In 38 previous Nationwide Series appearances at Phoenix International Raceway, Richard Childress Racing has three wins at the one-mile track, with Elliott Sadler notching a victory in March 2012, Clint Bowyer bringing the organization to the Winner’s Circle in April 2007 and Kevin Harvick doing so in April 2006.
By the Numbers … RCR has started Nationwide Series races at Phoenix International Raceway from the pole position with two different drivers: Bowyer in November 2007 and Harvick in November 2003. The organization has 19 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes at the track.
Averages … RCR boasts a 14th-place average starting position and an average finishing position of 11.9 among all Nationwide Series races the organization has contested at Phoenix International Raceway. RCR drivers have completed 98.4 percent of the laps attempted at the one-mile track (7,492 of 7,613 laps), with 539 laps led.
To the Point … RCR’s two full-time Nationwide Series entries rank first (Sadler) and third (Dillon) in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings heading into this weekend’s race at Phoenix International Raceway. The No. 2 team sits third in the owner point standings while the No. 3 team ranks fourth. The No. 33 team sits fifth in the owner championship point standings.
Live on ESPN … Flag-to-flag coverage of the Great Clips 200 is scheduled to be televised on ESPN beginning at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, Nov. 10, and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Elliott Sadler #2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet
This Week’s OneMain Financial Chevrolet at Phoenix International Raceway … Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial team will unload Chassis No. 106 from Richard Childress Racing’s NASCAR Nationwide Series stable this weekend. This chassis was utilized by Sadler’s RCR teammate Kevin Harvick as a No. 33 Chevrolet on four occasions this season, with Harvick securing a ninth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway in March, third-place finish at Richmond International Raceway in April, second-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July and a win at the September race at Richmond.
Back Out West … Sadler has made seven starts in the Nationwide Series at Phoenix International Raceway, with one win (April 2012), two top-five finishes and 26 laps led. Sadler also brings experience from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 18 starts at Phoenix, earning one top-10 finish in 2010.
Last Time By … Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial team earned their first win of the 2012 Nationwide Series season in March at Phoenix International Raceway. Starting from the eighth position, Sadler remained in the top 10 for the entire race, taking over the top position with fewer than 30 laps remaining. As the final laps ticked away, the Emporia, Va., drive never relinquished the lead, nabbing his first win of the season and Sadler’s first Nationwide Series victory since 1998 at Rockingham Speedway.
Just The Stats … According to NASCAR’s 2012 Loop Data Season-to-Date statistics, Sadler leads the Nationwide Series in Average Mid-Race Position (6.4), Average Finishing Position (7.1),Average Running Position (7.0), Quality Passes(1,200), Percentage of Quality Passes (74.7),Laps in the Top 15(5,394)and Percentage of laps in the Top 15 (95.7). After 30 events in the Nationwide Series season, Sadler has earned four wins, four pole awards, 14 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes with 363 laps led.
To the Point … Sadler is tied atop the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., both with 1,170 points with two events remaining on the 2012 schedule.
Race Rewind: Texas Motor Speedway … After competing in the top five for much of the 200-lap event under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway, Sadler and the OneMain Financial team settled for an 11th-place finish while battling an extremely loose-handling car.
What are your thoughts on Phoenix International Raceway? “With two races left in the season, there is still a lot to be decided with this championship. This time last year, we saw our season basically end after being wrecked toward the end of the race. It was a bit of redemption being able to come back and win at Phoenix (International Raceway) earlier this season, and I know that we are looking to do the same thing this weekend. Unfortunately the car we won with earlier this season was wrecked in Richmond (International Raceway), so Ernie Cope (crew chief, No. 33 Chevrolet) has given us one of his best cars to use. Kevin Harvick won with this Chevrolet in September at Richmond, so we hope to keep that going this weekend.”
Austin Dillon #3 AdvoCare Chevrolet
This Week’s AdvoCare Chevrolet at Phoenix International Raceway … Austin Dillon will pilot Chassis No. 116 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series stable in the Great Clips 200. Dillon started second and finished sixth in this Chevrolet at Richmond International Raceway in September. He also led 53 laps in this car at Iowa Speedway in August before recording a 15th-place finish after making an unscheduled pit stop under green-flag conditions for a vibration.
Dillon at Phoenix … Dillon has five total starts at Phoenix International Raceway, spread out among the Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. In his most recent appearance at the track, Dillon posted a fourth-place finish after starting ninth in the Nationwide Series race at the track in March. He also competed in the April 2009 Nationwide Series race at PIR, where he finished 34th after starting 35th. He has a pair of top-10 finishes in the Camping World Truck Series at Phoenix, finishing fifth after starting second in 2011 and posting a seventh-place finish after earning the pole in 2010. In addition, he raced in the K&N Pro Series West race at the track in 2009, finishing 15th after starting 17th.
The Season So Far … According to NASCAR’s Season-to-Date Loop Data Statistics, Dillon has completed 96.43 percent of Laps on the Lead Lap, ranking him second among all competitors. The Nationwide Series rookie has completed 91.2 percent of his Laps in the Top 15, ranking him second and has an Average Running Position of 8.444 in the season’s 31 contested Nationwide Series races, ranking him second. He is ranked third in the Fastest Laps Run category with 432 laps so far this season, maintains a Driver Rating of 105.3, ranking him third, has the fourth-fastest Speed in Traffic, is fourth-Fastest on Restarts and has 420 Laps Led this season, ranking him fourth. He ranks fifth in Quality Passes with 1069 and is the sixth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run. He has the sixth-fastest Green Flag Speed and is the seventh-fastest Driver Early in a Run.
Get to the Points … Dillon ranks third in the 2012 Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, trailing current point leader and RCR teammate Elliott Sadler by 21 points. The Welcome, N.C., driver currently leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over Cole Whitt.
Texas Motor Speedway Recap … Dillon started fourth and finished sixth in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday evening. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender fell back to as far as 27th in the running order as he battled with a loose-handling condition on the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet throughout the race, but adjustments made on pit road helped the Danny Stockman-led team correct the balance of the car and Dillon raced to his 25th top-10 finish of the season.
What are you looking forward to this weekend? “I like flat tracks, and Phoenix International Raceway is a track where we performed very well in the Spring, so I am looking forward to every aspect of this weekend. I think we can win. I really do. Our No. 3 team will be giving 110 percent. We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing the whole end of the season. I’ve tidied up a few things that I was making mistakes on. We just have to take the cars with the setups that we have been fast with and get it done. I have to go out there and have a lot of confidence and push the car to the max. We just have to be there like we’ve been for the whole season. At the beginning of the season I said I wanted to go into Homestead-Miami Speedway with a shot to win the championship and that is still my goal. We have two races left and we are 21 points out. We can be there in the end.”
AdvoCare is sponsoring the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway and recently announced that they have increased their support of your race team. What does your affiliation with AdvoCare mean to you? “I’ve enjoyed every part of our partnership with AdvoCare. It’s amazing to be able to see a difference in my physical health and what AdvoCare products have done for me. I think using the products has improved my on-track performance. It says a lot when a company believes in our race team enough to step up for a full season. AdvoCare will sponsor every single one of my Nationwide races next year and I can’t wait to get out there and compete for AdvoCare again next year.”
Brendan Gaughan #33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet
This Week’s South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet at Phoenix International Raceway … Brendan Gaughan will pilot Chassis No. 089 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series stable in the Great Clips 200. This RCR Chevrolet was most recently raced by Gaughan when he drove to a third-place finish at Kentucky Speedway in September, and was also utilized by RCR teammate Elliott Sadler at Auto Club Speedway in March where he started fifth and finished 10th.
Heading Out West … Gaughan returns to the driver seat of the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet for the 200-lap affair at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday afternoon. Since 2009, the 37-year-old driver has made four starts at the Avondale, Ariz.-based facility collecting one top-five and two top-10 finishes and has completed 99.5 percent (799 of 803) laps contested.
In the Loop … Since the inception of NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics in 2006, Gaughan has competed in four events at the one-mile oval. The Las Vegas native has spent 387 Laps in the Top 15 (48.2 percent) and earned a 25.3 average starting position paired with a 14.3 average finishing position. During the four previous events, Gaughan has gained an average of two positions in the last 10 percent of laps of each race, ranking him fifth in the Closer’s category.
To the Points … The No. 33 RCR Chevrolet team sits fifth in the Nationwide Series owner’s championship point standings, 74 points behind the leader. The No. 33 team has earned two wins (Kevin Harvick at Richmond International Raceway in September and Texas Motor Speedway in November), 15 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes between six different drivers (Ty Dillon, Gaughan, Harvick, Paul Menard, Max Papis and Tony Stewart) thus far this season.
Double Duty … In addition to competing in the Great Clips 200 Saturday afternoon, Gaughan will also drive RCR’s No. 2 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 Friday night. The race is scheduled to air live on SPEED beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
In the Rearview Mirror: Texas Motor Speedway … Harvick dominated the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge, driving Richard Childress Racing’s No. 33 OneMain Financial Chevrolet to Victory Lane Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway for his second win of the 2012 season.
What are your thoughts about racing the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Phoenix International Raceway? “With Ernie Cope and the No. 33 guys coming off a dominant win at Texas (Motor Speedway) and as well as (Kevin) Harvick did in Phoenix (International Raceway) in the spring I’m going to PIR with a ton of confidence. I am also going to put a lot of pressure on myself this week to perform up to the standards that this team expects. A good result would not only be good for me as a driver, but for my sponsor South Point Hotel & Casino, because this is such a large market for them. I had the opportunity to participate in a Goodyear tire test a few weeks back and I really think that extra track time will pay off for me when we get to the track this weekend.”