NASCAR Cup Series RCR Event Preview - Atlanta Motor Speedway

RCR Event Preview – Atlanta Motor Speedway


Richard Childress Racing’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series History at Atlanta Motor Speedway… In 143 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Richard Childress Racing has earned nine wins and three pole awards, including Kevin Harvick’s emotional victory in the Cracker Barrel 500 on March 11, 2001. Dale Earnhardt won eight times at the Hampton, Georgia-based track under the RCR banner. Additionally, RCR boasts 29 top-five and 57 top-10 finishes at AMS and RCR-prepared Chevrolets have led 2,938 laps at the ultra-fast, 1.54-mile oval. Richard Childress, a former driver on NASCAR’s senior circuit, recorded his best finish at AMS, ninth, in the Atlanta Journal 500 on Nov. 2, 1980.

RCR in the MENCS … In 2,848 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 48 pole awards,108 wins, 487 top-five finishes and 1,052 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 17.8 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.

The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 … Chevrolet, the winningest brand in motorsports, debuts the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition this season. The Camaro ZL1 is the most advanced Chevrolet Cup Car ever developed and is also the most authentic, featuring rear-wheel drive, a fuel injected V8 engine and a manual gear box.

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 and at along with official driver pages –  and

Catch the Action … The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 will be televised live Sunday, Feb. 25 beginning at 2 p.m. ET on FOX and will be broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

This Week’s Dow Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway … In five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Dillon’s best finish is 11th in 2016.

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Questions, Please … Dillon is scheduled to partake in media availability in the Atlanta Motor Speedway Infield Media Center on Friday at 10 a.m. ET.

Meet Dillon … If you’re at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend, stop by the TrackSide Live stage on Saturday night, where Austin Dillon is scheduled to make an appearance at 7 p.m. ET.

Catch us on The Hub … Dillon will be joined by his grandfather, Richard Childress, Andy Petree, Justin Alexander and Andy Houston on a special post-Daytona 500 all-RCR edition of RaceHub. It airs Wednesday on FOX Sports 1 at 6 p.m. ET.

Did you ever imagine that 20 years after you were in Victory Lane as a child with Dale Earnhardt that you would become a Daytona 500 winner?
“Daytona has a way with just making memories. Daytona makes memory after memory and they are life changing memories. I was fortunate to be in Victory Lane 20 years ago and I’m here again, but I’m driving – this is awesome!”

How much of a weight is lifted off you by winning the first race of the season?
“I feel less pressure on my shoulders, for sure, but this is just the beginning. We want to continue winning. It’s cool to win the Daytona 500. It’s the biggest race of our season and Daytona has so much prestige to it. We’ll always be called Daytona 500 Champions now, and it comes with a spot in the Playoffs, and we’re locked into the Clash forever, too.”

How do you feel about RCR’s 1.5-mile program going into 2018?
“I feel pretty strongly about it. I have a lot of confidence with the Camaro ZL1. It’s an awesome car. I think our new, leaner and meaner RCR has everything needed to go out and compete. We have fast cars, so I’m really optimistic. We are ready.

This Week’s No. 31 Liberty National Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway …
Newman will make his 586th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start when the Series competes at the second event of the 2018 season. In 25 MENCS events at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Newman owns seven pole awards, including sweeping six-straight poles encompassing the 2003 to 2005 Cup seasons. He owns two top-five and nine top-10 finishes. His best results of fifth place came in 2013 and at the spring 2004 event. The South Bend, Indiana native has an average start of 7.0 and average finish of 17.9. He’s led a total of 178 laps in competition. In the Camping World Trucks Series, he captured the victory in the fall 2008 race.

Current Standings … After finishing eighth in the season opener, the Daytona 500, Newman and the No. 31 team rank eighth in the driver championship standings.

Welcome Aboard … Ryan Newman, a Liberty National Life Insurance Company policyholder, will feature the Liberty National paint scheme on the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for select races in
2018, beginning in Atlanta. Liberty National has been in the insurance industry since 1900 and offers affordable life and supplemental health insurance to middle-income Americans through in-home and workplace sales. With local offices throughout the United States, Liberty National’s Agency Owners will be featured on the hood of the No. 31 car in each of its primary races. Liberty National, Ryan Newman, and Richard Childress Racing share an admiration and appreciation for veterans who have served to protect our country. Liberty National hires former military and is proud to have many veterans call Liberty National their career homes today. Visit:
to learn more about career opportunities with Liberty National.

Meet Newman … On Sunday, Newman can be seen on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Midway starting at 10:35 a.m. ET at the Team Chevy stage for a question and answer session. At 10:55 a.m. ET on behalf of Coca-Cola, he is scheduled to participate in TrackSide at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip stage.

What are your thoughts after RCR’s Daytona 500 victory and your top-10 finish to start the season?
“It’s a great way to start the season that is for sure! I wanted to make sure Austin (Dillon) knew how happy and proud I was for and of him when I went out there to see him at the start-finish line. I wanted to win again on the 20th anniversary of RCR’s last Daytona 500 win especially after the fact that I won on the 10th anniversary. It’s so crazy how things fall into place. Earnhardt won the 40th Daytona 500. I won the 50th and now Austin has won the 60th running of theDaytona 500. This victory is awesome for RCR and ECR and all our partners. To get a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in Victory Lane right away, that was special as well. For the No. 31 Bass Pro Shops / Cabela’s team, we just weren’t in the right place at the right time and got caught up in a little bit of a mess, and that was it.  We just finished with a bunch of damage, but we still finished eighth.”

What are your thoughts heading into Atlanta?
“For me, Atlanta Motor Speedway will be a true litmus test of the performance you are potentially going to have for the season or at least tell you what you need to still work on or what you have been successful at in the off-season preparations. It doesn’t always equate to how well you are going to do at Martinsville Speedway, the road courses or anything else like that, but those intermediate tracks that make up half of our season and most of the Playoffs, it’s a super important gauge for us.”

Do you believe in momentum in this sport?
“Absolutely! If you leave Daytona with momentum like RCR has it absolutely has a positive effect on us. Momentum is dependent on your last lap really. It can certainly change really quickly, but the consistency behind it is very powerful and if you have three or four top-fives in a row, that’s huge no matter what track you are at and where you go to next.”


Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway… In 45 Series starts at the 1.5-mile paved oval, RCR has captured three victories with drivers Jeff Burton (2006 and 2007) and Kevin Harvick (2013). The Welcome, North Carolina, organization has completed 8,355 laps of the 8,487 (98.4 percent) that they have competed. RCR has accumulated one pole award, 12 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes, led 465 laps with an average starting position of 12.1 and finishing position of 10.8.

Daytona Review … Matt Tifft was the highest RCR finisher in 19th place last weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Daniel Hemric finished 26th, while Austin Dillon finished 32nd in the Powershares QQQ 300.

The Points … Matt Tifft and Daniel Hemric currently sit 17th and 18th respectively, in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver point standings. The No. 3 RCR team is currently 33rd in the series’ owner point standings.

Social Media … To keep up with the latest updates from RCR’s Xfinity Series teams, follow @RCRracing and @RCRNXS on Twitter. Updates can also be found via RCR’s Facebook Page and Instagram (@RCRracing).

Catch the Action … Coverage of this weekend’s Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be televised live on Saturday, Feb. 24, beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on FS1. It will also broadcast live on the Performance Radio Network (PRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, Channel 90.


This Week’s No. 2 Surface Sunscreen Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway … Matt Tifft will be making his second start at Atlanta Motor Speedway in his NASCAR national touring series career this weekend in the No. 2 Surface Sunscreen Chevrolet Camaro. The 21-year-old driver finished 12th at the speedway last year after starting seventh in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event.

About Surface Sunscreen … Inspired by Motocross, Offroad and BMX, and roots deep in surfing, Surface Sun Systems was created with one mission, to provide high quality sun-care products to the athletes and fans of action sports. Located in the heart of Southern California, Surface wanted products that were designed for what they were are all about, living all day outside in the dirt, sand and water. The passion Surface has for action sports is hard to duplicate, and they put that passion to work with their rider developed and tested line of sun-care products, which allow all of us to enjoy our lifestyle without worrying about the damaging effects of the sun.

Daytona Recap … Tifft survived multiple late-race wrecks in the NASCAR Xfinity Series season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway to bring home a top-20 finish in his first start for Richard Childress Racing. The No. 2 team worked hard to get the balance of the Chevrolet Camaro right and started to make some headway through the pack late in the race. Despite getting some rear damage while escaping a wreck with a few laps remaining, Tifft and his team hung in there to finish 19th.

This week we head to Atlanta Motor Speedway where you finished 12th a year ago. How abrasive is that track and how quickly do the tires fall off?
“Very quickly and very abrasive is the short answer for Atlanta. Last year was my first time going around Atlanta, so I was focused on figuring out its characteristics. It’s an awesome track. I was really strong on the short runs last year and didn’t really understand to what extent I needed to manage my tires for the longer runs. I think going back this time with notes and the knowledge I have about what to expect will help me out a lot. It was good for me last year to get experience at tracks like this one, California and Kansas, where the track surface is starting to wear out. Running the high line at tracks like those wasn’t something I was comfortable with last year, but I feel much more comfortable with it now.”


This Week’s No. 3 Red Kap / Alsco Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway … Ty Dillon returns to the Xfinity Series for the first time this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway when he gets behind the wheel of the No. 3 Red Kap / Alsco Chevrolet Camaro. In his four NXS starts at the intermediate track, Dillon has two top-five and three top-10 finishes. He has completed 100 percent of the laps of those four races. Dillon has logged two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Atlanta. He won the NCWTS race in 2012 and was the runner up in 2015. Dillon will also compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday.

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Atlanta will be your Xfinity Series race of the year. What are your expectations?
“I’m excited to get back into the Xfinity Series car and work with those guys over there again. I’m ready to jump back into the double duty life. Atlanta Motor Speedway is a track where the extra seat time really helps me prepare for the race on Sunday. The surface is wearing out quite a bit, so the more and more laps you have on a track like Atlanta, that is normally very difficult, is beneficial. Hopefully we can capitalize on that to grab a victory and carry that momentum into Sunday.”

This Week’s South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro at Atlanta Motor Speedway … Hemric will be making his second NASCAR Xfinity Series start at the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway. In his first start there in 2017, he started sixth and finished ninth, earning his first-career Xfinity Series top-10 finish.

Rearview Mirror: Daytona … Hemric earned his second-career Xfinity Series pole award, putting the No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet on the front row for the start of the race. Racing throughout the pack, Hemric earned points in both Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the race. On Lap 100, Hemric was involved in the fifth caution of the day and sustained minimal damage to the nose and hood of the Chevrolet. The team was hit with a penalty by NASCAR when the fuel man worked on the car. Hemric avoided any further incident and ended the day in the 26th position.


This Week at the South Point Hotel & Casino … Visitors to the South Point Hotel & Casino have the opportunity to see Dennis DeYoung and the music of Styx on Friday, Feb. 23 and Saturday, Feb. 24. Tickets are available here:

Atlanta is the first race in 2018 with the composite bodies in the Xfinity Series. RCR had some success with the composite bodies last year, what are your expectations for that this weekend?
“Atlanta is always a place that tends to reward the guy that can save his tires over the course of a run. We’re now doing that this year with the variable of the composite body. It’s going to be new for all race teams. The biggest track we ran the composite bodies last year was just a mile, there is a significant variable with Atlanta being a mile-and-a-half. Some teams went down there to test, but we did not have the luxury of doing that. I have heard some feedback from the guys that did test and there is not a big difference with these bodies, but it should show its hand as you go through the course of a run, as you go through tires and everything gets worn out. Hopefully, our cars are as good, if not better, than they were there last year, and we can prevail over the course of those long runs. Atlanta one of the most fun tracks we go to in the entire series. To be able to kick off things off with the composite body with a mile-and-a-half like Atlanta, there’s no better place to go to. Hopefully, we can start off strong and carry that momentum through the West Coast swing.”

Do you feel like the season really starts in Atlanta since Daytona is such a unique track and style of racing?
“In a roundabout way you feel like the season truly starts in Atlanta, but there are two different ways of looking at that. I’m guilty in the past of saying, ‘Our season starts in Atlanta because Daytona is what it is.’ With that being said, there is a lot of opportunity at Daytona and there are a lot of opportunities that guys overlook because it is Daytona. I tried to approach things with the opposite mindset this year, knowing we had the chance to start off strong in Daytona, carry that on to Atlanta and then carry that on throughout the rest of the season. While we didn’t have the best finish Saturday in Daytona, we were able to earn some stage points and gain some spots with all of the wrecks at the end of the day.”
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