RCR Event Preview – Watkins Glen International

Richard Childress Racing at “The Glen” … In 68 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Watkins Glen International, RCR boasts two wins (Robby Gordon 2003 and Kevin Harvick 2006), eight top-five and 21 top-10 finishes. Dale Earnhardt won three poles (1990, ’92, ’96) at the high-speed, seven-turn, upstate New York facility.

RCR in the MENCS … In 2,801 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 48 pole awards,107 wins, 482 top-five finishes and 1,042 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.

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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 www.facebook.com/RichardChildressRacing and at www.RCRracing.com along with official driver pages – http://www.facebook.com/austindillon3, www.facebook.com/PaulMenard27 and www.facebook.com/RyanNewmanNASCAR.

Catch the Action … The I Love New York 355 at the Glen is scheduled to be televised live on Sunday, August 6 on NBCSN beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.

This Week’s Dow STEM Chevrolet at Watkins Glen International … In three previous Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Watkins Glen, Dillon’s best finish is 16th in 2014. He has two NASCAR XFINITY Series starts to his credit at the road course, posting a best finish of 12th in 2013. He also finished 12th in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Division race at Watkins Glen in 2008.

Dow and Richard Childress Racing Launch ‘The Speed of STEM’ Learning Modules … racing-themed modules bring the science of racing to life for students and educators … Sharing a common passion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and education, The Dow Chemical Company and Richard Childress Racing will unveil the first of a series of learning modules that bring to life the importance of STEM in the sport of racing. Designed as a partnership among Dow employees, RCR employees, and educators from Mount Airy High School, a RCR partner school in North Carolina, “The Speed of STEM” puts kids in the driver’s seat by using hands-on experiments to make STEM subjects accessible and exciting. The activities, starting with the physics module launching this weekend, with Math and Chemistry to come later this year, will be available online for global access. They will also be administered in classrooms in Dow communities around the world by employee volunteers known as Dow STEM Ambassadors.  This partnership supports Dow’s commitment to Building the Workforce of Tomorrow, and drives progress towards it 2025 Sustainability Goal of positively impacting the lives of 1 billion people through Engaging Employees for Impact.

What are the differences between Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International?
“Watkins Glen is just a totally different beast.  It’s a really fast, aggressive track.  You can gain a lot by getting after it on the braking zones and it’s just a high-speed place with all the new grip in the pavement.  I enjoy going there.  It’s been a track where I have been able to run some fast laps, but we would like to get a good finish out of it.  I’ve had some struggling as far as finishes, but we have had some runs that we’ve run up front.  We will work hard to get there.”
This Week’s Dutch Boy / Menards Chevrolet at Watkins Glen International … Menard has competed in 13 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events at Watkins Glen International since his first start in 2003, completing 99.1 percent of the laps attempted. In his 23 road course races in the MENCS, Menard has one top-five finish and three laps led.

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How much fun is road-course racing?
“I really enjoy road-course racing and am glad we’ll have another on the schedule next year. Watkins Glen is a lot of fun because there are multiple passing opportunities around the track and you can really out-brake the car in front of you to make those passes. You have to get aggressive, especially in the bus stop. If you go through there two-wide, you’re going to make contact. You just have to make sure you come out of it better than the other guy, but there is a lot of give-and-take through there early in the race. We’ll see how aggressive people get given the new stage formats, though. We had a solid run at Sonoma earlier this year and hopefully we can back it up this weekend with the Dutch Boy/Menards Chevrolet.”

This Week’s Caterpillar Chevrolet at Watkins Glen International … Newman will make his 571st Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start when the Series competes at the second road-course of the season. In 15 NASCAR Cup Series events at The Glen, Newman has recorded one top-five and 3 top-10 finishes. He has led 20 laps in competition. The South Bend, Indiana native has an average start of 10.5 and average finish of 17.3.

Winner, Winner … Newman has all but punched his ticket to the MENCS playoffs with a victory at Phoenix Raceway on March 19th in the No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet. The win equates to the driver’s 18th-career Cup Series victory and RCR’s 106th.

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Meet Newman … On Sunday, Newman is scheduled to stop by the National Wild Turkey Federation display at 9:55 a.m. ET. The display is located outside Turn 1 immediately in front of the pedestrian bridge.

What is the key to being successful at Watkins Glen International?
“It’s all about having good corner flow because all of the corners are a little bit different. It’s extremely important to carry good speed through the whole racetrack.”

What is your favorite turn at Watkins Glen?
“Turn 1 is probably the most challenging because the car wants to wheel hop and the bus stops are probably the most fun getting it right. When you know you nailed it, you really nailed it.”

What is the hardest thing to figure out?
“The hardest thing for me is pretty simple … to win.”
Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Watkins Glen International … In 32 Series starts at the 2.45-mile road course, RCR has captured one victory with Kevin Harvick in 2007. The Welcome, North Carolina, organization has completed 2,625 laps of the 2,629 (99.8 percent) that they have competed. RCR has accumulated seven top-five finishes, 18 top-10 finishes, led 122 laps and averages a starting position of 12.6 and finishing position of 10.6.

Iowa Review … Brian Scott was the highest RCR finisher in third, Daniel Hemric seventh, Brandon Jones 10th, Brendan Gaughan 13th and Ben Kennedy 23rd, respectively, at Iowa Speedway.

The Points … All three RCR XFINITY Series full-time drivers remain in the top 20 of the driver point standings as the series heads to Watkins Glen for the 20th event of the season. Daniel Hemric is currently fifth, Brendan Gaughan is 12th and Brandon Jones is 17th. The No. 2 RCR team is eighth in the owner point standings, with the No. 3 team right behind in ninth. Daniel Hemric is currently third in the XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year point standings.

Catch the Action … Coverage of this weekend’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International will be televised live on Saturday, Aug. 5, beginning at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN. It will also be broadcast live on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio Channel 90.

This Week’s Richmond / Menards Chevrolet Camaro at Watkins Glen International … Menard has competed in 10 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Watkins Glen International. The veteran driver has two top-five and seven top-10 finishes at WGI, including a runner-up finish in last year’s event.

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The last time you were in the NXS car, you finished second at Indianapolis. You finished second in this race last year. What will it take to get this No. 2 team into Victory Lane this weekend at Watkins Glen?
“The No. 2 team has been showing a lot of strength lately in the XFINITY Series. Austin Dillon had some solid runs early in the year, Ben Kennedy has been strong, and we came pretty close two weeks ago at Indianapolis. Randall Burnett has put in a lot of work as the crew chief, and all of the guys on the road crew and pit crew have been firing on all cylinders. We expect to be contenders each time we hit the track, and this weekend will be no different at Watkins Glen.”
This Week’s Rheem Chevrolet Camaro at Watkins Glen … This weekend, Ty Dillon will make his fourth NASCAR XFINITY Series start at Watkins Glen International. His highest finish of fifth came in 2015. Dillon has never finished outside of the top 15 at the 2.45-mile road course, scoring two top-10 finishes. He has also never started outside of the top 10. Dillon will make his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Watkins Glen on Sunday.

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Meet Dillon … Fans will have two opportunities to meet Dillon on Sunday morning before the I Love New York 355. He will be at the GEICO stage in the infield fan zone at 10:30 a.m. local time. Dillon will follow that with an appearance at the infield Team Chevy stage for a question and answer session with fans at 11:00 a.m. local time.

What are your thoughts as we head to the first road course on the XFINITY Series schedule?
“Watkins Glen has been a challenge for me in the past. I’ve gotten good finishes, but it’s not the most comfortable road course for me. It’s certainly unique to all of the others that we go to, and, now that it’s been repaved, it’s even more important to have a fast race car when you unload. Luckily, with the MENCS race at Sonoma already under my belt, I’ve already knocked the road-course racing dust off a bit this season. Hopefully that gives me a mentality advantage over the NXS regulars that will be turning their first laps on a road-course all year.”

This Week’s Death Wish Coffee Chevrolet Camaro at Watkins Glen International … Hemric will be making his first NASCAR XFINITY Series start at Watkins Glen International during this weekend’s Zippo 200. Hemric has one NASCAR K&N Pro Series East start at the 11-turn track, starting 11th and finishing 10th in 2015. The XFINITY Series rookie also has two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts on road courses, earning two top-five finishes.

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Rearview Mirror: Iowa … Hemric had a fast Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet throughout the weekend at Iowa Speedway, but a vibration brought the rookie contender to pit road for an unscheduled stop early in the opening stage of Saturday’s race. Through pit strategy and timely cautions, the team was able to work its way back into contention. When the checkered flag flew, Hemric was in the seventh position and earned his second-consecutive top-10 finish and eighth overall this season.

What can you take away from your lone NASCAR K&N Series start at Watkins Glen that you can apply to your first start there in the XFINITY Series?
“We had some motor issues during my first K&N race at Watkins Glen, but I took to the racetrack really quickly and we were really fast right away in opening practice. From that first practice I fell in love with Watkins Glen. It’s funny, you play video games as a kid and Watkins Glen was one that I always ran on the games. Since I raced it all the time on the video games, I knew the map of the track in the back of my mind when I went there for the first time. That’s half the battle a lot of the time when you go road course racing. To be able to go there this year with the Death Wish Coffee Chevrolet, with RCR having a road course win last year, to have Danny Stockman setting the car up and calling the shots on the pit box, there’s just a lot to good stuff going on heading into the weekend. Hopefully, we can go there this weekend and capitalize, make myself better on the road courses as we go through this stretch of road course races in the next month.”

How close was the in-game experience to the real-life experience racing at Watkins Glen International?
“It was fairly close. Just the visual memory of knowing where things are at around the track, that’s the most difficult thing to get acclimated to as a driver with a new place. You can learn where the braking points are and where the shifting points are, the sooner you can hone in on that stuff, the faster you can make your race car better. I haven’t been to Watkins Glen since the track was repaved, but I’m excited to get back and know the visuals are still the same. We’ll just need to figure out what we need to make the Death Wish Coffee Chevrolet go fast.”
This Week’s Freightliner Chevrolet Camaro at Watkins Glen International… Brandon Jones has one previous NASCAR XFINITY Series start at Watkins Glen International, finishing in 13th place during last year’s event. The 20-year-old driver also has one previous NASCAR K&N Pro Series East start at the 2.45-mile road course, in which he started ninth and finished sixth in 2014.

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Meet Brandon Jones … Fans can meet Jones this weekend when he stops by the National Wild Turkey Federation booth located in the track’s infield fan zone for an autograph session beginning at 9:30 a.m. local time on Saturday, August 5. Jones will also be available for a Q&A session with RCR teammate Brendan Gaughan at the Team Chevy stage located at the infield fan zone beginning at 10:15 a.m. local time on Saturday, August 5.

You’ve raced at Watkins Glen in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and K&N Pro Series East Series. Do you enjoy the road course racing we see in the XFINITY Series?
“I’m okay with the road course racing. It’s not my favorite, but we seem to get through it fine. I just really focus hard on those weeks to do everything I can to get a good finish for my team at those tracks. I’ve been doing a lot more this year to try to help myself prepare for those tracks. I’ve gone to a couple road course racing schools to work on the technique needed for this type of racing. I also ran Watkins Glen in our simulator this week to get a sense of the braking zones and track layout. I’m running the K&N Pro Series East race again this year on Friday for more laps and more experience out on the track. I’m hoping all that preparation will help us capitalize on the weekend and get a good finish out of it.”

This Week’s South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet at Watkins Glen International … Brendan Gaughan has six previous NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Watkins Glen International, collecting two top-10 finishes. His best result of eighth came during last year’s event. Gaughan also has one previous Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at the 2.45-mile long road course.

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Meet Gaughan … Fans can meet Gaughan when he takes part in a Q&A session with RCR teammate Brandon Jones at the Team Chevy stage located in the track’s infield fan zone beginning at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, August 5.

We have two road courses in a row for the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Do you consider yourself a road course ace when it comes to these tracks?
“I grew up a road course racer. I’ve been doing it since 1991. I think August is the greatest month of NASCAR racing ever invented. You end July with the Brickyard, which is so prestigious, then you go to The Glen, Mid-Ohio, Bristol and Road America before ending the month with Darlington. It’s just the greatest month NASCAR has ever come up with. I love it. The only thing I would change is to add ‘The Boot’ to Watkins Glen. I love ‘The Boot.’ I wish we ran it. I’ve been told they’ve had discussions about adding it back in. I’d give anything to have that part of the track in our race. It’s my favorite part of Watkins Glen.”

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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