RCR Event Preview – Charlotte Motor Speedway

Richard Childress Racing’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history at Charlotte Motor Speedway … In 157 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Richard Childress Racing teams have earned seven points-paying victories (four wins with Dale Earnhardt, one with Jeff Burton and two with Kevin Harvick) and four All-Star race victories (three with Earnhardt and one with Harvick), giving RCR 11 total Cup Series checkered flags at the Concord, N.C.-based track. RCR boasts 22 top-five and 50 top-10 finishes at the 1.5-mile track. Childress, a former driver on NASCAR’s senior circuit, contributed two of those top-10 finishes from 1978 to 1979. The Welcome, N.C. organization has led a combined 1,149 laps at the Charlotte facility.

RCR in the MENCS … In 2,769 Sprint Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 48 pole awards,106 wins, 477 top-five finishes and 1,036 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 17.7 and an average finishing position of 16.1. RCR has earned 15 total championships (six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships with Earnhardt in 1986, ’87, ’90, ’91, ’93 and ’94, six NASCAR XFINITY Series titles, two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series titles and one ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards title) and was the first organization to win titles in NASCAR’s three national series.

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Interactive RCR … For up-to-date news and exclusive content, visit RCR’s corporate Twitter page – @RCRracing – along with the RCR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team Twitter page – @RCRCup, and driver Twitter pages @austindillon3 and @RyanJNewman. Information about the 15-time championship winning organization can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardChildressRacing and at www.RCRracing.com along with official driver pages – http://www.facebook.com/austindillon3, www.facebook.com/PaulMenard27 and www.facebook.com/RyanNewmanNASCAR.

Catch the Action … The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway is scheduled to be televised live on Sunday, May 28 on FOX beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.

This Week’s Dow Chevrolet SS at Charlotte Motor Speedway … In six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dillon earned his best start of 11th in May 2015 and best finish of seventh in October 2015. He is a two-time winner at the track in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

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In a show of appreciation for the contributions of veterans serving in the United States Armed Forces, and the knowledge and attributes they add to the workforce, it is a tremendous opportunity to be able to honor their service and sacrifice through Dow’s partnership with Richard Childress Racing.

A Family Tradition … Dillon grew up watching races at Charlotte Motor Speedway from his grandfather’s condo, which overlooks the racetrack.

NASCAR: An American Salute Refreshed by Coca-Cola … Dillon and the No. 3 Dow team will participate in 600 Miles of Remembrance on Memorial Day Weekend. Dillon’s name will be replaced on his race car windshield header with the name of a fallen military service member for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The No. 3 team will feature Special Warfare Operator First Class SEAL Joshua Thomas Harris, a 36-year-old highly decorated combat veteran who drowned after being swept away by turbulent waters while conducting a river crossing during combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in August 2008. A Lexington, N.C., native, Harris’ family has become friendly with RCR and presented a 325-lb wine and whiskey barrel flag to Richard Childress, which is proudly displayed on the campus of RCR.

Crossfit WOD … There is a Crossfit “Heroes” workout named The Joshua after Harris that several RCR team members have completed in Harris’ honor.

Meet Dillon … Fans have several opportunities to meet Dillon in the Charlotte area this week. Meet the Coca-Cola Racing Family Driver and enter for your chance to win prizes on Tuesday, May 23 at 2 p.m. ET at Walmart at 3000 E. Franklin Blvd., in Gastonia, NC, 28056. On Wednesday, May 24, Dillon is scheduled to make an appearance at the RCR Museum for the RCR Museum’s Customer Appreciation Day at 2 p.m. ET. The RCR Museum is located on the campus of Richard Childress Racing in Welcome, North Carolina. On Thursday, May 25, Meet the Sportsmen’s Racing Team – Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon and Richard Childress – at 10:30 a.m. ET at Bass Pro Shops at Concord Mills Mall (8181 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord, NC 28027). On Friday, May 26, Coca-Cola Racing Family Driver Austin Dillon is scheduled to make an appearance to the Mellow Yellow Stage at Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola at 6 p.m. ET. The stage is located at the corner of Tryon Street and Stonewall Street in Uptown Charlotte, NC. Please note that a limited number of wristbands will be distributed for all appearances.

How hard is it to chase track conditions in the Coca-Cola 600? It’s the longest race of the season …
“It is difficult. It’s a long day and you’ve really got to stay up-to-date with your car, be ahead of the adjustments. 600 miles anything can happen, so you are always in the race. That is the good part of it. Stage racing should be fun and interesting there also.”



This Week’s Knauf / Menard Chevrolet SS Team at Charlotte Motor Speedway … Menard has competed in 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events at the Concord, N.C.-based facility. He has four top-10 starts and two top-10 finishes with 6,691 of 7,172 laps completed in competition. The Richard Childress Racing driver has raced over 9,000 miles at the 1.5-mile track.

600 Miles of Remembrance … Lloyd Tussey, Petty Officer 3rd Class; Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class served on the USS Arizona, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Tussey lost his life in battle during the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor that fateful day on December 7, 1941. He received the following awards: Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and Combat Action Ribbon. Tussey’s nephew Troy works at RCR as a Cup Series mechanic and will be at the race Sunday along with family to honor his Great Uncle.

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Meet Menard … Fans have the chance to meet Menard at the Team Chevy stage this week in Charlotte. Come by the stage, located in the CMS fan midway, Thursday at 4:30 p.m. local time for a Q&A with the RCR driver.

What is it like racing 600 miles from your point of view?
“The biggest difference for the 600 is just to make sure you’re properly hydrated. The extra 45 minutes or so that you’re in the car does make a pretty big difference, especially if it is a hot weekend. Training wise nothing different, just hydration and maybe a little more food before the race starts. As far as the extra miles, it really goes by pretty fast. You don’t notice the difference much sitting in the car. However, the whole weekend is pretty fun because the crew members will bring some of their families and you get to see a lot of people who normally wouldn’t make it to a race. In the last few years, we’ve had special guests through the NASCAR Salutes program. It makes the weekend memorable when you can represent someone’s family like that. I hope Troy Tussey and his family have good time at the race. We certainly appreciate all they’ve been through to protect this country.”



This Week’s Grainger Chevrolet SS at Charlotte Motor Speedway … Newman will make his 560th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start when the Series competes in the longest event of the season at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In total at CMS, Newman has recorded runner-up finishes two times (fall, 2003; Coke 600, 2009) along with nine pole awards, five top-five, 14 top-10 finishes. The “Rocketman” has led 278 laps in competition. The South Bend, Indiana native has an average start of 9.2 and average finish of 17.3. When calculating points earned in the last 10 events at Charlotte, Newman ranks fifth in most points accumulated.

600 Miles of Remembrance … The No. 31 team will be honoring Lance Corporal Daniel Freeman Swaim of the United States Marine Corps. Swaim is the cousin of Cruz Gonzales, gas man on the Grainger Chevrolet team. Swaim served in the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. On November 10, 2005, he passed away from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces during Operation Steel Curtain in Karabilah, Iraq.

Winner, Winner … Newman increased his chances of punching his ticket to the MENCS playoffs with a victory at Phoenix Raceway on March 19th in the No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet. The win equates to the driver’s 18th-career Cup Series victory and RCR’s 106th.

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Catch Ryan … Newman is scheduled to participate in a question and answer session on behalf of Coca-Cola Racing on Sunday. He’ll stop by the Pit Party Stage starting at 2:55 p.m. local time inside Turn 1 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Fans will need to upgrade their race ticket to receive a Pit Party pass in order to attend. To upgrade, visit: Pit Party Passes.

What are your thoughts on adding an extra stage in the Coca-Cola 600?
“I’m not sure adding an extra stage will mean a whole lot. It is obviously going to add another caution to the mix which changes the race a little bit. If the extra stage caution would not have happened organically so-to-speak, I don’t know if it will make a difference. It’s a break that we know has been scheduled and we’ll take it when it comes.”

What is the key to being successful in the longest race of the year?
“I think one of the biggest keys to being successful in the Coca-Cola 600 is just keeping your head in the game the whole time. It’s a really long race. It’s four plus hours and just staying focused. It’s going to be hot typically. I’m going to keep hydrated and having a car that drives well.”




Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway… In 82 series starts at the 1.5-mile speedway, RCR has captured four victories with drivers Jeff Green (2002), Jeff Burton (2007) and Austin Dillon (2015 sweep). The Welcome, North Carolina, organization has completed 15,534 laps of the 16,407 (94.7 percent) that they have competed. RCR has accumulated eight pole awards, 22 top-five and 46 top-10 finishes, led 721 laps and averages a starting position of 10.6 and finishing position of 12.6.

Talladega Review … Ben Kennedy was the highest RCR finisher in his 2017 season debut, finishing fourth, Ty Dillon 14th, Brendan Gaughan 30th, Brandon Jones 37th and Daniel Hemric 38th, respectively, in the Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.

The Points … All three RCR XFINITY Series full-time drivers remain in the top 20 of the driver point standings as the series heads home to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 10th race of the season. Daniel Hemric is currently fifth, Brandon Jones is 15th and Brendan Gaughan is 17th, respectively. The No. 2 and No. 3 RCR teams are sixth and eighth in the owner point standings, respectively. Hemric is currently second in the XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year point standings, six points out of first place.

Catch the Action … Coverage of this week’s Hisense 4k TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be televised live on Saturday, May 27, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern time on FS1. It will also be broadcast live on Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM channel 90.

This Week’s Rheem Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway … Austin Dillon is a two-time race winner and three-time pole award winner at Charlotte Motor Speedway, his hometown track. In eight NASCAR XFINITY Series starts, the Welcome, N.C., native has acquired an average starting position of 3.1 and an average finish position of 6.4, leading 228 laps.

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Welcome, Randall Burnett … Randall Burnett, who previously served as a crew chief for RCR’s technical partner JTG Daugherty Racing, will assume a new role as crew chief of the No. 2 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet in the NASCAR XFINITY Series beginning this weekend. Burnett holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from UNC Charlotte. Prior to JTG Daugherty Racing, he spent 10 years as an engineer at Chip Ganassi Racing.

By the Numbers … According the NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Dillon ranks second in Average Running Position in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway with an Average Place of 6.06. He has the third-best Average Speed Early in a Run (173.997 mph) and the fourth-best Driver Rating (111.3).

What do you like best about racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway?
“Charlotte’s always been good for me. We swept both XFINITY Series races there in 2015. It was a blast. It’s always fun to race in front of your hometown crowd. A lot of family and friends come out to watch. Victory Lane was crazy with all my family and friends that were there to celebrate with the No. 2 Rheem team. I personally like Charlotte a lot on long green flag runs. It’s a fast-paced track and a lot of fun to drive. Hopefully we can put some steam to her and see what we can do this weekend.”



This Week’s Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway … Ty Dillon will make his seventh start at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this weekend. In his six previous starts, Dillon has scored four top-10 finishes. His highest finish of sixth place came in the fall of 2015. He has two starts at the intermediate track in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, starting from the pole in 2012 and in the second position in 2013. He earned top-10 finishes in each start. Dillon will make his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at the track this weekend.

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Meet Dillon … Ten Days of Thunder at Charlotte Motor Speedway is a busy two weeks for competitors, but they provide many opportunities for fans to meet their favorite drivers. Dillion will be all over town this week meeting fans and signing autographs. On Wednesday morning, Dillon will be at the RCR Museum and Team Store for Customer Appreciation Day starting at 11:00 a.m. ET. The event is open to the public with opportunities to tour the museum. Later that afternoon, Dillon will be in Uptown Charlotte for the Charlotte Knights minor league baseball game. He will sign autographs when the gates open at 6 p.m. ET and will throw out the first pitch to start the game. Unless the game is postponed early in the day, Dillon will be there rain or shine. On Thursday morning, Dillon will join his grandfather Richard Childress and brother Austin Dillon at the Bass Pro Shops at Concord Mills Mall, starting at 10:30 a.m. ET before heading to the racetrack. Finally, Dillon will also make a stop at the GEICO display at Speed Street in Uptown Charlotte on Friday night, starting at 5:00 p.m. ET

Everyone always talks about how temperature-sensitive the track is at Charlotte. What does that feel like from the driver’s seat? Do you just feel like you’re chasing something that’s constantly out of your grasp?
“You just have to know to expect the change. I’ve run a lot of XFINITY Series races at Charlotte and feel like I’ve started to get a handle on the differences in the sun being in Turns 3 and 4 and then not being there. It really is two different corners as the sun transitions throughout the day. So in the XFINITY Series, it’s more so a concern in the fall when you practice in the daylight then race under the lights, but it’s definitely something that you have to be aware of at all times here. You’ve got to constantly be ready to adapt with the sun.”

This Week’s Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet Camaro at Charlotte Motor Speedway … Hemric will be making his first NASCAR XFINITY Series start at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway during this weekend’s Hisense 4k TV 300. Hemric has two previous NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway, recording an average start of 6.5 and an average finish of 13.0. Hemric also made a name for himself at Charlotte Motor Speedway by winning more than 25 Legends Car races, including the inaugural Legends Car Million in 2010.

Little 600 … Hemric will take part in the fourth annual Little 600 go-kart race at GoPro Motorplex on Tuesday, May 23, starting at 5 p.m. ET. The race will consist of two six-lap heat races and a 15-lap feature. The event is free to fans and will be streamed live on FansChoice.TV.

Meet the Driver … Fans will be able to meet Hemric and crew chief Danny Stockman at the RCR Museum and Team Store Customer Appreciation Day on Wednesday, May 24, starting at 12 p.m. ET. Hemric will also take place in a Q&A session on Sunday, May 28, starting at 2:30 p.m. ET at Trackside Live in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Fan Midway.

Rearview Mirror: Talladega … Hemric’s second XFINITY Series start at a superspeedway ended early after he was caught up in a Lap 20 incident that collected a total of nine cars. Starting in the third spot, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender was biding his time in the pack before the wreck. With damage too severe to continue, Hemric’s recorded his second DNF of the season with a 38th-place finish.

You finished ninth at Charlotte last year in the Camping World Truck Series and tested the XFINITY Series car there a few weeks ago, what did you learn that you can take into Saturday’s race?
“For our group, the biggest thing was to test in the heat of the day. It got pretty warm during our test session and a lot of times it is hard to get your car to do anything right in the sun. We were able to make really positive adjustments to help the balance, which is something I believe we have struggled a little bit with on the mile-and-a-half tracks in the short practice sessions we get each weekend. The test was great timing for us and the weather conditions allowed us to really take a step forward with our program. I think it will show once we get back to the mile-and-a-half tracks like Charlotte. As a driver, I left as pleased with a test as I have ever been in my career.”

Is there much you can take from the other mile-and-a-half tracks you have already raced on this year and apply to this weekend’s race at Charlotte?
“That is one thing I am adjusting to this year in the XFINITY Series. In the Truck Series, once we hit on something we could almost run that same package everywhere. With the XFINITY Series car’s balance and aero package, everybody is figuring out a little bit more each week. So, the package that worked one week might not be what you need going to the next mile-and-a-half. As a group, we have tried to shorten that window. After testing Charlotte we hope we’ve closed that window up, but we won’t know until after we actually get back to a mile-and-a-half race. The little things we were able to take away running in the daytime and having decent speed at the test will really help us as we go back there for the race this weekend with the Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet.”

This Week’s Wood Ducks Baseball Chevrolet Camaro at Charlotte Motor Speedway … Jones has two previous NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which has resulted in one top-10 finish. The 20-year-old competitor also has three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts under his belt at the 1.5-mile track. Across the two series, Jones has completed 739 of the 813 laps (90.9 percent) he has competed in at CMS.

Up to Bat with the Wood Ducks …
The new High “A” affiliate of the Texas Rangers, the Down East Wood Ducks are based out of Grainger Stadium in Kinston, North Carolina, and kicking off their inaugural campaign this year in the Carolina League. Before moving to North Carolina, the Rangers’ High “A” California League affiliate had been located in High Desert, California for the past two seasons after four years in the Carolina League at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina from 2011-2014. Prior to that time, Texas had not been affiliated with the Carolina League since having a farm club in Salem, Virginia in 1986. Check out the Wood Ducks 2017 season schedule and learn more about the team by visiting woodducksbaseball.com. Follow the team on Facebook.com/GoWoodDucks, as well as Twitter and Instagram via @GoWoodDucks.

Honoring the Military … Riding above Jones’ driver side door this weekend will be the name of Sgt Mark Bradley, a member of the United States Marine Corps who died on June 16, 2011, after sustaining severe injuries from an improvised explosive device. Jones, who is passionate about the military and military support organizations, learned of Sgt Bradley’s story through his partnership with Hope For The Warriors and wanted to honor him during the first weekend of NASCAR Salutes by replacing his name with Bradley’s above his driver side window.

RCR Customer Appreciation Day … Fans are invited to come out to RCR’s Customer Appreciation Day on Wednesday, May 24 beginning at 10 a.m. at the organization’s headquarters in Welcome, North Carolina. Jones, along with his crew chief Nick Harrison, will be participating in an RCR XFINITY Series autograph session beginning at noon local time. Find the full schedule for the day at rcrstore.com.

Meet Brandon Jones … Fans will have multiple chances to meet Jones later this week. Jones is scheduled to participate in a Circle K Speed Street Presented by Coca-Cola autograph session on Friday, May 26, in downtown Charlotte beginning at 6 p.m. local time. Fans can also catch Jones during his Q&A session at the Team Chevy stage located in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Fan Zone starting at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, May 27.

This week we visit Charlotte Motor Speedway, another 1.5-mile track but one that is getting a little more worn-out. What’s the racing like for you on that surface?
“It’s fun. You’re starting to have to search around a little bit during practice to see what’s going to work well and what’s not for your car. You see a lot of guys go to the top during these races, and I’ve made it work up there as well in the past, but sometimes the bottom will work too. It all depends on how your car is handling, but the track is definitely starting to take on some of those characteristics where you can run all over the surface of it, which makes the racing a lot of fun for both us and the fans watching.”

Everyone says that Charlotte is a track that’s extremely sensitive to the sun. How does that affect how the car feels from the driver’s seat?
“I think the biggest thing is that the track frees up all the way around. It gets really loose and greasy out there. It almost starts to feel like you’re just skating around out there the whole time and you can’t do much about it chassis-wise other than letting it cool back down and going back at it. You definitely feel the difference when you race during the day versus when you race at night. It’s crazy the difference in the amount of grip that track will have, and it can really affect how we set the car up.”

This week you have the new Texas Rangers affiliate team, the Down East Wood Ducks, on your Chevrolet Camaro. What does it mean to you to have the Rangers continued support?
“I’m honored that the Texas Rangers have included me in their efforts to help promote their new minor league team based in Kinston, North Carolina. Having the Rangers on my car last season and getting to throw out the first pitch during a game at their stadium in Arlington, Texas was an experience I’ll never forget. Having their continued support means a lot to me, and I’ll be doing all I can to promote their new franchise in the Down East Wood Ducks. I wish them nothing but the best in their inaugural season.”
This Week’s South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway … In 10 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at CMS, Gaughan has completed 1,943 of 1,979 (98.2 percent) laps that he has competed. Gaughan has led seven laps, accumulated one top-five and two top-10 finishes, and averages a starting position of 20.1 and a finishing position of 14.9. Gaughan also has eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at the 1.5-mile speedway. In those eight starts, the 41-year-old driver has earned three top-five and four top-10 finishes.

Meet Brendan Gaughan … Fans of Gaughan will have the opportunity to meet the driver of the No. 62 and his crew chief Shane Wilson during RCR Museum and Team Store Customer Appreciation Day, Wednesday, May 24, beginning at noon local time at the RCR Museum, 425 Industrial Drive in Welcome, North Carolina. Fans can also catch Gaughan during a question-and-answer session with teammate Brandon Jones at the Team Chevy stage located in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Fan Zone starting at 9:15 a.m. local time on Saturday, May 27.

At the Arena … The South Point Arena will host the Wild Card Reining Challenge May 24 – 27. This horse show features Futurity classes and Maturity divisions and will host horse clinic classes and conferences, including the Western Gift Show. For more information visit southpointarena.com. This event is free to the public.

For Charlotte, NASCAR XFINITY teams had the opportunity to test, is there anything you can take away from that?
“The No. 62 team didn’t test, however our teammates Brandon Jones and Daniel Hemric did. The good news is that with so many teams here at RCR everyone can have an agenda and work together through data and feedback to be successful as an organization. It is definitely working as an organizational effort and I enjoy that.”

Is there anything you can take from previous mile-and-a-half races this season?
“I absolutely can. Atlanta is worn-out, Texas was brand-new and Charlotte Motor Speedway is somewhere in the middle. Some aspects of the mile-and-a-half program will transfer from track to track. The thing about CMS is the temperature, I don’t know what it is, but it’s where the term ‘Money Cloud’ came from and it’s still that way. I will take the notes from our team test, the throttle traces and brake traces and lay it over with their comments and feedback. That way I know what they thought worked well, and we will go out and try to be fast.”

Do you prefer to run that race under the lights or in the sun?
“To me I have never cared, my job isn’t to say which is better. But I will say that, this sport is about the fans. I personally think under the lights is cool, with the flames out of the exhaust pipes and sparks that go flying. It’s cool stuff, but if the racing during the day is better due to the heat and slipping and sliding then that’s what the fans need to see. This is a balancing act of what is better for the fans visually and what’s better for the race cars to put on a good show. In the summer, I think that we need to have more night races. No one wants to sit in a metal grandstand and melt away. That’s just awful.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.


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