's main display stage in the fan midway. He will be joined by RCR teammate Paul Menard and other drivers during the session. Dillon will then be at the GEICO display in the midway answering fan questions and signing autographs at 11:10 a.m. local time.
TY DILLON QUOTE:
You have run well at Chicago in the past. What are your thoughts as you head into the weekend?
"Chicago has always been a track that just works for me. Each time that we go, we unload a fast Chevrolet Camaro and continue to build on that speed throughout the race. We've been working a lot on our intermediate-track program at RCR, and I think that we've seen positive gains on the NXS side. We haven't been able to make it to Victory Lane yet, but we're getting closer and having solid runs each weekend. Hopefully we can put all of the pieces together this weekend and make it happen."
This Week's Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet Camaro at Chicagoland Speedway ... Hemric will be making his first NASCAR XFINITY Series start at Chicagoland Speedway this Saturday. He has two previous starts at the 1.5-mile track in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, with a best finish of second in 2016.
Rearview Mirror: Richmond ... Hemric's second trip to Richmond Raceway resulted in another top-five finish, as he ended the night in the fourth position. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender overcame a pit road commitment line violation penalty, scored points in Stages 1 and 2, and led a total of 13 laps on the night.
DANIEL HEMRIC QUOTES:
You are locked into the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoffs already. What is your goal heading to Chicagoland Speedway for the final race of the regular season?
"Getting locked into the XFINITY Series Playoffs after Darlington was a big deal for this No. 21 team. We were able to go out and try some things at Richmond, and that seemed to pay off with a strong run last weekend. Our goal this weekend is the same it has been all year; go out, lead laps, contend for the win with this Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet and try to end the day in Victory Lane. We have some momentum on our side coming out of Richmond and we hope to carry that over to this weekend at Chicagoland and into the start of the Playoffs at Kentucky Speedway."
This Week's NIBCO / Menards Chevrolet Camaro at Chicagoland Speedway ... Brandon Jones has one previous NASCAR XFINITY Series start at Chicagoland Speedway, finishing 10th in last year's race at the 1.5-mile track. The 20-year-old driver also has one previous NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start and one ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards starts at the midwestern speedway.
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Meet Brandon Jones ... Brandon Jones is scheduled to stop by the XFINITY Zone for a Q&A session at 10:45 a.m. local time on Saturday, September 16 in Chicagoland's Champions Park. Stop by, ask a question and grab an autograph before he qualifies later that morning.
BRANDON JONES QUOTE:
Chicagoland Speedway marks the final race for the NASCAR XFINITY Series before the Playoffs begins. Will the race hold more intensity for you than other ones this season?
"The race this weekend at Chicago is definitely crunch time for us, along with a majority of teams in the garage. Chicago has been a track I've enjoyed, and I'm looking forward to getting back there this weekend. It's going to be a weekend where we need to capitalize on everything we can, and ultimately bring home the win to make the Playoffs. Chicagoland is a track I feel confident at. We finished 10th there last year in the XFINITY Series, and I had a strong run in the ARCA race as well until the transmission went out. I'll be in the ARCA race again this Thursday night, so I'm hopeful that extra track time will pay off for the XFINITY race on Saturday."
This Week's South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet at Chicagoland Speedway... Brendan Gaughan has eight previous NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Chicagoland Speedway, collecting one top-five and three top-10 finishes. His best finish of fourth came at the 1.5-mile tri-oval in 2015. Gaughan also has one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and three Camping World Truck Series starts, in which his highest finish of second came in 2012. The veteran driver has completed 2,275 laps of the 2,321 (98 percent) he has attempted to run at Chicagoland.
XFINITY Series Playoffs ... Gaughan currently sits 12th in the XFINITY Series playoff standings, 25 points ahead of 13th place. With this weekend's race at Chicagoland Speedway being the cutoff race before the Playoffs begin, Gaughan and the No. 62 team will be focused on doing everything they can to ensure a Playoff berth.
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Press Pass ... Gaughan will be a part of an XFINITY Series Playoff contender media availability on Friday, September 15. Tune in via nascar.com/presspass to see what Gaughan says about the upcoming race weekend and his pursuit to make the Playoffs.
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTE:
This is the last race weekend before the XFINITY Series starts its Playoffs. What is the race weekend going to be like for you, being on the edge of a Playoff spot?
"Everyone likes to talk about the number of 1.5-mile tracks in this series, but coming into this weekend, it is the first standard 1.5-mile track we'll visit in almost two months. So we haven't visited one in a while. Chicagoland is a unique track with the increasing radius corner for both sides and a back straightaway that's not exactly straight. It's also a big market for us this weekend, so we've got to perform well. Plus, it's also an intense weekend for us with it being the cutoff race, so it's a high pressure race for everyone. The No. 62 South Point team is in the Playoffs as of now, but we need to perform well at Chicago to seal the deal and make the cut."