Richard Childress Racing–Atlanta Preview

Richard Childress Racing’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history at Atlanta Motor Speedway … In 140 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Richard Childress Racing has earned nine wins and three pole awards, including Kevin Harvick’s emotional victory in the Cracker Barrel 500 on March 11, 2001. Dale Earnhardt won eight times at the Hampton, Ga.-based track under the RCR banner. Additionally, RCR boasts 29 top-five and 57 top-10 finishes at AMS and RCR-prepared Chevrolets have led 2,935 laps at the ultra-fast, 1.54-mile oval. Richard Childress, a former driver on NASCAR’s senior circuit, recorded his best finish at AMS, ninth, in the Atlanta Journal 500 on Nov. 2, 1980.

RCR in the MENCS … In 2,739 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 48 pole awards,105 wins, 475 top-five finishes and 1,031 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 17.7 and an average finishing position of 16.0. 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.

Youth Sports Medicine at Atlanta Motor Speedway … The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma received a grant from Speedway Children’s Charities Atlanta to host a Sports Medicine Education Course and Heads Up youth football clinic this summer. Thanks to Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, the course will bring together EMS, athletic trainers and coaches to prepare as a team for youth sports injuries. Afterward, the coaches will have a chance to work with the kids on the field to teach Heads Up techniques to prevent injuries. Learn more at

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 and at along with official driver pages –, and

Catch the Action … The Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 will be televised live Sunday, March 5 beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST on FOX and will be broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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This Week’s Dow QUIKRETE Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway … In four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Dillon’s best finish is 11th in 2016.

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Regardless of what happens in the Daytona 500, do you really think your season begins at Atlanta Motor Speedway?
“Everybody says that, but our season starts at the Duels now with the revised point system. Taking those points on to the end of the year, it’s going to be very important to get every point you can.”

RCR was really strong on the 1.5-mile tracks last year. How do you feel about that program going into 2017?
“I feel pretty strong about it. We did a good job at Texas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway at the end of the year. We had fast cars, so I’m really optimistic. We have worked hard. We haven’t lost much and we have gained, I feel like, in the off-season. We are ready.”

How will the new downforce package affect the racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway?
“With less downforce it’s going to be tough to get the cars handling well but it should be a really exciting race and I see a lot of guys just working on handling as much as they can.”

With the new stages and rules now, what will be the key to being successful at Atlanta Motor Speedway?
“Success at Atlanta Motor Speedway is going to depend on the fall off over a long run. I think if your car holds on over the 20-30 lap runs you’re going to be really good. If you can maintain on the restarts and catch people on the long runs, you’ll have a shot to win.”

Paul Menard and the No. 27 Richmond / Menards Chevrolet SS at Atlanta Motor Speedway … The Eau Claire, Wisconsin native has 15 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at the 1.5-mile speedway. Menard has one top-five and three top-10 finishes with 98.4 percent of laps completed and two laps led.

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What are your thoughts on Atlanta Motor Speedway getting repaved?
“Atlanta is probably my favorite track to race at. You can race all over the track because of the tire fall off. I was pretty sad when they announced the repave, but it’s probably for the best. The new surface means if it rains on Sunday morning we probably won’t be racing on Monday, we will get the race in on Sunday still. That is a bonus, I guess.”

What makes Atlanta Motor Speedway different from Charlotte Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway?
“It’s a little bit bigger. Texas, it seems like the corners are a little narrower maybe and a tighter radius. Atlanta feels bigger, just more room, definitely rougher and that is about it. You drive them pretty much the same way with how you enter the corners and things. Just little nuances where the bumps are, how the bumps affect the loading, like into Turn 1 at Atlanta has a huge bump and you almost have to drive around it. You just have to change a few things.”

This Week’s Caterpillar Chevrolet SS at Atlanta Motor Speedway … Ryan Newman will make his
549th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in the second event of the 2017 season. In 24 MENCS events at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Newman owns seven pole awards, including sweeping six-straight poles encompassing the 2003 to 2005 Cup seasons. He owns two top-five and nine top-10 finishes. His best results of fifth place came in 2013 and at the spring 2004 event. The South Bend, Indiana native has an average start of 7.2 and average finish of 17.2. He’s led a total of 175 laps in competition. In the Camping World Trucks Series, he captured the victory in the fall 2008 race.

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Meet Newman … On Sunday, on behalf of Coca-Cola, Newman is scheduled to participate in a fan question and answer session at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip stage located in the AMS midway. It starts at 11:45 a.m. EST.

What is your opinion on the downforce package with a few modifications going in to Atlanta Motor Speedway?
“Atlanta is still one of my favorite racetracks as a driver especially in qualifying. You need to have courage in qualifying because you really have to hold it on edge. You have to just carry a lot of corner speed and hit your marks. It’s kind of going to be the last hoorah for Atlanta before the repave. We can go out there and challenge the track. It seems like the harder you push it, the more rewarding it is when you have a car that is working right. It is a blast to drive. Hopefully, we all have a lot of fun.”

How do you feel about your current 1.5-mile program at RCR?
“We got better towards the end of the year, but we still didn’t win any races. Our best finish was at a 1.5-mile track at Kentucky. We followed that up with a fourth-place finish at Charlotte towards the end of the year. I think that we’ve made some gains, but we still didn’t lead enough laps so we still have work to do.”

With the new stages and repair rules, what do you think will be the key to this race?
“I think it is still about having a fast car. That’s the key. It seems like it is one of those tracks where you can have 10 guys on the lead lap at the end of the race, but there is one that is hooked up and really hauling. Being that guy is a lot of fun.”

What is the biggest thing you need to figure out in order to have a good run at Atlanta Motor Speedway?
“The biggest problem to figure out at Atlanta is one, getting the raw speed out of the car and number two, is just getting it to hang on. You can have a fast car, but it could fall off quickly if you don’t change your tires.”

Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway… In 40 Series starts at the 1.5-mile paved oval, RCR has captured three victories with drivers Jeff Burton (2006 and 2007) and Kevin Harvick (2013). The Welcome, North Carolina, organization has completed 7,540 laps of the 7,672 (98.3 percent) that they have competed. RCR has accumulated one pole award, 12 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes, led 465 laps and averages a starting position of 11.7 and finishing position of 10.6.

Daytona Review … Austin Dillon was the highest RCR finisher in third, Brendan Gaughan fifth, Ty Dillon 19th, Brandon Jones 29th and Daniel Hemric 31st respectively, in the XFINITY Series Powershares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway.

The Points … RCR XFINITY Series full-time drivers are scattered through the driver point standings as the Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend for the second event of the season. Brendan Gaughan is currently second, Brandon Jones is 24th and Daniel Hemric is 26th. Brandon Jones and Daniel Hemric were both caught up in on track incidents that resulted in parked race cars. The No. 2 RCR and No. 3 RCR teams are third and sixth respectively in the owner’s point standings.

Catch the Action … Coverage of this weekend’s XFINITY Atlanta 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be televised live on Saturday, March 4, beginning at 2 p.m. EST on FS1. It will also be broadcast live on Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM channel 90.

This Week’s Rheem Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway … In two previous NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Austin Dillon has never finished outside the top-10, earning his best finish of sixth in 2012.

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Welcome Aboard! … Dillon, the 2013 XFINITY Series Champion and 2012 Rookie of the Year, returns to regular XFINITY Series competition this season. This season, he’ll continue to share driving duties with fellow Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teammate Paul Menard. In addition, Ben Kennedy will join the RCR lineup for nine races thanks to a commitment from Rheem, Menards and RCR to help continue the tradition of developing talent and growing the sport.

Meet Dillon … Dillon is scheduled to participate in a Q&A session on the Team Chevy stage in the Atlanta Motor Speedway fan midway area on Sunday at 11:10 a.m. EST.

Is there a particular difficult part to Atlanta Motor Speedway that you really had to learn, such as a turn, or anything about pit road, or perhaps just adjusting to the speed there?
“I think one of the key things about Atlanta Motor Speedway is the white line. Just keeping that car as close to that white line as you can all the way around the track. There seems to be a little bit of a grip, or more banking, right at the bottom, so that was always really tough for me.”

What are your thoughts on Atlanta Motor Speedway getting repaved?
“Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of those places that I’ve grown to really like. It’s a fun track. You really have to be disciplined because tire wear is an issue. When we get this new pavement it’s going to be fast. I’m looking forward to this opportunity as always. It will be a new track. It will be turning over some of this knowledge that these guys that have a lot of laps on this track have. It will be taking that all away and starting over fresh.”

This Week’s Bass Pro Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway … Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of Ty Dillon’s best racetracks. Dillon was the winner of the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at AMS, after starting on the pole. In his three previous NASCAR XFINITY Series starts, he has never finished outside of the top 10, capturing his highest finish of third in 2015. Dillon also has three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at the 1.5-mile track.

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Meet Dillon … Dillon will visit the Tem Chevy display in the fan midway on Sunday morning to answer fan questions. Be there with your questions at 11:45 a.m. EST on Sunday, March 5.

What are your thoughts heading into Atlanta with your history of success there?
“I love making the trip to Atlanta every year. For whatever reason, it’s always been a track where I’ve been able to find a lot of speed. I’ve got my Truck Series win there, and I’ve always run really well in the XFINITY Series too. With having been so close in the XFINITY Series, I’m anxious to get a trophy in my hands. We had a great showing last week in Daytona to start the year, and I’m looking forward to hopping back in the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet.”

Daniel Hemric and the No. 21 Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet Camaro at Atlanta Motor Speedway … Hemric will be making his first NASCAR XFINITY Series start at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. The Kannapolis, North Carolina native previously competed at the Hampton, Georgia, track in Legend Cars, and has one top-five finish at the 1.5-mile track in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Breakfast with a Side of Radio … Hemric will be at the Waffle House at 1064 Bear Creek Blvd. in Hampton, Georgia, on Friday, March 3, starting at 7:15 a.m. EST to speak with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and meet with fans before heading to the track for the day’s three practice sessions.

Meet the Driver … Hemric will visit the Team Chevy stage on Saturday, March 4, starting at 11 a.m. EST to answer fan questions. He will be joined by fellow RCR XFINITY Series teammates Brendan Gaughan and Brandon Jones.

Rearview Mirror: Daytona … After a solid fourth-place qualifying effort for the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, Hemric was involved in a Lap 30 wreck that ended his day. The XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year contender heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway optimistic about the year ahead.

Now that Daytona is behind you, how excited are you to kick off the rest of the season this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway?
“Atlanta Motor Speedway has always been one of my favorite tracks, and I cannot wait to get down there this weekend with the No. 21 Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet Camaro. I am really pumped to race on the old surface one last time before the track is repaved. The balance of the car is going to be key to having a successful day on Saturday, and the team that focuses on that the most in practice will prevail. I know that my crew chief, Danny Stockman, and the rest of the No. 21 team have been working hard to prepare for this weekend and I expect we will have the balance right where it needs to be by the time the green flag flies.”

Brandon Jones and the No. 33 Anderson’s Maple Syrup Chevrolet Camaro at Atlanta Motor Speedway… Having captured his first XFINITY Series pole at Daytona International Speedway last weekend, Jones is looking forward to taking another fast No. 33 Chevrolet Camaro to Atlanta Motor Speedway. The upcoming weekend marks his second NASCAR XFINITY Series start at the 1.5-mile track, having finished 11th during last year’s visit.

Hometown Hero… An Atlanta native, Jones’ racing career began by competing at local short tracks Gresham Motorsports Park and Lanier Speedway. In 2011, he secured the track points championship at both Gresham and Lanier in the No. 33 super truck after a dominating season, in which he collected five wins, five second-place runs and 16 top-five finishes in 17 starts.

Press Pass… Catch Jones speaking to the press during his media availability at 11:45 a.m. EST on Friday, March 3. Tune in live via

Meet Brandon Jones… Jones will be answering fan questions at the Team Chevy stage at 11 a.m. EST on Saturday, March 4. He will be joined by RCR teammates Brendan Gaughan and Daniel Hemric.

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You’re an Atlanta native and grew up racing at local short tracks. How does it feel to be returning to race in front of a hometown crowd?
“Returning to race in my hometown is special to me. I got my start in racing while competing at Gresham Motorsports Park and Lanier Speedway, and those experiences really helped shape me into the racer I am today. To be able to go home and race in front of friends and family on a much bigger stage will never get old to me.”

How is Atlanta Motor Speedway different from other 1.5-mile tracks you visit during the season?
“Atlanta is unique in that tire management is going to play a big role in having a successful race. We did a great job taking care of our tires last year, so we’ll need to make sure to do that again this time around. Atlanta is also one of those tracks where it gets wider as the race goes on, which gives you a lot of options on where to run on the track. The top line really worked to our advantage last season, so it’ll be important for us to be able to search and find the line that will give us an edge on our competition again.”

This Week’s South Point Hotel and Casino Chevrolet at Atlanta … In five NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Brendan Gaughan earned his best finish of 12th two years ago. Gaughan has completed 92.4 percent (842 of 911) of the laps he has attempted. The Las Vegas native has also secured two top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

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Meet Brendan Gaughan … The 41-year-old driver will participate in a live broadcast of The Morning Drive with Mike Bagley and Pete Pistone on Sirius XM NASCAR, channel 90 at 8:15 a.m. EST Friday, March 3. Fans are welcome to attend the event on location at the Waffle House just outside of Atlanta Motor Speedway, 1064 Bear Creek Blvd, Hampton, Georgia. Gaughan will also participate in a fan question and answer session at the Team Chevy stage alongside RCR teammates Daniel Hemric and Brandon Jones at 11 a.m. EST Saturday, March 4.

You prefer older racing surfaces, how do you feel knowing Atlanta Motor Speedway will be repaved following this weekend?
“It bums me out, I do love the older surfaces. In today’s world it takes a long time to get tracks to age out. The technology used in paving has come so far that the asphalt lasts for a long time. I expect us to drive the hell out of it this race, bumps and all. We will come back next time and it will be super-fast and super slick. I hate to see it repaved, but I understand why they have to do it. Life goes on.”