Save Mart 350 Sonoma Raceway Preview
June 17, 2014
Richard Childress Racing
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series News and Notes
Event Save Mart 350
Date: Sunday, June 22, 2014
Location: Sonoma Raceway
Richard Childress Racing in Wine Country ... In 57 starts at the 10-turn stadium course, Richard Childress Racing owns two wins, with Dale Earnhardt in the 1995 Save Mart Supermarkets 300 and with Robby Gordon in the Save Mart 350 in 2003, one pole award (Earnhardt, 1995), 13 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes. The Welcome, N.C.,-based team has led 137 laps at Sonoma, completed 5,904 of the 5,950 laps contested (99.2 percent) and recorded just one DNF (Did Not Finish) over that stretch (1989-2012).
RCR in the NSCS ... In 2,437 Sprint Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 46 pole awards, 105 wins, 451 top-five finishes and 960 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 17.8 and an average finishing position of 15.8. RCR has earned 15 total championships (six Sprint Cup Series championships with Earnhardt in 1986, '87, '90, '91, '93 and '94, six NASCAR Nationwide 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.
The Collective RCR ...Throughout the season's first 15 races, RCR's Sprint Cup Series entries have earned one pole award with Austin Dillon at Daytona International Speedway in February. Collectively, the organization has notched two top-five and 14 top-10 finishes with drivers Dillon, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard. RCR's three full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers rank 11th (Newman), 13th (Menard) and 17th (Dillon) in the driver championship point standings.
RCR Michigan Rewind ... Last weekend, RCR teammates Menard, Newman and Dillon finished fourth, 15th and 30th respectively, in the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Save Kids' Lives by Joining the Childress Champions ... Help support the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma by selecting your favorite driver when making a bronze level donation of $33 (Austin Dillon), $27 (Paul Menard) or $31 (Ryan Newman) to CIPT. To make a tax deductable donation, visit: https://www.wakehealth.edu/OnlineGift.htm?fid=45. The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma invests resources in research, education and awareness to improve the treatment for critically injured children in the U.S. The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center was established through the generosity of Richard and Judy Childress. For more information, please visit www.InjuredKids.org.
Catch the Action ... The Save Mart 350 will be televised live Sunday, June 22 beginning at 3 p.m. ET on TNT and will be broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
No. 3 Dow Powerhouse Solar Chevrolet SS
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week's Dow Powerhouse Solar Chevrolet at Sonoma Raceway ... Austin Dillon will pilot Chassis No. 469 in the Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. This is the first time that Dillon will race this Chevrolet SS this season.
Dillon at Sonoma Raceway .... Dillon has never competed at the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course and has never competed in a road course race on the Sprint Cup Series circuit. However, the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion has six road course races to his credit in the Nationwide Series, earning two top-10 finishes, including a career-high ninth at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2012 and 10th at Road America in 2013.
Welcome, Dow ...Dillon's rookie year in the Sprint Cup Series is also Dow's first year as a primary sponsor with RCR and the No. 3 Chevrolet. Together, both teams embrace the power of safety, science and technology as RCR tests Dow products under the most strenuous conditions. Dow also drives innovation to help address many of the world's most challenging problems, bringing a broad range of sustainable products and solutions to customers in nearly 180 countries. www.dow.com.
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Get to the Points ... Dillon ranks 17th in the championship point standings entering this weekend's race event at Sonoma Raceway.
#ALLin Challenge ... Dillon is asking fans whether they are #ALLin for a new and exciting challenge every Wednesday on his Twitter account, @austindillon3. From capturing an "awkward hug" via video to submitting your best "poker face" photo to helping crew chief Gil Martin's son Ford find a date for his upcoming prom, each challenge is unique and the winner, as voted on by Austin, wins race tickets or unique memorabilia. Follow @austindillon3 on Twitter every Wednesday for the #ALLin♠ Challenge.
No Luck in the Irish Hills ... Luck was not on Dillon's side in the Irish Hills of Michigan last weekend. The two-time NASCAR Champion was in contention for a top-10 finish for much of the race, but had to make two unscheduled pit stops with less than 20 laps remaining after cutting down a tire. He ultimately finished 30th.
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTES:
How do you feel about the new qualifying format at a road course like Sonoma Raceway?
"Knockout qualifying will definitely be interesting. I've never been to Sonoma Raceway. It will definitely be a rookie going there. It's a track I've never been to on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit. When I get there, there will be a learning curve. We'll shut that timing and scoring system off and just try and get me better as a driver. We'll work hard the entire time. From what I've heard, tires are everything so qualifying will probably be one or two laps and that will be your fastest lap."
When you go to a track that you've never been to before, what kinds of things do you do to try and get ready?
"You try and research the track as much as possible. I've got Max Papis, who has run there before, I use notes from him. I'm going to go out a little early to run the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Race. I'll be out there a few extra days just to kind of get a hold of the track."
No. 27 Richmond/Menards Chevrolet SS
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week's Richmond / Menards Chevrolet at Sonoma Raceway ... Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 470 in the 218.9-mile event at Sonoma Raceway. This No. 27 Chevrolet SS is a new addition to the Richard Childress Racing stable in 2014.
Sonoma by the numbers ... Menard has six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Sonoma Raceway. His best start of third came in 2011 and best finish of 14th came in 2013. The Wisconsin native has completed 666 of 667 laps attempted (99.9 percent).
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Season-to-date ... Through the first 15 Sprint Cup Series races of the 2014 season, Menard has completed 4,592 of 4,717 laps contested (97.4 percent), led 45 laps and is currently 13th in the driver point standings.
Looking Back ... In last year's 110-lap race, Menard started the No. 27 Chevrolet from the 16th position and was relegated to a 14th-place finish after fighting handling issues during the event.
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
What are your thoughts on racing at Sonoma Raceway?
"I enjoy racing at Sonoma (Raceway). This year we are bringing a brand new chassis, so I'm interested to see what happens. I wouldn't mind if we had a couple more road course races on the schedule to break up the oval racing a bit. Racing in Sonoma and Watkins Glen (International) is a lot different from what we do week-to-week. There is a lot of shifting involved and we make both right and left turns. I would say the key here is to keep the car on course."
No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet SS at Sonoma Raceway ... Ryan Newman will drive chassis No. 471 on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway. Chassis No. 471 is brand new and will take to the track during Friday's two scheduled practice sessions.
Newman at Sonoma ... In 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course, Newman owns two top-five and five top-10 finishes. He has led 11 laps and completed all 1,327 laps of competition. The South Bend, Ind., native has an average start of 13th and average finish of 13th. In the last six races at the road course, the RCR driver ranks fifth in most points earned.
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Team Test ... This week,the No. 31 team participated in the Goodyear tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday and Tuesday.
Point of Interest ... Newman ranks 11th in the Sprint Cup Series championship point standings, just six markers out of 10th and trailing the current leader by 97 points entering the 16th event on the schedule, the Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
Race Rewind ... Last season, Newman overcame a disappointing qualifying effort of 30th and a throttle problem to finish 15th.
RYAN NEWMAN QUOTES:
What are your thoughts on road-course racing at Sonoma?
"Sonoma presents a different kind of challenge for us because track position is so very important. You get a very limited number of opportunities to make your car better, as well as make up track position. If you have one bad pit stop, it pretty much takes you out of the hunt. You have to have a really good race car. Sonoma presents a different kind of racing not just because it's road-course racing, but the number of pit stops we make."
What is the key to Sonoma?
"It's pretty simple, you have to keep it on the race track. You have to have a fast car. You have to do everything right like you have to do at every track, but you have about 13 different opportunities through the course of one lap to get off the track. There is no guidance or wall so-to-speak to keep you on the track, so hanging a tire in the gravel can really ruin your day."
What is the hardest part to you about road-racing?
"It's a combination of being aggressive and having that finesse to keep the car going with so many turns to keep it going straight, because that's how you get back to the start/finish line."