Preview: GEICO 500

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

Event: GEICO 500
Date: Sunday, May 5, 2017
Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Location: Lincoln, AL

This Week's No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS at Talladega Superspeedway ... Ryan Newman will make his 557th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in the second restrictor-plate race of the 2017 season. In total, he owns five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 30 starts. The South Bend, Ind., native has an average start of 13.7 and average finish of 20.1. His best start of second came in the fall of 2012, while his best finish of third took place in the spring of 2009. When it comes to championship points, in the last 10 events at Talladega, Newman ranks seventh and in the last five, fifth in most points earned.

Winner, Winner ... Newman increased his chances of punching 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.

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.

Rescue Ranch Playground Project ... Ryan and Krissie Newman are in the midst of a $400,000 fundraising and build for Rescue Ranch. It is a community wide effort that will benefit countless children annually. The fully-inclusive playground will be 10,000 sq./ft. and encompasses a barrier-free option for children of all abilities to play together. The official ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for June 3. For more information, please watch: https://youtu.be/Iwg63IVTOHs.

Richard Childress Racing's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history at Talladega Superspeedway ... Richard Childress began his driving career at Talladega Superspeedway in 1969 and is in a tie for the most all-time car owner victories at the storied Alabama-based race track with 12 wins. Dale Earnhardt visited Victory Lane nine times, while Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer swept the 2010 events at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Bowyer added to the Welcome, N.C.-based organization's total by claiming RCR's 100th Sprint Cup Series win when NASCAR's senior series visited the facility in October 2011. In 166 starts, RCR also has four pole awards, 41 top-five, 67 top-10 finishes and has led 1,837 laps of competition.

RCR in the MENCS ... In 2,763 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 48 pole awards, 106 wins, 477 top-five finishes and 1,035 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. 

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 GEICO 500 will be televised live Sunday, May 7 beginning at 2 p.m. EDT on FOX and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

RYAN NEWMAN QUOTES

What is the key to being successful at Talladega Superspeedway?

"It's all about having a fast racecar and be lucky enough to stay out front and not getting in somebody else's mess. You also have to have a good day on pit road because it seems like we have a lot of green-flag runs. If you have a bad stop, it is really easy to lose a lap. It's all about keeping yourself in the game."

What is the most challenging part of Talladega?

"I think it's when you have a mediocre car and you are stuck in the middle of the pack racing three to four cars wide. It's in our nature as a driver to be competitive and race. There are times when you just have to back out and be the smartest."

After one restrictor-plate race in the books this season, how do you think the stages will play out?

"I think the stage racing will definitely change the strategy of how I will race this race. In the past, I would drop to the back and make a run at the front when there was less than 50 laps to go. I think we'll see what we saw in Daytona earlier this year. I think you may see a few guys drop back for just a little bit but at some point, they will run to the front or at least run to their best position to get points. It really is no different than any other track. You still have time to kind of put yourself in position or wait to put yourself in position."