JR MOTORSPORTS TEAM PREVIEW
No. 88 Ragu Chevrolet / No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet
EVENT – Royal Purple 300 (150 laps / 300 miles)
TRACK – Auto Club Speedway (2-mile oval)
DATE – Saturday, March 26, 2011
TV / RADIO – ESPN (coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. EST) / MRN (broadcast begins at 5 p.m. EST)
No. 88 Ragu Chevrolet
“This team did what we had to do last weekend (first top-10 of 2011 at Bristol). I think we had a better car than where we finished, but Bristol was a good place to start running well. I’m hoping we can keep the ball rolling at Fontana and go into the off-weekend with some momentum.
“This is our only stop at California in the Nationwide Series this year. Our Ragu team put together a decent run there last year. We had some help with late cautions and our car was better on short runs, which characteristically isn’t how the racing goes at California. The groove widens out quite a bit as the weekend progresses. It’s important for us to have a good-turning car with a lot of horsepower and a good motor package. Track position is everything. It seems like once you get out front you’re able to stay out front. So putting down a good qualifying lap will be one of the keys to success this weekend.”
No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet
“This is a big weekend for me. I’m thrilled to be back in the No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet. California is a cool track to make my season debut for JR Motorsports. I’m from right down the road in Riverside (Calif.), so this will be a hometown race for me. I’m planning on having a lot of family and friends come over for the race. It will be a good time for everyone.
“Racing at California definitely offers some challenges. You’ve got to be able to carry a lot of momentum through the corners. That’s a big part of getting around that place. The corners are just so big and wide, it gives drivers a lot of space, which is typically why you see cars getting strung out. If you overdrive the corner you might gain on entry, but you lose on exit. It’s a delicate balance for sure.”
JR MOTORSPORTS NOTEBOOK –
WISE RETURNS TO THE 7 – Josh Wise, a native of Riverside, Calif., makes his season debut with JRM in the No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Wise participated in nine races (eight in the No. 7 and one in the No. 88) with JRM last season, earning two top-10s and seven top-15 finishes. His average finish with JRM is 12.4. He owns two starts at Auto Club Speedway in the Nationwide Series with a best finish of 22nd in 2008.
FIRST OF FOUR FOR RAGU – The red and yellow paint scheme of Ragu makes its return to the racetrack at Auto Club Speedway on board Aric Almirola’s No. 88 Chevrolet. This marks the first of four races for the brand in 2011. It joins Hellmann’s, Degree and Suave Men as Unilever brands to have primary paint schemes with JRM this season. The No. 88 Chevrolet will also carry the Ragu brand at Iowa Speedway (Aug. 6), Watkins Glen International (Aug. 13) and Dover International Speedway (Oct. 1).
ALMIROLA AT CALIFORNIA – In his first and only Nationwide Series start at Auto Club Speedway, Almirola turned in an impressive performance with an eighth-place start and sixth-place finish last fall. The 27-year-old owns four starts there in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition and one in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
GOLDEN STATE STATS – The No. 88 team has amassed a string of three consecutive top-10 finishes at Auto Club Speedway with an average of 6.0 that dates back to the fall event in 2009. The team has earned one top-five, three top-10s and led 27 laps with three drivers during that span.
TEAM JRM POINT’S POSITION – Following the team’s top-10 effort last week, Almirola gained two positions and is ranked fifth (-23) in driver points and the No. 88 Ragu Chevrolet is 10th in owner points. Josh Wise sits 19th (-71) in the driver point standings with the No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet sitting 15th in owner points.
DRIVER APPEARANCES – Josh Wise and Aric Almirola will both appear at the JR Nation merchandise hauler in the fan concourse area to sign autographs on Saturday, March 26 from 11:30 a.m. – Noon PT.
NEW JRM RACING WEBSITE – JRMracing.com is the digital home of the JR Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide Series race teams. Visit it for more information about the company, its history, and drivers, including Aric Almirola, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick and Josh Wise. Watch exclusive video content, including pre- and post-race reports with drivers and crew.