RCR Post Race Report — Bristol Motor Speedway
NASCAR Nationwide Series
RACE: Bristol 300
TRACK: Bristol Motor Speedway
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished first (Elliott Sadler), ninth (Kevin Harvick) and 12th (Austin Dillon). Sadler leads the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings by 25 points over Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Trevor Bayne and Dillon. Combined, the RCR entries posted 31.6 percent of the fastest laps of the race, with Sadler posting the fastest lap 42 times, Harvick 25 times and Dillon 17 times. Sadler has yet to finish outside of the top five in the four Nationwide Series races contested this season. Sadler earned his second victory of the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season and his seventh in 168 Nationwide Series starts. Sadler earned his second victory and fifth top-10 finish in 11 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. His previous victory at the track was March 28, 1998. Sadler earned the highest driver rating of the day with a 128.4. Harvick had an average running position of 5.413 during the 300 lap contest and had a 107.3 driver rating. Harvick tied for first in the Closers category, advancing four positions in the final 10 percent of the race. Harvick ran 100 percent of the 300 laps in the top 15 and was the fastest car in 25 of those laps. Dillon completed the entire race without falling below 15th in the running order. Dillon tied for seventh in Quality Passes (passing for position while running in the top 15) with 18. Sadler was followed to the finish line by Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. The next Nationwide Series race is the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, March 24. The fifth race of the 2012 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
Elliott Sadler Outdrives Competition for Victory at Bristol Motor Speedway
Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial team earned their second victory of the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season on Saturday afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway. Sadler took the green flag from the second row, but was shuffled back in traffic to the fifth position in the opening laps of the race. The Emporia, Va., driver reported to crew chief Luke Lambert he felt like he was using the right rear tire too much, and the OneMain Financial crew utilized a pit stop under caution on lap 104 to add four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to alleviate the problem. The quick stop helped the No. 2 Chevrolet exit pit road in the fourth position, then jetted into second as the race restarted. Sadler communicated that the Chevrolet was becoming a tight as he drove into the center of the turn, and Lambert called the driver down pit road on lap 158 for four tires and fuel. The team exited in sixth as every car ahead took only two tires, restarting the race on lap 163. Sadler continued to turn quick laps, gunning down the leaders through lap traffic. Spotter Brett Griffin told the driver to “set sail” on lap 234, as he passed RCR teammate Kevin Harvick for the fourth position. With 50 laps to go, Sadler worked his way into the third position, relentlessly pushing toward the final two cars. He was able to move into the second position on lap 260, and a caution came out four laps later. Lambert called for the Sadler to pit only if the lead car did not come to pit road. As the leader came down pit road, Lambert instructed Sadler to stay out, placing him in the first position to restart the race. With 28 laps remaining, Sadler chose the outside line to take the green flag to push to the lead. Increasing his lead by more than 1.5 seconds over the final laps, Sadler did not relinquish the position, taking the checkered flag for the second time this season. Sadler remains the leader of the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, 25 points ahead of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Start – 4 Finish – 1 Laps Led – 36 Points Position – 1
ELLIOTT SADLER QUOTE:
“I love this place (Bristol Motor Speedway) and look forward to coming here each time. We were watching the highlights of my last victory here in 1998 and my crew chief, Luke Lambert said ‘Hey, I think I was 18 when this happened,’ so it shows how long it has been since we have won here. It is very special to me to win here. Of all of my NASCAR victories, my parents have never been here to celebrate in Victory Lane. This means a lot to me and my family for them to be here. The way we did it was awesome. Luke made a great call to stay out. I will be honest, I was second guessing it until Luke said something that triggered a spark in me. He said, ‘Elliott, you’ve done this before here. You’ve won in this position here at Bristol in 2001,’ and I was like ‘Doggon, you are right.’ It worked out great with a great call by Luke, and with a great car all day, it worked out for this OneMain Financial team.”
Austin Dillon Escapes Tough Bristol Motor Speedway with 12th-Place Finish
Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon survived his first NASCAR Nationwide Series appearance at Bristol Motor Speedway with a 12th-place finish in Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet. Dillon started the 300-lap race from the ninth position and quickly noted a loose-handling condition on his Chevrolet. The first caution flag was displayed at lap 104 with Dillon scored in the 13th position and crew chief Danny Stockman immediately called the 21-year-old driver down pit road. A quick stop for four Goodyear tires, Sunoco E15 fuel and an air pressure adjustment to improve handling conditions was thwarted by a NASCAR-issued penalty for exiting pit road too fast. Dillon was instructed to restart the race at the tail-end of the longest line in the 14th position when green-flag racing resumed at lap 112. Although he was able to gain a few positions on the track, Dillon continued to struggle with handling issues. He was scored in the 12th position when the caution flag was displayed for the final time of the race at lap 262. The team made one final pit stop, taking only right-side tires in an attempt to gain track position. Dillon restarted in the eighth position with 28 laps remaining but continued to struggle with a loose-handling race car and crossed the finish line in the 12th position.
Start – 9 Finish – 12 Laps Led – 0 Points Position – 4
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE: “It’s hard to complain about a 12th-place finish as a rookie at this place because it’s so notorious for being tough. We just struggled with setup all weekend. We were too loose. We’ll work on it and be able to come back here and run better. Still, I had a blast out there and I hope the NASCAR Nationwide Series fans had a blast watching, too.”
Despite Late-Race Penalty Harvick and Crew Finish Ninth at Bristol
Kevin Harvick entered the Bristol 300 looking to add to his NASCAR Nationwide Series-leading five wins at Bristol Motor Speedway, instead a late-race pit road speeding penalty relegated the No. 33 Armour Vienna Sausages team to a ninth-place finish. After qualifying sixth for the fourth Nationwide Series event of the season, the Bakersfield, Calif., native quickly moved into the top five in the early laps of the 300-lap affair and made himself at home. With only four caution flags throughout the event at the half-mile bullring, crew chief Ernie Cope took every opportunity to bring Harvick to pit road to assist with the loose-handling condition on the No. 33 Chevrolet. While the former Nationwide Series champion was running in the fifth position on lap 264, the caution flag flew for the final time of the race, setting up tough decisions for crew chiefs up and down pit road. Cope called Harvick to come in for service for two tires and chassis adjustments to set up for a final run to the checkered flag. Unfortunately, the No. 33 team was hit with a pit road speeding penalty in the process and forced to drop to the rear of the field for the final restart on lap 272. With 28 laps remaining, Harvick battled his way back through traffic to claim the top-10 finish.
Start – 6 Finish – 9 Laps Led – 0
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
“The Armour Vienna Sausages Chevrolet was just really loose all day long. Ernie (Cope) did a nice job adjusting on it every stop and then I ended up getting caught speeding on that final pit stop, which put us way behind on the restart. These guys work hard to give us fast cars every week so I really appreciate their effort. “