RCR Post Race Report - Sprint Unlimited

Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 12th (Ryan Newman), 17th (Austin Dillon) and 21st (Paul Menard).
  • Matt Kenseth earned his first Sprint Unlimited victory and was followed to the finish line by Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Casey Mears and Kyle Larson.
  • The 2015 Sprint Cup Series begins with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 22. The first race of the 2015 season is scheduled to be televised live on FOX beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.


Austin Dillon Earns 17th-Place Finish in Action-Filled Sprint Unlimited


Austin Dillon's night ended early in the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday following a multi-car incident 13 laps shy of the finish in the invitation-only, non-points race relegating the No. 3 Dow Chevrolet team to a 17th-place finish. Dillon, one of 25 drivers eligible for the pre-season event recognizing 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole winners, past winners of the Sprint Unlimited, drivers who earned a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2014 and Daytona 500 pole winners who competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full time last year. Dillon started the race from the sixth spot following a random fan draw with crew chief Gil Martin on Friday. A car spun on the race track on lap 22 and Dillon took evasive action riving through the grass, incurring slight damage to the right-front fender in the process. The team pitted twice during a mandatory caution period on lap 25, taking four tires and repairing the right-front damage. Dillon restarted 20th when green-flag racing resumed on lap 29. During the ensuing run, Dillon noted a tight-handling condition, but was able to avoid several on-track incidents in the caution-prone race, which featured two-, three- and even four-wide racing. On lap 62, of 75, a car broke loose directly in front of Dillon spinning the No. 3 around in the process and ending the team's race. Dillon & Co. were forced to take a 17th-place finish. They return to DIS Sunday afternoon for Daytona 500 qualifying.


Start - 6           Finish - 17       Laps Led - 0    Points - N/A    


"I think the No. 17 car cut a tire when there was quite a bit of debris on the track and when he broke loose, I was turned around in the process. There was no where I could go. I want to thank everyone on the Dow Chevrolet team. Everything's fine, the car's really safe. I'm glad we made it through this race. It's a tough way to start the year off, but we'll go qualify Sunday and get a good starting spot for the Daytona 500."

2011 CC Team Icon 27 NSCS Menards,

Paul Menard Finishes 21st in First-Career NASCAR Sprint Unlimited Event


Paul Menard drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 27 PEAK/Menards Chevrolet SS to a 21st-place finish in Saturday night's 187.5-mile event after a multi-car incident ended the team's night early in the non-points event at Daytona International Speedway. Menard led the field to green by virtue of a number chosen at random on Friday afternoon by crew chief Justin Alexander and a young NASCAR fan. The Eau Claire, Wisc., native led seven laps before reporting a possible vibration and falling back to the 12th spot. On lap 22, Menard was scored in the ninth position as the caution flag waved just three laps short of the scheduled break on lap 25. The No. 27 PEAK/Menards Chevy driver reported his vibration was gone, but the car was loose into the turns. Alexander and team came up with a game plan that included two tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment on lap 26. Menard regained his top-five position racing to second before a multi-car wreck on lap 45 ended the team's night. Up next for the No. 27 team is Daytona 500 qualifying on Sunday, February 15 on Fox at 1:30 p.m. ET.


Start - 1             Finish - 21            Laps Led - 7                Points - N/A



"We just got collected there when the No. 1 car came across my nose and then I got hit about 14 times. It's a shame, the PEAK/Menards Chevy was really fast tonight. We made a chassis adjustment during that last stop and were pretty fast afterwards."


Newman Finishes 12th in the Sprint Unlimited Exhibition Race at Daytona International Speedway


Ryan Newman drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS to a 12th-place finish in the Sprint Unlimited, the 75-lap exhibition race that signifies the start of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Daytona International Speedway. The South Bend, Ind., driver lined up 12th, thanks to a fan drawing held on Friday. Newman earned his starting spot for the 25-car field after making the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. The first segment of the race comprised of 25 laps, but the green-flag run lasted until lap 22 when a car slid through the frontstretch grass. Newman dodged the accident and asked for the grill to be cleaned of debris when the pits opened. Under the yellow, the Cat crew serviced the No. 31 Chevrolet two times on laps 26 and 29. The stops were used to pack Newman's machine with as much fuel as possible. The second segment started under green on lap 29 with Newman scored in 23rd. He settled in and quickly dodged a multi-car accident on lap 45. While teams pitted on lap 47, NASCAR red flagged the event for a second time for 15 minutes setting up a five-lap shootout to the finish. Newman restarted ninth and pulled the trigger to race to the front, but a ride in the low line proved to be a disadvantage resulting in a 12th-place result. Next up for the Caterpillar team is Sunday's qualifying session for the Daytona 500.


Start - 12            Finish - 12              Laps Led - 0          Points - na



"We ran wide open on that last restart, but then the line checked up. The bottom wasn't the place to be tonight, but the good news is we have a Caterpillar Chevrolet that drove really well and sustained no damage. We have qualifying on Sunday (Feb. 15), so I am hoping for another solid performance from this Caterpillar team."


Speedway Digest Staff

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