Austin Dillon's run validates progress at Richard Childress Racing
RELATED: Full race results " Race recap MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Ryan Newman's victory at Phoenix Raceway, made possible by staying out on old tires, seemingly came out of nowhere. After all, no Richard Childress Racing driver had won an event in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since 2013 before Newman took the checkered flag at Phoenix. But the speed in the RCR cars has improved, as both Austin Dillon and Newman proved in Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Dillon came home fifth, his first top five since running fourth at Bristol last August. Newman contributed an eighth-place finish. "We didn't have the speed the first couple practices, which for some reason I never do here," Dillon said. "It's just a trend. I can't go fast enough to start, and then we consistently get better throughout practice and the race. It's nice to do that, but I wish I could not give the field half a race before we get up through there. "Starting 20th was big for us because our last practice was good. Our car had takeoff speed the whole day. It's the first race car we've had that can actually restart and go for the first five laps, and that's a lot of fun, and we've got to focus on that. I think the way the new racing is with the stages and stuff, short-run speed is key, and if you have long run speed, falloff, it really doesn't matter because you're going to get a caution at some point." ANALYSIS: Stage racing considered a hit Dillon was strong during the final 64-lap green-flag run but couldn't catch the cars of race winner Brad Keselowski or runner-up Kyle Busch. "I thought we were going to have a little something for the two leaders, but in middle of the run, our car just lacked a little bit more turn and forward drive," Dillon said. "Then at the end we could come back to them again. I think I was running the 22 (fourth-place finisher Joey Logano) back down there at the end. "Just proud of my guys and thankful for this run – we needed it."
Kennedy picks up 12-race XFINITY slate with GMS Racing
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- GMS Racing announced Monday that 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship challenger Ben Kennedy will run at least 12 NASCAR XFINITY Series races for the team this season, beginning with the May 27 Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is in addition to the nine XFINITY Series races Kennedy already has lined up with Richard Childress Racing , where he will make his season debut at Talladega Superspeedway on May 6. Kennedy has one previous XFINITY Series start, finishing 10th at Iowa Speedway following a sixth-place qualifying effort in a Richard Childress Racing car last year. The additional races with GMS this season are something Kennedy has been working on for months. And it reunites him with the team where he won his first Truck Series race -- at Bristol Motor Speedway last year. "It's good to kind of have those relationships already set in stone and of course, great to be with GMS," Kennedy told NASCAR.com of the additional races with the team. "I enjoy being there. It's a good group of people, who mean well and work hard. And I'm confident we'll be fast. "It worked out great last year, knocking down a win at Bristol and making our way to the playoffs and almost making it to (the season finale at) Homestead. It's cool to be back with those guys. … I never really left, I guess." Kennedy said he could not be more ready to take his first green flag of the season next month and feels confident the additional races with GMS will be a big boost in his development. "The conversation to get me in the second car has been ongoing since the end of last season," Kennedy said. "Everyone that works at GMS is so dedicated to the team. There's a sense of family at the shop and at the track so I'm glad everything has finally lined up. "GMS has shown speed this year in both series and I know that they will give me the necessary tools to run up front." The team is equally as confident in Kennedy, who has 26 top-10 finishes in 73 Camping World Truck Series starts, including 10 top-five showings and the win at Bristol last summer in just his 10th start after moving to the GMS truck team midseason. Kennedy will be paired again with crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz, who guided him to a top-10 finish at Kansas Speedway in their only race together -- Kennedy's first with GMS in 2016. "We couldn't be more excited to have Ben fill our second car," said GMS Racing Director of Competition, Mike Beam. "This is a huge step for our XFINITY Series program and I look forward to watching Ben learn and grow as a driver through it." Kennedy, 25, has five top-five finishes on intermediate tracks such as Charlotte where he will be making his GMS season debut. He scored four top-five finishes with GMS last year and earned a bid to the Truck Series playoffs. "I'm very ready to go. It's been a long offseason for me, so it's great to know Talladega is around the corner and even better to know we’re going to Charlotte after and will have a pretty busy schedule," Kennedy said. "I'm looking forward to it. "It's been a bit bittersweet. I've had a lot of downtime and able to work on some of my other ventures, but at the same time I'm ready to get back in the car and get focused. It will be good having the next month to really prepare and hone in on my first couple of races."
No. 22 car fails post-race inspection at Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- The No. 22 Team Penske Ford of driver Ryan Blaney failed post-race technical inspection following Saturday's Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The car measured too low in the left front, according to a NASCAR spokesperson. Any penalties arising from the failure will likely be determined and announced Tuesday. Blaney led four times for 61 laps. As a full-time competitor in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Blaney is not awarded points for his results in the XFINITY Series, however the No. 22 team is competing for the owner's title. MORE: Saturday's race results The race winning entry of Erik Jones (Joe Gibbs Racing ) passed post-race at-track inspection, as did the entries of Daniel Hemric ( Richard Childress Racing ) and Justin Allgaier (JR Motorsports). The Hemric and Allgaier entries finished highest among those competing for the XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus and will be taken back to the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina for further evaluation.
With sights set on victory, Hemric's consolation is $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus
RELATED: Race results " How Dash 4 Cash works BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Daniel Hemric didn't have a lot of time to consider winning the $100,000 NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus Saturday. Because for a few moments in the final laps of the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Richard Childress Racing driver was more concerned about a potential win. "In all honesty, in the back of my mind we haven't put ourselves in positon to run for a win this year," Hemric said after his series-best fifth-place finish earned him the D4C bonus. "I felt like we were doing that (today) as the stages went by and as the laps went by. "The Dash 4 Cash is always lingering there but it's not something that crosses your mind." Competing for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the XFINITY Series, Hemric had finished ninth at Atlanta and seventh at Phoenix before Saturday's top five. After crossing the line ninth Saturday in the opening stage that saw Cole Custer (Stewart-Haas Racing ) and Justin Allgaier (JR Motorsports) earn two of the four qualifying berths for the D4C, Hemric and crew chief Danny Stockman opted to stay out under caution for rain as the second stage was nearing completion. Following a 98-minute red-flag period, those in front of him opted to pit, putting Hemric in the lead with just two laps remaining to complete the stage. He held on for the stage win, then pitted for adjustments under the yellow during the stage break, and those changes, he said, "really gave us a shot at the end of the race." "I honestly didn't think everybody would come down in front of us, so obviously we were given a golden ticket there to go try to win some points," he said. Teammate Brendan Gaughan was third in the stage to earn the final qualifying berth for the bonus. But one by one, Gaughan, Custer and Allgaier (who won the D4C bonus at Phoenix earlier this year), fell out of contention in the final stage of the race. Gaughan crashed after contact from Darrell Wallace Jr. on Lap 244; Custer, who had run as high as third, went behind the wall on Lap 261 after contact with Brandon Jones while Allgaier was caught up in an incident with William Byron. "When the 00 (Custer) and the 7 (Allgaier) fell back there and the 62 (Gaughan) had his problems it put us in a really good spot," Hemric said. "At that point, it was being aware the situation I was in but obviously we were running second, third there at times, and had a shot to win the race. "And I can promise you, if you win the race, you'll definitely win the Dash 4 Cash and that's what our ultimate goal was." Hemric closed on race leader Ryan Blaney before a late-race restart saw Erik Jones shoot from fourth place into the lead, bumping Blaney out of the way in the process on the way to the win. "I hate we came up short of that (win) but the 20 (Jones) had an incredible run from his (speeding) penalty to come back and win," Hemric said. "He had a ton of speed. When he and (Blaney) got into it I thought we were going to have an opportunity, or an opportunity to lose it all at the same time when we all stacked up in (Turns) 1 and 2. But luckily it worked out." Blaney, Daniel Suarez, Elliott Sadler and Hemric completed the top five. The $600,000 bonus that goes to any driver who is the highest finishing eligible Dash 4 Cash driver in all four races, and wins the fourth race outright, is off the table with Hemric’s victory. The two remaining D4C races are scheduled for Richmond (April 29) and Dover (June 3). &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Kyle Busch: Parity in NASCAR racing is good
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Martinsville " Starting lineup MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Joe Gibbs Racing , which dominated the first half of the 2016 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, is winless in five races to start the current season. So is Hendrick Motorsports, the juggernaut that carried Jimmie Johnson to his record-tying seventh championship last year. Instead, Kyle Larson delivered Chip Ganassi Racing its second victory in as many years last Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, and Ryan Newman broke a 127-race drought with his strategic win at Phoenix International Raceway. But don't think for a minute that Busch is worried heading into Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway (2 p.m. ET on FS1). "I don't think it should be alarming," Busch said Friday at Martinsville, where he broke through with his first victory at the track in last year's spring race. "I think it's probably a good thing, to be honest with you. There needs to be more parity in our sport. There needs to be other teams that have the opportunity to get up there and run well and win races. "You see RCR ( Richard Childress Racing ) has done that (with Newman). You see Ganassi has done that. Those would be two teams that probably haven't won in the last couple years. I know Larson won a race last year, but not regularly, let's say, like the JGR bunch or the HMS bunch. Our time is coming. We know that. We'll turn our program around. We'll get it up to speed to where we need to." Busch has acknowledged that JGR perhaps hasn't kept up with other Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams in adapting to the new lower-downforce aerodynamic package introduced full-time this season. "I think we're playing a little bit of catch up right now, to be honest with you," Busch said. "We do have great partners with the guys at Furniture Row that have been running really good. They've been strong and up front each week. "They have been helping us as well, getting our program to where we believe we know it can be. They've shown us. They've had the potential each week. We just have to get there with ourselves." &lt;/p&gt;
Richard Childress Racing debuts newly designed website
RELATED: See the new website WELCOME, N.C. -- In honor of Richard Childress' upcoming induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Richard Childress Racing (RCR) has rolled out a digital video series highlighting milestones throughout his illustrious career. Entitled 'Richard Childress : A Career of Firsts,' the series features Richard Childress himself recounting significant 'firsts' from his long career in motorsports, from the first race car he purchased to the first time he took grandsons Austin and Ty Dillon to drive at a racetrack. RCR has partnered with Chevrolet for the video series. "I was thrilled to work on a project like this with such a longstanding partner as Chevrolet," said Childress . "This video series has been a unique trip down memory lane. I really hope NASCAR fans and RCR employees enjoy the stories as much as I have enjoyed the adventure over the last 48 years." The retrospective video series is featured on RCR's newly relaunched website, for which they partnered with NASCAR Digital Media (NDM) in the second half of 2016 to develop. The new website will support RCR's focus on producing and distributing original content and give visitors an improved overall digital experience. "Our digital efforts and original content have become a major focus for RCR and many of our partners over the past few years," said Ben Schlosser, Chief Marketing Officer of RCR. "How better to celebrate Richard ’s induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and launch our new website than to have Richard tell the stories about his 'firsts' over his amazing career? The website designed and built by NDM allows RCR to fully showcase this type of engaging content."
Newman, Richard Childress Racing announce extension
Ryan Newman and Richard Childress Racing announced Monday that they had agreed on a multi-year contract extension to keep the veteran in the No. 31 Chevrolet. Newman is wrapping up his third full-time season with Childress , and he's notched 12 top-five finishes -- including a fourth-place effort Sunday at Charlotte -- and 40 top-10s during that time span. "Ryan's consistency on the track has been a benefit to our organization and this extension solidifies the future of our racing program," said Richard Childress , Chairman and CEO of RCR. "Ryan proved the first year he was here that we could contend for championships and with this continuation, I believe we can fulfill our commitment to winning races and a championship. Ryan has worked hard to represent many of our partners, especially the primary sponsors Caterpillar, Grainger and WIX Filters, helping them to get the most out of their respective racing programs." While Newman and Childress have not won together, the driver advanced to the Championship 4 in 2014 and raced Kevin Harvick for the win -- and championship -- in the closing laps before finishing second. "I am pleased to continue driving for Richard Childress Racing ," said Newman. "Our goal to win a championship all but turned into a reality during our first year together. I feel like since then, we have some unfinished business to complete. I'm fortunate to have forged a great relationship with my crew chief Luke Lambert, and I very much want to not only help him reach our goal of winning a Cup championship but also getting him his first Cup victory." RCR's three-team lineup also includes Austin Dillon in the No. 3 and Paul Menard in the No. 27. Newman's return likely means Ty Dillon will not drive full time for the Richard Childress Racing contingent in 2017. Previously, Ty Dillon said he planned on being in the Sprint Cup Series full time in 2017. "We've got a lot of options on the table," Dillon said in July at Iowa Speedway . " … I had talks with other teams in the past couple years and had opportunities, but it's always been my dream to drive for RCR and be teammates with my brother."
Richard Childress Racing
The history of Richard Childress Racing and full crews for Ryan Newman, Paul Menard and Austin Dillon
Richard Childress Racing pit crew coach steps down
Eric Wilson stepped down as head coach of Richard Childress Racing 's pit crews, effective immediately, PitTalks.com has learned. Wilson took over the coaching job three years ago, replacing Matt Clark. Wilson's plans are unclear at this time, but what is clear is Ray Wright will be the new coach. Wright has been the strength-and-conditioning coach for the past seven years. Wright was also the rear tire carrier for the No. 27 Chevrolet SS of Paul Menard . Taking his place over the wall will be Adam Mestemacher. As far as the strength-conditioning role, Tyler Rader will likely take over the void for the foreseeable future. Rader also fuels the No. 3 Chevrolet SS of Austin Dillon for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. RCR officials declined comment. For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com .
Richard Childress Racing cars have parts confiscated
Richard Childress Racing 's three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars had trouble in pre-race inspection Sunday. After multiple trips through the line, NASCAR pulled the Nos. 3 of Austin Dillon , 27 of Paul Menard and 31 of Ryan Newman out of inspection and confiscated the braces in the right rear corners of their respective vehicles. According to NASCAR, the parts in question were optional braces (brackets) in the rear-wheel area of the cars. NASCAR officials had them removed and will take the parts back to the R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina. No penalties -- such as a loss of starting position -- are expected today or post-event, according to NASCAR. Mike Dillon, general manager of Richard Childress Racing , said the team didn't replace the parts due to time. For the race, Dillon finished 11th, while Menard finished 18th and Newman finished 24th. Kenny Bruce contributed to this story from Atlanta
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