RCR Post Race Report – NSCS Darlington Raceway

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Southern 500 Post Race Report
Darlington Raceway
Saturday, April 12, 2014

Race Highlights:

Richard Childress Racing teammates Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon and Paul Menard finished 10th, 11th and 41st, respectively.

Newman ranks ninth in the Sprint Cup Series championship point standings, trailing current leader Jeff Gordon by 61 points, while Dillon ranks 10th and Menard ranks 18th.

The No. 31 Chevrolet team ranks 10th in the Sprint Cup Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 3 team 11th in the standings and the No. 27 team 18th.

Kevin Harvick earned his second victory of the 2014 season and was followed to the finish line by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Greg Biffle.

The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Richmond 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, April 26. The ninth race of the 2014 season is scheduled to be televised live on FOX beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern Time, and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.

Austin Dillon and No. 3 Dow Chevrolet Team Finish 11th at Darlington Raceway

Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon started the No. 3 Dow Chevrolet from the 20th position and ultimately earned an 11th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Southern 500 on Saturday evening. The Welcome, N.C., driver worked with crew chief Gil Martin to report changes to the car’s handling throughout the course of the 374-lap race. Numerous pit stops provided the RCR team an opportunity to fine-tune the No. 3 Chevrolet. During the middle portion of the race, Dillon was racing for position when he made contact with a lapped car that was attempting to race the lead lap cars. It caused right-side fender damage. Dillon pitted when the caution flag was displayed on lap 223, allowing the RCR team to make repairs to the fender. Dillon restarted 19th when green-flag racing resumed. He fell one lap down during a long green-flag run in the closing laps of the event, but put himself in the “lucky dog” position and earned his lap back when the caution flag was displayed with 11 laps remaining. After pitting for four tires and fuel, Dillon restarted in the 14th spot on the lead lap when green-flag racing resumed with six laps remaining. He survived a total of two attempts at a green-white-checkered-flag finish to earn an 11th-place result in his first NSCS race at Darlington Raceway.

Start – 20th       Finish – 11th    Laps Led – 0    Points – 10th

“Wow, I feel like we’ve finished 11th so many times this year (laughs). We’re certainly on the cusp of finishing within the top-10. We’ll take it. We worked hard tonight and I’m learning each week. I can’t wait to come to Darlington Raceway, and all of these tracks on the schedule, for the second and third times. We will be a very tough team the second half of this season. I’m proud of everyone on this Dow Chevrolet team.”



Paul Menard Relegated to 41st-Place Finish at Darlington Raceway
after On-Track Incident

Paul Menard was forced to take a 41st-place finish in Saturday night’s 500-mile event at Darlington Raceway in Richard Childress Racing’s No. 27 CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet SS. The Eau Claire, Wis., driver started 11th at the track “Too Tough to Tame” and not long into the event, Menard reported a tight-handling machine. Crew chief Slugger Labbe used the first several pit stops of the evening to make chassis and air pressure adjustments to remedy the handling conditions. A cut right-front tire on lap 202 pushed the CertainTeed/Menard Chevrolet SS into the outside wall causing extensive damage to the right side. After multiple trips to the garage and hard work by his crew, Menard returned to action and persevered during the final laps to ultimately finish in the 41st position. The result ranks Menard 18th in the driver championship point standings. Up next for Menard and his No. 27 Menards team is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, April 26.

Start – 11th       Finish – 41st    Laps Led – 0    Points – 18th

“It’s a shame we had the finish that we had in the CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet tonight. We were solid all weekend long, but unfortunately a flat right-front tire ruined what could have been a decent finish. We’ve had three-straight weeks of solid performances, so we’re not going to let what happened here in Darlington get us down. We’ll enjoy the off-weekend and get back to work at Richmond International Raceway in two weeks.”



Ryan Newman Collects Third Top-10 of Season at Darlington Raceway

Ryan Newman drove Richard Childress Racing’s No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS to a 10th-place finish in Saturday night’s 500-mile event at Darlington Raceway. The South Bend, Ind., driver started seventh at a track he considers to be his favorite on the Sprint Cup Series circuit. Shortly into the race, the driver reported a loose-handling condition in Turns 1 and 2. As a result, he raced as high as second and as low as 16th, so crew chief Luke Lambert made a series of chassis adjustments during more than 10 pit stops completed by the CAT crew under caution-flag conditions. With five laps remaining, Newman dodged a close call after sustaining damage on a three-wide restart that saw him go from seventh to 12th place. Fortunately, a debris caution slowed the action and forced the race into overtime. Newman used the second and final green-white-checkered flag restarts to gain ground and record a 10th-place finish, his third top-10 of 2014. The result ranks Newman ninth in the driver championship point standings. Up next for Newman and his No. 31 team is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, April 26th.

Start – 7th        Finish – 10th            Laps Led –  0      Points – 9th

“Luke (Lambert, crew chief) and the CAT crew really did a great job on pit road for me tonight. We used the first 300 laps to fine tune the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS for me and it helped. It also kept us in top-10 contention all night long. We had a fast car, but it was just too loose in certain stages to really have a shot at contending for the top spot. This is my favorite track and I wanted us to have a chance at the win in the end, but it just wasn’t our night. I’m okay with that knowing we unloaded a car with plenty of speed and the capability of running in the top 10, and then actually finishing in the top 10. Our RCR team has been strong from the get-go this season, but our results over the last month haven’t showed how good we really are. We’ve had a few issues with tires and a mechanical issue that kept us from producing top-10 finishes. This is good for us. I’m happy heading into the off-weekend and I look forward to Richmond International Raceway in two weeks.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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