RCR Up for Road America Challenge

B.Gaughan

Led by Brendan Gaughan, Richard Childress Racing has five drivers ready to do battle in Sunday’s Johnsonville 180 Xfinity Series race at Road America. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Richard Childress Racing has five drivers ready to do battle in Sunday’s Johnsonville 180 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America.

Brendan Gaughan, Brandon Jones, rookie Daniel Hemric, Ben Kennedy and Scott Lagasse Jr. lead the RCR stable into the division’s final road race of the season.

Gaughan is a former winner of the race and is trying to lock down a spot in this year’s playoffs. It wasn’t just his 2014 victory that's made the four-mile circuit one of his favorites.

"I've said since I was 16 years old that Road America is my favorite road course in the country," said Gaughan, whose victory three years ago triggered a run of three straight wins there for RCR. "It's such a technically, fundamentally sound racetrack.

"If you're teaching road racing, Road America has everything. It has a carousel, it has uphill braking, downhill braking and elevation changes where you have to pick points in the sky to have visual references. You've got speed bumps that are big penalties if you miss the corner by just a little bit and it has the gravel trap that gives you a big penalty if you miss the corner entirely."

Hemric will be making his first career Road America start but has been very good in the year’s first two road-course events. He finished second the last time out at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago and looks to bring that momentum with him to Wisconsin.

"This is my first time at Road America, but it was also my first time racing at Mid-Ohio. Hopefully, we can have similar results this weekend," Hemric said. "Road America will be a mixture of Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio. There are a lot of fast parts on the racetrack but there are also a lot of slow, technical parts. It doesn't have a ton of grip, either. I enjoy any track where there's tire wear and fall-off.

"Our racecars have been really fast at the road courses so far this year and RCR has been very successful at Road America over the last few years."

RCR drivers Paul Menard and Michael McDowell followed Gaughan's 2014 victory with wins the last two years.

As for Lagasse, he brings a wealth of road-racing experience to the table but has none at Road America. He’ll be doing double duty in hopes of learning more about the mammoth and challenging course to help his effort in Sunday’s main event.

"That seems to be the theme, recently, as I haven't raced many of these road courses before," he said. "But it's still the same car with four tires and it's a fun challenge to optimize its performance. I look at all information available: data, videos, ask my teammates questions and I even tend to lean on my dad, who was a successful road-course racer.

"I'll be running the Trans Am (sports car) race before the Xfinity race, so that should help me as well."

Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" will have live coverage of Sunday's Johnsonville 180, beginning at 2:30 p.m. (ET) - with live streaming at MRN.com and on the MRN App.

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