Richard Childress Racing Place All Three Cars in Top-10 at Martinsvilleby Kyle Pokrefky April 3, 2016 0 comments
Richard Childress Racing accomplished a feat that it hadn’t achieved in a year-and-a-half on Sunday in the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway – place all three of its full-time cars in the top-10 of a race.
Austin Dillon led the way for the team with a fourth-place finish in the first short track race of the season followed by teammates Paul Menard and Ryan Newman in the respective eighth and 10th positions.
For Dillon, the third-year driver called his top-five run a ‘career day’ at the half-mile ‘paper clip.’
“It was fun,” Dillon said. “I was excited. To start 29th and to drive up through there like we did is a testament to these guys and effort they put in. I struggled at this track qualifying. Seemed to race well, I just have never really been good qualifying or practicing. We did a lot to help me as a driver today.
“Man, it was just a career day for the Dow Chevy here at Martinsville. Looking forward to races to come. I learned a lot today.”
Menard was the lone RCR driver to spend time in the lead on Sunday. The driver of the No. 27 Libman/Menards Chevrolet paced the field starting on Lap 22 and eventually lost the lead on Lap 31 to eventual winner Kyle Busch.
For Menard, the result makes for his best finish since October of last year.
“We had a really fast car all weekend,” Menard stated. “Top-10 in all the practice sessions, qualified fourth and drove up and took the lead. Led a little bit and we started with a little bit higher air pressure to start the race. We just gave up too much.
“Kind of got backwards and then had a set of tires that had a loose wheel, it was back in the middle part of the race and just battled back. Really fast car all weekend. Just trying to tune on it throughout the race.”
Newman finally broke through with his first top-10 of the season and as a result cracked the top-20 in the points standings.
“Coming into this race I told the team that they had given me the best car I’ve ever had at Martinsville Speedway,” Newman said post-race. “The opening laps we were a top-five car despite a tight-handling condition. Our lap times especially held up during the longer the green-flag runs.
“After our third stop, we don’t know what happened to be honest. The car was on the splitter and it was just a handful to drive. It cost us big. We lost a lap and for about 150 laps we marred back in 19th, 20th position. No one on the Grainger team threw in the towel because our lap times were within the top 10…
“Glad to see this team rally back for a top 10 because we had another good car and now a decent finish to reflect it.”
Up next for the three-car organization is next Saturday’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
In their last outing at the mile-and-a-half outside of Fort Worth, Texas, Dillon led the way for the team with an 11th-place finish. Menard and Newman respectively finished 13th and 22nd while current Cup rookie Brian Scott finished 14th in the team’s R&D car.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas