NASCAR Nationwide Series
RACE: Royal Purple 300
TRACK: Auto Club Speedway
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished fifth (Austin Dillon), ninth (Elliott Sadler) and 10th (Brendan Gaughan).
Sadler leads the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings by 18 points over Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Dillon, Trevor Bayne and Sam Hornish Jr. The No. 2 Chevrolet team leads the NASCAR Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, 18 points ahead of the No. 6 car, with the No. 3 team fourth in the standings and the No. 33 team fifth.
Sadler and Dillon ranked fourth and fifth-fastest, respectively, in NASCAR’s Loop Data category for Fastest Drivers Early in a Run, while Gaughan ranked eighth in that category.
According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Dillon tied for second in the Closers category, gaining seven positions in the last 10 percent of the race.
Dillon ranked fourth in Quality Passes (passing for position while running in the top 15) with 72.
Sadler has yet to finish outside of the top 10 in the five Nationwide Series races contested this season.
Sadler scored a driver rating of 108.1, the fifth-best of the event
Sadler maintained the third-highest average running position (6.933) throughout the 150-lap event.
Gaughan scored a driver’s rating of 100.7.
Gaughan spent 100 percent of the race running in the top-15.
Joey Logano earned his first Nationwide Series win of the 2012 season and was followed across the finish line by Stenhouse Jr., Brad Keselowski, Brian Scott and Dillon.
The next Nationwide Series race is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, April 13. The sixth race of the 2012 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN2 beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
Elliott Sadler Notches Top-10 Finish at Auto Club Speedway
Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 Pierre Drive Thru Sandwiches Chevrolet team drove to a hard-earned ninth-place finish Saturday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway. The team battled splitter issues during the sole practice session of the weekend, but Sadler’s qualifying effort earned the team a fifth-place starting position. When green flag waved on the main event, Sadler immediately reported that the No. 2 machine was extremely tight, a condition he battled for much of the 150-lap event. Crew chief Luke Lambert and the Pierre Drive Thru Sandwiches team made adjustments throughout the race to help alleviate the conditions, and Sadler was able to drive his way into the top-five by the time the final caution flag of the race was displayed at lap 132. The RCR team serviced the No. 2 Chevrolet with two tires and fuel under caution and Sadler restarted the race from the second position. As the final laps ticked down, he was passed by drivers who had four tires in the final laps to post a ninth-place finish.
Start – 5 Finish – 9 Laps Led – 2 Points Position – 1
ELLIOTT SADLER QUOTE:
“I guess if you have a bad day and score a ninth-place finish, your year is going pretty well. We battled a tight car throughout the entire event. That last caution killed us because we had saved enough fuel that we were set for the rest of the race. The No. 2 team did a great job all weekend trying to help this car get better. We will take this top-10 finish and move onto the next one. This team never quits, and we will be back in Texas.”
Austin Dillon Earns Top-Five Finish in Career First Appearance at Auto Club Speedway
In his first appearance at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Austin Dillon recorded a fifth-place finish in the Royal Purple 300 and moved up one position to third in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship point standings. Dillon posted the fourth-quickest lap time during qualifying on Saturday morning despite running over debris, causing a flat left-rear tire during his qualifying run. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender started the race from the fourth position and was a mainstay in the top five during the early portions of the race. He slipped as far back as 18th in the running order after developing a loose-handling condition during the middle portion of the race. A lap-135 pit stop under caution provided crew chief Danny Stockman and the RCR team the opportunity to service the black No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet with four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Following the pit stop, the team restarted in the 11th position on lap 138 and Dillon spent the remaining 12 laps driving through traffic. He gained six positions in the final laps of the race to post a fifth-place finish.
Start – 4 Finish – 5 Laps Led – 0 Points – 3
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE: “The car was not handling very well towards the middle of the race but I learned a lot during that portion of the race. When faster cars passed me I followed their line and was able to learn a lot about where to drive on the track. As a rookie, I’m happy with a fifth-place finish. Those are the types of finishes we need to be getting.”
Brendan Gaughan Finishes 10th at Auto Club Speedway
Brendan Gaughan and the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet team finished 10th in the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway. Gaughan started the 150-lap affair from the eighth position and was scored sixth by the race’s halfway mark. Crew chief Ernie Cope called the Las Vegas native to pit road on lap 91 under caution. A quick stop by the South Point Hotel & Casino pit crew boosted Gaughan to the third position for the lap 96 restart. A tight condition developed on the No. 33 Chevrolet in the final laps of the race, and relegated Gaughan to a 10th-place result, his second consecutive top-10 finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Start – 8 Finish – 10 Laps Led – 0
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTE:
“It’s disappointing that we finished 10th. We had a great car and were running towards the front of the pack all day. I know we could have had a better finish than that. But, the guys did a great job on pit road. We had some awesome stops today.”