- Richard Childress Racing drivers Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard finished seventh, eighth and 16th, respectively, in the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway.
- Menard ranks 13th in the Sprint Cup Series championship point standings, trailing current leader Kevin Harvick by 176 points, while Newman ranks 14th and Dillon ranks 21st.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned his second win of the 2015 season and was followed to the line by Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch.
- The 18th race of the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season is the Kentucky 400 at Kentucky Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2015, which is scheduled to be televised live on NBC beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Austin Dillon Endures Wild Ride En Route to Seventh-Place Finish at Daytona International Speedway
The sparks were flying - literally - for Austin Dillon this Fourth of July holiday weekend when he drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/NRA Museum Chevrolet to a seventh-place finish in the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. The Welcome, N.C., driver slid across the finish line upside down on his roof after becoming airborne and making contact with the catch fence in the tri-oval of the 2.5-mile speedway in a last-lap multi-car incident. The start of the 160-lap race was delayed nearly four hours because of thunderstorms in the area. Once the track was dry, Dillon started from the second position and remained a front runner for a majority of the race, discovering the top groove worked better than the bottom one. He fell to the rear of the field after making a series of pit stops under caution to fix front grille damage he received while trying to avoid a multi-car incident on lap 85. However, once green-flag racing resumed on lap 92, it took him just 10 circuits to race his way from 34th to 10th. Dillon was scored in the 11th spot with 20 laps remaining and used the final laps to try and gain positions. A late-race caution set the field for a green-white-checker finish with Dillon 11th in the middle of the field for the restart. A multi-car incident occurred as the field raced to the checkered flag, which was when Dillon was clipped by another car and sent airborne into the tri-oval catch fence before sliding on his roof and landing upside down. Dillon was credited with a seventh-place finish, was evaluated and released from the infield care center. He heads into the Kentucky Speedway race weekend 21st in the point standings.
Start - 2 Finish - 7 Laps Led - 8 Points - 21
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE:
"The No. 11 car got turned by the No. 4 car across the start/finish line and I thought the race was going to be over right there. We were almost there and I was just pushing the No. 24 car and the next thing I knew, I was looking at my roof for a long time. I thought it was all over when I was sliding there and the No. 2 car came in and really got me. It was a wicked ride, but thank the good Lord above for taking care of me. I am just going to be really sore. It got my tailbone pretty good and my arm. I should be fine. My plan is to just go ice it up and get ready for Kentucky. I am thankful for what NASCAR has done to make the sport this much safer. I just hope everybody in the stands is all right. I'm praying for everybody and glad the good Lord looked out for me tonight."
Paul Menard Finishes 16th at Daytona International Speedway
Paul Menard and the No. 27 NIBCO/Menards Chevrolet team started Sunday night's rain-delayed event from the fourth position and raced inside the top 20 all night, en route to a 16th-place finish. The Richard Childress Racing driver had little complaint after the 400-mile event took the green flag at 11:40 p.m. Eastern Time, noting only a slightly loose and then tight-handling conditions. Crew chief Justin Alexander called the No. 27 Chevy to pit road four times during the 160-lap Coke Zero 400 for a combination of either two or four tires and fuel. Menard maintained a position in the top 20 and raced as high as second throughout the night. He was in the top 10 in the closing laps, but was stuck in a slow line during the final laps and crossed the finish line 16th. This moves the team to 13th in the driver point standings. Up next for Menard is Saturday night's race at Kentucky Speedway on July 11.
Start - 4 Finish - 16 Laps Led - 0 Points - 13
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
"We had a fast NIBCO/Menards Chevy. We missed quite a few wrecks and raced in the top 20 all night. My guys worked hard all weekend and I'm proud of what they gave me this weekend. Glad to see Austin is okay after that wreck crossing the finish line. Thanks to the fans for sticking it out with us through the rain delay."
Ryan Newman Makes it Through The Rain-Delayed Coke Zero 400 Collecting an Eighth-Place Finish at Daytona International Speedway
Ryan Newman drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet SS to an eighth-place finish in Sunday's Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. The South Bend, Ind., driver started 17th since the starting line up was established by the first practice session times after rain washed out qualifying. Mother Nature reared her ugly head once again on race day postponing the 160-lap event until 11:40 p.m. ET. The first caution waved on lap three for a multi-car crash. Newman came out unscathed needing four fresh tires after avoiding the crash. The next yellow flag was the competition caution on lap 25. Crew chief Luke Lambert waited until the No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet was scored as the leader on lap 28 before calling the driver onto pit road. The top spot earned the team a valuable bonus point. From that point on, Lambert and Newman implemented their usual conservative restrictor-plate strategy in hopes of avoiding any on-track issues. Opportunities to fine tune the No. 31 Chevy came on laps 29, 56, 60 and 88. The only real chassis change came in the form of wedge adjustments but overall, Newman described his balance as good. A second major melee broke out on lap 105 with Newman scored in 23rd. Like before, the Grainger driver took evasive action and asked for four fresh tires and additional fuel during the following stops on laps 112 and 113. In the final 25 laps, NASCAR threw the yellow flag three times. Each incident, Newman successfully maneuvered through them and when the checkered flag waved with cars wrecking, the No. 31 Chevrolet crossed the finish line in eighth place. In the first 17 races of 2015, Newman has earned four top-five and nine top-10 finishes with just nine races remaining before the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. Newman ranks 14th in the championship standings. Next Saturday, the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will compete at the Kentucky 400 at Kentucky Speedway. Caterpillar will be the primary partner.
Start - 17 Finish - 8 Laps Led - 1 Points - 14
RYAN NEWMAN QUOTE:
"This is the kind of race that can make or break your season and fortunately for us, we ran the kind of race we strategized for and made it through with no drama. We needed this points day with the way the standings are and I am very happy to see everything is okay with Austin."