RCR Bristol Preview

Richard Childress Racing’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history at Bristol Motor Speedway … In 167 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Richard Childress Racing boasts nine wins – seven with Dale Earnhardt, one with Kevin Harvick and one with Jeff Burton – three pole awards, 34 top-five and 68 top-10 finishes. The Welcome, North Carolina-based organization has led 3,679 laps at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”

RCR in the MENCS … In 2,859 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 48 pole awards,108 wins, 487 top-five finishes and 1,053 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 17.8 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.

The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 … Chevrolet, the winningest brand in motorsports, debuts the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition this season. The Camaro ZL1 is the most advanced Chevrolet Cup Car ever developed and is also the most authentic, featuring rear-wheel drive, a fuel injected V8 engine and a manual gear box.
This Week’s Realtree Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Bristol Motor Speedway … In eight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Dillon posted his best finish of fourth in August 2016. He is a former winner in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the track.

Realtree. Family, Friends and the Outdoors … Realtree’s “Family, Friends and the Outdoors” slogan is something we and all our fans live by, and we know that most hunters live the outdoors lifestyle year-round. That’s what drove us to introduce not only new Realtree Edge, a versatile camo pattern for all types of hunting situations, but also our new Realtree Fishing pattern, so outdoorsmen and women everywhere can enjoy Realtree in all their pastimes.

Meet Dillon … Dillon is scheduled to make an appearance at the Team Chevy Stage at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday at 10:45 a.m. ET. You can also watch Dillon and his brother, Ty Dillon, on Sunday’s edition of Trackside Live at Bristol Motor Speedway, which begins at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Talk about the first seven races of the season. How would you characterize the season and where you are and RCR is right now:
“I think we’re better than last year. We started out way more consistent. We’re looking for a little more speed in our Camaro ZL1 at these tracks. But, drivability wise and execution wise, I’m happy with where we are at. So, we need to keep progressing from there and see if we can’t keep building on this momentum we’ve had. Martinsville was a struggle because we lost a race over radio issues, and then in Texas we were involved in a wreck not of our own doing at the beginning of the race that really created issues for that race, but past that it’s been good execution all around for the No. 3 team.”

How much did the Daytona 500 win change things?
“It feels great. Obviously, you are putting yourself in a great position for the end of the year where you can test and tune and work on things, but we obviously want to stay up in points to keep that competitive advantage just being around the guys that we are going to race all year. Yeah, there is nothing better than winning the Daytona 500. We are sitting in a good spot. We just need to keep on progressing at some of these other types of tracks.”

As these cars evolve week to week, year to year, how much do you notice going to a short track like Bristol Motor Speedway?
“I think you notice somewhat, but Bristol stays the same. I think Martinsville, Bristol, those types of places you kind of have something that you can lean on there because nothing really changes. Those places are just hardcore tracks that you have to have some drivability that you have built into the car mechanically. I look forward to Bristol each year. We had a 13th and 39th there last year, but the 39th place finish we blew a tire running in the top 15. I think we’ve got something better this year as far as our brake package and what we’ve got as car entry stability is good. So, we will just keep working on mechanical grip while we are there and see what we can come out of that place with.”

More talk about grip strip, more talk about grinding the race track, where would you like to see Bristol Motor Speedway end up?
“I like it where it’s at. Well, leave it alone is where I’m at with it Erik Jones led most of the second-half of the race right on the bottom of the track, and then you had guys right against the fence carrying speed too. I feel like the track is widening out and you are getting guys top, bottom, and sometimes in the middle. It’s a heck of a track and if we just keep doing what we are doing you will create some good racing from it.”
This Week’s Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Bristol Motor Speedway … Ryan Newman will make his 592nd Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start when he competes at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile. In 32 MENCS events at Bristol Motor Speedway, Newman owns three pole awards including the spring races in 2003 and 2004 as well as the fall event in 2011. He has earned two top-five and 17 top-10 finishes. His best result of second place came on August 28, 2004. The South Bend, Indiana, native has an average start of 11.3 and average finish of 16.0. He’s led a total of 121 laps in competition. And in the Xfinity Series, he owns one pole (fall 2006) and a 2005 victory in the fall race. In the last 10 events at BMS, Newman ranks fourth in most championship driver points earned.

Huntin’, Fishin’ And Lovin’ Every Day … Newman, an avid outdoorsman, hunter, fisherman and conservationist will have Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s on board the No. 31 Camaro ZL1 for select races in 2018 including this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Bass Pro Shops is North America’s premier outdoor and conservation company. Founded in 1972 when avid young angler Johnny Morris began selling tackle out of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, today the company provides customers with unmatched offerings spanning premier destination retail, outdoor equipment manufacturing, world-class resort destinations and more. In 2017 Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela’s to create a “best-of-the-best” experience with superior products, dynamic locations and outstanding customer service. Bass Pro Shops also operates White River Marine Group, offering an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading boat brands, and Big Cedar Lodge, America’s Premier Wilderness Resort. Under the visionary conservation leadership of Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops is a national leader in protecting habitat and introducing families to the outdoors and has been named by Forbes as “one of America’s Best Employers.”

Meet Newman … On Friday evening, Newman is scheduled to sign autographs for fans at Cabela’s, 361 Cabela Drive, Bristol, Virginia, at approximately 7 p.m. local time.

What is the key to managing your way around Bristol Motor Speedway?
“It’s all about keeping your speed up. It seems like you don’t accelerate a whole lot, even though you do, you don’t accelerate a whole lot off the corners because down the straightaways your car is so fast. It’s all about keeping the momentum up, maintaining corner speed regardless of what line you are running, the top or the bottom.”

Can you describe physically and mentally what it is like to run 500 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway?
“It’s really tedious and repetitive after a while. No matter what, you are going to fight your race car because of the bumps and the character of the track especially off Turn 2. When you run the high side, it always keeps you on edge so the more you think about it, the quicker those 500 laps go by.”

Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Bristol Motor Speedway … In 94 Series starts at the half-mile speedway, RCR has captured eight victories with drivers Kevin Harvick (2000, 2001, 2003 and 2005), Jeff Green (2002), Clint Bowyer (2008) Elliott Sadler (2012), and Austin Dillon (2016). The Welcome, North Carolina, organization has completed 24,425 laps of the 25,291 (96.6 percent) that they have competed. RCR has accumulated five pole awards, 33 top-five and 56 top-10 finishes, led 1,795 laps and averages a starting position of 9.5 and finishing position of 11.6.

Texas Review … Daniel Hemric was the highest RCR finisher in third, with Matt Tifft also finishing in the top 10 with a sixth-place result. Ty Dillon finished 12th in the My Bariatric Solutions 300 last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

Dash 4 Cash … This weekend’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway marks the first of four Dash 4 Cash events this season. Daniel Hemric qualified for this week’s Dash 4 Cash bonus of $100,000, having been one of the four highest-finishing Xfinity Series regulars at Texas Motor Speedway. The top four series regulars from Bristol Motor Speedway will qualify for next week’s bonus at Richmond Raceway.

The Points … Daniel Hemric and Matt Tifft currently sit fourth and ninth, respectively, in the Xfinity Series driver point standings. The No. 3 RCR team is currently 15th in the series owner point standings.

This Week’s Tunity Chevrolet Camaro at Bristol Motor Speedway … Matt Tifft has three previous NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Bristol Motor Speedway and will be looking to earn his fourth consecutive top-10 finish of the season this weekend. The 21-year-old driver also has one NASCAR K&N Pro Series East start at the half-mile speedway, where he started and finished in the ninth position. Tifft has completed 99.5 percent of all laps he has attempted at Bristol.

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Texas Recap … Tifft and the No. 2 team earned their third consecutive top-10 finish of the season with a sixth-place result at Texas Motor Speedway. The No. 2 Chevrolet Camaro was fast all weekend long, which allowed Tifft to drive through the field multiple times throughout Saturday’s race. Despite having to work through an ill-handling set of tires, Tifft and his team utilized strategy calls to earn stage points and be up toward the front of the field at the end of the day.

Meet Tifft … Fans have multiple chances to meet Tifft throughout the weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Tifft will take part in a fan Q&A session at the Team Chevy display located in the track’s midway, beginning at 12:30 p.m. local time on Friday, April 13. On Friday, he will also take part in an autograph session and Q&A with his RCR Xfinity Series teammates at Food City Race Night located at Bristol’s hospitality village, beginning at 5:45 p.m. local time.

You’ve been knocking on the door of the top 15 at Bristol Motor Speedway. What’s the challenge at a track like that?
“Last year during the spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway, I really had to focus on the car and getting used to running at a track like that. For the fall race, I was actually running around fifth before I had a flat tire under green and had to pit, so that was a huge improvement for me. I just didn’t get the finish to necessarily show that. I felt like I had a good grasp on Bristol in the fall and was able to attack it more. Had I not had the right rear tire go down, I felt like that was one of my best races of the summer last year and could have been one where we had a shot to win. Bristol is a tough place to get a handle on. With the VHT they put down on the track surface, you’re just not sure what it’s going to do to the grip levels each time. A lot of it depends on the temperature. I felt like last year the track was very different from what it was in the spring to what it was in the fall.”

We always talk about the superspeedways being mentally draining. What about a place like Bristol where you’re always next to a car or always in traffic?
“For a superspeedway, I’d say you are absolutely working your mind the whole time, and we’re doing a similar thing at Bristol. I feel like at the superspeedways it turns into more of a strategy game where you have to pay attention to what the pack is doing and the energy of the different lines. At Bristol, it’s more of an all-out focus track where you’re in attack mode the whole time. Spotters constantly have to remind drivers to breathe there because we really will forget. It’s so intense. The laps click by so fast there that we have to make moves pretty quickly and have the confidence to move people out of the way.”

This Week’s Childress Vineyards Chevrolet Camaro at Bristol Motor Speedway … Shane Lee will be making his first start for Richard Childress Racing this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. This also marks the Newton, North Carolina native’s debut at Bristol Motor Speedway and in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The 24-year-old driver completed his first season of full-time competition in the ARCA Racing Series in 2017 and placed third in the driver championship point standings. He also has three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) starts under his belt.

About Childress Vineyards … Childress Vineyards is a premier winery located at the southern gateway of the Yadkin Valley in Lexington, North Carolina. Owned by Richard Childress, NASCAR team owner and Hall of Fame member, Childress Vineyards has been producing award-winning wines with the expertise of Winemaker Mark Frizsolowski. Open daily for tours, tastings, and lunch in the Bistro. Information about Childress Vineyards can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/childresswines/, on Twitter at @ChildressWines and on Instagram at Instagram.com/childresswines.

Meet Lee … Fans can meet Lee on Friday, April 13, as he participates in an autograph session and Q&A alongside his RCR teammates during Food City Race Night, beginning at 5:45 p.m. local time. He will also make an appearance and participate in a fan Q&A at the Team Chevy display located in the track’s fan zone, beginning at 11:15 a.m. local time on Saturday, April 14.

With this being your weekend debut with RCR and in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, how have you been preparing for the upcoming race weekend?
“I went to the track a couple times earlier this year to observe and listen to how Ty and Austin (Dillon) communicate with the team so I can hopefully make the transition between weekends go smoothly. I have also spent a lot of time at the shop on the simulator or at home on my iRacing rig. That normally helps me a lot with prepping for a race, but at the same time I haven’t raced Bristol before, so I’m not sure how closely it will relate to the actual track. I also recently ran the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway to help me get back into the mindset of being in the driver’s seat. I finished second in that race, so that’s a good feeling to have going into Bristol.”

What are your goals for visiting Bristol Motor Speedway for the first time?
“Heading into Bristol, for practice I’m looking to get comfortable with everything and feel good about what we have for the race. For qualifying, I’d really like to make the final round of that. If we finish in the top 10 for the first race, I’d be really happy, but overall I’m just excited to finally make my first start with RCR this weekend.”

This Week’s South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro at Bristol Motor Speedway … Hemric will be making his third NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Bristol Motor Speedway during this week’s 300-lap event. The Kannapolis, North Carolina native has one top-five and two top-10 finishes in his previous starts at the half-mile speedway.

Dash 4 Cash Contender … With his third-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway, Hemric qualified for the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. If Hemric can finish higher than Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Ryan Preece, he will earn the $100,000 bonus. Hemric earned the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus during the April 2017 event at Bristol Motor Speedway with a fifth-place finish.

Rearview Mirror: Texas … Despite starting 35th after not making a qualifying lap, Hemric wasted no time moving the No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet to the front of the field. Thanks to a pit strategy call by crew chief Danny Stockman, Hemric restarted the final stage of the race in the lead. He kept the No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet out front for 39 laps, the most laps he has led to date in his Xfinity Series career. Hemric ended the day third, earning his second-consecutive top-five and fourth-straight top-10 finish.

This Week at the South Point Hotel & Casino … Deana Martin returns to the South Point Showroom for her second edition of, The Deana Martin Celebrity Roast, honoring “The Man of the Hour” – world-renowned actor, producer, writer and director, Joe Mantegna on Sunday, April 15 at 6 p.m. local time. More information is available at https://southpointcasino.com/entertainment/showroom/.

Meet the Press … Hemric will join the three other Xfinity Dash 4 Cash contenders for a media availability session on Friday, April 13, starting at 11:30 a.m. The session will also be streamed live at nascar.com/presspass.

Meet the Driver … Hemric is scheduled to make multiple appearances throughout the race weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. He is slated to take part in a fan Q&A at the Chevy Stage in the Fan Zone on Friday, April 13, starting at 12:45 p.m. local time. Hemric will also take part in Food City Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway, signing autographs with RCR Xfinity Series teammates Shane Lee and Matt Tifft at 5:45 p.m. on Friday evening, followed by an autograph session at 6:15 p.m.

The Xfinity Dash 4 Cash program is back this year. You were able to qualify for the first round at Texas Motor Speedway and now have a shot to earn the $100,000 bonus at Bristol Motor Speedway. How important is that program to your team and the series overall?
“The Dash 4 Cash program is a really cool initiative. For us as drivers, it gives us one more thing to be competitive about and try to beat one another at – as if we needed anything else to be competitive about. It is really cool, not only the $100,000 that Comcast and Xfinity put up for the highest finisher among us this weekend, but they are also donating an additional $40,000 to lower income families in the local market to help them gain reliable internet access through the Comcast Internet Essentials program. The internet runs our day-to-day lives, so it is cool to know we have the ability to impact somebody else’s lives on top of running for $100,000 for our race team. It’s an honor to have qualified for this round and to compete against the likes of Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Ryan Preece. We were able to win the $100,000 bonus at Bristol last year, so hopefully we can do it again and help some families in need at the same time.”

You finished fifth and seventh at Bristol Motor Speedway last year and now have four straight top-10 finishes on the year, how excited are you to get back to the ‘World’s Fastest Half-Mile’ after this strong start to the 2018 season?
“I am pumped to get to Bristol Motor Speedway with this South Point Hotel & Casino team. That’s a wild place. The atmosphere just feels so different than any place we go on the schedule. My very first childhood memory of watching NASCAR on television was watching Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte going at it in the night race. I know this weekend is the day race, but it is an incredible feeling. You just try not to forget those moments, watching those old races on TV, and I just respect those moments as I walk through the gates. I was quick to remind my crew chief Danny Stockman that we ran seventh in one of the races at Bristol last year and that was my worst series finish at Bristol, so I told him to make sure we can strive to do better than that. Now that we’re locked into the Dash 4 Cash program as well, there’s a lot of stuff on the line. We have been steadily improving each week since Daytona and if we keep doing what we’re doing and keep chopping wood we will be in contention to run up front.”