NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Auto Club 400 Post Race Report
Auto Club Speedway
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Richard Childress Racing teammates Paul Menard, Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman finished ninth, 11th and 20th, respectively.
Ryan Newman ranks eighth in the Sprint Cup Series championship point standings, trailing current leader Carl Edwards by 36 points, while Austin Dillon ranks ninth and Paul Menard ranks 14th.
The No. 31 Chevrolet team ranks eighth in the Sprint Cup Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 3 team ninth and the No. 27 team 14th.
Kyle Busch earned his first victory of the 2014 season and was followed to the finish line by Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart.
The next Sprint Cup Series race is at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, March 30. The sixth race of the 2014 season is scheduled to be televised live on FOX beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Austin Dillon Posts 11th-Place Finish at Auto Club Speedway
Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon earned an 11th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday afternoon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The rookie driver started the 400-mile event from the 20th position and reported a tight-handling condition from the start of the race. Crew chief Gil Martin took advantage of numerous caution periods to work on the handling of the black and yellow machine, instructing the RCR crew to make various chassis adjustments while changing four tires and adding fuel. Dillon worked his way into the 12th spot when he got loose and made contact with the outside wall on lap 160 causing damage to the right-side of his car. When the caution flag was displayed at lap 165, Dillon made his way down pit road for service so his team could evaluate damage from his earlier brush with the wall. However, he was issued a penalty for speeding down pit road and had to restart at the tail end of the field when green-flag racing resumed. Dillon restarted the race from the 27th position on lap 172 and spent the final 28 laps working to regain track position. The Welcome, N.C., driver took advantage of a green-white-checker restart at the end of the race to post an 11th-place finish.
Start – 20th Finish – 11th Laps Led – 0 Points – 9th
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE:
“The No. 3 Cheerios Chevrolet was just a little bit too tight today, especially on our final run. What a wild finish though. This is why you can never give up in these races. You can never predict how they are going to end. I am proud of the whole team. We gave it our all and it worked out for us today.”
2011 CC Team Icon 27 NSCS Menards
Paul Menard Captures a Ninth-Place Finish at Auto Club Speedway
Paul Menard earned a ninth-place finish in Sunday’s 400-mile event at Auto Club Speedway after battling a tight-handling Chevrolet for a better part of the day. After starting from the rear of the field because of a driver change, Menard charged towards the front and quickly picked up spots. The field slowed for the afternoon’s first caution period on lap 18, which allowed the Eau Claire, Wisc.-native to bring his Duracell/Menards Chevrolet to the attention of his crew for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. On the ensuing restart, Menard charged toward the front utilizing the wide track to move into the 11th position. As the race continued, the No. 27 team made gains on the tight-handling condition they experienced. The caution flag waved one final time with two laps remaining. Crew chief Slugger Labbe called for two right-side tires on the final stop helping Menard to earn a hard-fought ,ninth-place finish.
Start – 31st Finish – 9th Laps Led – 0 Points – 14th
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
“We had a strong Duracell/Menards Chevrolet all day. We fought being tight off the center of the corner, but I’m proud of the guys on pit road and Slugger (Labbe – crew chief) made good calls all day. It’s good to come out of California with another top-10 finish and have strong momentum heading into Martinsville (Speedway) next weekend.”
Newman’s Top-10 Bid Cut Down By Tire Issue Resulting In 20th-Place Finish
at Auto Club Speedway
Ryan Newman drove Richard Childress Racing’s No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS to a 20th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday after a cut tire ended the team’s top-10 effort with less than 10 laps remaining in the event. The South Bend, Ind., driver started 16th and quickly worked his way up through the field to be scored in 10th by lap 24, fifth by circuit 54 and third at lap 63. The fifth caution of the day on lap 69 saw the CAT Racing team as the race leader. Instead of pitting, the Luke Lambert-led team chose to stay out and conserve a set of Goodyear tires in order to contend for the race victory in the closing laps with a fresh set of tires. By halfway, Newman’s tires looked good, but his handling was just a little too tight through the corners to break back into the top 10. The CAT crew fine tuned the Chevrolet under caution on laps 85, 119 and 143 allowing Newman to race back to the 10th position by lap 149. With just six laps remaining, the No. 31 cut down a tire forcing the driver onto pit road. Then three laps later, several cars experienced the same problem to bring out the caution. With the race now in overtime and the CAT team on the lead lap, Newman restarted 22nd and crossed the finish line in 20th. The result enabled Newman to move up one spot in the driver championship point standings to eighth place. Next Sunday, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competes at Martinsville Speedway.
Start – 16th Finish – 20th Laps Led – 3 Points – 8th
RYAN NEWMAN QUOTE: “We hadn’t experienced any tire issues all day and then with six laps to go, we got bit. It’s a shame. This Caterpillar Chevrolet was a top-10 car. We led some laps, but lost some of our handling by halfway. We were just too tight, but it wasn’t going to slow us down too much. Our Chevrolet was very capable of a top-10 finish. We had plenty of speed and I really thought we were in good shape before we had the tire issue. A lot of teams had issues there at the end. I am proud of my CAT team and I thought the strategy we put into play with the extra set of tires was the right call. It just wasn’t meant to be. We ran a good race, so we’ll move on and head to one of my favorite tracks, Martinsville Speedway.”
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series