RCR Post Race Report — Alliance Truck Parts 250

RCR Post Race Report — Michigan International Speedway

NASCAR Nationwide Series

Alliance Truck Parts 250

CarParts.com
American Muscle

Michigan International Speedway

June 16, 2012

Race Highlights:

Richard Childress Racing teammates finished fifth (Austin Dillon), eighth (Paul Menard) and 11th (Elliott Sadler).

Sadler leads the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship point standings over Austin Dillon by eight points. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ranks third, followed by Sam Hornish and Cole Whitt.

The No. 2 Chevrolet team is second in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, 47 points shy of the No. 18 car’s lead, with the No. 3 team third in the standings and the No. 33 team fourth.

Dillon leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over Cole Whitt.

According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, RCR entries posted the fastest lap of the race for 31 circuits with Sadler (13), Dillon (nine) and Menard (nine). Combined, the RCR entries led 51 of 125 laps.

The RCR entries ranked third (Menard), fourth (Sadler) and fifth (Dillon) in the NASCAR Loop Data Category for Fastest Drivers Late in a Run.

The RCR entries ranked second (Menard), third (Sadler) and fourth (Dillon) in the NASCAR Loop Data Category for Green Flag Speed.

Dillon earned his first career Nationwide Series pole award and set a new track record at Michigan International Speedway.

Dillon made 52 green-flag passes during the 125-lap race, ranked fifth among all drivers.

Menard and Sadler spent 100 percent of the race in the top 15.

Joey Logano earned his fifth win of the 2012 Nationwide Series season and was followed to the finish line by James Buescher, Kurt Busch, Cole Whitt and Dillon. The next scheduled Nationwide Series race is the Sargento 200 at Road America on Saturday, June 23. The 14th race of the 2012 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Elliott Sadler Finishes 11th at Michigan International Speedway

Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial team scored an 11th-place finish Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event. As the green flag dropped on the 125-lap race, Sadler maintained his sixth-place starting position until lap 38, when he moved the No. 2 Chevrolet into the top five. The Emporia, Va., driver was happy with the handling on the OneMain Financial Chevrolet, and crew chief Luke Lambert called for right-side tires only on a scheduled stop under caution on lap 49. The quick stop put the No. 2 back on the track in the second position for the restart, and Sadler relayed to the crew that he was very pleased with the car. After maintaining the second position, green flag stops began and Sadler pitted on lap 89 for four tires and fuel. Another quick pit stop vaulted Sadler into the lead and he paced the field for the next three laps. A caution on lap 107 slowed the field, and on the restart, Sadler was shuffled back in the field to seventh. The red flag was displayed for a two-car incident on lap 115, halting the race. As the field lined up for a four-lap shootout, Sadler struggled to gain ground on the restart and crossed the finish line in the 11th spot. Sadler remains the leader of the Nationwide Series point standings, eight points ahead of RCR teammate Austin Dillon.

Start – 6                       Finish – 11                     Laps Led – 3                         Points – 1

ELLIOTT SADLER QUOTE:

“We had a really great No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet today, but the finishing position does not show it. I just couldn’t get going on the restarts today. The pit crew was great all race long. We win and lose and as a team. This team doesn’t give up, and we will head to Road America next week eager for a win at the road course.”

Austin Dillon Earns a Fifth-Place Finish at Michigan International Speedway

In the first NASCAR Nationwide Series race on a newly repaved Michigan International Speedway, Austin Dillon earned his career first Nationwide Series pole award, set the track record and drove the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet to a fifth-place finish. Dillon posted a 37.820-second/190.375-mph lap around the two-mile speedway during qualifying on Saturday morning then led the 43-car field to the American Ethanol green flag later that day. Dillon ran within the top five positions in the opening stages of the race, but fell to the 10th position by lap 37 as he battled a loose-handling condition and a vibration. As the vibration worsened, crew chief Danny Stockman directed the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender down pit road on lap 45 for an unscheduled pit stop under green flag conditions to change right-side tires. Dillon fell one lap down to the race leaders during the stop and continued to experience a vibration. Despite the worsening condition, Dillon rejoined the lead lap cars by earning the Lucky Dog Award when the caution flag was displayed at lap 47. The team pitted during the ensuing caution for four tires, discovering a blistered left-rear tire caused the car’s vibration. Restarting at the tail end of the longest line in the 18th position on lap 52, Dillon spent the remainder of the race gaining track position and surged through the top ten in the closing laps, taking the checkered flag in the fifth position.

Start – 1                       Finish – 5                     Laps Led – 11                           Points – 2

AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE:

“It’s hard to restart on the bottom on a late-race restart without getting pinched down going into the corner. We had a really fast AdvoCare Chevrolet in the closing stages of the race, and that is a testament to how hard the RCR team works. We had a good points day today and that is good since we’re heading into a road course race at Road America next weekend.

Paul Menard and the No. 33 Rheem/Menards Team Finish Eighth in the Irish Hills

Paul Menard led the most laps en route to an eighth-place finish in Saturday’s Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan International Speedway. After starting the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from the seventh position, Menard and the No. 33 Rheem/Menards team quickly climbed into the top five by the fifth lap. Battling both a loose-handling condition in the center of the turns and a tight-handling condition on the exit of the turns during the early portion of the 125-lap affair, crew chief Ernie Cope called for air pressure and track bar adjustments during the team’s first pit stop of the event to help alleviate the challenges that Menard was facing. The Eau Claire, Wis., native took the point position after a two-tire pit stop on lap 48 and led the field for a total of 37 laps. After hitting pit road as the leader for a green-flap pit stop on lap 89, a burst of flame from the tailpipe of the No. 33 Chevrolet singed the rear-tire changer and cost the Rheem/Menards team track position. Menard climbed from seventh back into the top five by lap 106, but lost ground on two subsequent restarts to finish in the eighth position. The top-10 finish moved the No. 33 team up one position to fourth in Nationwide Series championship owner point standings.

Start – 7                     Finish – 8                  Laps Led – 37                  Owner Points – 4

PAUL MENARD QUOTE:

“Ernie (Cope, crew chief) and the No. 33 Rheem/Menards team did a great job today. We had a good car, but just struggled on the restarts. The team never gave up and I’m looking forward to being back with them at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I’m glad that Aaron (Smith, rear-tire changer) is ok.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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