In 23 previous Nationwide Series appearances at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Richard Childress Racing has made two trips to Victory Lane, securing race wins with Jeff Burton in March 2006 and 2007. Burton scored RCR’s lone pole award in Nationwide Series competition at AMS in March 2008. The Welcome, N.C.-based organization has six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes at the Hampton, Ga., facility.
Averages … RCR boasts an average starting position of 12.8 and an average finishing position of 13.1 among all Nationwide Series races the organization has contested at AMS. RCR drivers have completed 97.2 percent of the laps attempted at the 1.540-mile track (4,486 of 4,613 laps), with 175 laps led.
Live on ESPN2 … Flag-to-flag coverage of the NRA American Warrior 250 is scheduled to be televised on ESPN2 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, Sept. 1 and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Elliott Sadler #2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet
This Week’s OneMain Financial Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway … Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial team will unload Chassis No. 104 from Richard Childress Racing’s NASCAR Nationwide Series stable this weekend, marking the seventh time the No. 2 team will utilize this chassis during the 2012 season. The team drove this Chevrolet to a win at Chicagoland Speedway in July, as well as at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (pole and finished third), Texas Motor Speedway (started fifth, finished 12th), Darlington Raceway (started sixth, finished 24th), Dover International Speedway (started sixth, finished seventh) and Michigan International Speedway (started sixth, finished 11th).
Welcome to Georgia … Sadler has six Nationwide Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, including three top-10 finishes. His best result came in 2005 with an eighth-place finish. The Emporia, Va., driver also brings experience at the track from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 24 starts, including three top-10 finishes and 18 laps led.
Last Time By … In 2011, Sadler brought home a hard-earned top-10 finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway after going a lap down and battling handling problems with the car throughout the weekend.
Just The Stats … According to NASCAR’s 2012 Loop Data Season-to-Date statistics, Sadler leads the Nationwide Series in Average Mid-Race Position (6.7), Average Finishing Position (7.3), Average Running Position (7.4), Quality Passes (946), Percentage of Quality Passes (72.0), Laps in the Top 15 (3,816) and Percentage of Laps in the Top 15 (95.8). After 23 events in the Nationwide Series season, Sadler has earned four wins, three pole awards, 10 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes with 251 laps led.
To the Point … Sadler remains atop the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, leading Ricky Stenhouse Jr. by 19 points.
Race Rewind: Bristol Motor Speedway … Under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday night, Sadler competed in the top five for most of the 250-lap event and led for 11 circuits around the 0.533-mile bullring. Lining up in the fourth position for the final restart of the race, Sadler was tapped from behind and pushed back in the field to finish fifth.
What are your thoughts on Atlanta Motor Speedway? “I have always enjoyed competing at Atlanta Motor Speedway. There are a lot of intricacies to the track because of its slick nature, and there are a lot of bumps on the surface, which I think make it a ‘driver’s track’. The tires seem to wear out quickly, and you can run the bottom, middle or top line, allowing the driver a lot of options. I’m really looking forward to it.”
With this weekend’s race on Labor Day marking the end of summer, what was your favorite memory from this summer? “I love having the race on Labor Day weekend at Atlanta (Motor Speedway). It’s a night race, which will help us send off summer in style. I’ve had a great summer, and I was able to spend a lot of time with my wife and kids, which means a lot to me. We were able to go to Lake Gaston a few times, and I think my favorite memory from the summer was riding on the boat and jet ski with my kids.”
Austin Dillon #3 AdvoCare Chevrolet
This Week’s AdvoCare Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway … Austin Dillon will pilot Chassis No. 109 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series stable in the NRA American Warriors 300. This is the same Chevrolet that Dillon drove to a pair of fifth-place finishes at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July and Michigan International Speedway in June, earning his first career Nationwide Series pole award and setting a new track record at MIS. He also earned an 11th-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May in this Chevrolet.
Dillon at AMS … Dillon will make his first Nationwide Series appearance at AMS this weekend. The 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion has two starts at the 1.54-mile track in Truck Series competition, finishing sixth in September 2011 and 10th in March 2010.
The Season So Far … According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Season-to-Date Statistics, Dillon has completed 88.9 percent of his Laps in the Top 15, ranking him second and is ranked second in the Fastest Laps Run category with 291 laps so far this season. The Nationwide Series rookie has completed 95.96 percent of Laps on the Lead Lap, ranking him second among all competitors, maintains a Driver Rating of 102.2, ranking him third, has an Average Running Position of 9.384 in the season’s 23 contested Nationwide Series races, ranking him fourth, has the fourth-fastest Speed in Traffic and has 283 Laps Led this season, ranking him fifth. He has the fifth-fastest Green Flag Speed, is fifth-Fastest on Restarts, ranks fifth in Quality Passes with 838, is the sixth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run and is the seventh-fastest Driver Early in a Run.
Get to the Points … Dillon ranks fourth in the 2012 Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, trailing RCR teammate and current point leader Elliott Sadler by 35 points. The Welcome, N.C., driver currently leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over Cole Whitt.
Bristol Motor Speedway Recap … Dillon drove the No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet to a fourth-place finish under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway, securing his career best finish in Nationwide Series competition at the 0.533-mile track. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender started the 250-lap race from the fourth position and never fell below 11th in the running order, surviving multiple cautions for on-track incidents and restart positions in the slow-moving bottom groove. The fourth-place finish represented Dillon’s 12th top-five finish of the 2012 Nationwide Series season.
Talk about your success at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. “Atlanta Motor Speedway was a good track for me in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. It’s a tough track because restarts are difficult since the track is so slick. Atlanta Motor Speedway has very wide grooves from top to bottom. It’s more of a finesse place where you have to save your tires and go after it towards the end of the race. The track is great for passing because people fall off as their tires wear off and that’s what we like as drivers. When you’re racing three-wide at Atlanta Motor Speedway it’s a lot of fun. I’ll be racing on the top groove, probably, by the end of the night. It’s where I always seem to find myself, although Kevin Harvick has been very good at the bottom of the track at Atlanta in recent years so maybe I will end up trying that groove. We’ve seen some great finishes at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Last year the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was awesome. I’m just looking forward to getting there. It’s the only time we get to go to Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Nationwide Series all year, and it’s a good track for us.”
How are you approaching the rest of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season? “We’re maximum points racing right now. Trying to get as many points as we can and the way you do that is by winning. So we’re not really points racing, we’re racing for wins. We’ve got 10 races left. That’s it. We’ve been racing hard all year and what we’re here to do is to try and win a championship and bring it home to RCR. I think there are four players in this championship. There are four guys out there that are very strong and can get it done. It’s going to get wild.”
AdvoCare is sponsoring the Atlanta Motor Speedway race weekend. It doesn’t happen very often that a team’s race sponsor puts their name on an entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend. “I think it’s going to be a fun weekend for AdvoCare. I’m glad they are able to sponsor the race. They’re going to have a lot of people out there and it’s really cool for us as a race team to continue the relationship with AdvoCare. Our goal is to go out to Atlanta Motor Speedway and try to win a race for them. It’s going to be fun.”
Kevin Harvick #33 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet
This Week’s Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway … Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 112 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series stable in the NRA American Warrior 300. Harvick drove this No. 33 Chevrolet to a third-place finish at Kentucky Speedway in June.
Back to Back Appearances … The two-time Nationwide Series champion will return to the driver’s seat of the No. 33 Chevrolet for a second-straight week in the Nationwide Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The 195-lap event marks Harvick’s 287th career Nationwide Series start and 10th of 14 scheduled appearances of the 2012 season. In his first nine Nationwide Series races with RCR in 2012, Harvick has earned five top-five and six top-10 finishes.
Racing in The ATL … Harvick will make his 11th Nationwide Series appearance at the Hampton, Ga.-based facility Saturday night. In his 10 previous starts at the 1.54-mile track, the Bakersfield, Calif., native has captured one win (2009), five top-five and seven top-10 finishes. Harvick has maintains an 8.7 average starting position, ninth-place average finishing position, has completed 1,899 of 1,990 (95.4 percent) of the laps contested and is credited with 219 laps led.
In the Loop … Since the inception of NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics in 2006, Harvick has competed in six Nationwide Series events at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In those six starts, the RCR veteran driver has collected impressive statistics and leads his fellow competitors in Fastest Driver Late in a Run (170.848 mph) and Speed in Traffic (172.158 mph). Harvick earned a 119.0 Driver Rating and is credited with 219 Laps Led, ranking him second in each category. The two-time series champions also ranks second in the following categories: Fastest Driver Early in a Run (176.307 mph), Fastest Laps Run (192), Fastest on the Restarts (168.954 mph) and Green Flag Speed (172.894 mph). Harvick also ranks third in laps in the Top 15 (1,057) and fifth in Green Flag Passes (242).
To the Points … The No. 33 RCR Chevrolet team sits seventh in the Nationwide Series owner’s championship point standings, 88 points behind the No. 18 team. The No. 33 team has earned eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes between six different drivers (Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Harvick, Paul Menard, Max Papis and Tony Stewart) thus far this season.
Double Duty … In addition to competing in the NRA American Warrior 300 Saturday evening, Harvick will also drive RCR’s No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Series AdvoCare 500 Sunday night. The race is scheduled to air live on ESPN beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The Last Time By … Harvick started the 2011 Nationwide Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway from the eighth position and led for 31 laps before crossing the finish line in fourth.
In the Rearview Mirror: Bristol Motor Speedway … Harvick and the No. 33 Hunt Brothers Pizza team finished led 98 laps but 15th in Friday night’s Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway after running short on fuel during the final laps of the 250-lap Nationwide Series event.
What are your thoughts on returning to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Nationwide Series? “Atlanta (Motor Speedway) is a very fast track. You can race all over it, from the white line on the bottom all the way up to the wall and still be competitive. Atlanta has always been a good track to me. I’ve had success in all three of NASCAR’s top series there and hope that luck continues this weekend, so we can get the Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet to Victory Lane.”