Wednesday, Feb 08

RCR Post Race Report -- Chicagoland Speedway

Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates finished first (Elliott Sadler), sixth (Austin Dillon) and 28th (Brendan Gaughan).
  • Sadler leads the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship point standings over Dillon by 11 points. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ranks third, followed by Sam Hornish Jr. and Justin Allgaier.
  • The No. 2 Chevrolet team is second in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, 16 points shy of the No. 18 car's lead, with the No. 3 team third in the standings and the No. 33 team sixth.
  • Dillon leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over Cole Whitt.
  • Elliott Sadler won the $100,000 Nationwide Insurance Dash 4 Cash bonus, defeating eligible drivers Stenhouse, Hornish and Dillon. Sadler qualified for the next Dash 4 Cash race and the chance to win an additional $100,000 bonus at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28.
  • According to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, Sadler ranked second in the Driver Rating category (122.8) and posted the Fastest Lap of the Race for 23 circuits.
  • Dillon led the field in the Closers category, advancing four positions in the last 10 percent of the race, was the second-Fastest Driver Early in a Run (168.187 mph), third-Fastest on Restarts and maintained the third-best Average Running Position (4.786).
  • Dillon spent 100 percent of the laps running in the top 15.
  • Gaughan led the field in Green-Flag Passes (72) and Quality Passes (64).
  • Sadler earned his third Nationwide Series win of the season and was followed to the finish line by Stenhouse, Allgaier, Kenny Wallace and Michael Annett.
  • The next scheduled Nationwide Series race is the Indy 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 28. The 19th race of the 2012 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Elliott Sadler Victorious at Chicagoland for Third Win of 2012, $100,000 Dash 4 Cash Bonus


Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 Hunt Brothers Pizza team brought home the win Sunday evening at Chicagoland Speedway, collecting the team's third NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the 2012 season. After battling an illness leading into the race weekend and starting from the 15th position, Sadler worked his way around the 1.5-mile track and into the top 10 by lap 14. The Richard Childress Racing driver reported to the team that the No. 2 Chevrolet was lacking side-bite, and the condition worsened as the cloud cover dissipated and the track became slicker. At the halfway marker of the 200-lap event, Sadler moved into the fifth position, but reported that the Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet was too loose as he fell to the eighth spot. The driver continued to pick off positions until a one-car spin brought out the caution flag on lap 128. Lambert called the driver down pit road to alleviate the loose-handling condition with four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, and the driver lined up to restart eighth. A quick restart catapulted Sadler into the third position, and Sadler moved into the top spot on lap 165, distancing himself from the field until a caution with seven laps remaining slowed the team's pace. Lambert and Sadler discussed strategy as the field prepared for a green-white-checkered finish. Sadler chose the bottom line for the restart and held onto the lead despite challenges from his competitors on the restart, earning his third checkered flag of the season. The win also earned Sadler the $100,000 Nationwide Insurance Dash 4 Cash bonus, beating out Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Sam Hornish Jr. and RCR teammate Austin Dillon. Sadler qualifies for an additional $100,000 bonus at the next Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28.


Start- 15                       Finish- 1                       Laps Led -35                Points - 1



"Man, what a day. I have been sick with a bug for the past three days, but this win makes me feel a lot better. It feels so good to be able to be in Victory Lane for the third time this season, and it is great to be able to get Hunt Brothers Pizza a win. We knew we had a good car on the long runs, but we knew we had work to do on the short runs. Luke [Lambert] made a great call at the end with adjustments, and at the end of the day, it was all about track position, and our car was really fast out front. I'm really proud of my guys, who stuck with me knowing that I wasn't feeling great all weekend. I'm a little worn out, but I'd rather be worn out in Victory Lane than anywhere else."



Austin Dillon Earns Sixth-Place Finish at Chicagoland Speedway


Austin Dillon and Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet team were strong contenders throughout Sunday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway, finishing in the sixth position in the STP 300. Dillon started the 200-lap race from the front row after posting the second-fastest time during qualifying on Sunday morning. The 22-year-old driver ran within the top two for the first 25 laps of the Sunday afternoon race before falling to fifth as he battled a tight-handling condition on his Chevrolet. Routine pit stops under yellow and green-flag conditions throughout the race did little to alleviate the car's handling issues, yet Dillon remained a position within the top five. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender was scored in the fourth position when he made his final green-flag pit stop of the race on lap 164, receiving four tires and fuel. However, the team was pinned one lap down to the race leader when the caution flag was displayed as Dillon left his pit box. Forced to take the wave around in order to rejoin the lead lap cars, Dillon restarted in the 12th position when green flag racing resumed at lap 171. He used the last 29 laps of the event to race his way to the sixth position for the race's finish. With his 14th top-10 finish of the 2012 season, Dillon remains second in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, 11 markers shy of teammate Elliott Sadler's lead.



Start - 2                   Finish - 6                  Laps Led - 1                        Points - 2


AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE:  "Our car was just a little bit too tight today due to the heavy cloud cover at the track. We still had a top-three car. We just got pinned a lap down when the caution flag came out while we were on pit road. A sixth-place finish isn't a bad day. We'll take it. Congratulations to Elliott Sadler on winning the Nationwide Series Dash 4 Cash bonus. I'm glad we were able to keep the bonus within the RCR family."



Brendan Gaughan Settles for a 28th-Place Finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Event at Chicagoland Speedway


Brendan Gaughan and the No. 33 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet team finished 28th in Sunday afternoon's STP 300 at Chicagoland Speedway after a late-race incident ruined a promising run. Gaughan started the race from the 10th position and fell into the top15 during the early laps of the event after he informed the Ernie Cope-led team that the black and yellow Chevrolet was becoming increasingly loose during the early run. Cope instructed the Las Vegas native to pit road during the first round of green-flag pit stops, but another competitor drove in front of the No. 33 Chevrolet forcing him to stay on track for another lap. As Gaughan made his way around the track, the caution flag was displayed allowing the team the opportunity to pit under yellow-flag conditions. However, Gaughan pitted prior to pit road opening to avoid running out of fuel, incurring a penalty that positioned the team at the tail-end of the longest line in the 14th position for the ensuing restart. As the NASCAR Nationwide Series race continued, Gaughan maintained a position within the top15 while the team continued to work on the loose-handling condition through the course of three additional yellow-flag pit stops. During the team's final pit stop, NASCAR officials cited Gaughan for entering pit road too quickly and penalized the driver by having him restart the race on lap 138 from the tail-end of the longest line, in the 14th position. The 37-year-old driver had drove into the top 10 and was racing side-by-side with another competitor when the car on the bottom grove was spun from behind, pinning the Rheem/Menards Chevrolet against the outside wall. The late-race incident caused damage substantial damage that could not be repaired, leaving Gaughan to retire from the race five laps shy of the finish, relegating the team to a 28th-place finish.


 Start - 10                              Finish - 28                        Laps Led - 0                 Owner Points - 9



"This was not the finish I was hoping for this afternoon. The Rheem/Menards Chevrolet was really fast and we were on our way to a solid finish when we got caught up in that wreck. I'm really proud of all of the RCR guys. They stuck with me this afternoon as we bounced back from a few setbacks during the race. I'm grateful for the opportunity Richard (Childress) and the folks from Rheem and Menards have given me to drive such great equipment. We will move on from this and focus on our next Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway."




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