RCR Post Race Report — Las Vegas Motor Speedway
NASCAR Nationwide Series
RACE: Las Vegas 300
TRACK: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished third (Elliott Sadler), fifth (Brendan Gaughan) and seventh (Austin Dillon). Sadler leads the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings by 15 points over Dillon. The No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet team also leads the owner point standings by 14 over the No. 33 RCR team. Combined, the RCR entries posted 17.4 percent of the fastest laps of the race, with Sadler posting the fastest lap 21 times, Dillon four times and Gaughan three times. Sadler, Gaughan and Dillon ranked second, third and fourth, respectively, in NASCAR’s Loop Data category for Speed in Traffic. Dillon and Sadler were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in NASCAR’s Loop Data category for Average Running Position with a 6.195 and a 6.810, while Gaughan held an average running position of 8.210, ranking him eighth. Sadler has yet to finish outside of the top-five in the three Nationwide Series races contested this season and no RCR team has finished outside of the top 10. Sadler posted his second top-10 finish in six races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Emporia, Va., driver earned his 12th pole in 167-career Nationwide Series starts. Dillon was one of three drivers who completed the entire race without falling below 15th in the running order. Dillon tied for third in Quality Passes (passing for position while running in the top 15) with 30. Gaughan was ranked the sixth fastest driver late in the run on Saturday afternoon’s main event. Gaughan made 38 green-flag passes during the 200-lap affair ranking him fourth overall. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. earned his third career Nationwide Series victory and was followed to the finish line by Mark Martin, Sadler, Trevor Bayne and Gaughan. The next Nationwide Series race is the Bristol 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 17. The fourth race of the 2012 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN2 beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
Elliott Sadler Earns Solid Third-Place Finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet team earned a third-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after Sadler captured their first pole award of the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. Coming off a victory last week at Phoenix International Raceway, Sadler and the No. 2 crew kicked off the 200-lap event from the front of the field, leading the first 26 laps. Early in the event, Sadler communicated to crew chief Luke Lambert he felt the car hitting the track hard, causing the steering wheel to jerk back in his hands. Lambert and the No. 2 crew quickly developed a game plan to alleviate the concern. At the halfway marker, Lambert called Sadler to come down pit road for an extended stop, changing four tires, fuel and opening the hood of the car to make a chassis adjustment to lift the front end of the Chevrolet Impala off the track. The No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet team restarted in the 20th position on lap 103, the last car on the lead lap. With the splitter problem fixed, Sadler quickly picked off cars, and by lap 170, he worked his way back into the top five. The Emporia, Va., driver continued to work his way around the 2.5-mile track, battling for each position and crossed the finish line in the third position, earning the team’s third top-five finish of the season. Sadler remains the leader of the Nationwide Series driver point standings, 15 points ahead of RCR teammate Austin Dillon.
Start – 1 Finish – 3 Laps Led – 26 Points Position – 1
ELLIOTT SADLER QUOTE:
“What a great effort by the No. 2 OneMain Financial team today. It was great having momentum from our win last week, and we unloaded quickly with a really fast car all weekend. We thought that the race track was going to slow down a lot, and we made some adjustments on the front end of the car that made the splitter hit the track way too hard. Luke Lambert made a great call for us to come into the pits for a longer stop to really evaluate how we could get the splitter off the track, which really did make our car fast. We drove from 20th to third. I’m so proud of my guys. This is what championship efforts are made of.”
Austin Dillon Extends Top-10 Streak with Seventh-Place Finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sporting the green and black colors of American Ethanol for the first time this season, Austin Dillon and Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 team earned their third consecutive top-10 finish in the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series with a seventh-place finish in Saturday’s Las Vegas 300. Dillon started the 200-lap race from the third position and did not fall outside of the top 15, spending a majority of the race running in the top five. He was running in the fifth position when the first of seven caution flags was displayed at lap 11, prompting crew chief Danny Stockman to instruct Dillon down pit road for a fuel-only pit stop. The Clemmons, N.C.-native driver restarted the race in the 12th position and quickly made his way into the top 10. He was running ninth when the caution flag was displayed at lap 25 and Stockman prompted Dillon to pit for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. The 21-year-old driver restarted in the sixth position at lap 30 and made three subsequent four-tire pit stops, all under caution periods. Dillon was in the fourth position for a lap-162 restart following the final yellow flag of the race but quickly dropped to 10th in the running order as he struggled with a tight-handling Chevrolet. As the run progressed, Dillon was able to regain momentum and crossed the finish line in the seventh position to earn his third consecutive top-10 finish. He remains second in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 3 Finish – 7 Laps Led – 0 Points Position – 2
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE: “The No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet got tighter and tighter as the weather cooled down. On the last restart I had to check up to make it to the top of the race track because the car was so tight that I couldn’t drive it on the bottom. When I did that I lost a bunch of momentum and track position. We were able to gain a few spots at the end. We’ll take the top-10 and it’s on to Bristol.”
Brendan Gaughan Finishes Fifth in Front of Hometown Crowd
Brendan Gaughan and the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet team earned a solid top-five finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series 2012 season in the Las Vegas 300 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Las Vegas native took the green flag from the ninth position Saturday afternoon in front of an estimated 70,000 race fans after a one-year hiatus from the sophomore touring division. Early in the race, the black and gold Chevrolet developed a loose condition but over the first few caution periods, crew chief Ernie Cope called for minor chassis adjustments to combat the issue. Gaughan raced his way back into the top 10 by lap 42, but informed the No. 33 team members of a tight machine. Cope called for more chassis adjustments and fresh Goodyear tires on the ensuing pit stops under yellow-flag conditions. Just past the halfway mark of the 200-lap affair, Gaughan had the upper hand on the temperamental Chevrolet and began his trek into the top five. The final caution flag slowed the field on lap 158, but on the restart, Gaughan was shuffled back to the 10th position. In the last 40 laps of the race, Gaughan was able to claw his way through the field to bring home the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet, driving to a fifth-place finish his career-best finish at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Start – 9 Finish – 5 Laps Led – 0
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTE:
“It feels really good to be back. Last year, I would have been doing back flips for a top-five finish but this year, I’m actually a little disappointed we didn’t finish in the top-three. It’s kind of nice to be disappointed about that. Ernie (Cope, crew chief) and all of the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino guys put together a fast race car. I can’t thank them and Richard Childress Racing enough for such a great piece of equipment.”