RCR Event Preview – Daytona 500

Richard Childress Racing’s NASCAR Cup Series history at Daytona International Speedway… Dating back to 1976, Richard Childress Racing has won 11 poles and collected six points-paying victories at the most-storied racetrack on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. RCR owns three Daytona 500 wins (Dale Earnhardt – 1998, Kevin Harvick – 2007, Austin Dillon – 2018), three Coke Zero 400 trophies (Earnhardt – 1990, 1993 and Harvick – 2010) and 14 qualifying races, including a record 10-consecutive victories with Earnhardt (1990 – 1999). In addition, RCR has earned the Busch Clash victory a total of eight times, with drivers Harvick (2009, 2010, 2013) and Earnhardt (1986, ’88, ’91, ’93, and ’95).
The Clash… For the first time in 43 years, the Busch Clash will run on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course, a 14-turn, 3.61-mile course that was introduced to the top three national series last August. The annual exhibition race will consist of 35 laps with one scheduled caution at Lap 15. The exclusive field of 21 drivers is limited to 2020 Busch Pole Award winners, past Busch Clash champions who competed full-time in 2020, former Daytona 500 champions who competed full-time in 2020, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2020, 2020 Cup Series Playoff drivers, 2020 Cup Series race winners and 2020 Cup Series stage winners. Both RCR Cup Series drivers – Dillon and Tyler Reddick – will compete in the invitation-only event.
Time to Duel… The Bluegreen Vacations Duels at Daytona feature two 150-mile races from which the majority of the final starting grid for the Daytona 500 will be set. Dillon and Reddick will find out which Duel their Camaros will compete in, after Wednesday night’s single-car time trials.
Catch the Action… The Busch Clash at Daytona will be televised live Tuesday, Feb. 9 beginning at 7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
The Bluegreen Vacations Duels at Daytona, two 60-lap qualifying races, will be televised live Thursday, Feb. 11 beginning at 7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series Beef. It’s What for Dinner. 300 at Daytona will be televised live Saturday, Feb. 13 beginning at 5 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
The 63rd running of the Daytona 500 will be televised live Sunday, Feb. 14 beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
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Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Off Road Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE at Daytona International Speedway… Dillon, the 2018 Daytona 500 Champion, has 15 previous starts in the NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway, acquiring one pole award, two top-five and seven top-10 finishes. The Welcome, North Carolina, driver, who grew up attending races at Daytona International Speedway with his family, has 10 starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with one win, seven top-five and seven top-10 finishes. He has two starts at the track in the NASCAR Truck Series.
Former Pole Winner… Dillon earned his career-first NASCAR Cup Series pole award with a lap of 196.019 mph (45.914 seconds) in the 2014 edition of the Daytona 500. It marked the fourth time the No. 3 has won the pole for the Daytona 500, and its 67th Cup Series pole, overall. Dillon also started on the front row for the July 2015 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. Dillon’s starting position for this year’s Daytona 500 will be determined by his finishing position in the Bluegreen Vacations Duels on Thursday (live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 7 p.m. ET).
But First, We Clash… Dillon is one of 21 drivers scheduled to compete in the pre-season event. This will be Dillon’s seventh start in the Busch Clash. He finished second in last year’s exhibition event. Dillon starts 19th in the race via a random draw.
About Tracker Off Road… Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE prominently features TRACKER ATVs, a game-changing new line of all-terrain vehicles and side-by-sides offering breakthrough performance, service and value in the off-road industry. TRACKER OFF ROAD was born out of a powerhouse partnership formed between Bass Pro Shops and TRACKER founder Johnny Morris and Textron Specialized Vehicles, bringing together the undisputed world leader in boating with a global leader in innovation and technology.
About Bass Pro Shops… Bass Pro Shops is North America’s premier outdoor and conservation company. Founded in 1972 when avid young angler Johnny Morris began selling tackle out of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, today the company provides customers with unmatched offerings spanning premier destination retail, outdoor equipment manufacturing, world-class resort destinations and more. In 2017 Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela’s to create a “best-of-the-best” experience with superior products, dynamic locations and outstanding customer service. Bass Pro Shops also operates White River Marine Group, offering an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading boat brands, and Big Cedar Lodge, America’s Premier Wilderness Resort. Under the visionary conservation leadership of Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops is a national leader in protecting habitat and introducing families to the outdoors and has been named by Forbes as “one of America’s Best Employers.” Bass Pro Shops has a long relationship with NASCAR, dating back to 1998. For more information, visit http://www.basspro.com/.
You’ve had success at Daytona International Speedway. How do you negotiate staying out of the wrecks throughout the race so that you can be in contention at the end?
“It’s tough. It’s a game of putting yourself in position. I call it high-speed chess because you know at some point in time you’re going to be vulnerable. You hope that someone doesn’t take advantage of that too much and cause a big wreck. It’s one of those things where you are constantly moving and trying to guess the flow of the pack. I think the best place to be is in the front most of the time, but it’s impossible now with the way we race to keep yourself up there for the entire race. You see guys do it for long periods of time. Denny Hamlin has been pretty amazing at putting himself in the right position as of late. I’m going to do my best this time around to put ourselves in position for another shot at the Daytona 500.”
Do you feel the “big one” coming, or does it happen so fast that you’re just in it?
“Sometimes you’re in it, and there is nothing you can do about it because you know time is running out and you’re in it either way. It’s an odd feeling knowing your putting yourself out there and something is about to happen. It’s an issue of timing. You’re hoping you just get through it. I’ve been fortunate to sneak through some of them, or be in front of some of them. You usually know when the intensity is rising and the pack is starting to get a little bit out of control. You try to do your best to give yourself an out or be in front of it.”
You were able to get some experience on the Daytona Road Course by competing in the Rolex 24 this year. Did anything jump out at you about the track that you can use for the Busch Clash this year?
“It’s not so much of a technical track like some of the tracks that we go to that are road courses. It’s pretty self-explanatory. I like the fact that the tires seem to wear quite a bit at the track. I haven’t gotten to run the new chicane coming off Turn Four, so I need to make sure I try to stop when I get over there this time around from the Rolex to this race. I enjoyed it and I think the experience I got in the 24 was great. We’ll see how it all plays out in the end.”
Reddick and the No. 8 I Am Second Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the Clash at Daytona… This week’s Clash at Daytona will be Tyler Reddick’s first start in the exhibition race. Reddick does have one Daytona International Speedway Road Course start, finishing in the top 20 during last year’s NASCAR Cup Series’ debut on the configuration.
Reddick and the No. 8 Lenovo Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the Daytona 500… Reddick will be making his third start in the Daytona 500 and fourth overall Cup Series start on the oval configuration with this year’s season-opening event. Reddick also has six starts at the 2.5-mile speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, collecting one win, two pole awards and two top-10 finishes. Reddick also found victory lane at Daytona during his NASCAR Truck Series days, winning in 2015.
About I Am Second… I Am Second is a non-profit that ignites hope and inspires people to live for something greater than themselves. Launched in 2008, the iamsecond.com website features more than 100 powerful short films of athletes, actors, models, musicians, cultural influencers and everyday people who have found hope through a relationship with Jesus. Watch their stories and find out more at iamsecond.com.
About Lenovo… Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$50 billion Fortune Global 500 company, with 63,000 employees and operating in 180 markets around the world. Focused on a bold vision to deliver smarter technology for all, we are developing world-changing technologies that create a more inclusive, trustworthy and sustainable digital society. By designing, engineering and building the world’s most complete portfolio of smart devices and infrastructure, we are also leading an Intelligent Transformation – to create better experiences and opportunities for millions of customers around the world. To find out more visit lenovo.com, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Weibo and read about the latest news via our StoryHub.
This will be your debut start in the Clash at Daytona. How are you and the I Am Second team approaching the race?
“I’m looking forward to being part of the Clash at Daytona this year. It has been fun in the past watching the drivers and teams go out there every year and kick off the season with an exhibition race, but I’m excited to be part of the action this year. With NASCAR making the change to have the Clash on the road course, it also helps serve as a bit of a test session for our Daytona Road Course race next week. Having no practice that weekend makes the Clash race this week even more valuable as far as on-track time.”
You’re kicking off your sophomore year in the Cup Series this weekend with your third Daytona 500. What are your expectations?
“It’s hard to predict what will happen in the Daytona 500 just because of the nature of that race, but I’m excited to have another shot at it. I feel like I learn more during each superspeedway race I have in the Cup Series. My team and I worked really hard during the off-season to identify where we struggled last year and how we were going to be better in 2021. Sunday will be the first major test for us, but I’m confident in my No. 8 Lenovo team and our plan for the year.”
Snider and the No. 2 TaxSlayer Chevrolet Camaro at Daytona… After competing on a part-time basis for Richard Childress Racing one year ago, Myatt Snider now takes over the reins of the No. 2 TaxSlayer Chevrolet Camaro full-time and will chase after the championship title in 2021. Snider has two previous NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the 2.5-mile superspeedway tri-oval, leading a total of 22 laps and earning the pole position last February. The 26-year-old also has three starts in the NASCAR Truck Series, recording a 10th-place finish in 2017.
Going for Seven… RCR’s Xfinity Series program is going for their seventh consecutive pole in the prestigious season opening race at Daytona. The team has achieved this feat with six different drivers in six seasons. Snider captured the pole position one year ago, when the then rookie driver started from the front row to keep the streak alive.
About TaxSlayer… TaxSlayer makes online tax filing accessible for millions of Americans, with an easy-to-use platform and unlimited support at a fraction of the cost of the competition. Trusted for over 50 years, the Augusta-based tech company successfully completed more than 10 million federal and state e-filed tax returns in 2020 and processed $15 billion in refunds. TaxSlayer achieved a 4.5/5 TrustScore on consumer review site Trustpilot, with 87% of its customers rating the tax filing platform Great or Excellent. For more information, visit www.TaxSlayer.com.
What are your expectations for Saturday’s race at Daytona?
“One of my goals right away is to get the seventh consecutive pole in the season opener at Daytona for RCR. Obviously, I got it last year and I am hoping to continue the streak again. I think we are going to have a faster Chevrolet Camaro this year, so it may be even that much easier. This streak says a lot about this team and how they have succeeded season after season. We have a great group behind us with TaxSlayer on board and my crew chief Andy Street leading the guys. I could not be happier with where we are currently and where we are starting from to kick off this season. I feel like it is going to be a good weekend for us. Hopefully, we will go out and get some stage points and win the race.”