Preview: Bojangles' Southern 500

Ryan Newman, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS
Race Notes and Quotes

Event: Bojangles' Southern 500
Date: Sunday, September 3, 2017
Track: Darlington Raceway
Location: Darlington, SC

This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Darlington Raceway ... Newman will make his 573rd Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start when the Series throws it back to 1985 at "The Lady in Black". The Rocket Man won the 2003 pole at the 1.366-mile oval. In total, he owns seven top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 18 starts along with having an average start of 9.8 and average finish of 11.9. Newman also ranks fifth in championship points earned over the last 10 events.

Winner, Winner ... Newman has punched his ticket to the MENCS playoffs with a victory at Phoenix Raceway on March 19th in the No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet. The win equates to the driver's 18th-career Cup Series victory and RCR's 106th.

Featured Caterpillar Dealer ... Blanchard Machinery Company is the featured Cat dealer for the Southern 500.

Blanchard Machinery Company has been supplying South Carolina customers with Caterpillar equipment since 1982. The family owned company, led by Joe Blanchard, has established retail and rental stores throughout the state which offer a wide range of Cat and non-Cat brands of equipment, from full-sized bulldozers to small machine parts. We are committed to providing our customers the best products and services available.

Age of Smart Iron ... Caterpillar has spent over 90 years committed to innovation and technology that helps customers succeed. What was important then is even more important now, in an age when advancements come faster and more frequently than ever before. An age where connectivity drives productivity and industry evolves. This is the Age of Smart Iron. Watch this video. For more information about Caterpillar, visit caterpillar.com. To connect with us on social media, visit caterpillar.com/social-media.

Throwin' It Back to the 80s ... This week's No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet reflects on the mid to late-80's at RCR. No one can argue that the No. 3 Chevrolet team with driver, Dale Earnhardt practically dominated the competition. Earnhardt took home four victories over the span of 1985 to 1989 at "The Track Too Tough to Tame". In recognition of the 30th anniversary of the No. 3 team's Southern 500 victory in 1987 at Darlington Raceway, RCR's 31 and 3 MENCS teams will pay tribute throughout the race weekend.

Meet Newman ... Newman is scheduled to participate in a Q&A session in the Darlington Raceway Stripe Zone Fan Hospitality area on behalf of Coca-Cola prior to the start of the Bojangles' Southern 500. For $140 per package (plus the cost of a grandstand ticket), fans receive admission to the driver introductions/pre-race concert festivities featuring Poison front man Bret Michaels, full meal and snacks, unlimited non-alcohol beverage service until the scheduled race start, four beer coupons to guests 21 years of age and older, a Darlington-branded gift, event program and live entertainment. All hospitality packages and tickets can be purchased by calling 866-459-7223 or visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com.

Richard Childress Racing's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history at Darlington Raceway ... Richard Childress is tied for third in all-time car owner victories with Holman-Moody and the Wood Brothers at Darlington Raceway with eight wins each. Dale Earnhardt collected all of RCR's victories at the South Carolina-based track. In 118 collective starts, RCR boasts 22 top-five and 38 top-10 finishes at the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval with five different drivers including Clint Bowyer, Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, Ryan Newman and Robby Gordon. The Welcome, North Carolina-based organization holds an average starting position of 17th, an average finishing position of 18th, has completed 36,843 of the 40,765 contested laps (90.4 percent) and has collectively led 2,606 laps.

RCR in the MENCS ... In 2,810 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 48 pole awards,107 wins, 483 top-five finishes and 1,045 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 17.7 and an average finishing position of 16.1. RCR has earned 15 total championships (six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships with Earnhardt in 1986, '87, '90, '91, '93 and '94, six NASCAR XFINITY Series titles, two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series titles and one ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards title) and was the first organization to win titles in NASCAR's three national series. 

Support the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma ... Sign up for the Childress Vineyards/RCR/ECR 5K presented by Performance Springs, Inc. benefiting the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma on Sept. 16 at 5 pm at Childress Vineyards in Lexington, N.C. The race includes a grape stomp and complimentary glass of wine afterward. You can Race and Stomp for $35 or Stomp and Support while relaxing in the pavilion at the winery for only $20.00. Register now and help Save Injured Kids at https://saveinjuredkids.org/5k/.

Interactive RCR ... For up-to-date news and exclusive content, visit RCR's corporate Twitter page — @RCRracing — along with the RCR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team Twitter page — @RCRCup, and driver Twitter pages @austindillon3 and @RyanJNewman. Information about the 15-time championship winning organization can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardChildressRacing and at www.RCRracing.com along with official driver pages — http://www.facebook.com/austindillon3, www.facebook.com/PaulMenard27 and www.facebook.com/RyanNewmanNASCAR.

Catch the Action ... The Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway is scheduled to be televised live on Sunday, September 3 on NBC Sports Network beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.

RYAN NEWMAN QUOTES

What words of wisdom did your mentor, Buddy Baker, have for you when you first laid eyes on Darlington Raceway?

"My first time going to Darlington Raceway was with Buddy Baker during a test. Buddy just took me around and showed me the line. We drove the track forwards and drove the track backwards. We just looked at everything. I had to correct him a couple of times on which end Turns 1 and 2 were verses 3 and 4. That was fun. It was easy to drive those cars because they were so fast and Buddy taught me more what not to do, then what to do."

Why is Darlington Raceway your favorite track?

"I just like it because it is challenging to run right up next to the fence. You've got to change what you do every lap. That's a challenge. Tires fall off. It's like two racetracks in one with two different ends."

Do you remember getting your first Darlington Stripe?

"It took me years to get my first Darlington stripe. I think I was qualifying in 2007 or 2008 and I hit the wall two laps in a row. I've not hit the wall very many times there. It's been pretty good to me. My first time going to Darlington Raceway was with Buddy Baker during a test. Buddy just took me around and showed me the line. We drove the track forwards and drove the track backwards. We just looked at everything. I had to correct him a couple of times on which end Turns 1 and 2 were verses 3 and 4. That was fun. It was easy to drive those cars because they were so fast and Buddy taught me more what not to do, then what to do."