2014 Started and Ended with a Bang
2014 was known as what some called a “year of transition” for RCR. In the end it was quite the memorable season with Poles, Wins and a near Sprint Cup Championship.
You voted and we ranked our top-10 moments of the 2014 NASCAR season.
10. Bluegrass Domination:
Kentucky Speedway has been a unique place for RCR over the past few years, with Austin and Ty both winning in 2012 and 2013. When the Nationwide Series rolled into the final series stand-alone race of 2014, RCR showed their power. The four RCR teams were strong in practice leading the way and taking four of the top-5 spots in qualifying. Ty Dillon showed pure domination throughout the 200 lap event, leading a race high 155 laps. On a late race restart it was Brendan Gaughan who powered his way to the lead around Chase Elliott and Dillon to ultimately claim his second win of 2014.
9. Sorry About Your Brackets:
2014 introduced the newly reformatted Chase for the Sprint Cup, which put a higher emphasis on winning. Ryan Newman and the No. 31 CAT team made clinched their spot through strong finishes throughout the regular season. While many of the pundits and experts had the non-winning team out after the first round, Newman and crew showed their strength and outlasted former championship teams and season race winners to make it to the final four at Homestead Miami Speedway.
8. Truck Yeah! Beer Shower:
In a rare appearance in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, RCR returned with a slick Yuengling Brewery paint scheme and 2011 series champion Austin Dillon behind the wheel at Pocono Raceway. Throughout the event Dillon battled with Kyle Larson trading the lead. When laps wound down, Dillon was able to fend off the field on a late race restart and claim victory for Yuengling in their home state and enjoyed a cold beer shower in victory lane.
7. Powerful Sweep:
RCR/ECR showed their power when it came to restrictor plate qualifying in 2014. It was at Talladega Superspeedway where we and our technical alliances used this power to our advantage to sweep the top-six spots in Sprint Cup Series qualifying. Nationwide Series regular Brian Scott took his very first Sprint Cup pole award as he led a train of RCR power to start the April race.
6. Checkered Flag for Paul:
It’s no secret that Paul Menard loves Michigan International Speedway, especially in a Chevrolet Camaro. The Eau Claire, Wisc. has had impressive Nationwide series runs at the Brooklyn track and nearly has gone to victory lane on numerous occasions. As the laps wound down Menard found himself in the lead and was able to capture the victory at Chevrolet’s home track earning his first Nationwide Series win since 2006.
5. First Kiss:
Winning your first race is always memorable, but winning it at one of motorsports historic tracks is pretty damn epic! Dillon took the race lead from Kyle Busch on restart with 24-laps to go at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The rookie of the year contender never looked back and had enough fuel to take the checkered flag and become the first Nationwide Series regular to kiss the bricks at The Brickyard.
4. Let It Rain:
Road America always proves to be an interesting race on the Nationwide Series circuit, and in 2014 it was no different. This race saw Goodyear rain tires used for the first time since Montreal in 2010 and many were unsure of how far they could push their machines. Brendan Gaughan had an up and down day by driving off course three times, but in the end schooled the competition on how to get to the front in the rain. With a green-white-checkered finish Gaughan held off the competition and captured his first Nationwide Series victory, and it was an emotional one!
3. Yup It’s Back:
Austin Dillon kicked off his 2014 Sprint Cup Series career with a bang as he claimed the pole for the Daytona 500. Dillon also joined Ricky Rudd (1983), Dale Earnhardt (1994, 1996), Mike Skinner (1997), Jeff Green (2003) and Jeff Burton (2006) as RCR Daytona 500 pole winners.
2. So Close:
Ryan Newman started the Homestead 400 from the 21st spot. Not ideal, but 400 miles are plenty of time to get to the front…and that’s what the No. 31 team did. As the laps wound down and a clutch call by crew chief Luke Lambert Newman found himself leading the field to the green with three laps to go. The No. 31 crew finished the race second and second in the 2014 Sprint Cup Championship, giving RCR their best series finish in years.
1. You Would Have Done It Too:
We’ve all been there, championship hopes on the line with 5 seconds to go…what would you do? Last lap and the season is on the line…what would you do? Well, for the competitor inside all of us who had their season on the line and the chance to advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead, we would have done anything to make it. That’s exactly what Ryan Newman did as he dove into turn four underneath the No. 42 and leaned up against the competitor to obtain the position and to clinch the final spot in the Championship 4.