RCR Event Preview – Michigan International Speedway / Mid-Ohio

Richard Childress Racing at Michigan International Speedway … In 169 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Michigan International Speedway, RCR teams have earned three wins, two with Dale Earnhardt (1987, 1990) and one with Kevin Harvick (August 2010). Additionally, RCR has claimed 24 top-five and 57 top-10 finishes with 10 different drivers including Richard Childress, a former driver in NASCAR’s top division, who recorded top-10 finishes at MIS in June 1978 and August 1979.

RCR in the MENCS … In 2,890 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 48 pole awards,108 wins, 487 top-five finishes and 1,059 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 17.8 and an average finishing position of 16.2. RCR has earned 15 total championships (six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships with Earnhardt in 1986, ’87, ’90, ’91, ’93 and ’94, six NASCAR Xfinity Series titles, two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series titles and one ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards title) and was the first organization to win titles in NASCAR’s three national series.

The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 … Chevrolet, the winningest brand in motorsports, debuts the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition this season. The Camaro ZL1 is the most advanced Chevrolet Cup Car ever developed and is also the most authentic, featuring rear-wheel drive, a fuel injected V8 engine and a manual gear box.

American Muscle

Interactive RCR … For up-to-date news and exclusive content, visit RCR’s corporate Twitter page – @RCRracing – along with the RCR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team Twitter page – @RCRCup, and driver Twitter pages @austindillon3 and @RyanJNewman. Information about the 15-time championship winning organization can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardChildressRacing and at www.RCRracing.com along with official driver pages – http://www.facebook.com/austindillon3 and www.facebook.com/RyanNewmanNASCAR.

Catch the Action … The Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway will be televised live Sunday, August 12 beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

This Week’s Dow WE Are Innovators Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Michigan International Speedway … Michigan International Speedway ranks as one of Dillon’s most seasoned tracks on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series tour, with 12 starts at the two-mile facility. He finished fourth in August 2015 to earn his best finish at the track. He also earned his best starting position, fourth, in August 2015.

Winner, Winner … Dillon earned a race win at Michigan International Speedway in June while competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He is also a two-time pole winner in Xfinity Series competition at the track.

Dow WE Are Innovators … The workforce of the future will be powered by today’s youth. For those of us looking to create a future that is bright and full of progress, we need to support students’ need for cutting-edge skills – and the curiosity to apply them to technical fields in order to advance society. With this focus Dow, Richard Childress Racing and WE have teamed up to ignite interest in STEM fields, by demonstrating the application of science when it comes to sport and the many areas a STEM career can take you. This partnership is a natural fit – celebrating two successfully launched STEM programs: The Speed of STEM and the WE Are Innovators Campaign. In honor of our shared commitment to building the workforce of tomorrow, the No. 3 Chevrolet will be sporting the Dow and WE logos this weekend.

The WE Are Innovators campaign challenges the next generation of young leaders to solve pressing local and global issues. Through five themed modules-Sustainable Innovation, Environmental Protection, Food Waste, Energy and Housing, and Transportation Solutions-youth and educators in the U.S. and around the world have the opportunity to create an innovative project for taking action using STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills.

What was your take away from the first race at Michigan International Speedway earlier this season?
“Our car wasn’t bad at Michigan International Speedway in June. I thought we had a decent piece. Rain came and kind of screwed up a little bit of that, but we never really got the track position that we needed. So, track position is going to be what we will focus on more this time around. I feel like our car is capable of being in the top 10 if we have the track position there.”


This Week’s No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Michigan International Speedway … Ryan Newman will make his 606th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start when we return to the Irish Hills of Michigan. In 34 Cup events at MIS, Newman scored back-to-back victories in the fall 2003 and spring 2004 events. The “Rocket Man” also owns a pole award. In total, he’s recorded six top-five and nine top-10 finishes. He has led 113 laps in competition. The South Bend, Indiana native has an average start of 13.7 and average finish of 16.4. And in four NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the speedway, he has visited victory lane two times (2001, 2005). In the last 10 events at MIS, Newman ranks 10th in most championship points earned.

For the Ones Who Get It Done … Grainger has a relentless focus on helping its customers keep their operations running and their people safe. Customers of Grainger benefit from a reliable partner who understands what they do and who comes with real solutions to their business problems. Grainger strives to offer the absolute best MRO solutions, sales and services team, and transaction process. In doing so, the company can anticipate customer requests, and provide meaningful and value-driven solutions. To learn more, visit www.grainger.com.

In the last five races, it appears like the No. 31 team is finally trending in the right direction. What is your mindset now on trying to earn a spot in the Playoffs?
“Just like anyone else, we are trying to win. We’ve been trying to win all season. It’s been a challenge, no doubt on different levels. In five weeks, we’ve had three top-10 finishes. We’ve been better than we have been but, been struggling in some areas. The guys have really pulled it together, but still not to the point where we need to be, but we’re definitely making big gains. Everyone at RCR and ECR have been working very hard, myself included to try to get to Victory Lane

“Up until the cut-off race we have to be able to put everything together. It includes pit strategy, the stage breaks, but overall, we’ve got to do our best to get the most points possible. We have to do everything we can to get as many stage points we can and obviously be there at the end to contend for the win.

What has your team been working on to improve your season?
“The biggest thing we’ve been working on with the new Camaro ZL1 is really the downforce. We’ve been working on getting the car to stick to the racetrack. You can have all the power in the world, and all the right springs and shocks in it but if the car is not getting pushed down then you aren’t going to win. Realistically that’s been one of the focuses and we’ve made some gains. I think a lot of other teams have too. Collectively, we’re digging in and working hard. We have to do that. This is a very humbling sport and there is only one winner in the end and 39 losers. We’ve been beat down pretty hard, but we still have our chin up. We’ve been focused on trying to get that victory.



Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course … In 19 Series starts at the 2.4-mile road course, RCR has accumulated six top-five finishes, nine top-10 finishes, one pole award, led 72 laps and averages a starting position of 10.9 and finishing position of 12.3. The Welcome, North Carolina, organization has completed 1,517 laps of the 1,527 (99.3 percent) that they have competed.

Watkins Glen Review … Daniel Hemric was the highest-finishing RCR driver when he placed 16th in the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. Austin Dillon finished 25th and Matt Tifft finished 37th.

The Points … Daniel Hemric and Matt Tifft currently sit third and 10th, respectively, in the Xfinity Series driver point standings. The No. 3 RCR team is currently 13th in the series owner point standings.

Social Media … To keep up with the latest updates from RCR’s Xfinity Series teams, follow @RCRracing and @RCRNXS on Twitter. Updates can also be found via RCR’s Facebook Page and Instagram (@RCRracing).

Catch the Action … Coverage of this weekend’s Rock N Roll Tequila 170 Presented by Amethyst Beverage at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be televised live on Saturday, August 11, beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN. It will also be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio Channel 90.


This Week’s No. 2 Fanatics / Cleveland Indians Chevrolet Camaro at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course … This week, Matt Tifft returns to his home-track at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The Hinckley, Ohio-native has one previous Xfinity Series start at the 2.4-mile road course, finishing third in the 2017 event. Tifft will also be competing in the Trans Am 2 Series race this weekend at the track, which he did last year as well.

Grab Surface Sunscreen at Fanatics … Tifft uses Surface Sunscreen to protect himself throughout the race weekend from harmful sun rays. Fans can do the same by picking up their own bottle of Surface Sunscreen, which is available at any Fanatics location at all tracks that NASCAR visits during the 2018 season.

Tifft and the Cleveland Indians … Growing up just outside Cleveland in Hinckley, Ohio, Tifft is a diehard Cleveland Indians fan and has been a season ticket holder for over 15 years, going to games with his father. This week’s paint scheme reflects his fandom, as the Cleveland Indians will be on Tifft’s No. 2 Chevrolet’s upper quarter panels for the entire race weekend. Tifft will also be throwing out the first pitch at the Cleveland Indians game on Thursday, August 9, at 1:10 p.m. local time.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game … Prior to throwing out the first pitch for the Cleveland Indians on August 9, Tifft will also be throwing out the first pitch at the Akron Rubberduck’s home game on Wednesday, August 8, at 7:05 p.m. local time. Fans at the game can also get an autograph from Tifft when he stops by the High Voltage Karting table on the concourse during the third and fourth innings.

Press Pass … Tifft will be meeting with NASCAR Media members at the Mid-Ohio media center on Friday, August 10, at 12:45 p.m. Tune in via nascar.com/presspass.

Meet Tifft … Fans at the track can meet Tifft when he participates in the NASCAR Xfinity Series autograph session on Saturday, August 11 at 10 a.m. local time. The autograph session will take place in the white tent on the bluff near the Xfinity garage.

What does it mean to be throwing out the first pitch at the Cleveland Indians game on Thursday and then have them on your No. 2 Chevrolet Camaro all weekend long?
“Honestly, it’s like a dream come true. Growing up as an Indians fan, I never thought I’d have the chance to do something like this. That experience will be really special to me and kind of nerve-wracking! I’ve never done anything like this before, and I want to do a good job for them. Then to have them riding along with Fanatics and me all weekend at my home track, it means a lot. They were my favorite team growing up, and I can’t wait to represent them in front of a hometown crowd.”

You finished third last year at Mid-Ohio. How much more technical is that road course than Watkins Glen?
“It’s a lot more technical than what we faced at Watkins Glen. Mid-Ohio has a lot of slow rhythm sections that almost make it like a motocross course where you need to be as aggressive as possible and also patient at the same time. It takes a lot of finesse to get around there. You’ve got to make sure you’re on the right line the entire time in order to have a good lap and not blow through tires. It’s one of my favorite tracks even after just racing there one time, so that says a lot. I grew up about 35 minutes away from there, so it’s also a home race for me. It’s certainly somewhere I’m looking forward to racing at. I can’t wait to be in front of a home crowd. It’s a lot of fun.”


Brendan Gaughan and the No. 3 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course … Gaughan will be making his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start of the 2018 season this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The series veteran has four previous starts at the 2.258-mile road course, with a best finish of seventh coming in 2017.

In-Race Reporter … Gaughan will wear the helmet camera throughout the race weekend and serve as the in-race reporter for NBCSN’s coverage of the Rock N Roll Tequila 170 presented by Amethyst Beverage, providing insight to viewers from behind the wheel of the No. 3 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet.

About City Lights Shine … City Light Shine is produced by 17A Stillery and is the first and only legal distillery in the history of Las Vegas. The facility is located in the Southwest area of Las Vegas approximately 3.5 miles west of the SouthPoint Casino. The name of the company is derived from one of the founders’ NASCAR roots. Mike Dolan was a former NASCAR official for over 20 years and his radio designation was “17A,” the name is in honor of his former career and the southern beginnings, which everyone knows, all the best shines come from the South. The rest of the company is all Vegas! Brendan Gaughan’s family goes all the way back to the 1940’s and the Gaughan family name has become synonymous with Las Vegas and is the name that all locals know and trust. Bill Holbrook graduated from Western High School in 1979 and has been a part of the Vegas boom ever since. Bill worked for some of the oldest and most respected names in the Las Vegas market for decades and his managerial expertise is our key to success.

You are making your first Xfinity Series start of the season at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and serving as NBCSN’s in-race reporter. How excited are you to get back in the car this weekend?
“I cannot wait to get to Mid-Ohio this weekend and get back behind the wheel of one of these RCR Xfinity Series cars. The guys at the shop have been working really hard this year and the performance has shown it. Now it is my turn to get in there and put the work in. I really enjoy racing at Mid-Ohio because they are still very technically sound road courses and they haven’t been ‘NASCAR-ized’ so to speak. I am looking forward to the opportunity to take viewers along for the ride from inside the No. 3 Beard Oil Chevrolet by wearing the helmet camera and serving as NBCSN’s in-race reporter. Maybe it will rain a little bit and we can put those Goodyear rain tires to use at some point and give everyone a great show. Either way, I am excited to get back in the car and hopefully contend for the win this weekend.”


Daniel Hemric and the No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course … Hemric will be making his second career NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during this weekend’s race. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native started sixth, led eight laps and finished second in his first start at the road course in 2017.

Rearview Mirror: Watkins Glen … Starting from the fifth position, Hemric was able to earn points in both Stage 1 and Stage 2 by running inside the top five. NASCAR initially penalized Hemric after Stage 2 for driving through too many pit boxes, while the penalty was then rescinded, crew chief Danny Stockman brought Hemric back down pit road to top off with fuel, putting the No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet at the end of the longest line to start Stage 3. Hemric worked his way back into the top 10 and was sixth on the final lap. With only a handful of corners left in the race the car ran out of fuel, which resulted in a 16th-place finish.

This Week at the South Point Hotel & Casino … Fans visiting the South Point Hotel & Casino this weekend have the opportunity to see The Four Freshman jazz quartet at The Showroom on August 10 – 11. Tickets are on sale at southpointcasino.com.

Meet the Driver … Fans have the opportunity to meet Hemric at the Xfinity Series autograph session on Saturday, Aug. 11, starting at 10 a.m. local time.

How technical of a track is Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course compared to the other road courses the Xfinity Series visits?
“Mid-Ohio is kind of the opposite of Watkins Glen, and I think that is why we ran as well as we did last year. I was able to go up and pass Sam Hornish at the end of the race on one of the restarts and I thought that would take us to the end, then he got by me on the next restart and we went on to finish second. He’s not a bad guy to run second to and I really learned a lot during those closing laps. Ever since running second and that feeling of defeat I have had Mid-Ohio circled on my calendar to go back and redeem ourselves and be one spot better with the South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet. Comparing it to what we do at Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio is more of a mechanical grip track, it is more of mental rhythm track. If you can get yourself comfortable and the car driving good, it will pay dividends and if you can make that mechanical grip you will have a good day.”

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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