Event Preview: Auto Club Speedway ytona International Speedway
Race: Auto Club 400
Location: Auto Club Speedway
Richard Childress Racing
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Notes:
RCR in SoCal … In 65 overall NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Auto Club Speedway, RCR Chevrolet teams have earned one win (Kevin Harvick – 2011), one pole (Mike Skinner – April 2000), nine top-five and 23 top-10 finishes. RCR boasts a 20.1 average starting position, a 16.2 average finishing position and have completed 15,757 of the 15,915 laps (99 percent) contested at the moderately-banked D-shaped race track. The Welcome, N.C.-based organization’s best finish at Fontana came last year when Kevin Harvick edged out Jimmie Johnson for the win in the final lap. Each of RCR’s four drivers (Paul Menard, Harvick, Jeff Burton and Brendan Gaughan) competing at Auto Club Speedway this weekend has led laps at the two-mile speedway in their Sprint Cup Series careers.
The Collective RCR … Over the season’s first four races, RCR’s Sprint Cup Series entries have notched two top-five and seven top-10 finishes. RCR-prepared Chevrolets have completed 5,065 out of 5,124 total laps (98.85 percent) with drivers Burton, Harvick, Menard, Elliott Sadler and Gaughan. The group has led a combined 125 laps.
Get to the Points … Following the race weekend in Bristol Motor Speedway, two of RCR’s three full-time Sprint Cup Series teams climbed the ranks in the point standings. While Harvick remained second, he gained ground and sits nine points out of the top spot. Menard moved up to 10th in the point standings, while Burton jumped four positions, to 11th.
Interactive 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/RichardChildressRacingand at RCRracing.com.
Catch the Action … FOX’s live coverage of the Auto Club 400 begins Sunday, March 25 at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio. Qualifying for the fifth points-paying event on the Sprint Cup Series calendar will air live on SPEED on Friday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
No. 27 CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway … Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 384 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet Impala is a brand new addition to the RCR fleet and will log its first laps on the track at during Friday’s practice session.
Menard in Fontana … In his nine previous starts at Auto Club Speedway, Menard has finished each of his contested races and completed 98.3 percent of his laps (2,113 of 2,150). He has a 27th-place average starting position and an average finishing position of 25.3, with his best finish of 16th coming last season. His best start at the two-mile speedway also came in March 2011 when he took the green flag in the 15th position.
Quietly Kicking Off the Season Right … With the first four points-paying events in the books, Menard sits 10th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings. In his sophomore year with Richard Childress Racing, Menard has an average starting position of 23.5 and maintains an average running position of 17th. The Eau Claire, Wis., native is tied for ninth in the NASCAR Loop Data category for Green Flag Speed, ranks second in the Closers category, improving an average of 3.8 positions in the final 10 percent of the four contested races, and is the seventh-fastest driverLate in a Run . He has spent 62.8 percent of his laps in the top-12, ranking him 11th in that category.
California Boy … The No. 27 CertainTeed/Menards team has one member from the Golden State. RCR fabricator and mechanic Clint Almquist is a native of Blythe, Calif. Almquist grew up racing in Southern California and earned Rookie of the Year honors at Blythe Speedway in 1996. The following year he was crowned Hobby Stock Champion. He made the move to North Carolina in 1999 and has since climbed the ranks as a mechanic in NASCAR.
About CertainTeed … CertainTeed Corporation is a leading North American manufacturer of building materials including roofing, vinyl and fiber cement siding, trim, fence, railing, decking, foundations, insulation, gypsum, ceilings, and pipe products. Headquartered in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, CertainTeed has approximately 7,000 employees and 70 facilities throughout the United States and Canada. CertainTeed is a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, one of the top 100 industrial companies in the world. Saint-Gobain’s North American companies operate nearly 200 manufacturing facilities in industries as diverse as industrial ceramics and containers, reinforcements and flat glass, abrasives, and building materials. For more information, please visit www.certainteed.com.
Race Rewind … In March 2011, handling issues plagued the No. 27 Chevrolet team early in the 200-lap race and Menard quickly slipped from his 15th-place starting position. The Slugger Labbe-led team made adjustments during each pit stop in order to neutralize the tight condition that Menard was battling. Buried deep in the field for the restart after the final caution of the day, Menard battled back to the 16th position, where he took the checkered flag and recorded his best finish at the two-mile speedway.
In the Rearview Mirror: Bristol … Starting from the 11th position, Menard and the No. 27 Moen/Menards team emerged unscathed from Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway to finish 10th and earn their third top 10 of the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season.
PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
Last year you finished 16th, but that was still your best finish at Auto Club Speedway. You do so well at intermediate race tracks with solid top-five and top-10 finishes. Why is it that this one has been such a challenge?
“I don’t know. That’s a good question. It changes a lot with the weather, so we find ourselves chasing the weather conditions. One day it might be cold in California and the next day it might be 20 degrees warmer; that changes a lot with the car. I just haven’t quite nailed it yet.”
How would you describe Auto Club Speedway? Is it opening up? Is it more competitive?
“I know that California (Auto Club Speedway) gets knocked as a race track since it is wide open and generally caution free. Drivers tend to enjoy that, though. You have long runs and can really analyze your car and work on it during pit stops. The track is really wide. You can run top to bottom and everywhere in between. It’s relatively smooth, too, and makes for fun racing for us drivers. If a race fan wants to see crashes and cautions, that’s probably not going to happen there.”
The races at Auto Club Speedway typically turn into a fuel mileage race. With the EFI engines changing fuel mileage, do you think you’ve had enough time to get a hand on that and really understand what you have?
“Every track that we go to, Daytona (International Speedway), Bristol (Motor Speedway), California (Auto Club Speedway), it does not matter because it’s a fuel mileage race. It just matters where the cautions fall. EFI isn’t going to change any of that. You might be able to run a lap or two longer in a fuel run, but ever track that we go to will be a fuel mileage race if the cautions fall appropriately.”
Out in Fontana (Calif.) a lot of times celebrities show up – movie stars, television stars and musicians. Have you ever met anyone out there that sticks out as being someone you thought was pretty cool to meet?
“Usually there’s some celebrity at every race track, but in California there are more than normal. I’ve met two people at Auto Club Speedway over the last couple of years that I thought was pretty cool. The first was Christian Slater. That was cool because I was a big fan of his growing up in the early 90’s. The other was Chuck Lidell who is an MMA (mixed martial arts) guy. To watch those guys on TV is crazy. They’re pretty hard core. Then you meet them in person and they’re really nice guys.”
No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s Jimmy John’s Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway … Kevin Harvick will race chassis No. 374 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This brand new Chevrolet Impala will be put through its first paces this weekend at Auto Club Speedway.
Freaky Fast in California … The black, red and white colors of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches will adorn the No. 29 Chevrolet as the primary sponsor of Harvick and the team for the first of six races in 2012 this weekend at Auto Club Speedway.
Defending Champs … Harvick drove the No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet and earned the nickname ‘The Closer’ by making a thrilling last-lap pass on Jimmie Johnson to charge for the win during last year’s race at Auto Club Speedway The victory was the first at the two-mile oval for the Bakersfield, Calif., native and the first of four wins for the No. 29 team during the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season.
Looking to Repeat the Hometown Win … The Bakersfield, Calif., native grew up just over 150 miles from where Auto Club Speedway is located in Fontana, Calif., and after reaching victory lane in last season’s Auto Club 400, Harvick is looking to score back-to-back wins in Sunday’s race in front of his hometown crowd.
Auto Club Speedway Notes … In 18 starts at the Fontana, Calif., speedway, Harvick has earned one win, three top-five and eight top-10 finishes. In addition, he’s completed 98.4 percent (4,334 of 4,405) of the laps contested and has led a total of 60 laps at Auto Club Speedway. Harvick has an average starting position of 18.7 and an average finishing position of 16.2 at the track.
In the Loop … Since the inception of NASCAR’s loop data statistics in 2006, Harvick has competed in 13 Sprint Cup Series races at Auto Club Speedway and owns impressive loop data statistics at the two-mile oval heading into this weekend’s Auto Club 400: sixth in Fastest Drivers on Restarts, seventh in Green-Flag Passes (1050), seventh in Laps Run in the Top 15 (2,252), eighth in Fastest Drivers Early in a Run, ninth in Average Finishing Position (12.7), and ninth in Green-Flag Speed.
Find a Jimmy John’s … Jimmy John’s, known for fresh, quality products and freaky fast service, has 1200 stores nationwide. Visit www.jimmyjohns.comto view the Jimmy John’s menu, find your nearest location, order online or download the Jimmy John’s mobile application.
Walk of Fame … As the 2011 Auto Club 400 race winner, Harvick will be inducted into the Auto Club Speedway Walk of Fame on Saturday, Mar. 24 at 11:30 a.m. PT. The Bakersfield, Calif., native will receive a bronze plaque from track president Gillian Zucker, which will be placed in a cemented area along with his footprint, handprint and signature. The induction will be held in the Auto Club Speedway FanZone, located outside gate 12 and is open to the public. For additional information please visit www.autoclubspeedway.com
King for a Day … Prior to heading to Auto Club Speedway for the Sprint Cup Series race, Harvick plans to attend the L.A. Kings game against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, Mar. 23. Harvick and his wife DeLana have been good friends with Kings center Jeff Carter, who was recently traded to the Kings from the Columbus Blue Jackets. The group originally met a number of years ago during a NASCAR media event when Carter played for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Meet the Press … Harvick will field questions from the gathered media inside the Auto Club Speedway infield media center on Friday, March 23, at 11:15 a.m. PT.
NASCAR Teleconference… Harvick will participate in NASCAR’s weekly media teleconference on Wednesday, Marc. 21 at 3 p.m. ET. Participant information is available on NASCARMedia.com.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTES:
What was it like winning on the last lap at Auto Club Speedway last year?
“The last two years, the race has pretty much come down to us and the No. 48 team (Jimmie Johnson). The year before I ran into the wall and last year we won. That was good to come back and rebound from the mistake from 2010 and being able to race with Jimmie was a lot of fun. Especially at the California race track. That’s been a great race track for us over the last several years and looking forward to going back next week. Glad I’m not the truck driver, he has a long ways to go.”
Why are you so good at Auto Club Speedway?
“It’s one of those race tracks that the tires just wear out a lot. You can move around the race track and you have to kind of search for grip so that comes with a lot of throttle control and momentum to go along with that. It’s a race track that fits our cars and our engine package and our driving styles. As a company, we run well there. It’s a good race track for RCR.”
What do you like about Auto Club Speedway?
“I just enjoy how the track has really spread out and the groove you can run from the bottom to the top. It’s also fun to race in front of a lot of your fans and friends that get to come to the race track from close to where we used to live.”
You’re a few races into the season with crew chief Shane Wilson and the team. How are things coming together for you and the new group so far this year?
“I think they’re going really well. I think we definitely have to clean up some of the rough edges from me having a little rust on myself and get the communication exactly where we want it to be as far as the things we want to hear and don’t want to hear and things they want to hear from me. We’ve got a few things to clean up, but I think it’s gone very well so far.”
No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s Caterpillar Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway … Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 393 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 at the Fontana, Calif., track this weekend.
Going back to Cali … Sunday’s event marks Burton’s 23rd start at the Fontana Calif.-based facility and 624th-career Sprint Cup Series entry. In addition to his pole award in 1999, he has amassed six top-five and seven top-10 finishes and has led 127 laps at the two-mile oval.
Loopy in the “Golden State” … Burton has garnered some impressive NASCAR Loop Data statistics at Auto Club Speedway. He leads all competitors with 1,161 green-flag passes and 683 of those passes came while running in the top 15 (third best). Burton has also spent 1,933 laps running in the top 15.
Featured Cat Dealer … Johnson Machinery will be featured on the deck lid of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet this weekend at Auto Club Speedway.
Johnson Machinery is Caterpillar’s only Platinum-level dealer and has served Riverside and San Bernardino counties since 1940. Johnson Machinery offers the complete line of Caterpillar construction equipment products, new and used parts, service and rentals. Headquartered in Riverside, Calif., they have locations in Fontana, Indio, Victorville and Temecula.
Building a Legacy … Over his 20-year Sprint Cup Series career, the veteran RCR driver has amassed 21 wins, 131 top-five and 244 top-10 finishes in 623 starts. Burton has also tallied six pole awards and led 6,506 laps.
Rewind to Last Week … Burton and the No. 31 BB&T Chevrolet team scored their second top-10 finish of the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season, placing sixth in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. After starting 33rd, Burton gained 27 positions throughout the 500-lap event earning him NASCAR’s “Improving the Finish” award given to the driver who gains the most spots during a race.
Points Racing … With his top-10 finish in “Thunder Valley,” Burton currently sits 11th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 37 points behind leader Greg Biffle.
JEFF BURTON QUOTES:
You finished 15th at Auto Club Speedway last season after qualifying seventh. Was that indicative of RCR’s speedway program last year?
“That was, without a doubt, our weakest point. One-and-a-half and two-mile tracks weren’t RCR’s strong point last season. We’ve worked really hard to be better on those tracks. You have to be competitive on these tracks. You can’t expect to go and win the championship if you can’t go to those tracks and run strong. There are just so many of them on the schedule. The interesting thing about Auto Club Speedway is that it’s big, but it races like a short track. There is very low grip. It’s amazing how sideways these cars are in the turns going this fast. Restarts are really important because if you gain a few spots on the restart, it is hard for those guys to come up and pass you under a long green-flag run. You’re going to be three and four-wide on these restarts. You must have good take off speed and good durability with the car. People don’t realize how slick Auto Club Speedway is. It looks like a big track and the cars don’t move around that much, but they are out of control.”
Historically speaking, this race has turned into a fuel-mileage race. Since the track is big and wide, drivers have the skills to stay out of trouble. How are you guys working on fuel mileage with the new EFI engine?
“Fuel mileage appears to be a little bit better with the new EFI engine. You burn less fuel when you are off the throttle with EFI than you did with the carburetor. It’s a little more efficient while you are in the throttle so you are going to get a little better fuel mileage. Of course, that means the whole field is going to get better fuel mileage. The only way that really matters is if you pit at that right time. Now more people will make it unlike before. We saw a few races last year where a lot of people ran out of fuel on the last lap. Now, all of those people would make it. It changes it a little bit, but not really because everyone’s fuel mileage is getting better. What would be great is if we were the only ones to get better fuel mileage, but that’s not the case here. Everyone is getting better fuel mileage.”
What happens if you run out of fuel at a big track like Auto Club Speedway with an EFI engine?
“With an EFI engine, fuel is constantly being pumped throughout the system. Your throttle body is taking the fuel that it needs and distributing it. When you run out of fuel with a carburetor, you have to fill that system back up. The only way to do that is through the engine. You must get the fuel pump running enough to bring that fuel up and once you’re running that doesn’t mean it is going to stay running. You see a lot of people with carburetors run out of gas, get the engine running and then it shuts off again. With EFI, once they plug in and start filling the thing up and you turn the ignition switch on, the pump starts running. You don’t have to have the motor running so the pump is running and pumping fuel. Once you feel that system and the reservoir that’s in the fuel cell, you can start that car. Once you get fuel pressure with fuel injection, you are running off a reservoir that’s inside the fuel cell, you can run and it will stay running. In theory, assuming the battery is good enough, you should have fewer problems as you run out of fuel with EFI than you did with carburetors.”
Are there any potential problems that could bite you badly if you ran out of gas at Auto Club Speedway?
“The biggest issue with an EFI engine is that has to spin to find itself to determine where it is in the spark sequence. If you have power and everything is operating correctly, once it finds its sequence of what cylinder it is supposed to be firing and you have fuel, it’s going to fire up. We have also introduced electronics into a situation where these cars are really hot and have a lot of vibrations. We also have those issues that we didn’t have before. There will be some issues; there always is. Anytime you have something new, there are going to be some issues. We’ve done everything we know how to do, but that doesn’t mean we are going to have problems.”
No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway … Brendan Gaughan will pilot Chassis No. 392 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This Chevrolet Impala was built brand new for the 2012 season and will see its first competitive laps this weekend in the 200-lap event.
Statistically Speaking … Gaughan has two previous Sprint Cup Series starts Auto Club Speedway, both in 2004. He earned one top-10 finish (sixth) and his career-best starting position (fifth) in May 2004.The 36-year-old racer owns an average starting position of 13.5 coupled with a 24th-place average finishing position. Aside from Gaughan’s two Sprint Cup Series starts at the Fontana, Calif., facility, the Las Vegas native has five starts in the Nationwide Series and seven Camping World Truck Series starts at the two-mile race track, where he holds two top-five finishes and a pole award.
Race Rewind: Bristol Motor Speedway … Gaughan started his third Sprint Cup Series race of the season from the 32nd position at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday. The Las Vegas native ran in the top 15 for a majority of the first 150 laps around the half-mile bullring but slipped through the field when he reported an issue with the throttle spring. He continued to hold onto the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet throughout the remainder of the race earning a 22nd-place finishing position.
Twice the Action … Aside from his Sprint Cup Series responsibilities this weekend at Auto Club Speedway, Gaughan will also pilot the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Nationwide Series Chevrolet for RCR. This is the Las Vegas native’s second appearance in the No. 33 racer for the Welcome, N.C.-based organization. Flag-to-flag coverage of the Royal Purple 300 will be aired on ESPN beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Four of Four … This weekend’s 400-mile event will mark Gaughan’s fourth and final scheduled Sprint Cup Series race with RCR. At the beginning of the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season, RCR announced the No. 33 Chevrolet would run the first five events on the schedule. Elliott Sadler kicked off the season driving the No. 33 entry in the Daytona 500 and Gaughan has been behind the wheel for the last four races.
March Madness Update … With only one of Gaughan’s Final Four picks left in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the former Georgetown University basketball player cheers on Michigan State University as they head into the Sweet 16. Gaughan originally picked Florida State University, Duke University and Georgetown University as the Final Four teams, but they have since been defeated in the first two rounds of the tournament.
Did You Know … Gaughan is slated to run three trophy truck races for Collins Motorsports this year including the SCORE Baja 500 (May 31-Jun. 3) and Baja 1000 (Nov. 14-17). The Las Vegas native ran the Laughlin Dessert Challenge in January and his team finished in the fourth and sixth-places, respectively. Gaughan grew up racing trophy trucks for Walker Evans Racing touring mainly in southern California.
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTES:
This will be your second double header weekend. Is it more difficult to race both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series in the same weekend?
“No, it actually worked into my favor at Las Vegas (Motor Speedway) earlier this month. With all the distractions that were there, it helped me stay focused and only have to concentrate on the race cars. It helped me block everything else out.”
This is your last of four scheduled Sprint Cup races this season with RCR. What are your thought heading into this weekend at Auto Club Speedway?
“I just want to keep improving, this car is totally different than any other NASCAR race car I have raced, so I want to keep improving and end on a high note. I want to score my best finish and improve my driver rating from Bristol Motor Speedway.”
Have you learned anything racing in the Cup Series that can be translated for the rest of the Nationwide Series season?
“Just to stay focused and give the crew chief accurate and quick feedback so he can make his changes and decisions as quick as possible. I’ve had the ability to see how much engineering is available to the RCR crew chiefs, it has made me realize that I have to give them good feedback and give it to them in a timely manner.”
Race: Royal Purple 300
Location: Auto Club Speedway
Richard Childress Racing
NASCAR Nationwide Series Race Notes:
RCR’s NASCAR Nationwide Series History at Auto Club Speedway … RCR’s lone Nationwide Series win at Auto Club Speedway occurred in September 2007 with Jeff Burton behind the wheel. The Welcome, N.C.-based organization has four pole awards (Burton in February 2008, Clint Bowyer, September 2006, 2005 and Kevin Harvick in April 2003), 13 top-five finishes and 21 top-10 finishes in 35 starts.
Averages … RCR boasts an average starting position of 12.1 and an average finishing position of 11.9 among all Nationwide Series races the organization has contested at Auto Club Speedway. RCR drivers have completed 97.8 percent of the laps attempted at the track (5,137 of 5,254 laps) with 252 laps led.
The Season So Far … The Richard Childress-owned organization has enjoyed a strong return to Nationwide Series competition after a one-year hiatus from the series and a recent merger with Kevin Harvick Inc. Elliott Sadler notched RCR’s first Nationwide Series victory of the 2012 season at Phoenix International Raceway on March 3 and also earned the organization’s second win of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 17. In addition, Sadler brought RCR its first pole award of the year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 10. The organization has eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10 finishes and has led 225 laps so far in 2012.
RCR in the NNS … In 777 Nationwide Series starts over the course of the last 15 years, Richard Childress Racing has earned 58 wins, 258 top-five finishes, 422 top-10 finishes and 34 pole awards, with an average starting position of 12.7 and an average finishing position of 12.9 among all races contested. RCR earned the Nationwide Series driver’s points championships in 2001 and 2006 with Harvick and in 2008 with Bowyer. The Welcome, N.C.-based team earned the owner’s title in 2003 with Johnny Sauter and Harvick and again in 2007 with Burton and Scott Wimmer.
Get to the Points … RCR’s two full-time Nationwide Series entries rank first (Sadler) and fourth (Dillon) in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings heading into this weekend’s Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway. The No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet team leads the owner’s point standings while the No. 33 Menards/South Point Hotel & Casino/Hunt Brothers/Armour Brands/Fast Fixin’/One Main Financial/Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet team driven by Harvick, Brendan Gaughan, Paul Menard and Max Papis sits third in the owner’s point standings. The No. 3 AdvoCare/American Ethanol/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team ranks sixth.
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 Nationwide Series 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 Royal Purple 300 will be televised on ESPN beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, March 24 and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
No. 2 Pierre Drive Thru Sandwiches Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s Pierre Drive Thru Sandwiches Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway … Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 Pierre Drive Thru Sandwiches team will utilize Chassis No. 89 from Richard Childress Racing’s NASCAR Nationwide Series stable. This chassis was acquired during the merger with Kevin Harvick Inc., and revamped throughout the off season.
Driving Thru California … The No. 2 Chevrolet will sport the red, yellow and white colors of Pierre Drive Thru Sandwiches this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Pierre Drive Thru Sandwiches has six varieties of sandwiches, including cheeseburgers, bacon cheeseburgers, breaded chicken, spicy chicken, mini cheeseburgers and mini chicken sandwiches.
The Golden State … Sadler returns to the site of his last NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, where he earned a win in 2004 at the Fontana, Calif.,-based track. Sadler has competed at the two-mile track seven times in the Nationwide Series, notching two top-five and three top-10 finishes. He has led 40 laps and has a 99 percent lap-completion record. Sadler also has 19 starts in the Sprint Cup Series, where he earned one win, two top-10 finishes and has led 67 laps.
Last Time By … Last season at Auto Club Speedway, Sadler climbed from a 34th-place starting position in the Nationwide Series event into the top 10 early in the race and drove to a top-five finish.
Just the Stats … According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Season-to-Date statistics, Sadler leads the Nationwide Series in driver rating (117.0), average start (4.0), average finish (2.0), laps in top 15 (786), percentage of laps in the top 15 (95.9 percent) and total laps completed (820). In four events this season, Sadler has two wins (Phoenix International Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway), one pole award (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) and four top-five finishes.
Race Rewind: Bristol … Sadler outdrove the competition in the final laps at Bristol Motor Speedway to bring home the No. 2 team’s second victory of the 2012 Nationwide Series season. Sadler competed toward the front of the pack for the entirety of the race. During the final caution period of the race, crew chief Luke Lambert called for Sadler to stay out on the track, a call that moved Sadler to the lead position for the final restart. The only car of the leaders that did not pit, Sadler drove to a commanding lead and earned his seventh-career Nationwide Series victory.
To the Point … Sadler remains atop the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings for the fourth-straight week, sitting 25 points ahead of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Autism Awareness Appreciation … This weekend, Pierre Drive Thru Sandwiches will donate $10,000 to support the Hermie and Elliott Sadler Foundation’s effort to educate people about the spectrum disease which affects one in every 110 children in the United States. The No. 2 Pierre Drive Thru Sandwiches will also carry a special puzzle piece decal, the symbol of Austism Awareness, at Auto Club Speedway to show support of the cause.
About AdvancePierre Foods … AdvancePierre Foods is a leading supplier of value-added protein and handheld convenience products to the foodservice, school, retail, club, vending and convenience store channels. The company makes and distributes a full line of packaged sandwiches, fully cooked chicken and beef products, Philly-style steak, breaded beef, pork and poultry, and bakery products. Our products are produced from high quality ingredients and provide unparalleled taste, convenience and value to both operators and their patrons. Headquartered in Cincinnati, AdvancePierre employs more than 4,000 people and provides consistent product quality across our 11 different facilities including our manufacturing facilities in Oklahoma, Ohio and Iowa and our sandwich assembly facilities in North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. The company also operates bakeries in North Carolina and Oklahoma. www.advancepierre.com.
ELLIOTT SADLER QUOTES:
The No. 2 team is batting .500 this season with two wins in four races. How does this affect your mentality going into Auto Club Speedway?
“This sport is built on momentum, and I think getting two quick wins here at the beginning of the season is really good for our team. Luke Lambert is a young, smart crew chief, and he is as hungry as I am to continue to improve and continue to grow stronger as the season continues. Our team is experienced. There is a lot of talent on our team, and I think that we are going to continue to remain focused each and every week on the goal of winning this Nationwide Series championship.”
What are your thoughts on Auto Club Speedway?
“I like going out to California to compete at Auto Club Speedway. It’s a neat race track, and it’s very wide and fast. I feel like I ran pretty well there last season with a top-five finish. I feel like we are a little better prepared this season, because we know what kind of setup we need to be able to get there and unload quickly. We have a lot of ECR horsepower, and they just found a little more before we head out there, which is always good news. I was able to win the first-ever night Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway back in 2004, so I always look forward to going to California.”
No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s AdvoCare Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway … Austin Dillon will pilot Chassis No. 105 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series stable in the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway. This is a brand new Chevrolet Impala built by the RCR team and will be put through its first paces this weekend.
Dillon at Auto Club … Dillon has not previously competed at Auto Club Speedway and will make his first laps around the two-mile track during opening practice on Friday.
The Season so Far … According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Dillon has an average running position of 10.246 in the season’s first four Nationwide Series races, ranking him seventh among all drivers. He has a driver rating of 97.9, ranking him seventh. He is ranked third in the Closers category, improving an average of 3.5 spots in the last 10 percent of each race and is the seventh-fastest driver late in a run. He is ranked seventh in the Fastest Laps Run category with 48 laps so far this season, has the eighth-fastest speed in traffic and the eighth-fastest green-flag speed. Dillon has completed 92.1 percent of his laps in the top 15, ranking him fourth among all drivers and is one of three drivers who have completed 100 percent of laps on the lead lap.
Get to the Points … Dillon dropped from second to fourth in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings following a 12th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway. He trails his RCR teammate and current point leader, Elliott Sadler, by 30 points and is just one marker shy of Trevor Bayne in third. He currently leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over Cole Whitt.
Flashback … Dillon started ninth and finished 12th in his first career Nationwide Series appearance at Bristol Motor Speedway last Saturday after spending a majority of the 300-lap race maneuvering a loose-handling No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet around the half-mile short track.
Hometown Proud … Although they currently live in North Carolina, four members of the No. 3 AdvoCare team consider California their home state, including crew chief Danny Stockman. The 29-year-old was born in Fontana and lived there until the fifth grade when he and his family moved 35 miles north to Yucaipa, Calif. Car chief Robert Strmiska is from Manteca, Calif., mechanic Harley Rouch is from Clovis, Calif., and rear tire changer Jeremy West is from Gardena, Calif.
Meet Dillon … Dillon will join other Nationwide Series drivers in an autograph session in the Nationwide Series garage area at Auto Club Speedway on Friday, March 23 from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. P.T.
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTES:
Other than not getting to Victory Lane yet, your start to the season is almost as much as you can ask for as a rookie …
“It’s been a very good start to the season. The No. 3 Chevrolet has been good everywhere we have been. We’ve had to work quite a bit in practice to get there, and we’re learning every race. We’re gaining experience as a team and we’re really trying to fight that right now so that we can get to Victory Lane. Once we get comfortable getting to the track and get to the point where our setup is correct so that all we have to do is fine-tune the car during practice, we will be much better. It’s really cool to come out with three top 10s and a 12th-place finish to start the season. Coming from a multi-car operation and being able to lean on the guys with more experience is big for me. Just watching Elliott Sadler and Kevin Harvick and the experience they have driving the newer Nationwide Series cars that the Nationwide means a lot to be able to use their notes and talk to them.”
What kind of transition has it been for you to the Nationwide Series? Has it all been as easy as it looks?
“It’s been a good start. You can’t ask for better luck going into the races. Things have played out for us the right way. We’ve put ourselves in a good position to create our luck. If we can keep doing that throughout the season we will have a shot at the end at Homestead-Miami Speedway. That’s what we’re trying to do. Keep ourselves in a position where we can be there at the end of races and have a shot to win the championship.”
You’ve never race at Auto Club Speedway. Does that worry you?
“I think we’ll be good at Auto Club Speedway. The bigger tracks suit me well. It’s very similar to Michigan International Speedway and I run really well at Michigan. It’s one of my favorite tracks. I can’t wait to get to California. I’ve heard the track is a little rough, but we’ll learn how to adjust our car when we get there. We plan to adjust on the car throughout practice and lean on the teammates. I think how big the tracks are you can really move around and find speed and my dirt background plays to the advantage there. I’ve just always been good at those types of tracks.”
No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway … Brendan Gaughan will pilot Chassis No. 103 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series stable. This RCR prepared Chevrolet was last seen on-track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this month where Gaughan started ninth and finished fifth.
No Stranger Here … Gaughan will make his second Nationwide Series start under the RCR banner this weekend in the 150-lap affair at Auto Club Speedway. After a one-year hiatus from the sophomore touring division, the Las Vegas native will make his 73rd career start in the Nationwide Series when the green flag waves for Saturday’s Royal Purple 300. He’s earned seven top-five and 18 top-10 finishes in a span of four seasons in the Nationwide Series, as well as a pole award in March 2009 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Stats in the Golden State … In five previous Nationwide Series starts at the two-mile oval, Gaughan has notched two top-10 finishes with his best finish of seventh coming in February 2009. The 36-year-old driver has seven starts under his belt at the Fontana, Calif.-based race track in the Camping World Truck Series earning two top-five finishes and a pole award. His best finish of second came in 2003 when he started on the pole for the September event.
Rearview Mirror: Bristol Motor Speedway … Although Gaughan wasn’t behind the wheel for the Bristol 300 this past weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. The No. 33 Armour Vienna Sausages Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick took the green flag from the sixth position for the 300-lap event. Harvick was running in the top-five of the running order when on the last pit stop of the day was caught with a pit road speeding penalty relegating him to a ninth-place finish.
Last Time Around … Gaughan was last behind the wheel of the No. 33 Nationwide Series car in front of his hometown crowd at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this month. Starting from the ninth-place position, Gaughan battled a temperamental machine driving to his first top-five finish of the 2012 season.
Double Duty … Aside from his Nationwide Series responsibilities, Gaughan will also pilot the No. 33 South Point Casino & Hotel Chevrolet Sprint Cup Series entry for the Welcome, N.C.-based organization for the fourth time this season. Flag-to-flag coverage of the Auto Club 400 will be aired on FOX beginning at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Owner’s Points … The No. 33 Chevrolet team is currently third in the Nationwide Series owner’s championship point standings, 26 markers outside the top spot where RCR teammate Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet team hold the lead.
Gaughan’s Picks … Gaughan started the NCAA Men’s Basketball March Madness Tournament with his favorite teams for the final four including his former college team the Georgetown Hoyas. He also picked Florida State University, Michigan State University and Duke University. As the tournament heads into the Sweet 16 on Thursday, the University of Georgetown alumnus only has one team still in the contention for the championship, Michigan State University.
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTES:
You earned a top-five finish in your first Nationwide Series with RCR event this season. What are your expectations going to Auto Club Speedway?
“Every time a RCR Nationwide Series car hits the racetrack, there is an expectation of it being up front. Auto Club Speedway is a track that I have had a lot of success at and we’re bringing the Las Vegas car that I finished fifth with to California. With Ernie (Cope, crew chief) making the calls, we hope to improve on that finish.”
You’ve raced at Auto Club Speedway on previous occasions. What do you think of the track?
“I love racing there. It’s fast, wide and has plenty of room to race two-and three-wide. I can’t wait to be back in the No. 33 Nationwide Series Chevrolet for RCR.”