Race Preview: STP 500

Race Preview: STP 500

Daniel Hemric, No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


STP 500

Race Notes & Quotes

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Martinsville Speedway

340 Speedway Rd, Ridgeway, VA

Laps: 500
Miles: 263
Track Size: 0.526 miles
Start: 2:00 p.m. ET

Martinsville Speedway Martinsville Speedway

This Week's Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Martinsville Speedway ... Daniel Hemric will be making his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Martinsville Speedway. The 2019 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender has five NASCAR Truck Series starts at the 0.526-mile track, with a best-finish of ninth in October 2016. 

About Bass Pro Shops ... Bass Pro Shops is North America's premier outdoor and conservation company. Founded in 1972 when avid young angler Johnny Morris began selling tackle out of his father's liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, today the company provides customers with unmatched offerings spanning premier destination retail, outdoor equipment manufacturing, world-class resort destinations and more. In 2017 Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela's to create a "best-of-the-best" experience with superior products, dynamic locations and outstanding customer service. Bass Pro Shops also operates White River Marine Group, offering an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading boat brands, and Big Cedar Lodge, America's Premier Wilderness Resort. Under the visionary conservation leadership of Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops is a national leader in protecting habitat and introducing families to the outdoors and has been named by Forbes as "one of America's Best Employers." Bass Pro Shops has a long relationship with NASCAR, dating back to 1998. For more information, visit http://www.basspro.com/. 

Richard Childress Racing at Martinsville Speedway ... In 169 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville Speedway, Richard Childress Racing has earned four pole awards and posted seven victories with drivers Dale Earnhardt (five times), Ricky Rudd (1983) and Kevin Harvick (2011). RCR Chevrolet teams have earned 30 top-five and 63 top-10 finishes at Martinsville dating back to the team's first start there on April 10, 1972. Richard Childress, a former driver in NASCAR's top division, contributed four of those top-10 finishes from 1976-1978.

RCR in the MENCS ... In 2,930 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 48 pole awards,108 wins, 488 top-five finishes and 1,068 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 17.8 and an average finishing position of 16.2. 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 Menards Series title) and was the first organization to win titles in NASCAR's three national series. 

#RCR50 ... Richard Childress Racing celebrates it's 50th Anniversary in 2019. Follow our social channels season-long to join in the celebration.

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, @TylerReddick and @DanielHemric. 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 and www.facebook.com/DanielHemric.

Catch the Action ... The STP 500 will be televised live Sunday, March 24 beginning at 2 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.


You are now more than a month into your rookie season in the Cup Series, how would you assess your season so far and the pressures of racing full-time in NASCAR's top division?

"It's been a roller coaster, I think that's a good way to look at it - but definitely more so emotionally. We had our situation at Daytona where we had a fast race car but did not get a good finish out of it. We went to Atlanta and were able to lead the race and had a top-five finish within reach when we had a right front tire come apart. This past weekend in Fontana, we had a fast No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 but made contact with the wall, cut the tire and took ourselves out of contention. That's kind of been the trend all season. It's been up and down, up and down. It has been a good learning experience trying to balance all of that, in addition to all of the other nuances that come with racing in the Cup Series and what makes this level what it is. It's challenging, like everyone said it would be, but it has been fun trying to adapt and change on the fly. As a company, RCR has some good things to go off of, and it has been fun to lean on my teammate Austin Dillon through the process to make sure we're doing everything we can to make ourselves better today than we were yesterday."

The team has had some bad luck to start the year, but how encouraging is it to know the RCR Chevrolets have shown speed so far this season? 

"The speed it there, and it is something I am very proud of. I'm extremely thankful to everyone back at the shop at RCR, ECR Engines and Chevrolet. There has been a lot of emphasis on getting us all of the tools and resources that we need to get the speed. We have all of that stuff in front of us, we just need to do a better job - on my end as well - of maximizing how much speed you need with the balance of the race car for the race. We've missed the balance a few times, but we hit on it well a couple of times as well. You don't know what you don't know until you figure it out. All of the teams in the garage are figuring more things out each time we hit the racetrack and we have learned a lot from the West Coast Swing that will help us moving forward. After Fontana we will be able to take what we learned, download it and legitimately see what we feel like are the key components to make us better."

As a former short-track racer, Martinsville Speedway must feel like a home race. What are your thoughts heading into your first Cup Series start at the tight, paper-clip shaped track? 

"It is pretty cool to go back short-track racing this weekend, plus to do it at Martinsville. I remember going to Martinsville as a kid to watch a lot of short track races, just being a fan. Outside of Charlotte Motor Speedway, I would consider Martinsville my home track. It is also a place I haven't raced at since 2016 in the Truck Series. There has been a little bit of a drought there, so I am looking forward to getting there on Saturday and jumping all in. My crew chief Luke Lambert and all of the guys on this No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team all really enjoy Martinsville, so hopefully we can hit on the balance and have a good weekend. I'm just excited to go back short-track racing."