RCR Event Preview -- Martinsville Speedway
Race: Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500
April 3, 2011
Location: Martinsville Speedway
Richard Childress Racing
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Notes:
RCR at Martinsville... In 120 previous NASCAR Sprint Cup starts at Martinsville, RCR has earned three poles and posted six wins between former drivers Ricky Rudd and Dale Earnhardt. Additionally, RCR-prepared Chevrolets have earned 25 top-five and 49 top-10 finishes at Martinsville dating back to April 10, 1972. Childress, a former driver in NASCAR's top division, contributed four of those top 10s from 1976-1978.
The Collective RCR ... Over the season's first five races, RCR's four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries have notched three top-five and six top-10 finishes. The No. 31 team kicked off the 2011 season with a win in the second Duel 150 qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway and, most recently, the No. 29 team visited Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway. RCR-prepared Chevrolets have also completed 5,511 out of 5,948 total laps (92.7 percent) with drivers Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard, who have led a combined 131 laps. At least one RCR driver has led laps in each of the season's first five events.
Get to the Points ... For the third consecutive week, three of RCR's four Sprint Cup Series teams climbed the ranks in the point standings following last weekend's race at Fontana. While Menard slipped to seventh, Harvick leapfrogged six spots, moving the No. 29 driver to ninth in the standings. Bowyer vaulted seven spots, to 17th, and Burton gained four positions where he now sits 25th in the point standings rundown.
Place Your Vote ... Fan voting for the 2011 Sprint All Star race is underway and while Burton and Menard hope to qualify for the event by each claiming a victory, both have the opportunity to be voted in by race fans. Online voters can visit www.nascar.com/promos/allstar to cast their votes, and Sprint customers can send their nominee by texting VOTE to 7777.
RCR on Social Media ... To keep up-to-date with the latest news and information and to view exclusive content, visit RCR's Twitter page (@RCRracing), the RCR Sprint Cup Series team Twitter pages (@RCR27PMenard, @RCR29KHarvick, @RCR31JeffBurton and @RCR33CBowyer) and RCR's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/RichardChildressRacing).
Catch the Action ... Flag-to-flag coverage of the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 from Martinsville Speedway will take place Sunday, April 3, beginning at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on FOX. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Qualifying for the sixth points-paying race on the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series calendar will be televised live on SPEED Saturday, April 2, beginning at 12 noon EDT and will also broadcast live on MRN and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
No. 27 NIBCO/Menards Chevrolet Impala
Race Notes and Quotes
This Week's NIBCO/Menards Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway ... Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 349 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet Impala is a brand new addition to the RCR fleet, and will see its first laps on the race track during Friday's practice session.
Menard at Martinsville... In his seven previous starts at Martinsville Speedway, Menard has finished each of his contested races and completed 99.8 percent of his laps (3,511 of 3,519). He has an average starting position of 26.6 and an average finishing position of 20.3, with his best finish of 13th coming in the October 2010 event. His best start at the 0.526-mile speedway came in March 2010 when he took the green flag in the ninth position.
Menard Career Highlights ...
Number of NSCS starts: 152 Career best start: 1st (Daytona International Speedway, July 2008) Career best finish: 2nd (Talladega Superspeedway, October 2008) Top-five finishes: 3 Top-10 finishes: 10
Meet the Press ... Menard will field questions from members of the press inside of Martinsville Speedway's media center on Friday, April 1 at 10:45 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Showtime's Inside NASCAR Highlights the No. 27 Team This Week ... Catch behind-the-scenes action and exclusive interviews surrounding the No. 27 Serta/Menards team from Fontana on this week's edition of Inside NASCAR, airing Wednesday, March 30 at 9 p.m and 11 p.m. EDT. It will continue to re-air throughout the weekend, including Sunday, April 3 at 9 a.m. Inside NASCAR airs exclusively on Showtime. For more information, please visit http://sports.sho.com/#/nascar.
NIBCO® - Ahead of the Flow® ... With more than 105 years of experience, NIBCO products are used in residential, commercial construction, industrial and irrigation markets, worldwide. Products range from valves, ball valves, actuators, plastic and metal fittings, press-to-connect copper fittings, PEX piping systems, industrial plastics, to pipe hangers and support. NIBCO is headquartered in Elkhart, Ind., and operates 12 manufacturing plants located throughout the United States, Mexico and Poland. For more information on NIBCO, please visit www.NIBCO.com.
Race Rewind ... Last week, Menard and the No. 27 team brought home a 16th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway. He heads to Martinsville seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
Talk about your past experiences at Martinsville.
"I've struggled at Martinsville in the past. Last year, we actually had two really good races, and the fall of 2009, we ran in the top 10 until a pit stop hurt us. The last three times that I've been there, I've felt like I had a top-10 car. Things happen at Martinsville that are outside of your control. It's kind of like a restrictor-plate track - there's a lot of beating and banging, people not expecting to do it or trying to do it, it's just apparent with the chain reactions and everyone checking up. You'll get fenders tore up. You'll have broken rear gears from wheel spin on exit. There are a lot of things that can happen. You just have to try and minimize all of that and stay out of trouble as best as you can."
There is always someone around you at Martinsville. Do you enjoy that physicality of the race?
"Yes, it's a very mental race and not as physical as you think. You drive into the corner and you kind lean of against your seat. There's not a whole lot of load, but it's very mental. You're always checking your mirrors to see if anyone is going to dive bomb you, you are constantly trying to protect your inside, and if you get shuffled to the outside, you're going to get freight-trained. It's very mental just like a restrictor-plate race track."
A lot of people say it takes a little while to learn your way around Martinsville. Where do you feel you are now? What is your knowledge of getting around Martinsville?
"Well, the two races last year went fairly well for us. Martinsville is one of those places that are a lot of fun to drive. You go out and practice or qualify, and it's a lot of fun. You get in the race, and it's like bumper cars. That part is actually not as fun. It's a lot like Bristol. You have to manage your equipment and not put yourself in bad position. Things are going to happen outside of your control, but you just have to try and manage everything that you can control."
Have your previous finishes at Martinsville proved to you that you've kind of learned that style? "Yeah, we ran in the top 10 all day in Bristol. I've had a few other races in my career that I've ran top 10 in all day. Those seem like the easy days where you don't have to fight tooth and nail for everything - like get back on the lead lap or stay on the lead lap. It seems like people race harder for 20th than they do for eighth. It's something you learn as you go."
How much carry over is there between Bristol and Martinsville?
"Zero. There's nothing similar in the way you drive it or the setups on the car. Probably, the biggest thing that is carried over is the drive off of the corners. We have great ECR engines, over 800 horsepower, and trying to hook that power up off the corner is tough to do at Bristol - it's even harder to do at Martinsville."
Just because you finish in the top 10 at Bristol doesn't mean you're going to have a top-10 day at Martinsville, as well?
"Not at all. The Sprint Cup Series is so competitive. Three tenths could separate the whole field at Bristol and Martinsville, but when we go to California; it's going to be eight tenths or something like that. It's a tough sport, and there aren't any guarantees."
Did you like Martinsville when you first got there?
"I enjoy driving at Martinsville. It's a fun track to drive. You really have to be patient with the car. You have to let the car roll and do the work. However, when you get into the race, it's a whole other animal. There's so much beating and banging going on. A lot of things are out of your control, and it gets very frustrating."
No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet Impala
Race Notes and Quotes
This Week's Budweiser Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will race chassis No. 332 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Harvick drove this Chevrolet to a fourth-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway in February.
Meet the Press ... Harvick will be available to members of the media in the Martinsville Speedway infield media center on Friday, April 1, at 10:15 a.m.
Winning Jump ... Harvick's last-lap pass for the win in Sunday's Auto Club 400 earned the Bakersfield, Calif., native his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in his home state, and moved him up six spots in the driver point standings to ninth position.
Martinsville Notes ... In 19 starts at Martinsville Speedway, Harvick has earned one top five and eight top-10 finishes. He's completed 97.2
percent (9,250 of 9,519) total laps and has led a total of 301 laps at the Martinsville, Va., track. Harvick has an average starting position of 14.6 and an average finishing position of 17.3.
Last Time Around ... Harvick and RCR's No. 29 team had a solid start in last spring's race at Martinsville Speedway. Harvick started the race on the pole and led 57 laps before mechanical problems sent him to the garage for repairs. He finished the race 100 laps down and in the 35th position.
Going Trucking ... Harvick will drive the Kevin Harvick Inc. No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado in Saturday's Kroger 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville. The race will air live on SPEED beginning at 2 p.m. Easter Daylight Time. MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio will also broadcast the race.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTES:
You had a really good car last year at Martinsville and led 57 laps. How frustrating was it for something mechanical to pop up and end the race 35th when you had a car that could have won? "Well, I think as you look at Martinsville, the past finishes haven't reflected how our cars have run. Last year for both races, we had really good cars. We led a bunch of laps and got a finish we thought we were capable of getting in the second race. I think we finished third or fourth. For us, it's a fun race track. It's kind of our (RCR's) home race track, I guess you could say. It's so close to the shops, and you end up having a lot of people from the shops come and watch. It's just one of those places that you have to race all day, and you have to try and keep your track position, and all the parts, pieces and fenders on it. It's a race track that I really enjoy running at. Sooner or later, we're going to win a race there because we've run well there for years."
Speaking of the fall race last year, you led 97 laps and came home with a top-five finish. Did you feel at some point during that race that you had a shot at taking on Denny Hamlin or Jimmie Johnson?
"Yeah, honestly, we had the No. 48 beat for most of the day. The No. 11, we had him beat most of the day. He really came on the last couple of runs. We had a couple of really long runs and our car fell off 80 or 90 laps into the long runs. Normally at Martinsville that doesn't happen. You don't get those extremely long runs, and we had a couple of them at the end of that race. The No. 11 just beat us there at the end. I would take the same stuff back there that we had the last time. I would take my chance at being fast for 75 to 80 laps instead of worrying about 100 laps any day at Martinsville."
That second race there, you and teammate Jeff Burton got into it. You've told me in the past that when these things happen they make you stronger teammates. It gives you a clearer picture on how to race each other, and how to be fair to one another. Is that what happened after that?
"That wasn't the first time that those things have happened. I think we're all competitive. I think we expect those competitive reactions out of one another. Really, when the race is over, it doesn't bother either one of us as long as it doesn't affect the teams. We'll sit down and talk about it. A lot of times you end up laughing just how your emotions are so much different inside the car. Then you wind up talking about a bunch of other things. It's no different than having a spat in your own family. You have a spat that leads to something that makes everyone better and leads you forward in situations in a competitive environment. It turned out fine."
Jeff Burton No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet Impala Race Notes and Quotes
This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 319 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2010, this Caterpillar Chevrolet was put through its first paces at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September where the 17-year veteran was credited with a 15th-place result after running out of fuel with two laps remaining in the 300 miler and coasting to the finish. This No. 31 racer also competed at Phoenix International Raceway last November where the team was well on their way to a promising top-10 finish but was forced to pit for fuel with eight laps remaining, relegating them to a 19th-place effort.
Martinsville Details ... In 33 starts at the Virginia oval, Burton boasts one win (Sept. 1997), 10 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. Additionally, the 42-year-old holds a 16.9 starting average coupled with a 14.6 finishing average and has led 940 laps of competition, including paces in five of the last seven races. The veteran driver has also been running at the end of the last eight races at the paper clip-shaped oval.
Third Time the Charm? ... After showcasing dominating performances in both Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway last year, Burton and the Cat Racing team have set their sights on winning this year's grandfather clock. In the spring 2010 race, Burton and fellow Virginian Denny Hamlin swapped the top spot seven times during the middle and latter stages of the 500-lap showdown. But, with 15 laps remaining, Burton cut a right-front tire while trying to make a pass on Hamlin for the lead that resulted in an undeserved 20th-place result. Six months later when NASCAR's premier division returned to the half-mile short track, Burton ran the majority of the race in the top five where he lead the most laps. In the closing 50 laps, while running second and gaining on then-leader RCR teammate Kevin Harvick, the right-rear tire was wearing off that caused the Caterpillar Chevrolet to loose grip and several positions that saw him take the checkered flag in ninth.
Loopy at Martinsville ... According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, the RCR driver has some pretty sporty rankings based on the last 11 events held at the paper clip-shaped oval: eighth in Driver Rating (90.1), Eighth in Fastest Drivers in a Late Run, sixth in Fastest Laps Run, seventh in Fastest on Restarts, ninth in Green-Flag Passes, eighth in Green-Flag Speed, eighth in Laps in Top 15, sixth in Laps Led, seventh in Speed in Traffic and eighth in Average Running Position (14.6).
Carry Me Back to Ole Virginia ... Three members of the Cat Racing team hail from the Old Dominion State. Caterpillar driver Jeff Burton was born and raised in South Boston. Gear specialist Greg Meredith was born, and still resides, in Fancy Gap while tire specialist Tracey Ramsey hails from Fredericksburg.
JEFF BURTON QUOTES:
RCR has a good short track program, but it seems Martinsville doesn't want to cut you guys any slack.
"Well, we had them beat in the spring there last year. We had (Denny) Hamlin beat. It was a done deal. Then, we cut a right-front tire. He won't admit we had it done, but he was struggling at that point. The deal was going to get closed out. Then, we went back there in the fall and ran really, really well. We led laps. The last run of the race, we just weren't as good as what we needed to be. I think we finished ninth. We had a really, really good car. What I look at is I don't know how you keep from cutting a tire, so I'm not going to worry about that. With the race in the fall, we probably raced a little too hard, a little bit too early and ate the tires off of it. Again, who thinks you're going to run 100 laps at the end at Martinsville? That's what happened. We went a full fuel run to end the race at Martinsville. We just don't ever see that. I was racing thinking another caution was coming out and it didn't. Again, we had good race cars and I think we can go there and be ultra competitive."
You've never been the kind of driver that flips out inside the race car. What goes through your mind? You're working on ending a winless streak and you have the man you need to beat in your crosshairs. Then, all of a sudden the tire goes down. Walk people through what you're thinking.
"Specifically, in that event, I remember I drove into turn one and the car just acted odd. Right then, I said 'we have a problem.' It was four or five laps later that the tire actually ended up going down. At some point, you just have to start managing the situation. You're upset because you're certainly losing an opportunity to win a race, but you go into survival mode. Just because it's not as good as it's going to be, it's not going to be terrible. At that point, you have to get everything that you can. You have to make that switch quickly. You can't be in denial. You have to accept your situation and go make the best out of it. It is very hard to walk out of a race track with your head held as high as you felt like you could have held it. Again, if you analyze the situation, then it's a whole lot easier to take the good and the bad. If you always don't think it's your fault and always someone else's fault, you have a problem. You have to analyze every situation for what it is and learn from it. If you do that, you tend to get over things a whole lot quicker. My deadline for myself to get over things is Monday at noon. If I'm not over it on Monday by noon, then I tell myself to grow up and quit being a baby."
Given how you ran there last year, are you pumped up as ever to go there?
"Well, I really like Martinsville. I've always liked racing there. I think it's one of the hardest races we run all year. There are a lot of people that hate Martinsville. That's why I like it. This is the highest form of motorsports in North America. It's supposed to be hard. This track is hard. I also know that I've been there before and won a race and went back there the next year with the same setup and didn't finish on the lead lap. That track changes more than any track we go to. We have to go there with open eyes, open minds and be willing to change if something isn't working. I think we have a good basic outline to start with but that won't be good enough. We'll have to find a way to make it better."
I can't believe how fast things happen at Martinsville. It seems to me that things happen faster at Martinsville than at other tracks.
"It does. That's the thing that people don't understand. At Fontana, a two-mile race track, things happen slowly, relatively speaking. At Martinsville, a half-mile race track, you're going a lot slower, but things happen quicker. You never ever, ever have a time at Martinsville where you say, 'alright, we can relax. We'll hide out here for a little while.' That doesn't happen. You're always in the midst of something. If you're not right now, there's a caution coming pretty quick, and you're going to be in the middle of it pretty quick. I think from start to finish, that's the hardest race we run, from managing your car, managing yourself, to staying focused on the goal. I think it's the hardest race we run all year."
Being from South Boston, how cool was it to win the Cup Series race in 1997 at your home track?
"I was really sick when we won that race. I was really struggling and could hardly stand up. That's one of the most gratifying wins I've ever had because I passed Rusty (Wallace) on the outside before there was an outside (lane) to take the lead. We made a pit stop and he beat us out of the pits. There were a few cautions after that and each time, he kept jumping the restart and NASCAR warned him about that. Well, he did it again and they black flagged him. So, there I am leading the race and here comes Bobby Hamilton. He was on the inside and I was on the outside and I wanted to beat him. It was a really rewarding race because I had to work hard for it. Nothing came easy on that day."
No. 33 BB&T Chevrolet
Race Notes and Quotes
This Week's BB&T Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot chassis No. 340 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This Chevrolet Impala was utilized last month at Phoenix International Raceway where the No. 33 team finished 27th after being involved in a 13-car pileup on lap-68.
Career Martinsville Stats ... The Goody's Fast Relief 500 marks Bowyer's 187th NSCS start.
In 10 NSCS starts at Martinsville, Bowyer owns one top-five and five top-10 finishes. He has completed 97.1 percent (4,874 of 5,019) of the total laps contested at MVS during his career. The Emporia, Kan., native has not led a lap yet at MVS. Bowyer owns an 18.9 average starting position and a 15.3 average finishing position. His best effort at the Virginia facility is a fifth-place finish that he recorded in the spring race of 2009. Maroon and Yellow ... The No. 33 Chevrolet will sport a different paint scheme this weekend as longtime RCR partner, BB&T, adorns the car. Bowyer last ran the maroon and yellow paint scheme two weeks ago at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Jeff Byrd 500.
Back on Track ... Bowyer and the No. 33 Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Centennial Celebration Chevrolet team bounced back from a rough weekend in Bristol with a solid seventh-place finish in the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway after starting from the 17th position.
Points Racing ... After the strong finish in Fontana, Bowyer jumped seven positions, to 17th, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings
CLINT BOWYER QUOTES:
In the last seven races at Martinsville Speedway, you have had five top-10 finishes. You must feel like you guys are closing in on something pretty big there?
"Yeah, I've gotten a lot better at Martinsville. I needed to. It was one track that I was terrible at when I first started. You must have a lot of discipline at that facility and there are a lot of things that you do different at a track like that. It was a big learning curve for me. We practiced and worked hard at it. I feel I've come a long way and our equipment has also come a long way at Martinsville. Jeff (Burton) had the car to beat down there last spring.
RCR has always had a good short track program, except for Martinsville. Does that surprise you at all?
"It did when I first came here. We run well on the short tracks. Whether it's our driving styles, our equipment or what we do as a package collectively. It did surprise me a little bit when I first came to Martinsville. I had my head full of confidence and was thinking, 'we're going to go out there and do something good' and was terrible. My first time there, I was really bad. That little Rockingham track that they built was kind of a test track and is very similar to Martinsville so we've spent a lot of time there and learned a lot, both me as a driver, and the team figuring out the equipment we needed on the car to be competitive."
Martinsville Speedway has kind of been a personal playground for Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin. Have you been like, 'what the heck, we're running well...'?
"That's Denny's country. He's raced there a bunch growing up. Jimmie is kind of like Jeff Gordon and Jeff was great there before Jimmie came along. You know, don't forget about Jeff either. Your driving style has to fit that kind of track and you must have good equipment. You have to work hard at the setups and provide information to your team. I think Denny has done a good job of getting a package that he needs there to go out, lead laps and win the race. Certainly, Jimmie has found the same."
Richard Childress Racing Event Preview Fact Sheet
Race: Kroger 250
Location: Martinsville Speedway
Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race Notes:
RCR's NCWTS History ... In 164 NCWTS starts, RCR has earned 22 wins, 67 top-five finishes, 103 top-10 finishes and 24 poles, along with the inaugural series championship in 1995 with Mike Skinner. The organization has an average starting position of 10.3 and an average finish position of 10.3.
A Winning Tradition at Martinsville ... RCR drivers Mike Skinner and Jay Sauter earned Martinsville wins in the NCWTS in 1996 and 1998, respectively. In addition, Skinner earned a pole award for RCR at the track in 1995.
99.9 percent ... RCR has completed 1,616 out of 1,617 laps attempted in seven previous Martinsville appearances, with zero DNF's among three drivers (Skinner, Sauter and Austin Dillon). RCR drivers have led 277 laps at the track, with an average starting position of 16.9, and an average finish position of 7.7.
Social Media ...To keep up-to-date with the latest news and information and to view exclusive content, visit RCR's Twitter page - @RCRracing, RCR's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team Twitter pages - @RCR3ADillon and @RCR22JCoulter, RCR's NCWTS driver Twitter pages - @AustinDillon3 and @JoeyCoulter, and the Official Austin Dillon Facebook fan page -http://www.facebook.com/adillon3.
Catch the Action ... Flag-to-flag coverage of the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway will be televised live on SPEED and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio beginning at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Saturday, April 2.
Austin Dillon No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Silverado Race Notes and Quotes
This Week's Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway ... Austin Dillon will pilot chassis No. 007 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stable in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway. Dillon has raced this chassis, built in-house by the Bass Pro Shops team, on two previous occasions, finishing fifth after starting second at Phoenix in February 2011, and earning the pole award and finishing seventh at Phoenix in November of 2010.
Darlington Recap ... Dillon was running seventh in the closing laps of the Too Tough To Tame 200 at Darlington Raceway, but finished 15th after a truck in front of him lagged on a restart with just three laps remaining in the race. The faulty restart created a chain reaction in which the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet was hit from behind, causing Dillon to lose momentum and fall back in the running order. His 15th-place finish places him seventh, tied with Ron Hornaday, in the series point standings.
Dillon at Martinsville... In two previous appearances at Martinsville, both as a NCWTS rookie in 2010, Dillon has posted a pair of 16th-place finishes, completing 455 out of 456 laps attempted at the paper clip-shaped short track.
Dillon to make NSCS Debut ... The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation's Centennial Celebration and the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma will be the primary sponsors when Austin Dillon makes his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut later this season in the No. 98 Curb-Agajanian Performance Group Chevrolet. The Ronald Reagan Centennial is a historic, year-long celebration to commemorate the 100th birthday of the 40th President of the United States of America. A series of substantive and celebratory events, partnerships, and initiatives sponsored by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation are planned throughout 2011.
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTES:
Give us a recap of your race at Darlington ...
"We ran up front all night. We ran from fifth to eighth all night, and I think we were second or third at one point. Really, we had about a seventh-place truck, but when it came right down to it at the end of the race we got hit from behind on that last restart. We lost all kind of track position and momentum on the track. With three laps to go you just can't get back up there. Track position is way too important. I felt like leading up to that we had ourselves in position for a good points day, but we just didn't get the finish we needed. We'll head on to the paper clip and see what we can do."
What do you think about points? I know it probably looks odd on paper with the smaller point totals...
"I'm just happy to be in the top-10 in the point standings after three races. I think that's important. You have to stay up front in points. You can't get behind. Last year we were 26th at this point, so it's quite a big difference from this year to last year. I'm just looking forward to the next few races after Martinsville, the places that we've been previously. We have a notebook at Iowa and some of these other tracks. As a team, we really want to gain our points at the mile-and-a-halves."
What are the biggest differences that you've noticed from year one to year two in the Truck Series?
"I think I'm more comfortable, and more focused. I know what our goals are. A lot of people picked us to win the championship, so I want to go out there and try to prove them right. I'm more focused and more physically ready. I'm ready to go run some races. I'm tired of these breaks we get. I'm sure I'll look forward to them later in the year, but I just want to be at the racetrack as much as I can."
What do you think about Martinsville?
"Martinsville is a tough place. Track position is big. I feel like you have to keep all four fenders on the truck somehow when you go there. The biggest thing is we need a top-10 finish when we go to Martinsville. It's a fun track, but you've got to be able to get those finishes to make it a good track. I haven't been able to get a finish yet that I like, and I want to run up front so a top-five or a top-10 is what I'm looking for. Once we get that top-10 out of the way, we can go try to win a race at Martinsville. First we have to finish the race and get a top-10 finish."
Joey Coulter No. 22 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Silverado Race Notes and Quotes
This Week's Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway ... Joey Coulter will pilot chassis No. 003 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stable in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway. Coulter's teammate, Austin Dillon, raced this former No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet on three occasions in 2010, earning a 17th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway in August after starting 11th, a sixth-place finish at O'Reilly Raceway Park in July after starting 12th and a 16th-place finish at Martinsville Speedway in April after starting 19th.
Darlington Recap ... Coulter started the Too Tough To Tame 200 at Darlington Raceway from the 30th position, and was able to climb to as high as 18th in the running order. However, the rookie driver fell victim to the rugged short track on lap 73 of 147 when he was tagged from behind as he slowed for a spinning truck, causing extensive damage to the No. 22 Chevrolet. After lengthy repairs were made in the garage area, Coulter was able to rejoin the field, and brought home a 28th-place finish.
Coulter at Martinsville... Although Coulter has no previous NCWTS experience at Martinsville, he has competed at the track three times in his career in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series. In addition, Coulter is a veteran of short track racing with two years of experience in the diverse ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, along with late model racing in his native Florida.
JOEY COULTER QUOTES:
Joey you're still relatively new to the truck series. What is your racing history?
"I stated racing when I was eight years old down in Florida, racing Go Karts. I did that for six or seven years, then I started racing some short track stuff down there, in a street stock-type division, and then moved up to a Hooters Pro Cup Car. I ran that for a couple of years, and then the past two years I've been running ARCA. This year and next year I plan to run fulltime in the truck series for RCR. So far, the coolest thing about being at RCR is that everybody wants to win. Everything the organization does is geared towards winning, and you can tell that they are serious about what they do the minute that you walk into the shop. Everyone works really hard and the trucks are absolutely beautiful."
Give us a recap of your race at Darlington ... "In a word, Darlington was challenging. It was by far the toughest track that I have ever run on and I completely understand why they call it the track "to tough to tame". My team did a great job in practice by keeping my pumped up and reassuring me that I was going to figure the track out and we were going to be fast. Will Lind did a great job keeping me calm and getting me through practice and qualifying without scratching the truck. We qualified in the back of the pack, but we were not really concerned with where we were starting. My team and I knew that once the race started I was going to learn much more in the first five laps than I learned during practice. That was definitely the case. By the time we got to lap 50 I had picked up 6 or 7 tenths of a second and was running times close to the leaders when I got in clean air. Unfortunately, around lap 50 we were involved in a wreck that took us out of contention. The No. 22 team did an excellent job fixing the truck and getting us back on the track to pick up five positions before the end of the race. I can't wait to go back and race there next year. I feel like as a team we learned a lot, and I know that I learned a lot as a driver."
What do you think about points? I know it's still early in the season... "Right now points are a slight concern because we are outside of the top-25 in owner points. During qualifying only the top-25 are locked in on points so the next few races are critical. We need to finish inside the top 10 every weekend and push for a top five when we have a good opportunity to do so without hurting our points anymore. Other than that I do not really think about points at this point in the season. The way I look at it is that if we don't have the most points out of any driver we don't have enough."
You've never been to Martinsville in the NCWTS. Can you compare the track to any other place you've raced at in your career? "I have raced at Martinsville three times in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series. It is a really fun track to race on, and a great race for fans to watch. Martinsville is another one of those tracks that isn't like any place else. There are a few tracks that look similar, like South Boston (VA) Speedway or Motor Mile Speedway, however the characteristics of each track are not alike at all. I am a huge fan of short track racing, and Martinsville is a short track for sure. That gets me excited. My crew chief, Harold Holly, and I have worked very hard the past two years coming up with a great short track program that we are looking forward to bringing the race."
What are your goals for Martinsville? "Since Martinsville is a place that I have been to before and we need every point that we can get our goals for this weekend are a little higher than they have been. Fist off, we need to qualify inside the top 10 or 15 at least. As far as the race goes, I would say our goal is a top-10 finish, but a top-five finish would be great. I think that the experience that Harold and I have at Martinsville and tracks similar to it will give us a good chance at having a very successful weekend."