RCR Race Preview: Darlington Raceway

Richard Childress Racing

Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway… In 141 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington Raceway, Richard Childress Racing has eight wins, all by Dale Earnhardt. Earnhardt claimed the checkered flag in 1986 (spring), both races in 1987, 1989 (fall), another sweep in 1990 plus spring events in 1993 and 1994. RCR drivers have 26 top-five and 48 top-10 finishes at the historic South Carolina speedway.

Keeping the Streaks Alive… Richard Childress Racing drivers in both the Cup and Xfinity Series will look to extend impressive streaks in their respective races this weekend at Darlington Raceway. Dating back to the 2021 fall event, an RCR driver has finished inside the top-10 in each of the last four consecutive Cup and Xfinity Series races at the 1.366 egg-shaped oval.

Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at The Lady in Black… Richard Childress Racing is looking to find Victory Lane for the first time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Darlington Raceway. Austin Hill owns the most recent top-five result, a fourth-place effort in the 2023 spring event. The Welcome, N.C. based team has 11 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes.

Tickets to the 2023 Carolina Cowboys Home Stand Are Available Now… Driven by the same passion for performance that guides his race team, Richard Childress’ latest endeavor brings Professional Bull Riding to the Carolinas. The Carolina Cowboys represent the Carolinas in the PBR Team Series, an elite league featuring the world’s top bull riders competing in games throughout the country. The team is owned by Richard Childress and Jeff Broin with 2018 Daytona 500 Champion Austin Dillon serving as General Manager. Don’t miss the Carolina Cowboys 2023 “Cowboy Days” Home Stand September 22-24 at the Greensboro Coliseum. Tickets are on sale at PBR.com and Ticketmaster. https://www.ticketmaster.com/pbr-professional-bull-riders-tickets/artist/2859854?venueId=369330

Catch the Action… The NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips 200 at Darlington Raceway will be televised live Saturday, September 2, beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network and the NBC Sports App. The race will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. 

The Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway will be televised live on Sunday, September 3 beginning at 7 p.m. ET on USA Network and NBC Sports App. The race will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Morgan & Morgan Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Darlington Raceway Austin Dillon has made 14 career starts in the NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway, posting a career-best second-place finish in September 2020, missing Victory Lane by a narrow margin over Kevin Harvick. Dillon also has a fourth-place finish in 2017. He finished ninth (May) and 17th (September) at the track in 2022. Dillon has made four appearances at The Lady in Black in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, securing his best finish of fifth in 2012. The 2011 NASCAR Truck Series champion has two starts at the track in the Truck Series, earning his best finish of fifth in August 2010.

Welcome Morgan & Morgan Morgan & Morgan will make their NASCAR Cup Series debut with 2018 Daytona 500 Champion Austin Dillon at the Cookout Southern 500 on Sunday at Darlington Raceway. As America’s largest injury law firm, Morgan & Morgan has recovered more than $15 billion for over 300,000 clients. Throughout the United States, our attorneys fulfill our “For The People” commitment in over 50 practice areas, including national mass torts and class actions, labor and employment, civil rights, and product liability, among many others. We co-counsel with hundreds of other law firms, who refer thousands of cases to us. Our firm has taken on some of the biggest corporations across the globe, including BP, Facebook, Google, Monsanto, and Lockheed Martin, and recovered billions in complex national litigation, including $1.8 billion in the Porter Ranch Gas Leak case in 2021. Learn more at www.forthepeople.com.

Meet Dillon Dillon is scheduled to greet race fans at the RCR Merchandise Trailer in the Darlington Raceway Fan Midway at 2:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 3. Come meet the driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet and get new RCR gear.


What are your thoughts on Darlington Raceway?

“Darlington Raceway is a fun track. It’s challenging. The track gets slick and wears tires quite a bit. The key to Darlington is trying to race the track and not the competition. Darlington could set the tone for the rest of this year, but also next season. It would be nice to knock another Crown Jewel off. I’ve got two of them and another one would be pretty special.”

Do you like racing at Darlington Raceway?

“I just love Darlington Raceway. It’s a racer’s track, and the history there is so special. It’s one of the hardest races to win. It’s a constant battle and anytime you win at a challenging track it just feels good.”

Kyle Busch and the No. 8 McLaren Custom Grills Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Darlington Raceway… Kyle Busch will make his 24th NASCAR Cup Series start at Darlington Raceway this Sunday. The Las Vegas native scored his first victory at the historic track in 2008, coming in just his fourth start at the egg-shaped speedway. During that win, Busch led a race-high 169 of 367 laps and crossed the finish line over three seconds ahead of second-place Carl Edwards. Entering this weekend’s event, Busch has recorded six top-five and 14 top-10 finishes at Darlington Raceway. In the 2023 spring event earlier this season, the veteran driver scored a seventh-place finish. 

Finishing Strong… Busch finished the Cup Series regular season on a positive note at Daytona International Speedway, posting a seventh-place effort and gaining two positions to finish ninth in the regular season driver point standings. Throughout the regular season, Busch earned a total of 14 top-10 results. 

The Playoffs Begin… Busch enters the first round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs as the fifth seed, 17 points behind the leader and 11 points above the Round of 12 cutline. 

Did You Know? Busch is the youngest NASCAR Cup Series race winner in the 73-year history of Darlington Raceway. Busch was 23 years, 0 months, and 8 days old when he captured the checkered flag at the South Carolina speedway in 2008. 

About McLaren Custom Grills… McLaren Custom Grills, a Winnipeg, Canada-based BBQ company, specializes in custom BBQ grills for sports fans. The company is dedicated to making a barbeque that any sports fan would be thrilled to call their own, and a brand name that customers are proud to stand behind. In addition to their partnership with Richard Childress Racing, McLaren Custom Grills is the Official Barbeque Grill of the NBA. McLaren Custom Grills can be purchased at mclarencustomgrills.com.


How important is it to start the Playoffs with a solid finish at Darlington Raceway?

“Darlington Raceway is the start of the Playoffs so it’s really important to get a solid run in that first race of the Playoffs. It’d be perfect to win it. We were so close there in the spring. I felt like we had a really good, legitimate shot to win that race. If we make a few tweaks on the setup that we had in the spring race, we should go back there, be better and race for a win.”

Why do so many drivers like Darlington Raceway and say it’s so special to win there?

“I think Darlington is a drivers track so the drivers really like racing there because it brings out the driver. You’ve got to have a good car, but it kind of allows you have a little bit more opportunity of saving tires or pushing hard and getting lap time or suffering later in the run. It’s hard to move around there. You don’t really move around a whole lot, whether top, bottom or whatever, so it’s always kind of up around the wall. I think that’s what makes it fun for the drivers as well is just that challenge and knowing how many different challenges there are and how hard it is. I think that’s what makes it so special to win there.”

The Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway is one of NASCAR’s crown jewel races. Growing up in Las Vegas, did you have an appreciation of how special that race is? 

“The Southern 500 at Darlington is really cool being a crown jewel race. When I was growing up I remember the race vividly of Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton going at it for the finish. It was the Winston Million-dollar date car for Jeff Gordon. He had the right-side flattened on that thing and Jeff Burton was getting a run on him and he blocked him all the way to the bottom. This day and age, you’d be wrecked. Jeff Burton was very, very nice and very kind in that situation and I guess maybe knew what Jeff (Gordon) was racing for, obviously a million bucks. That could have turned out vastly different given it being a different driver in second place.”

Sheldon Creed and the No. 2 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Camaro SS at Darlington Raceway… Sheldon Creed has made three career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Darlington Raceway, highlighted by a second-place finish last fall while driving the No. 2 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet. The Alpine, California native led a total of 47 laps and was in position to secure his first Xfinity Series win before being passed by the eventual race winner on the final lap. Creed also has three NASCAR Truck Series starts at the historic egg-shaped oval, earning one pole (2021) and two wins (sweeping both events in 2021) and leading a combined total of 193 laps. 

Back 2 Back Seconds… In the last two Xfinity Series races, Creed has posted two consecutive second-place results at Watkins Glen International and Daytona International Speedway. With finishing in the second position during Stage 1, winning Stage 2, and ultimately crossing the finish line .005 seconds behind race winner Justin Allgaier, Creed earned maximum points last Friday at the World Center of Racing. Entering just 22 points above the Playoff cutline, the sophomore driver now holds a 60 point advantage over 13th place in the Xfinity Series driver championship point standings. 

Meet Creed… On Saturday, September 2 at 12:50 p.m. ET, Creed is scheduled to sign autographs at the RCR Merchandise Trailer located in the Fan Midway at Darlington Raceway. Stop by to get your Whelen gear and have Creed sign the items purchased.

About Whelen Engineering… Whelen Engineering is a family-owned company with a pioneering spirit and a passion to protect the lives of those who protect and serve others. The company mission is to provide industry-defining safety solutions around the world, while creating a community of problem-solvers who are inspired to push boundaries and continue our legacy of delivering ground-breaking innovation. As a global leader in the emergency warning industry, Whelen has been trusted to perform since 1952, when George Whelen III invented the first rotating aviation beacon. Whelen now encompasses two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Connecticut and New Hampshire with over 750,000 square feet of engineering and manufacturing space and the largest design staff in the industry. Every part of every Whelen product is proudly designed and manufactured in America. We embrace quality as our foundation, we celebrate innovative engineering in every product we produce.


Darlington Raceway is not only your favorite track, but statistically one of your best tracks as well. What makes the track special to you?

“Darlington Raceway is definitely a favorite of mine. Statistically it’s one of my best tracks and it’s my favorite track that we go to throughout the year. I love that we get to race there twice. It fits my driving style with two different ends and different corners. It’s unique and hard to drive. It pays for being on edge a little bit, which suits my style. I’ve fallen in love with Darlington and hopefully have another good run this weekend.”

What does it take to be successful at Darlington Raceway?

“That’s a hard question to answer properly. There are a lot of variables between the limits of the tire, having ideas for when the track rubbers in, how close can you run to the win in turns three and four. It’s not your normal ride the fence track. It’s super hard to get into turn three, which makes Darlington unique compared to others. Turns one and two are different than turns three and four. Your race car is never perfect there. You are really good on one end and suffer on the other. I personally like that everyone is dealing with issues with car balance and handling. It puts it back into the driver’s hands a little more and maybe evens up the field a little bit.”

Would you rather be better in turns one and two or turns three and four?

“I’ve had both there. I’ve been really good in turns one and two, while struggling in turns three and four, or vice versa. If you can not be too tight in turns one and two and be able to carry a lot of speed, since the exit of turn two and down the backstretch means a lot. But you need to be able to run the fence in turns three and four and keep momentum up to the start-finish line. I typically seem to be loose in turns three and four, but being able to run up against the wall has helped me in the past. Out of the 500 or 600 laps I have at Darlington, I may have run five total on the bottom. I don’t like to run the bottom there and I don’t plan to be down there this weekend either.”

Austin Hill and the No. 21 Bennett Transportation and Logistics Chevrolet Camaro SS at Darlington Raceway… Austin Hill has made four career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Darlington Raceway, earning a top-10 results in each event. Earlier this season while piloting the No. 21 Bennett Transportation and Logistics Chevrolet at the historic South Carolina track, the Winston, Ga. native posted his track-best finish of fourth. Hill has also competed in three NASCAR Truck Series races at Darlington, posting a best finish of third in 2020.

Points Leader… Hill continues to lead the 2023 Xfinity Series driver championship point standings, currently holding a 27 point advantage over second-place Justin Allgaier. Throughout the first 24 races of the regular season, the 29-year-old has accumulated four wins, three poles, four stage wins, 13 top-five, and 17 top-10 finishes. 

Meet Hill… On Saturday, September 2 at 12:50 p.m. ET, Hill is scheduled to sign autographs at the RCR Merchandise Trailer located in the Fan Midway at Darlington Raceway. Stop by to get your No. 21 gear and have Hill sign the items purchased.

About Bennett Family of Companies… McDonough-Ga. based Bennett Family of Companies is a woman-owned, Women’s Enterprise Business Council (WBENC) certified, diversified transportation and logistics company. Through its 14 affiliated operating companies, the Bennett Family of Companies delivers integrated transportation and supply chain management solutions worldwide. Bennett has 4,625 drivers/owner-operators, over 1,000 employees and 600 agents located across the United States. For more information, visit www.bennettig.com.


What makes Darlington Raceway so difficult?

“Darlington Raceway is a tough place to get around. Tire wear is a big issue there and we always see a good amount of tire fall off. You have to make the decision of how hard you are going to push at the beginning of a run or how much you are willing to fall off at the end of a run. It’s always a game of chess to position yourself around other guys who may have made the same decision as you. How hard are they pushing right now compared to me. You want to stay under the limit of the tire and not overstep the right front or right rear to burn it off too early. I personally love to race on any tracks that have an old, worn out surface where you see a lot of tire fall off. You see a lot of strategies play out differently. It’s a very unique racetrack that no other racetrack can mimic.”

Would you rather be better in turns one and two or turns three and four?

“In racing, your car is never going to be 100% perfect. Drivers will always complain about something, whether the car is too tight, too loose, or doing something that we don’t like. For me, when I go into Darlington weekend, I focus on how my car is driving in turns three and four. I hope I can just get through turns one and two, but be really strong on the other end. Everyone gets through turns one and two fairly decent. You can move your line around to make up speed. But in turns three and four, you have to turn really well and have drive on exit with how tight the overall corner is. When you see guys who win races at Darlington, I feel like they are really strong in turns three and four.”


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