RCR Event Preview – Phoenix Raceway

Richard Childress Racing’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series History at Phoenix Raceway … Team owner Richard Childress has six victories at Phoenix Raceway, ranking him third on the all-time car owner victories list at the Avondale, Ariz. facility. This includes wins with Ryan Newman at the Series’ most recent appearance to the track in March 2017, along 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 112 starts at Phoenix, the Welcome, North Carolina based organization boasts 19 top-five and 42 top-10 finishes.

RCR in the MENCS … In 2,840 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 48 pole awards, 107 wins, 486 top-five finishes and 1,049 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.

Baby Love and Wedding Bells … The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma is excited to see the Childress/Dillon family grow this year. If you want to honor Ty Dillon’s soon-to-arrive baby or Austin Dillon’s upcoming wedding, you can donate to the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma in their name. For more information about how your gift of any size can help save injured children across the U.S., visit https://saveinjuredkids.org/.

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 Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway is scheduled to be televised live on Sunday, Novemeber 12 on NBC beginning at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.

This Week’s No. 3 Realtree Chevrolet SS at Phoenix Raceway … Dillon has seven Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix Raceway to his credit, earning his best finish of ninth in April 2016.

Realtree: Family, friends and the outdoors … Realtree’s presence on the No. 3 Chevrolet this weekend continues a friendship between the Dillon/Childress family and Realtree designer and president Bill Jordan that dates as far back as 1997 when the world’s leading camouflage designer, marketer, and licensor first began sponsoring No. 3 Chevrolets fielded by Childress and driven by Dale Earnhardt.

Your teammate won at Phoenix Raceway in the spring so organizationally, you probably have some good notes …
“Yeah, Phoenix will be a good one for us.  We can look at some of the stuff that the No. 31 (Ryan Newman) did and just kind of develop off of what we did. We had a decent run in that race.  Just try and build on the rest of the season and finish strong off at the second to last race.”

What are your thoughts on the racing at 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 No. 27 Duracell / Menards Chevrolet SS at Phoenix Raceway … The Eau Claire, Wisconsin native will make his 22nd start at the one-mile track on Sunday. He has three top-10 finishes and completed 96.4 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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What are your thoughts on racing at Phoenix Raceway?
“I have always liked racing at Phoenix. The track has aged well and lost a good bit of grip since it was repaved. Phoenix used to be real slick and it is starting to get back to that feeling now. Phoenix is a real driver’s track and you have to keep up with the adjustments throughout the weekend to be good all during the race. We will head there with the Duracell/Menards Chevrolet looking to follow up on our top-10 run last November.”

This Week’s No. 31 Cat® MineStar™ Chevrolet SS at Phoenix Raceway … Ryan Newman will make his 566th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start when he attempts to complete the sweep at Phoenix.

#B31ieve … Newman is making his eighth appearance in what is now known as the NASCAR Playoffs. At Dover, the driver of the No. 31 Chevrolet missed making the Round of 12 by just two points. He sits 16th in the standings after finishing 20th at Texas Motor Speedway. His highest finish in the championship standings is second place while driving in his first season for RCR and crew chief Luke Lambert.

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Meet Newman … On Sunday, Newman is scheduled to participate in a fan question and answer session at the Team Chevy Stage located in the track’s midway starting at 8:40 a.m. local time.

You are returning to the track that got your team its win to make this year’s NASCAR Playoffs. What has that win meant to you?
“The Phoenix win was pretty special. It was important to our team and to our entire organization. It’s been awhile since I’ve been back in Victory Lane and it meant a lot to get my crew chief and engineers their first win together and for me, with them. It was just what the doctor ordered. I remember telling people that I didn’t forget how to win, but it had me soul searching. ‘Is it really this hard or am I just losing it?’ The win helped set the tone for our season. It was a total collective effort and it felt so good. We were at the right place at the right time and did what we needed to do. I hope we can do it all over again on Sunday.”
Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Phoenix International Raceway … In 73 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, 42 top-10 finishes, led 590 laps and averages a starting position of 12.1 and finishing position of 11.9. RCR has completed 14,247 laps of the 14,547 (97.9 percent) that they have competed.

Texas Review … Austin Dillon was the highest RCR finisher in 10th, Daniel Hemric 14th, Ty Dillon 16th, Brendan Gaughan 17th and Brandon Jones 35th, respectively, at Texas Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Playoffs … This weekend’s 200-lap race at PIR marks the elimination race for the Round of 8. The four drivers that advance after Saturday night’s race will compete for the XFINITY Series driver’s championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Daniel Hemric is currently seeded seventh on the Playoffs grid.

The Points … Brendan Gaughan was eliminated from the Chase after the first round and sits 9th in the point standings. Brandon Jones is currently 17th in the driver point standings. The No. 2 Chevrolet Camaro 10th in owner points while the No. 3 Chevrolet Caramo is 11th in owner points.

Catch the Action … Coverage of this weekend’s Ticket Galaxy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway will be televised live on Saturday, Nov. 11, beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC. It will also be broadcast live on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM channel 90.

This Week’s No. 2 Ruud Chevrolet at Phoenix Raceway … In 10 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 7.9 coupled with an average finishing position of 11.3.

Rely on Ruud … Like RCR, Ruud is a pioneer in reliable performance.  In 1889, Edwin Ruud invented the first automatic gas water heater and since then, the Ruud brand has grown into one of North America’s largest and most respected makers of quality heating, cooling and water heating products for residential and light commercial use.  The Ruud reputation for engineering excellence, reliability, strength and top performance has been consistently recognized by leading consumer publications as a brand that can be trusted to deliver efficient, reliable performance day in and day out.

By the Numbers … According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Dillon ranks fifth in the Fastest Laps Run category and has the seventh-best Green Flag Speed in the XFINITY Series at Phoenix Raceway.

Next year, what do you think it’s going to be like when the start/finish line at Phoenix Raceway is on the other side of the track coming off the turn?
“I think that is cool.  I think it gives us a different perspective and I think the new Turn 3 and 4 will be really key.”

What about the trend of moving the fan area closer to the garage so that they can see what you guys are doing going through tech?
“Yeah, I think tracks are doing a good job of changing the outlook for the fans point of view.  Anytime we can get them closer to our sport and what we are doing, it’s great.”

This Week’s No. 3 Advil® Liqui-Gels® minis Chevrolet at Phoenix Raceway …Ty Dillon has raced in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series at Phoenix Raceway. He has three 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 seven 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 (NCWTS) starts, he has taken home top-15 finishes.

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What are your thoughts as we head to Phoenix for the second time this year?
“Phoenix is definitely one of my best tracks in the XFINITY Series. I’ve never finished outside of the top 10 there. Our team didn’t have the best showing in the spring race earlier this year. My balance was way too tight throughout the race, and we struggled to pick up track position in the final stage with so many cautions. We were still able to make it back inside the top 10, though, and gather valuable notes for our return this weekend. If we unload with a strong setup that builds on what we learned from the last race and use our practice time well, it will be a good weekend for our Bass Pro Shops team.”
This Week’s No. 21 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Camaro at Phoenix Raceway … Hemric will be making his second NASCAR XFINITY Series start at Phoenix Raceway in this weekend’s Round of 8 Playoff cut-off race. Hemric finished seventh in his first XFINITY Series race at the one-mile track after starting 35th.

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Gone Fishin’ … This weekend, Hemric will play host to fellow Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff spokesperson Josh Bertrand, Bassmaster Elite Series fisherman. Bertrand will take Hemric fishing at Saguaro Lake outside Phoenix on Thursday, while Hemric will show Bertrand around the NASCAR garage on Friday. Hemric has rarely gone fishing, while Bertrand has never attended a NASCAR event.

Rearview Mirror: Texas … Hemric enters the final race of the XFINITY Series Playoffs Round of 8 needing a big day after finishing 14th last Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. After a wreck in practice forced the team to a backup car, Hemric qualified sixth and earned points in Stage 1 and Stage 2. A jammed lug nut on a late pit stop slowed the team’s efforts, but the driver of the No. 21 Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet was able to fight back to finish 14th, heading into this weekend’s race 18 points below the cut-off to advance to the Championship 4.

Earlier this year you came from the back of the field and earned a top-10 finish at Phoenix Raceway. How do you get around that unique one-mile track?
“I feel like we got around Phoenix Raceway well earlier this year. Going there for our fourth race as a group together this year, that’s always a variable that you don’t know how well you will do. I felt like we excelled and got our first top-10 finish of the year. I believe that style of racetrack has kind of been our bread-and-butter this year as a company. We have excelled at Phoenix and Richmond, both short flat tracks. I look forward to going back to Phoenix to see the progress we’ve made over the year, especially considering where we were with the package the first time we were there. Phoenix is a racetrack I really enjoy getting around, so hopefully we can have a solid weekend and do what we need to do to be a part of the championship fight in Homestead next week.”

This Week’s No. 33 PhoneSkope Chevrolet Camaro at Phoenix Raceway … Brandon Jones has three NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Phoenix Raceway, collecting his best finish of 11th in the spring of 2016. The 20-year-old driver also has two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, finishing 12th there in 2014. Jones also competed at the mile-long track in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 2013.

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Meet Jones … Fans can meet Jones when he appears with his RCR teammate Brendan Gaughan at the Team Chevy display beginning at 4:30 p.m. local time on Friday, November 10.

You finished 15th at Phoenix Raceway earlier this season. What’s the challenge to getting around that track, and can you use your experience from March to help prepare?
“Phoenix Raceway can be one of the trickier tracks we visit. The two corners of the track are so different with Turns 1 and 2 being very narrow and Turns 3 and 4 being much wider. So, it’s hard to get a car set up to run well on both ends of the track. We had a decent car for the March race, but lacked consistent speed. We just needed more speed on the short run so we would have the track position needed to take advantage of all the late-race cautions that eventually came up. Balance-wise, we were good, and that is promising for this weekend because we also have recently found more speed. Our team has worked hard this year and has deserved better than the results have shown.  We have everything to gain at Phoenix, and we have a good notebook to help us get the No. 33 PhoneSkope Chevrolet dialed in to aggressively compete on Saturday.”
This Week’s No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet at Phoenix Raceway … Brendan Gaughan has 12 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Phoenix Raceway, during which he secured one top-five finish (fourth in 2010) and four top-10 finishes. The veteran driver also has four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and 11 Camping World Truck Series starts at the mile-long track. Gaughan has also competed at Phoenix four times in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

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Meet Gaughan … Gaughan is scheduled to appear at the Team Chevy display for a Q&A session with RCR teammate Brandon Jones beginning at 4:30 p.m. local time on Friday, November 10.

We’re back out west this week for Phoenix Raceway. Is that one of the more unique tracks we currently visit on the circuit?
“I know I say this all the time, and I’m still not sure if it was a mistake or intentional, but whoever designed the new kink at Phoenix Raceway made the best ‘mistake’ ever. I can only imagine how fun it is to watch as a fan. You don’t know if we’ll be diving to the apron or stay on the track. It really enables us to make a lot of moves, especially on the restarts which is when fans see us going four and five wide. It has really changed how hard you can race at Phoenix. It’s also a west coast race, which for me being in Las Vegas, is the turf I like to defend. With it being the final race before the championship in Miami, there will be a lot of different strategies going on that’ll make it really interesting to watch.”

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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