RCR Race Preview: Talladega Superspeedway

Richard Childress Racing at Talladega Superspeedway… Richard Childress began his driving career at Talladega Superspeedway in the inaugural Talladega 500 on September 14, 1969. Childress has won 13 NASCAR Cup Series victories as an owner at the Alabama superspeedway. Kyle Busch became the latest RCR driver to win at Talladega when he captured the GEICO 500 at Talladega in 2023. Clint Bowyer won twice for RCR (fall races in 2010 and 2011) while Kevin Harvick won the 2010 spring event. Dale Earnhardt earned nine Talladega wins under the RCR banner, his first coming in 1984. Earnhardt scored his 76th and final Cup win in the 2000 fall race at Talladega which earned the team and a lucky fan each a $1 million bonus from the series sponsor. Other victories by Earnhardt include a sweep of both races in 1990 and 1999, plus 1991 (July), 1993 (July) and 1994 (spring).

RCR in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Talladega Superspeedway… Richard Childress Racing has also found success in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with one win, 11 top-five, and 20 top-10 finishes at Talladega Superspeedway. Two-time Xfinity Series Champion Tyler Reddick drove his No. 2 Chevrolet to Victory Lane in April 2019. RCR has won three consecutive pole positions at Talladega: Jeffrey Earnhardt (2022 spring), Austin Hill (2022 fall and 2023) and scored a second-place finish with Sheldon Creed in the 2023 event.

Catch the Action… The NASCAR Xfinity Series Ag-Pro 300 at Talladega Superspeedway will be televised live on Saturday, April 20, beginning at 4 p.m. ET on FS1. The race will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

Follow Sunday’s Action at Talladega… The NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway will be televised live on Sunday, April 21, beginning at 3 p.m. ET on FOX. The race will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Club/TRACKER Off Road Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Talladega Superspeedway… In 21 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega Superspeedway, Austin Dillon has two top-five and five top-10 finishes. The 2013 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion has made four starts at Talladega Superspeedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, earning one pole (2015), and a career-best finish of third among three top-10 finishes. In two NASCAR Truck Series races at Talladega, Dillon has two top-10 finishes.

Bass Pro Shops and RCR’s Commitment to Conservation… The relationship with America’s premier outdoor and conservation company extends far beyond the logo on the hood of Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet. It has led to many great times in the woods and on the water. It has also served as a vessel to bring awareness to the importance of conservation. There is a permanent display located within the Richard Childress Racing Museum in Welcome, North Carolina dedicated to wildlife and outdoor conservation. The display was installed by Bass Pro Shops representatives and showcases many of the animal trophies that Childress has taken over the years.

Throwing it Back… Tune into FOX & Friends this Sunday, April 21 for a special LIVE segment on FOX & Friends on FOX News featuring Dillon and a special paint scheme unveil in the 9:30 a.m. ET hour. Dillon, an experienced hunter and conservationist, is appearing on FOX & Friends on behalf of Bass Pro Shops.

About Bass Pro Shops… Bass Pro Shops is North America’s premier outdoor and conservation company. Founded in 1972 when avid young angler Johnny Morris began selling tackle out of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, today the company provides customers with unmatched offerings spanning premier destination retail, outdoor equipment manufacturing, world-class resort destinations, and more. In 2017 Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela’s to create a “best-of-the-best” experience with superior products, dynamic locations, and outstanding customer service. Bass Pro Shops also operates White River Marine Group, offering an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading boat brands, and Big Cedar Lodge, America’s Premier Wilderness Resort. Under the visionary conservation leadership of Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops is a national leader in protecting habitat and introducing families to the outdoors and has been named by Forbes as “one of America’s Best Employers.” Bass Pro Shops has a long relationship with NASCAR, dating back to 1998. For more information, visit http://www.basspro.com/.

About TRACKER Off Road… Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 prominently features TRACKER ATVs, a game-changing new line of all-terrain vehicles and side-by-sides offering breakthrough performance, service, and value in the off-road industry. TRACKER Off Road was born out of a powerhouse partnership formed between Bass Pro Shops and TRACKER founder Johnny Morris and Textron Specialized Vehicles, bringing together the undisputed world leader in boating with a global leader in innovation and technology.

Meet Dillon… Dillon is scheduled to make an appearance at Bass Pro Shops (5000 Bass Pro Blvd, Leeds, Alabama 35094) on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT. Come visit the Leeds, Alabama store to meet Dillon and shop.

AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE:

Talk about racing at Talladega Superspeedway. What kind of race do you expect we will see at Talladega Superspeedway?

“You can do certain things throughout that race to put yourself in a better position, but it’s one of those tracks you go into knowing that there’s probably a 75 percent chance that you could be in a wreck. You have to take that 25 percent and make it yours. I have Talladega Superspeedway circled on my calendar. I love racing there and I can’t wait to get on track in the Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Off-Road Chevrolet Camaro. Talladega Superspeedway is a little bit different real estate than Daytona International Speedway. At Daytona, you’re packed in there and it’s hard to get to someone’s inside or outside, and there is less movement in the draft. At Talladega, there’s a lot of movement in the draft, the packs are big and wide, and with the way this package works, there is more two-lane racing around the bottom. It’s going to be interesting to see if we can make that third lane work at some point and move around. You’re kind of holding on at times waiting to see what happens. Everybody is pushing, and you’re hoping you can get through the mess.”

Kyle Busch and the No. 8 Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Talladega Superspeedway… Kyle Busch will make his 38th start at Talladega Superspeedway in NASCAR Cup Series competition this weekend. One year ago Busch won the spring event at the Alabama superspeedway, stretching his fuel mileage to perfection and officially scoring the victory in NASCAR Overtime. The driver of the Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chevrolet claimed his second victory at Talladega in 2008 when the Las Vegas, Nevada native didn’t lead until late in that race, pacing the field for 12 of the final 15 laps, scoring the victory in his seventh Cup Series start at the 2.66-mile facility. Busch has two NASCAR Truck Series victories at Talladega (2009 and 2010) and one win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (2011).

Did You Know? Busch has more points (77) on drafting tracks at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway this season than any other Cup Series driver.

The Points Chase…Busch is 16th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 33 points outside the top-10.

About Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen… Cheddar’s serves American classics and homestyle comfort food in a feel-at-home atmosphere. Guests get a lot, for not a lot with homemade entrees like hand-breaded Chicken Tenders, homemade Chicken Pot Pie and slow-smoked Baby Back Ribs so big, they almost fall off the plate. To kick off a memorable meal, every Guest is welcomed with a warm Honey Butter Croissant on the house. Cheddar’s operates more than 180 restaurants in 27 states and employs more than 15,000 friendly and passionate team members. Cheddar’s is open for lunch and dinner, now featuring new weekday lunch specials, starting at just $8.59. For more information or to locate the nearest restaurant, visit Cheddars.com. Fans can like or follow Cheddar’s on Facebook, X, and Instagram.

KYLE BUSCH QUOTES:

How cool was it to win a fuel mileage race last year at Talladega Superspeedway?

“Winning is always cool. You strive to get to victory lane every single weekend and celebrate with your team and it’s great when you get there. I’ve not been known as a great speedway racer, so it was especially gratifying to score the win at Talladega, my first there since 2008.”

Do you anticipate the same kind of race at Talladega Superspeedway that we saw in the Daytona 500 back in February?

“I do think we will see similar racing as we did in Daytona with guys trying to modulate their fuel consumption as best as they can to minimize their time on pit road and make their next stop as short as possible.”

You won a Talladega Superspeedway last spring and ran well at both Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this season. Does that give you any optimism entering Talladega?

“There’s definitely some optimism entering the speedway races with RCR. Both ECR and RCR have been strong at the restrictor plate races for as long as I can remember and it’s nice when we can continue that trend like we have last year and again this year.”

Jesse Love and the No. 2 Whelen Aerospace Technologies (WAT) Chevrolet Camaro SS at Talladega Superspeedway… Jesse Love has made one career start at Talladega Superspeedway, driving in the ARCA Menards Series event in April 2023. During that race, the Menlo Park, California native qualified in the second position, before leading 35 of 74 laps and claiming victory. In two prior Xfinity Series drafting events this season, Love has captured both pole positions and led a total of 191 laps.

Top-10 Streaking… With a ninth-place result in Fort Worth, Texas, Love extended his top-10 streak to five consecutive races. The 19-year-old finished a career-best second at Phoenix Raceway, sixth at Circuit of The Americas, fifth at Richmond Raceway, and ninth at both Martinsville Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.

Leader of the Rookie Class… Love continues to lead the Sunoco Rookie of the Year point standings, stretching his lead to 82 points over second-place Shane van Gisbergen.

ARCA Wall of Champions… On Friday afternoon, Love will be unveiled on the ARCA Wall of Champions at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Every ARCA champion since 1953 has their picture proudly represented inside the Alabama facility. Love will be joined at the induction ceremony by ARCA president Ron Drager and his parents, Duke and Elizabeth.

WAT Flying High… For this weekend’s event at Talladega Superspeedway, Love will trade in his standard red-and-white Whelen Engineering colors for the black-and-yellow Whelen Aerospace Technologies (WAT) brand. Whelen Aerospace Technologies is the global leader in high-end lighting products for the aerospace industry. Their experienced staff designs, engineers, and manufacturers high-quality products that provide safety, visibility, and recognition for aircraft across all platforms. The design engineers work closely with OEM and service provider networks to design high-performance products that enhance the pilot experience, as well as provide safety of flight. As an FAA-approved production holder, WAT owns hundreds of STCs for aircraft landing, taxi, anti-collision and position lights. The in-house composite shop produces a wide variety of STC and PMA approved speed modifications for a number of general aviation aircraft. The expansive product line is sure to provide a solution for pilots and owners alike, based on their individual needs.

About Whelen Engineering… Whelen Engineering is a family-owned company with a pioneering spirit and a passion to protect the lives of those who protect and serve others. The company mission is to provide industry-defining safety solutions around the world, while creating a community of problem-solvers who are inspired to push boundaries and continue our legacy of delivering ground-breaking innovation. As a global leader in the emergency warning industry, Whelen has been trusted to perform since 1952, when George Whelen III invented the first rotating aviation beacon. Whelen now encompasses two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Connecticut and New Hampshire with over 750,000 square feet of engineering and manufacturing space and the largest design staff in the industry. Every part of every Whelen product is proudly designed and manufactured in America. We embrace quality as our foundation, we celebrate innovative engineering in every product we produce.

JESSE LOVE QUOTE:

How has your teammate Austin Hill helped you, specifically on superspeedways?

“There have been a ton of times, even this week, but especially before Daytona International Speedway, where I would ask Austin Hill three or four questions a week – of why he did this, why he did that, why did this guy do this, etc. – and he always answers and gives me the info quickly. At the beginning of the year, I thought the superspeedways were going to be the hardest thing for me to learn. I thought after the first two races of the year, we were going to be in a huge hole points wise and morale wise, because I had no idea what to do. But Austin has helped shorten that learning curve a lot to where I feel pretty confident at the superspeedways now.”

Austin Hill and the No. 21 Bennett Transportation and Logistics Chevrolet Camaro SS at Talladega Superspeedway… Austin Hill has made four career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Talladega Superspeedway, but never captured the checkered flag at the Alabama track. The Winston, Georgia native has claimed two poles and led a total of 141 laps in the last three events, all while piloting the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Hill has also participated in five NASCAR Truck Series events, securing a best finish of sixth in 2019.

Three in a Row? Hill has earned the last two pole positions (fall 2022, spring 2023) at Talladega Superspeedway and on Friday afternoon, the 29-year-old will look to make it three in a row.

Superspeedway Dominance… Hill enters Talladega Superspeedway as the winner of both Xfinity Series drafting races – Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway – in 2024. In those two events, the driver of the No. 21 Bennett Transportation & Logistics Camaro has started from the second position and led 102 of 289 (35%) laps.

Birthday Boy… Hill celebrates his 30th birthday on Sunday, April 21.

About Bennett Family of Companies… McDonough-Ga. based Bennett Family of Companies is a woman-owned, Women’s Enterprise Business Council (WBENC) certified, diversified transportation and logistics company. Through its 14 affiliated operating companies, the Bennett Family of Companies delivers integrated transportation and supply chain management solutions worldwide. Bennett has 4,625 drivers/owner-operators, over 1,000 employees and 600 agents located across the United States. For more information, visit www.bennettig.com.

AUSTIN HILL QUOTES:

What is there about superspeedway racing that has been right up your alley since entering NASCAR?

“I’ve been asked this question a lot and when I was first asked it, I didn’t feel like I did anything different than others. First and foremost, you have to have a fast car and our Richard Childress Racing Camaros are always fast when we come to a superspeedway. But as I have gone back and watched races to prepare, I noticed that I make a lot of the right decisions at the right time and take all the runs that I can get. Even if those runs don’t work out early in the race, I try to learn from those and not make the same mistake twice. Some sort of luck is involved, but if you can position yourself in the top four or five, you have a higher percentage of getting the job done. I don’t like to be one of the guys that runs in the back and then when it’s go time, try to drive through the field. I prefer to control the race all day if I can. Take all the runs and be aggressive.”

How do you balance being aggressive with being in contention at the end of the race?

“It’s definitely a balance. There are times and moments in a race that I may not make a move that I would have at lap five or 10. For instance, if it’s later in the race and I’m running seventh or eighth in line, and the top is rolling, I want to strategically make the right move at the right time. I just don’t want to pull out of line. Last year at Talladega in this spring race, I made a bad move at the wrong time. I was second with 20 laps to go and pulled out of line to try and take the lead. The choo-choo train was rolling at the top and I ended up losing a ton of positions. I had to come back through the field, got back up to the front inside the top-five, and was caught up in a wreck. If I would have been a little more patient before pulling out of line, we could have possibly been in front of the wreck that eventually ended up happening. I’m constantly learning though. Talladega has been a track that we’ve always led and competed for the win at but have never been able to get the job done. Hopefully that changes this weekend.”

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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