Event: Sprint Unlimited
Venue: Daytona International Speedway
Eight Sprint Unlimited Wins for Richard Childress Racing … RCR has earned eight checkered flags in the Sprint Unlimited (1986, 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995 with driver Dale Earnhardt and 2009, 2010 and 2013 with Kevin Harvick).
Full House … All of RCR’s full time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are scheduled to compete in this year’s exhibition event, which is limited to 25 drivers and recognizes 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole winners, past winners of the Sprint Unlimited, drivers who earned a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2015 and Daytona 500 pole winners who competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full time last year. Dillon earned a berth by virtue of winning the pole for the Daytona 500 in 2014, while Newman and Menard are entered as 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers. This is the 30th season that the Welcome, N.C.-based organization has fielded an entry in the 38-race history of the Sprint Unlimited.
The Format … The season-opening 75-lap Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway consists of two segments with a competition caution at lap 25 separating the segments in the non-points event. Select fans will be paired with each crew chief for a random drawing to determine each team’s starting and pit road positions. The drawings will take place on Friday, February 12 at the FDOT Main Stage inside the Sprint FANZONE beginning at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
Catch the Action … Flag-to-flag coverage of the Sprint Unlimited will be televised live Saturday, February 13, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on FOX and will be broadcast worldwide on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio Channel 90.
Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow Chevrolet SS
Race Notes and Quotes
This Week’s Dow Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway … Austin Dillon will pilot Chassis No. 440 in the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. This is the same Chevrolet SS that Dillon raced at Talladega Superspeedway in May 2015, finishing 15th after starting fifth, and in the 2014 Daytona 500, where Dillon finished ninth after starting from the pole position.
Dillon in the Sprint Unlimited … This will be Dillon’s second Sprint Unlimited start. He finished 17th in last year’s edition of the race.
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AUSTIN DILLON QUOTES:
What are your thoughts heading into your second Sprint Unlimited?
“My team and I are ready for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season to start. We’re heading into the Sprint Unlimited with the mindset that we’re going to win. It’s a really cool race with a lot of prestige and I enjoyed last year’s event. It’s a fan’s race. It’s a race that’s fun for the fans to watch and fun for the drivers to race in.”
Is superspeedway racing your favorite?
“Speedway racing is interesting, for sure, but I don’t think I would categorize it as my favorite. It’s intense. It’s very mentally intense. I think the thing that makes speedway racing not my favorite is that there are elements that are not in your control as a driver. You’re running so close to the edge for so long and any little move by someone else can ruin your day. That feeling of not being in control is not necessarily my favorite. I enjoy speedway racing but I think personally, I prefer racing at mile-and-a-half tracks where you have more control of your destiny.”
Paul Menard, No. 27 PEAK / Menards Chevrolet SS
Race Notes and Quotes
This Week’s PEAK / Menards Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway … Menard will pilot chassis No. 496 in the Sprint Unlimited on Saturday evening. This Chevrolet SS is brand new to the Richard Childress Racing stable.
Menard in the Sprint Unlimited … Menard has three Sprint Unlimited starts at Daytona International Speedway. His best start, courtesy of a draw, is first (2009 and 2015) and best finish of 12th came in 2009. In the Sprint Unlimited, Menard has led nine laps of competition in two races.
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PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
What are your thoughts heading into the Sprint Unlimited?
“It’s a fun way to kick off the season. What better than a low pressure night race at Daytona to shake off the cobwebs of the offseason? We’ll go into the event to race hard, put the car in precarious positions and see what happens. It’s all about learning for what to do and/or what you need for the last few laps of the Daytona 500.”
Ryan Newman, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS
Race Notes and Quotes
This Week’s Caterpillar Chevrolet SS at Daytona International Speedway … Ryan Newman will pilot a brand new car, No. 497, in Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.
Newman in the Sprint Unlimited … Newman has 12 Sprint Unlimited starts at Daytona International Speedway. His best start, courtesy of a draw, is fourth (2010) and best finish of second came in 2005. In the Sprint Unlimited, the South Bend, Ind., native has led 25 laps of competition.
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RYAN NEWMAN QUOTES:
What motivates you this season?
“I haven’t won all that I’ve wanted to win yet. The Sprint Cup championship is what it’s all about for myself, my family, my sponsors, and my team. Winning a race with Luke would mean a lot right now. The ultimate is a Cup championship. I’ve been fortunate enough to win the Daytona 500, the Charlotte All-Star race, the Brickyard 400 and those are big races but there’s not a driver out there that tells you he doesn’t want to win every race, every year. That’s what I want to do. The great thing is I see the light at the end of the tunnel being a member of Richard Childress Racing and ECR Engines. We can see the light and now we have to get to the light. There are a lot of teams out there that can’t see the light. We can.”
What are your thoughts on racing in your 13th Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway?
“This race always signifies the start to our season and first opportunity for a win in the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS. It’s a good test session for us in race conditions. It also a good practice session for all of us to get back into the rhythm and swing of things before the Daytona 500.”