Cat Racing kicks off 26th season with NASCAR

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Caterpillar Kicks off its 26th Season with NASCAR

Caterpillar and NASCAR: It’s a quarter-of-a-century-long relationship, reminiscent of the ones shared by our customers and dealers. When the No. 31 Chevrolet hits the track at Daytona this February, it will mark the start of our 26th year with the sport and our ninth with Richard Childress Racing (RCR).

What’s kept these three iconic brands together — and what’s coming in 2018 and beyond? For answers, we talked to two experts on the RCR team who know the Caterpillar relationship and the No. 31 car inside and out: Chief Marketing Officer Ben Schlosser and Chief Technology Officer Eric Warren.

 

Why are the Caterpillar, NASCAR and RCR brands such a good fit?

Ben: Richard Childress’ story is a rags-to-riches one. He got his start selling peanuts and popcorn at the local track, then bought an old taxi and turned it into a racecar. Nearly 50 years later, RCR is a testament to dependability and durability — the same attributes the Cat brand stands for. Relationships are important, too. We see a lot of sons and daughters coming to races with their moms and dads. The love of the sport is handed down much like a Cat customer might pass down a business or a piece of Cat® equipment.

RCR Chief Marketing Officer Ben Schlosser

Eric: Caterpillar today is all about smart iron — they’re using virtual reality to develop products, bringing additive manufacturing into the factory and putting telematics on machines. NASCAR also has a big focus on innovation, and being innovative is something RCR is pushing as hard as anyone in the sport.

RCR Chief Technology Officer Eric Warren

If a Cat® machine operator got behind the wheel of the No. 31 Car, what similarities would he find with his equipment?

Ben: A reliable engine and dependable parts. In NASCAR, it’s an all-star race every weekend, and we’ve got to go out there with a car that’s competitive. Richard likes to say, “You can’t win the race if you’re not there at the end.” The same is true on the jobsite. You can’t succeed if your equipment breaks down.

Eric: Cat machines are connected, and customers are taking a more data-driven approach to running their jobsites. We’re doing the same thing in racing. We use strategy optimization tools to gather data on our competitors, create performance models in real time and determine race strategy. Our win in Phoenix last year was the result of using these tools to make the right decisions.

What’s next for the No. 31 Car and the Caterpillar team? What should fans keep an eye out for?

Ben: We’re excited to debut the Camaro ZL1 this year. It’s an amazing-looking car, and it’s the first time a Camaro will race in the Cup Series. We’re also looking at ways to build on our partnership with Caterpillar. On any given weekend, hundreds of Cat customers and dealers get to meet our driver, interact with our team, go inside our garage, go down pit road — you don’t get that kind of access in any other sport.

 

“ON ANY GIVEN WEEKEND, HUNDREDS OF CAT CUSTOMERS AND DEALERS GET TO MEET OUR DRIVER, INTERACT WITH OUR TEAM, GO INSIDE OUR GARAGE, GO DOWN PIT ROAD — YOU DON’T GET THAT KIND OF ACCESS IN ANY OTHER SPORT.”

 

Eric: Most fans aren’t aware of the advanced engineering that went into the development of the Camaro or the simulation technology we use to prepare for race weekend. The same is true with Cat equipment — people don’t realize all the innovation that goes into these machines. But it’s not about technology for technology’s sake. It’s all about improving performance, whether that’s on the racetrack or on the jobsite.

Our thanks to Ben and Eric for sharing their insights with us. Be sure to tune in for the 60th running of “The Great American Race” on February 18 to get your first look at the new No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro — and stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes news and stories here on CatRacing.com.

 

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2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule

2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule

No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Team

No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Team
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