Looking Back on 2015: Sprint Cup Series

December 31st, 2015

As 2015 draws to a close it’s time to look back on the year that was. We saw big moments, impressive feats of strength and two Richard Childress Racing drivers qualifying for The Chase for the Sprint Cup. Let’s look back at moments throughout the 2015 Sprint Cup season.

1 MILLION THIS TIME BY
August 22nd, 2015 RCR joined the record books by completing their 1 millionth lap of NASCAR competition. The journey started with Richard Childress at the wheel September 14th, 1969 and hasn’t stopped since. There have been 64 different drivers who have completed laps for RCR on the NASCAR circuit throughout the organization’s 46-year history, including owner Richard Childress. Kevin Harvick holds the most completed laps (173,383) with the organization, which he achieved through all three major touring series. As of today, Paul Menard has completed the most laps (50,861) among the current RCR driver lineup.

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Ryan Newman and the No. 31 team battle back to make The Chase
In just their second season together, Ryan Newman and crew chief Luke Lambert repeated a strong season performance and proved once again consistency pays off in the form of a Chase berth. The No. 31 team all but matched their 2014 top-10 performance statistics despite experiencing adversity early into the season.
The RCR team was en-route to make the transfer into the Eliminator 8 round before a controversial finish at Talladega Superspeedway ended their championship bid by one position. At the conclusion of the season, Newman praised his RCR team for overcoming obstacles and vowed to come back fighting even harder next season.

123115-best-of-sprint-cup-2015_article481 green-flag passes no small feat for Newman and Lambert at The Brickyard
Despite a challenging start to the weekend, the team rallied when it counted most … on race day. Starting 43rd at a track known for limited passing, Newman gave his dedicated following an action-packed ride by making 81 passes under green and picking up 32 positions before the checkered-flag waved.

First Chase Berth for the No. 27 team

123115-best-of-sprint-cup-2015_article5Consistency paid off for Paul Menard and the No. 27 team in 2015, with their first career berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. The 35-year-old RCR driver earned strong finishes throughout the 2015 season including a third place-finish at Talladega Superspeedway and pole positions in both the Sprint Unlimited and All-Star Showdown.

Menard muscles his way around Darlington
They don’t call Darlington Raceway the track that’s “Too Tough To Tame” for nothing. During the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event in September, the track and teams celebrated the Southern 500’s return to Labor Day weekend.
The Eau Claire, Wisc., native learned that he can tame the 1.366-mile track with a show of pure strength. After starting 12th, Menard lost power steering less than halfway into the 500-mile race. With Chase qualifying chances on the line, Menard toughed it out. He kept the nose clean and stayed out of trouble even taped his gloves on during a caution so they wouldn’t fall down as he wheeled the car around Darlington Raceway.

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Safety on display as Austin Dillon walks away from horrific crash at Daytona

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Career Best for Dillon
An engine change following final practice and starting from the rear of the field didn’t frustrate Austin Dillon and crew chief Slugger Labbe in the season return to Michigan International Speedway. The duo knew they had a good car and pit strategy would work in their favor. Their plan worked and Dillon proved to have what it took to contend with the leaders throughout the 400-mile race. The sophomore driver led 9 laps and secure remained inside the top five for a better part of the day to finish fourth and record his career-best Sprint Cup Series finish.