Event Preview: Las Vegas Motor Speedway ytona International Speedway
Race: Kobalt Tools 400
Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Richard Childress Racing
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Notes:
RCR at Vegas … In 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, RCR Chevrolets have earned seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishes with five different drivers – Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick and Mike Skinner. Bowyer and Harvick’s runner-up finishes in March 2008 and March 2009, respectively, are RCR’s best showings at the mile-and-a-half oval.
Four Trophies Missing from the Case … RCR has earned a Sprint Cup Series victory at 19 of the 23 tracks on the 2012 schedule. The only tracks on the current schedule where RCR hasn’t earned Sprint Cup Series wins are Homestead-Miami Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Kentucky Speedway. Additionally, RCR has Sprint Cup Series wins at 22 tracks overall, including North Wilkesboro (N.C.), Riverside (Calif.) and Rockingham (N.C.), which are no longer on the schedule.
Get to the Points … RCR’s three Sprint Cup Series drivers rank third (Harvick), 12th (Burton) and 14th (Paul Menard) leading into this weekend’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Up-to-Date with RCR … To keep up-to-date with the latest news and to view exclusive content, visit RCR’s Twitter page – @RCRracing – along with the RCR Sprint Cup Series team Twitter pages – @RCR27PMenard, @RCR29KHarvick and @RCR31JeffBurton. Information about the 14-time championship organization can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/RichardChildressRacing .
Catch the Action … The Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be televised live on Sunday, March 6 beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on FOX. The race will also be broadcast live on Performance Racing Network and Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. Qualifying for the third of 36 points-paying races on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour begins Friday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m. EST and will broadcast live on SPEED.
No. 27 Schrock/Menards Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s Schrock/Menards Chevrolet at Las Vegas Motor Speedway … Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 379 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet Impala was a brand new addition to the RCR fleet for the 2011 season and was last seen on track at Texas Motor Speedway in November, where Menard started fourth and finished 15th. The chassis was also used in competition at Kansas Speedway in October, where the 2011 Brickyard 400 winner started sixth and finished 12th.
Viva Las Vegas … This weekend marks Menard’s sixth start at the 1.5-mile speedway. In his five previous starts, he has completed 98.4 percent of his laps (1,332 of 1,353) and has led for three paces. He has an average starting position of 37.8 and an average finishing position of 23.6, earning both his best finish of 12th and his best start of 18thin last year’s NSCS event (March 2011).
About Schrock … Beautiful on the Outside. Smart on the Inside®. Schrock is a manufacturer of fine kitchen and bath cabinetry, offering on-trend styling and creative organization solutions for the entire home. Schrock’s legacy of expertly crafted quality and service is backed by MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc., the No. 1 cabinet manufacturer in North America. For more information, visit www.schrockatmenards.com.
Race Rewind … In 2011, Menard started the No. 27 Chevrolet from the 18th position at the Las Vegas facility. Spending most of the 267 laps running in the top 10, the Menards team worked to tighten up the car’s handling throughout the afternoon. The Eau Claire, Wis., native took the checkered flag in the 12th position.
In the Rearview Mirror: Phoenix … A promising weekend at Phoenix International Raceway went awry when Menard was spun in a multi-car incident. Damage from contact with the inside retaining wall required lengthy repairs on pit road, forcing the Tarkett/Menards team to go multiple laps down to the leader and relegating Menard to a 31st-place finish.
PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
How has your history been racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway?
“Every time I got to Las Vegas it seems to go the same way our season went last year. We practiced really good and had a really fast car. We didn’t qualify as well as we practiced last year. Then, when it was time to race, we were just up and down all day. We were inconsistent last season and the race at Las Vegas was really inconsistent. We raced our way into the top five, had some problems, fell back and, ultimately, finished 12th. It just seems that every time we go to Las Vegas it is just up and down.”
It’s been a while since Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been paved. Is it changing? Is it getting a little more racy?
“It is. I love the track. It’s a really fun and racy track. It’s coming into its own a lot and the progressive banking is really nice. It’s pretty damn fast, too, so that makes qualifying really interesting. We actually did a tire test last fall and even with just the few cars that were there, we could rubber in the second groove and run it. Which as a race fan and a race driver, you want to have options to pass people. There you can run the bottom, run the middle and at times, run the top there. It’s a really fun race track.”
What do you enjoy doing when you are in Las Vegas?
“It’s really just a normal weekend for us. I don’t gamble so I just go back to the hotel, shower up and get a nice dinner somewhere. That’s probably the coolest part for me – all the choices of food you have. There are so many good restaurants there. It’s fun to try to find something different every night.”
No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s Budweiser Chevrolet at Las Vegas Motor Speedway … The No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team will utilize chassis No. 391 from the Richard Childress Racing stable for Sunday’s race. This is a brand new race car that will make its first laps on-track at LVMS this weekend.
Statistically Speaking … Harvick has made a total of 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at LVMS. In that span, he’s earned three top-five and four top-10 finishes. Harvick has completed 99.8 percent of the laps run in those 11 races (2,953 of 2,958) and he’s led 54 laps at the 1.5-mile track. Harvick has an average starting position of 23.9 and a 13.2 average finish at LVMS.
Solid Start … Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team have gotten off to a solid start in 2012 after scoring back-to-back top-10 finishes in the first two races of the season with seventh- and second-place results at Daytona International Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway, respectively. The feat marks the second time in Harvick’s 12-year NSCS career that he’s started off the season with such a solid performance. In 2010, he also scored a seventh-place finish at Daytona and earned a second-place result at Auto Club Speedway the following weekend. That year he finished second at LVMS.
Loopy in Vegas …Harvick has earned impressive Loop Data statistics at LVMS, including: third in closers; fifth in green-flag passes (430); seventh in fastest drivers late in a run; eighth in speed in traffic; ninth in average running position (12.912); ninth in laps in the top 15 (1,177 laps); 10th in average driver rating (92.2); 10th in fastest drivers early in a run; 10th in fastest laps run (40 laps).
Last Time Around … In last year’s race at LVMS, Harvick started from the 26th position and was running inside the top five when the team was hit with a pit road speeding penalty just past the halfway point of the race and had to restart at the tail end of the field. Mired back in traffic, Harvick struggled with a tight-handling car and finished 17th.
Phoenix Rewind … Last weekend, Harvick and the No. 29 team led the most laps at PIR and coasted to a second-place finish after running out of fuel in the final laps of the race. The finish moved him up to third in the NSCS driver point standings, just eight points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
Track Your Bud… Just weeks after Harvick and Budweiser brewmaster George Reisch led members of the media and other guests through Budweiser Beer School in Daytona Beach, Fla., the King of Beers has introduced “Track Your Bud,” a digital campaign that will allow consumers to trace the origins of the beer they hold in their hands to one of Budweiser’s 12 U.S. breweries. By using their Smartphone to scan the QR code on Budweiser packaging, downloading the free “Track Your Bud” app or visiting TrackYourBud.com, consumers can enter the Born On Date found on bottles and cans and be taken on a guided tour of the creation of their individual beer by the Budweiser brewmaster responsible for it. “Track Your Bud” content will provide beer drinkers with visibility into the source and selection of ingredients, Budweiser’s seven-step brewing process, when their beer began Beechwood aging and which brewmaster tasted it multiple times throughout its brew cycle to ensure their beer meets Budweiser’s high quality standard.
Meet the Press … Harvick will field questions from the media inside the infield media center on Friday, Mar. 9 from 11:15 – 11:30 a.m.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTES:
You finished 17th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last year. Is that a race that you use to benchmark your team’s intermediate program?
“Not really, because I think the year before we were absolutely on the mile-and-a-half race tracks but we ran great at Las Vegas. It has a different type of asphalt and it has a lot of banking and a lot of grip, so you can cover things up that you might not be able to cover up at a track like Kansas Speedway or some of those types of places. It’s interesting to see how it plays out through the year.”
It’s been a while since they re-paved the track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Is it changing or is it getting better?
“It hasn’t seemed to change a lot. It seems like it’s still really fast and every time we go out there during this time of the year it’s always pretty cool so the cars seem to grip well. The way that they paved that particular race track, it started off rough and it’s still rough. I think everybody’s adapted and it adds character to the track. You can move around the race track and you have options. It’s a different race track than most everywhere else we go.”
What does it take to be successful at Las Vegas Motor Speedway?
“When they re-paved the race track, it became a really fast race track. (There are) several bumps in the track and you have to make sure you are pointed in the right direction to go over it straight. It’s a really fast race track and you just have to have a lot of grip in the car to keep the pedal on the floor.”
I think of race car drivers as calculated gamblers. You sit there and think whether you’re 100 percent sure you can make a pass or not. Do you look at yourself as a calculated gambler?
“I think you have to be to a certain extent. I also think there’s an ‘I may not make it this time’ type of move that you have to try to accomplish every once and a while to try and win a race, or put yourself in a position to win a race. I think on a week-to-week basis, it’s a good description of who we are.”
Do you ever look at the book makers and the odds they give you guys for the race and wonder ‘what was that guy thinking putting me at 100 to 1?’
“I’m happy to say I don’t think we’ve ever been 100 to 1. If you mess with any of the online stuff on ESPN or anything like that, the guys that put those things together, they do a lot of research and a lot of studying and sometimes they hit it right and sometimes they don’t. More than not, I’d say they hit it closer than further away.”
What do you think of people betting on you in a race?
“Well, different strokes for different folks. People enjoy watching the races and people love going to Las Vegas and having a good time. It makes it fun.”
No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s Caterpillar Chevrolet at Las Vegas Motor Speedway … Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 385 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This is a brand new No. 31 Chevrolet Impala that will turn its first laps during opening practice on Friday.
Career Las Vegas Stats … Sunday’s event marks Burton’s 15th start at the Las Vegas-based facility and 622nd -career Sprint Cup Series entry. He has amassed two wins, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes and has led 280 laps at the 1.5-mile oval.
Getting Loopy on “The Strip” … Burton has garnered some impressive NASCAR Loop Data statistics at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His average running position of 11.7 is fifth among active drivers while his 93.5 driver rating is eighth-best. He has made the second-most green-flag passes with 465 and 253 of those passes came while running in the top 15 (sixth most). Burton has also spent 1,298 laps (68.7 percent) running in the top 15, ranking him sixth-best among his competitors.
No Stranger to Victory Lane … Burton claimed back-to-back trophies at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1999 and 2000 Sprint Cup Series event, leading 167 laps combined. He also has three victories in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition at LVMS in 2000, 2002 (from the pole position) and 2007.
Featured Cat Dealers … Wheeler Machinery Co. and Wyoming Machinery Co. will be featured on the deck lid of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Established in 1951, Wheeler Machinery Co. is proud to be the Caterpillar dealer of Utah. In addition to Cat products, Wheeler offers trailers, crushing and screening equipment, generators, air compressors, laser and GPS technology products and more. Equipment is available for rent or purchase and is supported by Wheeler’s superb parts and service capabilities. Wheeler is a partner to customers in the construction, landscaping, quarry & aggregate, oil & gas, and mining industries. Wyoming Machinery Company supports three of Wyoming’s major industries – mining, construction, and oil & gas – in addition to many others. Each of their three branches focuses on one or more of these major industries. The Casper facility serves the markets for mining, petroleum, on-highway trucks, construction and governmental business. The Gillette branch supports the mining, petroleum and heavy construction industries. At the Cheyenne branch, the focus is on-highway trucks and general construction. The newest location in Rock Springs is set to open quarter two of 2012. This branch will be similar to the Cheyenne branch with the addition of serving the oil & gas customers in southwest Wyoming.
Rewind to Last Week … After running in the top 15 for 254 of the first 291 laps in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, Burton’s No. 31 Wheaties Chevrolet had engine problems and the team was forced to retire early, relegating them to a 33rd-place finish.
Points Racing … Even with the disappointing result on Sunday at PIR, Burton sits 13th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, xx markers in arrears to point leader Denny Hamlin.
JEFF BURTON QUOTES:
At Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2008 and 2009, you had top-five runs and have had decent success at intermediate tracks in the past. What are your thoughts on going to an intermediate track like Las Vegas?
“Running on intermediate tracks was our weak point last year. We just weren’t good on them for whatever reason. Las Vegas Motor Speedway is typically a place I run well. I haven’t won on the new configuration in the Sprint Cup Series, but I’ve led a lot of laps and been in a position to win several times. It’s a place I fully expect to run well there.”
How racy is Las Vegas Motor Speedway?
“It’s very racy. I thought they were screwing it up when they put banking in it and repaved it, but they made it better. They did a much better job than I anticipated and it is a much better race track.”
Do you ever look at odds in Las Vegas? What do you think about people who bet on races?
“Have at it! I don’t think the participants should be doing it, but if the fans want to bet on it then I think they should. It’s part of pulling for your favorite driver or pulling against another guy. It’s all about the experience of being in Las Vegas. I don’t think the people involved in this sport should be betting on it by any means, but for the fans, it’s a part of being in Las Vegas.”
No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet at Las Vegas Motor Speedway … Brendan Gaughan will pilot Chassis No. 381 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This RCR racer was revamped into a No. 33 Chevrolet during the off season. Most commonly ran as a No. 29 machine, this Chevrolet Impala earned two top-10 and five top-15 finishes in 2011 with Kevin Harvick behind the wheel at Chicagoland Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Michigan International Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. In addition, this entry raced in the 2010 Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway where Harvick started 13th and finished sixth.
Vegas Odds … Gaughan has one previous Sprint Cup Series start at the 1.5-mile oval, along with two Nationwide Series starts (best finish of seventh in 2009) and 11 Camping World Truck Series starts, earning one race win in 2003 after starting from the pole position. His lone Sprint Cup Series start at the Las Vegas facility came in March 2004 where he started eighth and finished 22nd. The Las Vegas native has made 38 total appearances in the Sprint Cup Series that includes running a full schedule in 2004.
One Down, Three to Go … The 2000 and 2001 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion returns to the seat of the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet for this weekend’s 400 miler Sprint Cup Series event. It was announced earlier this year that the 36-year-old driver would compete in four Sprint Cup Series races for RCR – Phoenix International Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway. Las weekend, Gaughan started the 312-lap event from the 40th position at Phoenix International Raceway. He worked his way around the one-mile Avondale, Ariz., track, climbed his way through the field and drove the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet to a 27th-place finish in the desert.
Double Duty … In addition to his driving duties on Sunday, Gaughan will also pilot the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet for RCR in Saturday’s Las Vegas 300 Nationwide Series race. Although this will be Gaughan’s second appearance for RCR (he competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway), this will be his first race competing for the Welcome, N.C.,-based operation in NASCAR’s junior division and will mark his 72nd-career start in the Nationwide Series.
Please Sign Here … Gaughan is scheduled to sign autographs for fans on Thursday, Mar. 8 from 6 – 8 p.m. local time at South Point Hotel & Casino, located at 9777 South Las Vegas Blvd. South.
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTES:
You will not only return to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to compete in the Nationwide Series race, but the Sprint Cup Series race, as well. What will it be like returning to NASCAR’s premier division and compete in front of your hometown fans?
“Thankfully, the No. 33 team had Phoenix as a practice run and, because of that, I have a lot more confidence going into this weekend’s race at Las Vegas, especially with how we were running at the end of the race. It’s important for me to run well at my home track. I do believe we’ll run better than we did at Phoenix and I’m looking forward to doing so in front of my fans.”
With your lone Sprint Cup Series start taking place in March 2004, do you think there will be a small learning curve when you hit the track on Friday for practice?
“The big learning curve for me was the Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix. I have never raced the new style car before so it took me a while to get used to its handling. I don’t foresee too much of a learning curve and, plus, I’ll be competing in the Nationwide Series the day before so I can take what I learned in that race and apply it to Sunday.”
You returned to the Sprint Cup Series after a seven-year hiatus. What was it like returning to the series and working with veteran crew chief Gil Martin last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway?
“Working with Gil (Martin, crew chief) and the pit crew was awesome. We started off pretty rough in the early going of the race. Gil was great on the radio and gave me time to catch up. By the end of the race, we were running competitive lap times even though our finishing position doesn’t show it. We are all comfortable with each other and are now up to speed on things so we are all looking forward to the race this weekend in Las Vegas.”
Race: Las Vegas 300
Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Richard Childress Racing
NASCAR Nationwide Series Race Notes:
RCR in the NNS … In 771 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts over the course of the last 14 years, Richard Childress Racing has earned 57 wins, 255 top-five finishes, 417 top-10 finishes and 33 pole awards, with an average starting position of 12.8 and a 13th-place average finishing position among all races contested. RCR earned the Nationwide Series driver’s points championships in 2001 and 2006 with Kevin Harvick and in 2008 with Clint Bowyer, along with the owner’s title in 2003 with Johnny Sauter and Harvick and in 2007 with Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer.
Welcome Back … Last Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway, Elliott Sadler earned his first Nationwide Series victory since 1998 and first with RCR. Austin Dillon posted a fourth-place result and Kevin Harvick finished fifth, allowing RCR to post three of the top-five finishes. The Richard Childress-owned organization has yet to finish outside of the top 10 in 2012, making for a strong return to Nationwide Series competition after a one-year hiatus from the series and a recent merger with Kevin Harvick Inc.
The Starting Line-up … Sadler (No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet) and Dillon (No. 3 AdvoCare/American Ethanol/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) will compete full time for RCR in the Nationwide Series this season while Harvick, Brendan Gaughan, Paul Menard and Max Papis will share driving duties in the No. 33 Menards/South Point Hotel & Casino/Hunt Brothers/Armour/Fast Fixin’s/One Main Financial/Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet. Gaughan is driving the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet at Las Vegas this weekend.
RCR’s NASCAR Nationwide Series History at Las Vegas Motor Speedway … In 22 previous Nationwide Series appearances at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, RCR has two wins at the 1.5-mile track, with Jeff Burton bringing the organization to the Winner’s Circle in March 2007 and Harvick doing so in March 2004. RCR also has one pole award at Las Vegas, compliments of Harvick in March 2007.
Averages … RCR boasts an average starting position of 10.5 and an average finishing position of 12.2 among all Nationwide Series races the organization has contested at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. RCR drivers have completed 91.6 percent of the laps attempted at the 1.5-mile track (4,057 of 4,427 laps), with 307 laps led. In addition to two wins and one pole award, RCR has earned eight top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes at the track.
Social Media … To keep up-to-date with the latest news and information and to view exclusive content, visit RCR’s Twitter page – @RCRracing, RCR’s NASCAR Nationwide Series team Twitter pages – @RCR2ESadler, @RCR3ADillon and @RCR33NNS, RCR’s NCWTS driver Twitter pages – @Elliott_Sadler, @AustinDillon3 and @brendan62, and the official Facebook fan pages – facebook.com/ElliottSadlerOfficial and facebook.com/adillon3.
Catch the Action … Flag-to-flag coverage of the Las Vegas 300 will be televised on ESPN2 beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Saturday, March 10 and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s OneMain Financial Chevrolet at Las Vegas Motor Speedway … Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet team will utilize Chassis No. 104 from Richard Childress Racing’s NASCAR Nationwide Series stable. This is a brand new chassis for RCR and will make its racing debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend.
Rolling the Dice … Sadler has made five starts at the Las Vegas track in the Nationwide Series, earning his top finish of seventh in 1998. The Emporia, Va., driver has experience at the track in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, making 12 starts and earning one top-10 with a best finish of sixth-place in 2004.
By the Numbers … Heading into the third race of the 2012 Nationwide Series season, Sadler leads all drivers in NASCAR’s Loop Data category for average finishing position with a second-place average after finishing third at Daytona International Speedway and earning the race win at Phoenix International Raceway. He has also led more than 10 percent of the laps made this season, leading the field for 34 of 320 laps, ranking him fourth among all drivers and first among championship contenders in that category.
Last Time By … The last time Sadler competed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Nationwide Series was in 2011, where he brought home a solid 12th-place finish.
Earning One for OneMain Financial … Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet team earned their first win of the 2012 Nationwide Series season last week at Phoenix International Raceway. Starting from the eighth position, Sadler remained in the top-10 for the entire race, taking over the top position with less than 30 laps remaining. As the laps ticked away, the Emporia, Va., drive never relinquished the lead, nabbing his first win and second top-five finish in two races thus far this season. This was Sadler’s first Nationwide Series victory since 1998 at Rockingham Speedway, serving as his sixth-career series win. It also marked his first win with RCR.
Notch One for the Crew Chief … Luke Lambert earned his first victory as a crew chief for RCR with the No. 2 OneMain Finanical Chevrolet team’s victory last week at Phoenix. Lambert, who served as interim crew chief last season for RCR’s No. 31 Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series for 17 races, moved to lead the OneMain Financial team in the Nationwide Series shop for 2012. Lambert made a call at Phoenix International Raceway on the last pit stop to only take two tires, helping Sadler gain valuable track position that ultimately resulted in the victory. Fans can follow the man on top of the pit box on Twitter: @LukeLambertCC
To the Point … Sadler remains at the top of the Nationwide Series driver point standings for the second week in a row. The victory last week at Phoenix helped propel him to 10 points ahead of the second-place driver, RCR teammate Austin Dillon.
Tune In … Prior to the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Sadler will make a trip outside the 1.5-milie oval to join the hosts of NASCAR Trackside. Fans can tune in on Saturday at Noon ET on SPEED.
Meet the Press … Sadler will take questions from the media at the infield media center on Friday, March 9 at 12:30 p.m.
ELLIOTT SADLER QUOTES:
What does it mean to be coming off a win going into the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway?
“Momentum is huge in this sport.Our team is so strong and so focused that I know the win last week at Phoenix will just add to our drive. We have one goal, and that is to win the championship, and I think this week we will continue to go along with our game plan. It was such a great feeling to be in Victory Lane, and I am so proud of our team and excited to home a win for OneMain Financial and Richard Childress Richard Childress. The RCR Nationwide Series teams are going to be good each and every week, and I know that we are now faced at focusing on the next task at hand, Las Vegas Motor Speedway.” What are your thoughts on racing at Las Vegas?
“I love Las Vegas, as a town and as a track. It is a track that has a whole lot of character to it, with a lot of bumps in turn one and two. It is a very fast track and a normal mile-and-a-half where its typically loose-in and tight middle-off-type. I liked the old Las Vegas, but man I really like this new Las Vegas. It’s a fun race track. The groove always opens up, and you can run in the bottom, the middle or the top. It seems like it gets better every year that we go back. It is just a great destination for fans. I wish that we raced there twice a year to be honest with you. It always puts on a good race. For some reason, it seems like it is a close race there toward the end, which makes it a lot of fun to be a part of.”
What’s your favorite thing to do in Las Vegas?
“I’m a craps table man. I have to throw those dice. I love going there, it’s a neat place. On race weekends there can sometimes be an audience if there are a couple of us there together. It is something different, and it’s not like any city that we go to for a race weekend. Las Vegas weekend is definitely one that I look forward to with great restaurants, great shows. My wife and I love going out to Las Vegas, which is why I wish we had two races out there.”
No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s American Ethanol Chevrolet at Las Vegas Motor Speedway … Austin Dillon will pilot Chassis No. 102 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series stable in the Las Vegas 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This brand-new Chevrolet Impala was built by the RCR team during the off season and will be put through its first competitive paces this weekend.
Winner, Winner … This weekend marks Dillon’s first Nationwide Series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but he has two starts at the 1.5-mile oval in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with one pole award and one race win to his credit (September 2010). In his most recent appearance at the track, Dillon started second and battled back from a lap-three accident to finish 17th.
Vegas Roots … Crew chief Danny Stockman’s first job within the sport was as a mechanic with Las Vegas-based Orleans Racing at the age of 19. Now 29, the crew chief has celebrated a Camping World Truck Series championship with Austin Dillon at RCR along with two Camping World Truck Series championships as a truck chief for Ron Hornaday Jr. at Kevin Harvick Inc. The Dillon-Stockman duo earned four wins and 12 poles in their two years in the Camping World Truck Series and each are considered rookies together this year in the Nationwide Series. In addition to Stockman’s Vegas roots, car chief Robert Stramiska previously worked for Orleans Racing and is a native of the West Coast, hailing from Manteca, Calif.
The Season so Far … According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Dillon has an average running position of 11.955 in the season’s first two Nationwide Series races, ranking him eighth among all drivers. He has a driver rating of 97.4, ranking him seventh. He ranks second in the Closers category, improving an average of 8.5 spots in the last 10 percent of each race and is ranked fourth in the Fastest Laps Run category with 27 laps so far this season. He has the seventh-fastest speed in traffic, has completed 100 percent of laps on the lead lap and has completed 79.7 percent of his laps in the top 15, ranking him seventh among all drivers.
Get to the Points … With back-to-back top-five finishes in the Nationwide Series, Dillon is currently second in the championship point standings, trailing his RCR teammate, Elliott Sadler, by just 10 points.
Think Green … The Las Vegas 300 marks the first race this season in which the No. 3 Chevrolet will sport the black and green colors of American Ethanol. American Ethanol, a renewable source of cleaner burning energy from the bounty of America’s farmers, helps create new green jobs and a renewed sense of pride for the American worker, while helping to achieve greater energy security for our country. Led by Growth Energy, more than 100 different entities, from farmers and state corn growing boards to ethanol producers and biotech companies, are working with NASCAR to introduce a cleaner-burning fuel to America. The partnership with American Ethanol takes NASCAR’s environmental commitment to the next level.
Flash Back … Dillon finished fourth at Phoenix International Raceway after starting ninth and earned Sunoco Rookie of the Race honors.
Meet Dillon … Dillon is scheduled to make an appearance at the RCR Merchandise Hauler located in the midway area outside of the front stretch at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to sign autographs on Sunday, March 11 at 11 a.m. Local Time.
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTES:
As a former race winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway do you have a lot of confidence heading into the race?
“Last year I wrecked on the first lap so that kind of destroyed the confidence I had at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but I still have a lot everywhere we go. We just have to be focused mentally and I will look back at our notes and what we did wrong at that race. We’ll take it in strides and try to learn every race.”
Do you feel like an old pro at Las Vegas Motor Speedway since you have been there in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series multiple times?
“This race will be my first mile-and-a-half in a Nationwide car. It will be interesting to see how the air pushes you around and how aero-tight you get behind other cars. I need to learn that so this will be a big learning race and it will show how we are capable of performing on mile-and-a-half tracks, which is important because those types of tracks are where you can gain a lot of points in the Nationwide Series.”
No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet at Las Vegas Motor Speedway … Brendan Gaughan will pilot Chassis No. 103 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series stable. This RCR racer was built brand new for the 2012 season and will make its first competitive laps on Friday during first practice.
Nationwide Series Regular … Gaughan returns to the Nationwide Series after a one-year hiatus from the sophomore touring division. The Las Vegas native will make his 72nd career start in the Nationwide Series when the green flag waves for Saturday’s 200-lap affair. He’s earned six top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in a span of three seasons in the Nationwide Series, as well as a pole award in March 2009 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Statistical Database … In two previous Nationwide Series starts at the 1.5-mile oval, Gaughan has notched one top-10 and two top-15 finishes with his best finish of seventh coming in February 2009. In both starts at the Las Vegas facility, he led for a total of seven laps and completed 100 percent of the contested laps. Gaughan also competed in one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and 11 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at his home track, earning one victory in the Truck Series in 2003 after starting from the pole position.
Where it All Started … A resident of the Las Vegas area, Gaughan started racing the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 1998 at tracks in close proximity to “The Strip.” The 2000 and 2001 K&N Pro Series West champion holds one win, four top-five and five top-10 finishes in eight combined starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the LVMS Bullring between the years of 1998 and 2002 in the Pro Series.
Gaughan Times Two … This weekend’s race in Las Vegas will mark Gaughan’s first doubleheader weekend, competing in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races. Gaughan will pilot the No. 33 South Point Casino & Hotel Chevrolet Sprint Cup Series entry for the Welcome, N.C.-based organization on Sunday for the Kobalt Tools 400. Flag-to-flag coverage of the event will be aired on FOX beginning at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Sign Here … Meet the driver of the No. 33 Chevrolet on Thursday, Mar. 8 at South Point Hotel & Casino, located at 9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Gaughan will sign autographs for gathered fans from 6-8 p.m. local time
More to Come … Gaughan will compete in a total of 10 Nationwide Series races for RCR in 2012. The Las Vegas native will share the No. 33 Chevrolet Impala in Nationwide Series competition alongside RCR teammates Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard, Tony Stewart and Max Papis with Ernie Cope serving as crew chief. The 36-year-old driver will see on-track action at Auto Club Speedway (Mar. 24), Darlington Speedway (May 11), both Iowa Speedway events (May 20 and Aug. 4), Dover International Speedway (June 2), Chicagoland Speedway (July 22), Circuit Gilles Villenuevue (Aug. 18), Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 22) and Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 10).
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTES:
This is your first NASCAR Nationwide Series race with RCR. What are your thoughts about running under the prestigious banner?
“I’m really excited to race for such a great organization. The only downside, if there is one, is that now it’s my turn to keep the hot streak going that RCR has started off the season with.”
What will it be like to race in front of a hometown crowd again?
“Racing in Las Vegas has always been special to me because the people in this town have been so supportive of my family. It feels good to show up and know that the locals are really cheering for you.”
What are your expectations heading into the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway?
“After watching Kevin Harvick dominate in Phoenix (International Raceway) and the awesome performance of all three RCR Nationwide teams, I don’t believe I have ever been more excited to get to a race track. I have high expectations for the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Nationwide Series car.”