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RCR's NASCAR revival continued at Martinsville

Last month, Ryan Newman snapped Richard Childress Racing’s long winless streak in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series but Sunday’s race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway was the best indicator yet of the organization’s resurgence.

Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Ryan Newman, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Ryan Newman, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Slugger Labbe
Ryan Newman, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and Luke Lambert

Both Newman and teammate Austin Dillon finished in the Top-10, with Newman ending up eighth in the STP 500 and Dillon finishing fifth – his first top-five since last August at Bristol, Tenn.

Newman’s surprise victory at Phoenix in March was RCR’s first Cup series victory since Kevin Harvick’s win at the same track in November 2013.

Through six races this season, RCR – particularly Newman and Dillon – have shown speed but this was the first time two of RCR’s drivers were able to capitalize in the same race.

“It’s really key that we do stuff like this, and short tracks have been a lot better for us the last year, and this year it was good to come back and repeat that,” Dillon said.

“We’ve still got work to do, but it’s huge to see RCR running better and having cars capable of running with guys like this. It’s just fun to see (Newman’s) back bumper most of the time.”

Newman was not as enthused as Dillon with his performance but appreciative of what his No. 31 team was able to accomplish.

“We just never got the corner connected – entry, middle and exit all day long. Just struggled a little bit,” he said. “I’m surprised we finished as good as we did for how bad the car felt. Good job for the guys.”

While Dillon has only seven top-five finishes in his relatively short Cup series career, two have now come at Martinsville – a track that still gives many veterans fits.

“We finished fourth here last year, and to come back and back it up with a fifth, it’s one of my favorite tracks,” he said. “Really, at one point, I thought we were going to have a little something for the two leaders.

“In the middle of the run our car just lacked a little bit more turn and forward drive, and then at the end, we could come back to them again. I think I was running (Joey Logano) back down there at the end. 

“I’m just proud of my guys and thankful for this run. We needed it.”

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