Richard Childress Racing teammates finished third (Brendan Gaughan), fifth (Austin Dillon), ninth (Elliott Sadler) and 14th (Joey Coulter). Sadler and Dillon concluded the 2012 season second and third, respectively, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, 23 (Sadler) and 24 (Dillon) points shy of champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. RCR’s three full-time Nationwide Series entries finished third (No. 2 team), fourth (No. 3 team) and fifth (No. 33 team) in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings. Dillon earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award, his third ROY title in a NASCAR-sanctioned Series (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East division in 2008 and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2010).
Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Racing Team Finish Ninth at Homestead-Miami Speedway; Earn Runner-Up Spot in Championship
Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial team finished the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season with a ninth-place finish under the lights at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Starting from the outside pole position for the 200-lap event, Sadler held steady in the top three for the early part of the race. When the caution flag was displayed on lap 94 with Sadler scored in the fourth position, crew chief Luke Lambert called him down pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. NASCAR officials ruled a lug nut was missing from the left-front tire, requiring Sadler to return to pit road on the next lap to replace the lug nut. Restarting in the 19th position on lap 99, the Emporia, Va., driver worked his way up to second by lap 146. Lacking rear grip, a caution on lap 173 provided the OneMain Financial team another opportunity to work on the Chevrolet by changing four tires, adding fuel and making a chassis adjustment. Restarting in the third position, Sadler relayed to the team that he was unhappy with the handling of the car and was too loose all the way around the track. Shuffled back in traffic, Sadler settled for a ninth-place finish, securing the second position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship point standings.
Start- 2 Finish – 9 Laps Led – 3 Points – 2nd
ELLIOTT SADLER QUOTE: “Overall, this was a great season. We led laps, earned poles and won races. This OneMain Financial team was so consistent all season, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with each one of them. This is not the finish we wanted for my team, and it is heartbreaking. This loss hurts a lot more than any other. Thanks to everyone on this team for all of their support and determination all season long.”
Austin Dillon Clinches 2012 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Honors and Third-Place Points Showing with Top-Five finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team looked poised for their third victory of the 2012 season during Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, pacing the field by more than nine seconds and leading a total of 66 laps before settling for a fifth-place finish. Dillon started the 200-lap event from the third position and struggled with handling issues throughout the first half of the race. A series of drastic chassis adjustments on pit road allowed crew chief Danny Stockman to correct the handling conditions that Dillon was facing. Following a four-tire pit stop with adjustments during a lap-96 caution period, Dillon restarted from the ninth position on lap 99 and quickly propelled to the lead on lap 106, just past the half way point of the race. The Welcome, N.C. driver extended his lead by more than nine seconds before it was vanished by a round of green-flag pit stops and late-race cautions. With the field bunched together in the closing laps of the race, Dillon was shuffled back during restarts and posted a fifth-place finish to secure the 2012 Sunoco Rookie of the Year title and third-place in the final Nationwide Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 3 Finish – 5 Laps Led – 66 Points – 3rd
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE: “As soon as we took tires, it was over. We went to the front so fast. It was a blast being out there racing like that. We had a chance to win but I was challenged with restarts at the end of the night. The biggest thing we did tonight is build a notebook. We worked on the car throughout the race to learn things that will help me when we race here at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the last race of the 2013 season. I’m excited to come back to the Nationwide Series next year and make a run for the championship. Tonight helped us get a head start on that.”
Brendan Gaughan and the South Point Hotel & Casino Team Finish Third at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Brendan Gaughan and the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino team brought home a third-place finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series season finale Saturday night under the lights of Homestead-Miami Speedway. Starting the 200-lap event from the 16th-position, the Las Vegas native spent the early laps working toward the front of the field, breaking into the top 10 by lap 38. As the team approached the first round of green-flag pit stops, Gaughan informed crew chief Ernie Cope that the black and gold machine developed a tight-handling condition. The Cope-led pit crew changed four tires, added fuel and made a chassis adjustment during a visit to pit road on lap 47. As green-flag pit stops cycled through the field, the 37-year-old driver held onto a top-10 position, but noted the Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet was still tight. The South Point Hotel & Casino pit crew continued to work on the handling of the car during several scheduled pit stops as Gaughan continued to climb in the running order. The RCR driver returned to the track in the fifth position following the team’s final four-tire pit stop on lap 175 and continued to advance his track position, bringing home a third-place result in his 10th Nationwide Series appearance of the 2012 season.
Start – 16 Finish – 3 Laps Led – 0 Owner Points – 5th
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTE: “We were fast all night. Ernie Cope (crew chief) and the boys gave me a Chevrolet that could run up front. I got a great restart at the end and was able to get the South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet near the front and pick up a solid finish tonight. I can’t thank Richard Childress and the No. 33 team enough for everything they have done for me all season, I’ve had my confidence built back up this season because of everyone at RCR, so it was very fitting to finish well at Homestead (Miami Speedway).”
Joey Coulter Finished 14th in Front of his Hometown Crowd
Joey Coulter and the No. 21 Darrell Gwynn Foundation team finished 14th in the season-finale NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Starting the 200-lap affair from the 15th position in front of his hometown crowd, Coulter reported to crew chief Matt McCall the No. 21 Chevrolet was tight in the center of the corners. The McCall-led team serviced Coulter with new tires, fuel and chassis adjustments several times throughout the event to combat the handling issues on the Richard Childress Racing machine. The Miami Springs, Fla.,-native experienced some relief in the closing laps and battled his way to the 14th position at the checkered flag. The 14th-place finish marks his second top-15 finish in his two career Nationwide Series starts.
Start – 15 Finish – 14 Laps Led – 0 Points – N/A
JOEY COULTER QUOTE: “I want to thank the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and RCR for giving me this opportunity to run in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. We had a good car but battled with the balance a lot during the race. Matt McCall (crew chief) and the guys did a great job on pit road. Two top-15 finishes at my home track is a good way to end the season.”