All three of Richard Childress Racing's full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams, along with a fourth car driven by Ty Dillon, completed a two-day test session on Aug. 5 & 6 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the Oral-B USA 500 on Labor Day Weekend.
Dillon will attempt to qualify and make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut on Labor Day Weekend. He is currently competing in his first full season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and is third in the points. He claimed his first win in that series last month at Indianapolis.
The testing was held in the late afternoon and evening which simulated racing conditions the teams are anticipating Labor Day Weekend. The drivers logged lots of laps over the course of the two day test with speeds increasing as more rubber was laid down on the track. Ryan Newman posted one of the fastest laps on Aug. 6 at 189.086 miles per hour while Austin Dillon turned a fast lap of 187.805 mile per hour.
"It's a fast place with a lot of banking. You really have to save your tires," Austin Dillon said. "This place has such different lines. You can run right there on that yellow line and use that for grip or right against the wall. It's a cool place, it's like no other."
The weekend currently holds high importance for all three RCR teams as a victory at Atlanta would lock a driver in the Chase for the Sprint Cup who has not yet won a race this season. Ryan Newman would qualify for the Chase if the field were to be set today by virtue of the points that he has accumulated this season, but could clinch a Chase berth with a win. RCR's other two full-time drivers, Austin Dillon and Paul Menard, would miss the Chase if it were to begin this week.
"It's been a solid year. I feel like the last few weeks we really have found some speed," Dillon said. "We have a string of good finishes going, we're getting faster."
Dillon is relishing the opportunity to race on Atlanta's worn out surface that is known to wear down tires more than at other tracks and produce some of the most exciting racing on the NASCAR schedule.
"We need places like this with old asphalt," Dillon said. "It creates the great racing that you are used to seeing."
A rookie in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Dillon will pilot the No. 3 car in its return to competition in the sport's top division for the first time at Atlanta Motor Speedway since the year 2000. He has posted three top-ten finishes this season and is 15th in the overall point standings.
"To make the Chase in a rookie season would be a big accomplishment," Dillon said. "That'd be great for our season."
Menard, 16th in the standings, has finished in the top five three times this year and qualified for the Chase in 2011.
Newman will be pursuing history in addition to a Chase berth on Labor Day Weekend. He is tied with Buddy Baker for the most pole positions in Atlanta Motor Speedway history with seven.
For more information on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Labor Day weekend of night racing, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.