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RCR Post Race Report – Bojangles’ Southern 500

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Bojangles’ Southern 500
Darlington Raceway
September 6, 2015

Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing drivers Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon and Paul Menard finished 13th, 22nd and 26th, respectively, in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
  • Newman ranks 11th in the Sprint Cup Series championship point standings, trailing current leader Kevin Harvick by 234 points, while Menard ranks 14th and Dillon 20th.
  • Carl Edwards earned his second win of the 2015 season and was followed to the line by Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick.
  • The 26th race of the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season is the Richmond 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 12, 2015, which is scheduled to be televised live on NBC Sports Network beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.

Austin Dillon Finishes 22nd in Throwback Paint Scheme at Darlington Raceway

Austin Dillon and the No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet team earned a 22nd-place finish in Sunday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Sporting a throwback paint scheme inspired by a design team owner Richard Childress drove when he was a NASCAR driver, Dillon and team started the race from 29th place. Once the green flag waved over the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval for the 367-lap event, the driver radioed into crew chief Slugger Labbe he was tight in Turn 2. Through 15 pit stops, all under caution, Labbe and team made air pressure and wedge adjustments to help the handling on the Chevrolet SS while Dillon would make track bar adjustments in the car. The combined effort moved Dillon into and near the top 20 for a majority of the race. However, during most of the restarts the response was not to the driver’s liking and he would lose positions, but then gain them back on green-flag runs. At one point, the No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet gained 12 positions in 45 laps of green-flag racing. Utilizing two instances not to pit, Dillon restarted 11th and 12th, respectively, but could not maintain that position on older tires. When the checkered flag waved, he was scored in the 22nd position. Dillon is 20th in the driver point standings as the Series heads to Richmond International Raceway to race under the lights on Saturday night.

Start – 29 Finish – 22 Laps Led – 0 Points – 20

“This was not the finish we deserved at Darlington (Raceway) after some of the strides we made during the race. We had some stops where we gained four positions and then we would lose them on the restarts. As hard as we worked, we just couldn’t get going when the race went back to green sometimes. Not having a lot of green-flag runs didn’t help us any, either. But, we brought the American Ethanol Chevrolet back in one piece and it was great to run a paint scheme like my grandfather (Richard Childress, team owner) ran back in the day.”

Paul Menard Relegated to a 26th-Place Finish after Losing Power Steering at Darlington Raceway

Paul Menard started Sunday night’s 70’s throwback themed 367-lap event at Darlington Raceway from the 12th spot and maintained a position in the top 15 until power steering failed on lap 164, resulting in a 26th-place finish. Menard was happy with his No. 27 Moen/Menards Chevrolet in the opening laps, noting both a tight- and loose-handling condition at the 1.366-mile track. During the lap 164 caution, the Richard Childress Racing driver radioed to the team that he was losing power steering. This resulted in a pit stop on lap 166 for the crew to confirm there was a leak in the power steering. With no other options, and the race not even halfway, Menard toughed it out and wheeled his Chevy around the track that’s Too Tough To Tame. The Justin Alexander-led team kept a spot within the top 27 and saw Menard on pit road a total of 15 times for a combination of four tires, fuel, wedge and air pressure adjustments. In the final laps, Menard found himself in the 26th position and was able to power through to the checkered flag. This finish puts Menard 14th in the championship point standings and 15th in the Chase Grid standings leading into next weekend’s event at Richmond International Raceway.

Start – 12 Finish – 26 Laps Led – 0 Points – 14

“Today is not what we wanted. I lost power steering there in the beginning but we never gave up as a team and were able to come out of it with a decent finish. Thank you to the guys for giving me a fast Moen/Menards Chevy today.”

Ryan Newman Rebounds From Early Spin To Finish 13th At Darlington Raceway

Ryan Newman drove Richard Childress Racing’s No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS to a 13th-place finish in Sunday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Racing a throwback to the 70’s paint scheme, Newman started 23rd at one of his favorite race tracks. The Cat driver raced in the top 15 in the first 40 laps before a left-rear tire was cut down causing Newman to spin out in Turn 4. Crew chief Luke Lambert ordered two stops under caution to change four fresh Goodyear tires. Newman returned to the track in 32nd position when the race returned to green on lap 50. For the next 100 laps the Cat driver raced in the top 20 and by halfway, he competed in 15th with the top 10 well within his sights. Tire usage and when to bolt them on came into play in the second half of the race. Lambert felt the Cat team was a set to the good against most of the completion and by the 13th caution of the event, Newman raced in 11th place. At the 300-lap mark, Newman drove into the top 10 running as high as seventh position. The team’s final service of the night happened on lap 356 under caution while running in ninth place. Lambert called for four fresh tires and fuel. Newman returned to the track in 14th position with eight laps remaining and when the checkered flag waved, he was scored in 13th place. The solid finish keeps Newman in 11th in the championship point standings and 13th in the Chase Grid with just one race remaining before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship begins. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to competition next Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway. Caterpillar will be the primary partner.

Start – 23 Finish – 13 Laps Led – 0 Points – 11

“It was a good points day for us, but I’m disappointed that we were not able to close out the race with a top-10 finish. Luke (crew chief – Lambert) made good calls in the pits for adjustments and after each service our car handled bettered. We were definitely a top-10 car there at the end, we just weren’t able to capitalize on it.”

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


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