Tuesday, Sep 26

RCR Event Preview - Auto Club Speedway

Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series at Auto Club Speedway ... Richard Childress Racing has made 92 overall NASCAR Cup Series starts at Auto Club Speedway and has tallied one win, a thrilling victory by Kevin Harvick in 2011. RCR has three pole awards at the California track, led by Austin (2016 and 2019) and Mike Skinner (2000), and has 12 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes. 
Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Auto Club Speedway ... In 61 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the 2.0-mile speedway, RCR has captured two victories with drivers Jeff Burton (2007) and Austin Dillon (2016) and has won five pole positions. The Welcome, N.C., based organization has racked up 20 top-five and 38 top-10 finishes, led 272 laps and completed 8,871 of a possible 9,154 laps (96.90 percent). 
All Aboard ... This weekend, NASCAR Cup Series drivers Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick are bringing back two new partners on their Chevrolet ZL1's. Dillon will pilot the No. 3 Dow Coatings Chevrolet while Reddick hits the track in the No. 8 Lenovo Chevrolet. Both are longtime partners of RCR and the entire organization is excited to have them on track this weekend in Fontana.
NASCAR is Back in Fontana ... The most recent visit by NASCAR to Auto Club Speedway was in February of 2020, making this the first race back in two years. RCR driver Anthony Alfredo piloted the No. 21 Chevrolet Camaro SS to a respectable sixth-place finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race while Tyler Reddick led the NASCAR Cup Series effort with an 11th-place finish in our last NASCAR Xfinity Series appearance at the track.  
Catch All of Saturday's Action ... The Production Alliance 300 will be televised live on Saturday, February 26 at 5 p.m. ET on FS1 and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. Prior to the race, you can catch Xfinity Series practice at 12 p.m. ET followed by Xfinity Series qualifying at 12:30 p.m. ET on FS1. The NASCAR Cup Series will hit the track for the first time at 2 p.m. ET for practice and will qualify directly after that at 2:35 p.m. ET on FS1.
Tune-In Information for Sunday's Action ... The Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway will be televised live Sunday, February 27 beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
This Week’s Dow Coatings Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Auto Club Speedway … Dillon has seven previous NASCAR Cup Series starts to his credit at Auto Club Speedway, earning back-to-back top-10 finishes in 2018 and 2019. He is a two-time pole award winner at the 2.0-mile track (2016 and 2019). Dillon is a former NASCAR Xfinity Series race winner at Auto Club Speedway.
Dow brings a science and engineering crew who is driven by limitless curiosity to the RCR Team … Austin Dillon and the RCR team are again supported by Dow’s materials science expertise and technologies this season. Backed by the power of data analysis and virtual modeling, Dow develops and manufactures high-performance components and materials custom-made for the No. 3 car. Dow and RCR’s partnership has expedited innovation and shortened testing time in the automotive industry by recreating in the lab one of the most extreme environments – the racetrack. After nine years of collaboration, Dow scientists and RCR engineers are continuing to work together to make the No. 3 car faster, safer and more precise. Stay up to date with Dow's exciting developments at www.dow.com/sports and follow us on Twitter @DowSports & @DowNewsroom.
Welcome, Dow Coating Materials ... Dow Coating Materials is the most innovative coatings raw material supplier in the world; driving fundamental shifts in the coatings industry and moving the market as the expert's expert in coatings solutions. Through its mission of collaboration, inspiration, innovation and growth, the business provides material products, science, technology, and manufacturing solutions to the architectural and industrial coatings industry worldwide. Dow Coating Materials manufacturing and R&D footprint spans across all major geographic markets where Dow does business. For more information, please visit https://www.dow.com/en-us/industries/consumer/paints-and-coatings. 
Describe the racing at Auto Club Speedway.
“Tire wear is the biggest part. You’re running all the way against the fence, and all the way against the bottom. There’s a good mixture. You have to have speed at the beginning of a run and then hold it for a long run. If you can’t take off you get beat on the restarts and if you can’t hold on they’re going to lap you at the end of a run. You have to have a good balance between the short and the long run. If you can do that, you’ll be pretty good. We’ve done pretty well in the past there, but it’s been a while since we’ve raced at Auto Club Speedway and there are quite a few unknowns this year heading into the race with the Next Gen for the first time. I love the track, though, and feel pretty good about it. The fans are amazing at Auto Club Speedway. Actually, the fans are amazing at all of the races during this west coast stretch so I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
Where does Auto Club Speedway rank for you among the West Coast swing races?
“I think my favorites now are between Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway. I like Phoenix Raceway, too, but between Vegas and Fontana it’s a tight race.
What stands out to you about the Next Gen race car?
“It’s very futuristic compared to what we’ve been driving. I think it’s going to be a breath of fresh air. We have a lot of kinks and things to work out right now. There are a lot of unknowns, but I think that change is good for the sport. I think a lot of the fans are going to love to see the different things we do with the car. We’ll figure a lot out as we go. We had so much time and effort put into the old cars. We’re still figuring out things to make the old cars faster, which is crazy to think about when you look at how long we’ve had them. With the Next Gen, I think the engineers in our sport are going to be learning at a very fast pace, and we’re going to have to try to keep up with them as drivers.”
Are you concerned about the inventory of cars?
“I think it goes back to short track racing. When you are coming up through the ranks short track racing you do not have the inventory of cars that we’ve always had in the NASCAR Cup Series. If you wrecked your car, you could be out the next weekend. I don’t know that the inventory situation with the Next Gen car is that serious, but a wreck early in the season definitely could put you behind and put your team in a bind early in the season. Until we get more inventory of these cars, you want to take care of your equipment, but you also want to win and put it all out on the line.”
This Week’s Lenovo Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Auto Club Speedway … Tyler Reddick has one previous NASCAR Cup Series start at Auto Club Speedway under his belt. His first and only start came in 2020 for Richard Childress Racing, when he started 19th and finished 11th. Reddick also made two starts at the Fontana, California track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In 2018, Reddick started 16th and finished seventh and in 2019, he started from the pole position and finished fourth.
About Lenovo … Lenovo’s story has always been about shaping computing intelligence to create a better world. With the world’s widest portfolio of technology products, we deliver our vision of Smarter Technology for All through products, solutions, software, and services that individuals, communities, businesses, and entire populations need to fulfill their potential. We serve more than 180 markets, and we own the majority of our facilities, giving us unrivaled scale, efficiency, and control of our supply chain. Our global manufacturing allows tailored offerings to regional markets and includes more than 30 manufacturing facilities, including in-house, joint venture, original design manufacturer, and contract manufacturer sites in Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, Mexico, and USA.
Describe what you think the racing is going to be like this weekend at Auto Club Speedway.
“Heading back to Auto Club Speedway for the first time in two years and with the new Next Gen car will bring a lot of unknowns. I’ve only been to Auto Club in the Cup Series once and it was in 2020. It’s just that type of racetrack, even when you’ve got the best car, it’s easy to make mistakes and step over the line. This car has already proved it’s unforgiving. You’ve got to drive the daylights out of it, but it will fight you if you don’t respect it. Maybe the drivers will play it safe, maybe I’m wrong, but I expect some mistakes. I’m expecting a tire management approach. You’re going to really have to keep the tires underneath you, especially because it hasn’t been run on in so long. All of it is going to play out really quickly in our warmup and leading into qualifying but it’s going to be an exciting start to this format that we have because you’re only going to really get maybe 10 to 12 laps, maybe 15 laps, in a practice session. That’s a good amount of time to kind of get an idea of what your comfort level is but it’s barely enough time to know if you have the right setup underneath you.”
Where does Auto Club Speedway rank for you among the West Coast swing races?
“Auto Club is my favorite track on the West Coast swing because of the many racing lanes.”
Everything is different with this new car. What is the biggest thing you had to adapt to with the Next Gen car?
“For me, the biggest challenge is pit road. All aspects of pit road, but especially entering pit road. Exiting pit road at a speedway is about the same- you just hammer down and get through gears as fast as you can, but entering the box is certainly more challenging. Just as the car is more of a fine line and less forgiving on the racetrack, it’s less forgiving on pit road, too. Once you lock up the tires coming in, you want to lock them up when you get about one pit stall away, but it’s much easier to lock them up three or four pit stalls away and then you’re rolling too fast and you roll through the pit box. I actually had that happen to us on our last yellow flag stop at Daytona International Speedway before we were out of the race. Your marks, everything, are so different. It happened a lot throughout the Duels and throughout the race. Drivers were using their old marks from the old car and they’re not even close anymore. It’s been fun learning and getting up to speed on that, but I think it’s going to play a huge role in how the races play out in the first two months of our season. Whoever can clean up the details on pit road the best will find themselves in Victory Lane.”
Austin Hill and the No. 21 Bennett Transportation and Logistics Chevrolet Camaro SS at Auto Club Speedway... Hill will be making his second career NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Auto Club Speedway. He claimed a 16th-place finish in the 2020 event.
A Pair of Firsts at Daytona ... Hill scored his first-career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in the season opening event on Feb. 19 at Daytona International Speedway. The driver of the Bennett Transportation and Logistics Chevrolet Camaro SS passed AJ Allmendinger on the last lap to claim the win in just his 16th career start. The Daytona event was also Hill’s first start at Richard Childress Racing.
Locked Into the Playoffs ... With his Daytona victory, Hill has clinched a spot in the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. He enters the event at Auto Club Speedway second in the series championship standings, four points behind leader Allmendinger.  
About Bennett Family of Companies ... McDonough-Ga. based Bennett Family of Companies is a woman-owned, Women’s Enterprise Business Council (WBENC) certified, diversified transportation and logistics company. Through its nine affiliated operating companies, the Bennett Family of Companies delivers integrated transportation and supply chain management solutions worldwide. The company will use race experiences to recruit and retain hundreds of truck drivers for their organization in 2022. For more information, visit www.Drive4Bennett.com.com.
You won at Daytona and you're in the Playoffs. What does that feel like?
"It takes a lot of weight off your shoulders because now we can go to Auto Club Speedway this weekend and not feel like, man, I need to run really well this weekend and stack up points. Like I said on the radio right after the race, I came to RCR for one thing and one thing only, and that's to win races. We got one under our belt, and we expect a lot more. I feel like Richard Childress Racing is the type of organization that I want to be around because they're very family oriented and that's what I love about this team. They're always there for you. I think that's why this organization just works for me, and hopefully we can work together for a lot of years to come.”
There hasn't been a race at Auto Club Speedway in almost two years. How big of a factor is that?
“NASCAR does a really good job of cleaning the track off but it’s still a challenge. The first laps on the racetrack there’s dust flying everywhere and you just see a cloud of dust behind you. It’s going to be a worn out surface and managing tire wear is going to be crucial. Maybe start the run at the bottom for a little bit and if your car is really good and you’ll go up and be running the fence by the end of it."
Sheldon Creed and The No. 2 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Camaro SS at Auto Club Speedway ... Creed will be making his first start in any NASCAR National Series this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. He scored a second-place finish in the Truck Series in 2019 at Michigan International Speedway, a track similar to the 2.0-mile oval in Fontana, California.  
Home Sweet Home ... Creed is a native of Alpine, California and will be competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the first time in his home state.
Solid RCR Debut at Daytona ... Creed posted a sixth-place finish in the Xfinity Series season-opener last Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. He claimed his best finish in five series starts and second consecutive top 10. Creed is ninth in the series championship standings, 20 points behind leader AJ Allmendinger.   
About Whelen ... Whelen Engineering is a family-owned company with a pioneering spirit and a passion to protect the lives of those who protect and serve others. The company mission is to provide industry-defining safety solutions around the world, while creating a community of problem-solvers who are inspired to push boundaries and continue our legacy of delivering ground-breaking innovation. As a global leader in the emergency warning industry, Whelen has been trusted to perform since 1952, when George Whelen III invented the first rotating aviation beacon. Whelen now encompasses two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Connecticut and New Hampshire with over 750,000 square feet of engineering and manufacturing space and the largest design staff in the industry. Every part of every Whelen product is proudly designed and manufactured in America. We embrace quality as our foundation, we celebrate innovative engineering in every product we produce.
This is going to be your first time racing at Auto Club Speedway in NASCAR and it's your home track. How excited are you to make your debut?
“This weekend will be special for me at Auto Club Speedway. I’ve never raced there so it’s going to be special because I consider it my home track. I grew up only a couple of hours south of Fontana. I really want to have a good run there in our Whelen Chevrolet Camaro. I’ve been putting in a lot of time doing my best to prepare, doing everything from watching video to iRacing to spending time in the Chevrolet simulator. I wanted to give myself the best chance and do everything I can to have a good run there. I just want to learn everything I can early in the season.” 



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