Richard Childress Racing’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series History at Phoenix Raceway … Team owner Richard Childress has five victories at Phoenix Raceway, ranking him third on the all-time car owner victories list at the Avondale, Ariz. facility. This includes wins with Kevin Harvick in Nov. 2013, Nov. 2012 and March and Nov. 2006. Prior to that, Dale Earnhardt won the Checker 500 on Nov. 4, 1990. In 109 starts at Phoenix, the Welcome, North Carolina based organization boasts 18 top-five and 41 top-10 finishes.
RCR in the MENCS … In 2,745 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 16.1. 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.
This Week’s Dow World Water Day Chevrolet at Phoenix Raceway … Dillon has six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix Raceway to his credit, earning his best finish of ninth in April 2016.
#WorldWaterDay is about the Importance of Water for Everyone … Whether it is fishing, boating, hunting or just being outside and enjoying the beauty of a mountain lake, a forest stream or an ocean view, Austin and the No. 3 team love the outdoors. Being able to share this precious natural resource with their families, friends and future generations is important to them. It is why they want to raise awareness of water’s importance in all aspects of life through the United Nation’s World Water Day. Austin is proud to drive the No. 3 Dow World Water Day Chevrolet and partner with Dow, whose Water & Process Solutions business specializes in sustainable liquid purification and separation technologies, and which plays a significant role in helping show the relationship and interaction between water, wastewater and sustainability.
Meet Dillon … Dillon is scheduled to participate in a Q&A session at the Team Chevy stage in the Phoenix Raceway fan midway area on Sunday, March 19 at 9 a.m. Mountain Standard Time.
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTES:
What are your thoughts on Phoenix Raceway?
“Phoenix is good. I think it’s coming into its own. I learned a lot last year there at the end of the race. I feel like we should just be able to get better and better as we go. The track is going to widen out more. It started getting really wide this last race. It’s fun.”
There is a huge gap between the spring race and fall race at Phoenix Raceway. Is there anything you can take from the spring and apply it to the fall?
“Yes, the temperatures aren’t that much different. They can be, but the temperature is not that much different in the track and that is what matters. You are putting the same rubber, as long as the tire doesn’t change it’s the same.”
This Week’s FVP / Menards Chevrolet SS at Phoenix Raceway … The Eau Claire, Wisconsin native will make his 367th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at the one-mile track on Sunday. He has three top-10 finishes and completed 96.3 percent of laps in competition. Menard’s best start of seventh came in April 2009 and November 2012. His best finish of ninth came in both November 2011 and 2012.
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PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
What are your thoughts on racing at Phoenix Raceway?
“I do like Phoenix. It’s lost a lot of grip since the repave, which is cool because before the repave Phoenix was really slippery. It almost felt like you were driving on bias ply tires, which have a lot of deflection in the tires. It’s getting back to that. It’s a driver’s race track, for sure. In Turns 3 and 4 you are really working the wheel, trying to manipulate it because you are loose, you are tight, you are loose and you are just trying to follow that right line.”
Phoenix Raceway, Martinsville Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway are all very different short tracks. How do you develop a short-track program?
“Well, Martinsville is kind of its own animal. Phoenix and Bristol are probably similar in that the average speeds are comparable. Everything just comes down to how you load up each corner of the car with your wheel rates and things. We do have a speedway type of car and a short track type of a car, but some tracks, like Phoenix, you could almost use either one. We might run a Texas-style car at Phoenix or might run a Martinsville-style car at Phoenix. It’s just kind of an in-between track.”
This Week’s Grainger Chevrolet SS at Phoenix Raceway … Ryan Newman will make his 551st Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in the fourth event of the 2017 season. In 29 Cup Series events, Newman owns one victory at PR. He won the spring event in 2010. When it comes to the last seven events at the raceway, he ranks eighth in driver points earned. In total, Newman owns four pole awards, nine top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. His average start is 13.3 and average finish is 17.7. He’s led 213 laps in competition.
Breaking News About Grainger … After a successful launch in 2014, Richard Childress Racing and Grainger have renewed their partnership for multiple years. The leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) products unveiled to customers, suppliers and team members attending this week’s Grainger Show in Orlando, Fla., the new look of the No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet driven by Ryan Newman in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. For details, check out https://www.grainger.com/content/racing.
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National Wild Turkey Federation Month … Bass Pro Shops is showing its support in a new way this month for the National Wild Turkey Federation and its members which includes Newman. During NWTF month, shoppers at participating Bass Pro Shops stores are invited to donate their change to the leader in upland wildlife habitat conservation by rounding up their purchase total to the nearest dollar. For more information: BPS NWTF month.
RYAN NEWMAN QUOTES:
What are your thoughts on the racing at Phoenix Raceway with the new downforce package?
“It seems like Phoenix Raceway has the most excitement, especially with the dogleg on the restarts. You get down on the apron going three or four wide and then you have to get down to two wide in the corners. I think with getting more age on the track and it getting a little racier, it will definitely be a bonus for us when we get to Phoenix.”
What is the key to being successful at Phoenix Raceway?
“The key to being successful at Phoenix is really just having a good balance at both ends of the track. Primarily getting off of Turn 2. There is so much distance in the back straightaway with the dogleg that if you do not get off of Turn 2, it’s costly because it’s the majority of the track.”
Is there a particular part of the track that you’ve had to focus on throughout the years?
“I think since the track has changed in Phoenix, what you work on the most is just getting your car right in both ends. It’s always been a challenge, but it seems like it is more of a challenge now with the difference in banking and the difference in radius compared to the way the old track used to be.”
Phoenix announced in November that they were spending $178 million for upgrades such as a new start/finish line, new garages, new pit road and new stands. What are your thoughts with them redoing the track?
“What money they spend on the track is all about the fans. It just got new asphalt for competition. They layout of the track isn’t going to change, at least to my knowledge. It’s really about making it more fun, enjoyable and entertaining for the fans.”
Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Phoenix Raceway … In 68 Series starts at the one-mile paved oval, RCR has captured three victories with drivers Kevin Harvick (2006), Clint Bowyer (2007) and Elliott Sadler (2012). The Welcome, North Carolina, organization has accumulated two pole awards, 24 top-five finishes, 40 top-10 finishes, led 559 laps and averages a starting position of 11.5 and finishing position of 11.4. RCR has completed 13,258 laps of the 13,547 (97.9 percent) that they have competed.
Vegas Review … Austin Dillon was the highest RCR finisher in fifth, Daniel Hemric 13th, Brandon Jones 15th, Ty Dillon 24th and Brendan Gaughan 35th, respectively, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Dash 4 Cash … This weekend’s race marks the return of the revamped Dash 4 Cash race format. The top-two XFINITY Series regulars in each of the race’s first two stages will compete for the Dash 4 Cash prize in the final stage. The highest finisher among those four drivers in the final stage will win the Dash 4 Cash and a $100,000 prize. This is the first time the Dash 4 Cash event has taken place at Phoenix Raceway.
The Points …Daniel Hemric, Brendan Gaughan and Brandon Jones sit fourth, eighth and 14th, respectively, in the driver point standings. The No. 2 and No. 3 RCR teams are third and 12th in the owner point standings. Hemric is currently second in the XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year point standings.
Catch the Action … Coverage of this weekend’s DC Solar 200 at Phoenix Raceway will be televised live on Saturday, March 18, beginning at 4 p.m. ET on FOX. It will also be broadcast live on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM channel 90.
This Week’s Rheem Chevrolet Camaro at Phoenix Raceway … In nine previous XFINITY Series starts at Phoenix Raceway, Dillon has earned four top-five and seven top-10 finishes. The RCR driver holds an average starting position of 7.8 coupled with an average finishing position of 8.9.
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By the Numbers … According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, the Dillon brothers rank second (Austin) and third (Ty) in the Closers category in the XFINITY Series at Phoenix International Raceway.
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTES:
Why does Phoenix Raceway drive like a short track, but it’s in fact one-mile in length?
“It has a lot to do with the angle and degree of the banking at Phoenix. Turns 3 and 4 are flat, and 1 and 2 is just a weird corner. You don’t really race anywhere like that all year long, so it’s a difficult driving track. When you have a good handling car, it helps a lot.”
What are your thoughts on the West Coast swing?
“I do like the West Coast swing that we have and I’m glad when we get to go out there and stay out and see a different part of the country for a couple of weeks. It is a good time.”
This Week’s Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro at Phoenix Raceway … Ty Dillon has raced in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series at Phoenix Raceway. He has two starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, with his best finish of 15th place coming in 2016. Dillon has raced at the one-mile oval in the NASCAR XFINITY Series six times and has never finished outside of the top 10. His highest finish came in 2014, when took the checkers in fourth place. In his two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, he has taken home top-15 finishes.
Community Leaders … Bass Pro Shops plays an active role in the communities their locations serve including partnering with local conservation organizations, assisting in disaster relief efforts and supporting our military and veterans. Bass Pro Shops has donated more than 200,000 products to youth-focused nonprofit organizations, honoring our brave men and women in uniform by offering monthly discount days and hosting free Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Days events each year for more than 40,000 kids and families.
Meet Dillon … Fans will have two opportunities to meet Dillon while he is in the Phoenix area. On Thursday night, he will visit the Bass Pro Shops in Mesa, Arizona, to meet fans and sign autographs at 6 p.m. local time. Later on in the weekend, Dillon will be out in the Phoenix Raceway fan midway on Sunday morning at the GEICO display. Race fans will have a chance to get autographs and ask questions during a Q&A session beginning at 9:10 a.m. local time.
TY DILLON QUOTES:
What are your thoughts on Phoenix Raceway?
“I love Phoenix. I’ve raced there a lot, whether it was running the K&N West Series, the Truck Series or the XFINITY Series. I’ve made two Cup starts there also, so it’s one of the tracks I’ve run the most. I’ve always loved it. It’s a very fun racetrack.”
How has your #NASCARGoesWest experience been so far?
“We ran into bad luck last weekend in Las Vegas. We worked really hard throughout the whole race to find the right balance we needed, and we were making progress there in the final stage. It was unfortunate to end with a wreck on the last lap. Las Vegas is one of my best tracks, and I was really confident in our chances. But, Phoenix is a whole other ballgame. We’re going from a mile-and-a-half track to a short track. It’s the first short track of the year, but one that I have a lot of past experience at that I can draw from. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Bass Pro Shops Chevy team can make happen. ”
This Week’s Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet Camaro at Phoenix Raceway … Hemric will be making his first NASCAR XFINITY Series start at Phoenix Raceway this weekend, but has three starts at the 1-mile track in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Meet the Driver … Hemric will be part of the XFINITY Series autograph session outside Turn 4 on Friday, March 17, starting at 11:30 a.m. local time. The Rookie of the Year contender will also make an appearance at the Team Chevy stage on Saturday, March 18, starting at 11:30 a.m. local time.
Rearview Mirror: Las Vegas … In just the third XFINITY Series outing of his career, Hemric had an up-and-down day at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last Saturday afternoon. The Rookie of the Year contender chased the handling of the No. 21 The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Chevrolet throughout the event, but rallied back to finish 13th. Heading into this weekend’s race at Phoenix Raceway, Hemric has an average starting spot of 6.0 and an average finish of 17.7.
DANIEL HEMRIC QUOTES:
Phoenix Raceway is going to be repaved and reconfigured after this event, what are your thoughts on another track making major changes?
“It is really exciting to be in this era of NASCAR where tracks are going through different repaving processes. Daytona International Speedway kind of kicked that off a few years ago with the huge infrastructure investment they made there. Now, Phoenix is making that transition. It is just a cool time to be a part of the sport. Maybe one day if I have kids or grandkids I can tell them how I was around for this. It’s even cooler to see how everything is going to grow and the fan element is going to improve. This is a huge change for the good for NASCAR.”
Most drivers describe Phoenix as a short track, but it is really a 1-mile track. Why is it considered a short track among drivers?
“Everybody calls Phoenix a short track. Everything you feel and learn growing up racing – the braking, your roll zones, and the throttle acceleration – Phoenix does all those things, but you’re doing it at faster speeds. Once the race starts, you have cars all around you and it drives just like a short track. The way the track takes rubber, the way it changes from day to night, all of that stuff takes you back to competing on short tracks in all different forms of racing. I know that’s why it is one of the favorites among the drivers, especially the ones that had to battle up the ranks growing up. That’s how they cut their teeth and make a living. Luckily, I was one of those guys and hopefully all of the things I did back then pay off when we get to the racetrack.”
This Week’s Chevy Truck Month Camaro at Phoenix Raceway… Heading into the second leg of the ‘NASCAR Goes West’ tour after recording a top-15 finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Brandon Jones is eager to compete at Phoenix Raceway, a track he’s visited five times in his racing career. In two NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at the 1-mile track, the 20-year-old driver has one top-15 finish (11th) from March 2016. Jones also has two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts and one NASCAR K&N Pro Series West start at the track.
Meet Brandon Jones… Jones will be available to answer fan questions and sign autographs while he visits the Team Chevy stage at 9 AM on Saturday, March 18, located in the Fan Midway.
Autograph Time… Jones will be participating in the first NASCAR XFINITY Series autograph session of the season on Friday, March 17. Fans can get his autograph, along with fellow RCR teammates Daniel Hemric and Brendan Gaughan, starting at 11:30 a.m. local time in the Fan Midway.
Fresh Paint… This weekend Jones will have new colors on his No. 33 Chevrolet Camaro. The white, gold and gray paint scheme celebrates Chevy Truck Month, which is going on throughout the entire month of March. Fans are encouraged to get to their local Chevy dealer and choose the Silverado that’s right for them.
About Chevrolet… Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 115 countries and selling more than 4.0 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at chevrolet.com.
BRANDON JONES QUOTE:
You have a lot of experience racing at Phoenix. What are some of the keys to success at the track?
“In order to run well at Phoenix, you need your car to turn really well in both corners of the track, which is tricky since they are both very different. Turns 1 and 2 are extremely tight and have more of a banking, where Turns 3 and 4 are wide like at New Hampshire. Normally, a car will handle well in one corner but not the other, so if we can figure out how to balance both corners we’ll have a great day on the track and a shot at the win. With all the support Chevrolet has provided me throughout my career, it would be awesome to give them their first XFINITY win of the season while they’re on the car!”
This Week’s South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro at Phoenix Raceway … In 11 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Phoenix, Gaughan has completed 2,106 of 2,181 (96.6 percent) of the laps he has competed. The Las Vegas native is credited with a 16.9 average starting position and an average finishing position of 15.9. In 11 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Gaughan has led nine laps and averages a 14.6 finishing position.
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2017 By the Numbers … With three XFINITY Series events complete in 2017, Gaughan has one top-five finish, with 16 laps led to his credit. According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Gaughan ranks seventh in driver rating with an average finish of 17.7. The 41-year-old driver also ranks third in Quality Passes, with 203 on the season.
Meet Brendan Gaughan … Gaughan is scheduled to appear at the XFINITY Series autograph session located in the Fan Midway on Friday, March 17, starting at 11:30 a.m. local time. On Saturday, March 18, 9 a.m. local time, Gaughan is also scheduled to participate in a question and answer session with teammate Brandon Jones at the Team Chevy stage located in the Fan Midway.
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTES:
Short track, or big track, that is the question?
“It’s a mile track, and that doesn’t make it a speedway, but it is a mile that races very aggressively. Remember the old days when the turn two wall used to come back at you, and the gap was there? I miss those days a lot. What Phoenix Raceway has done with the dogleg on the back straightaway is the coolest little quirk of any race track in the country. I hear they have moved the start finish line back there, I don’t know exactly where it is yet. If it is dead-middle of the dogleg, wow can you imagine what the finishes are going to look like? We will be eight wide coming to the finish line. Phoenix puts on great racing out here as part of the West Coast swing. The fans are great, it is really awesome to come out west and see everybody support Phoenix the way they do.”