is week’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway is a big one for Shane Lee, as it marks his Xfinity Series debut and first race of the season with Richard Childress Racing.
Lee has been busy since the start of the year preparing for his first turn in the driver’s seat, observing race weekends at the track, visiting the RCR campus throughout the week and racing in a super late model event during Easter weekend.
Lee attended the race weekends at Daytona and Atlanta in hope that being at the track while not being in the race car will be beneficial.
“I think it helps me get to know the RCR team, especially the No. 3 team that I’ll be working with during the year.” Lee said. “It’s also good for me to hear Austin (Dillon) and Ty (Dillon) on the radio to learn how they describe how the car is handling. That way I can use similar terms when I’m in the car so the team knows what I’m talking about.”
Taking Advantage of Simulator Time
When he’s not at the race track, Lee is frequently making trips to the RCR campus during the week for pit practice, simulator time and more chances to meet with his team.
“The simulator work is what I’ve been spending most my time on and either racing at the shop or on my iRacing rig at home.” Lee said. “I’m on iRacing all the time. That normally helps me a lot with prepping for a race, but at the same time I haven’t raced Bristol before, so I’m not sure how closely it will relate to the actual track.”
RCR’s simulation program manager, Ryan Isabell, echoed what Lee had to say about his preparation.
“Shane has been spending time on our simulators working with us on the upcoming tracks where he will be racing,” Isabell said. “He has been utilizing our simulators to get familiar with both the layouts of the garage and tracks as well as testing different vehicle setup packages. He will definitely be ahead of the curve compared to some of the other drivers who have not been to these tracks before.”
“Simulation has its benefits for both driver training and vehicle performance, helping to make practice sessions more efficient from both the vehicle dynamics and time efficiency standpoints,” Isabell said. “During a practice session, we may make as few as four runs and as many as 10 or more runs. If we are able to save time and fit as little as one more run in a session, it can be a big advantage.”
Getting to know the No. 3 team
Lee also knows the importance of camaraderie.
“I also go to eat lunch with the No. 3 team about every time I’m up at the shop so we all know each other fairly well by this point,” Lee said.
Lee has never raced at Bristol Motor Speedway. But he believes his experience in the ARCA Racing Series and his recent super late model race at Hickory Motor Speedway will help him adapt to the track quickly.
“I have some experience in the ARCA Racing series at tracks like Salem and Winchester and I think those can be pretty similar to Bristol. They don’t have as much grip or are anywhere near as smooth as Bristol, but banking-wise and speed-wise they should correlate.”
Lee recently ran the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway during the holiday weekend, finishing second.
“The race at Hickory was mainly to get me back into a car and back into the feel of things than it was to practice for Bristol. The cars are different of course, but overall the feel of being in the driver’s seat is about the same and it got my mind where it needs to be. It made me feel better than if I had shown up at Bristol and not run a lap since last November.”
Setting goals for his time in the driver’s seat
Goals? Lee and his team have set a few for this weekend’s debut.
“Heading into Bristol, for practice I’m looking to get comfortable with everything and feel good about what we have for the race. For qualifying, I’d really like to make the final round. If we finish in the top-10 for the first race, I’d be really happy, but overall I’m just excited to finally make my first start with RCR this weekend.” Lee said.
Tune in to Lee’s debut race with RCR when the Xfinity Series visits Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 14 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1.
• This Week’s Childress Vineyards Chevrolet Camaro at Bristol Motor Speedway … Shane Lee will be making his first start for Richard Childress Racing this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. This also marks the Newton, North Carolina native’s debut at Bristol Motor Speedway and in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The 24-year-old driver completed his first season of full-time competition in the ARCA Racing Series in 2017 and placed third in the driver championship point standings. He also has three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) starts under his belt.
• About Childress Vineyards … Childress Vineyards is a premier winery located at the southern gateway of the Yadkin Valley in Lexington, North Carolina. Owned by Richard Childress, NASCAR team owner and Hall of Fame member, Childress Vineyards has been producing award-winning wines with the expertise of Winemaker Mark Frizsolowski. Open daily for tours, tastings, and lunch in the Bistro. Information about Childress Vineyards can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/childresswines, on Twitter at @ChildressWines and on Instagram at Instagram.com/childresswines.
• Meet Shane Lee … Fans can meet Lee on Friday, April 13, as he participates in an autograph session and Q&A alongside his RCR teammates during Food City Race Night, beginning at 5:45 p.m. local time. He will also make an appearance and participate in a fan Q&A at the Team Chevy display located in the track’s fan zone, beginning at 11:15 a.m. local time on Saturday, April 14.
SHANE LEE QUOTE:
With this being your weekend debut with RCR and in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, how have you been preparing for the upcoming race weekend?
“I went to the track a couple times earlier this year to observe and listen to how Ty and Austin (Dillon) communicate with the team so I can hopefully make the transition between weekends go smoothly. I have also spent a lot of time at the shop on the simulator or at home on my iRacing rig. That normally helps me a lot with prepping for a race, but at the same time I haven’t raced Bristol before, so I’m not sure how closely it will relate to the actual track. I also recently ran the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway to help me get back into the mindset of being in the driver’s seat. I finished second in that race, so that’s a good feeling to have going into Bristol.”
What are your goals for visiting Bristol Motor Speedway for the first time?
“Heading into Bristol, for practice, I’m looking to get comfortable with everything and feel good about what we have for the race. For qualifying, I’d really like to make the final round of that. If we finish in the top 10 for the first race, I’d be really happy, but overall I’m just excited to finally make my first start with RCR this weekend.”
About Richard Childress Racing:
Richard Childress Racing (rcrracing.com) is a renowned, performance-driven racing, marketing and manufacturing organization. Incorporated in 1969, RCR has earned more than 200 victories and 17 championships, including six in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with the legendary Dale Earnhardt. RCR was the first organization to win championships in the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Its 2018 Cup Series lineup includes two-time NASCAR champion and 2017 Coca-Cola 600 winner Austin Dillon (No. 3 Dow/American Ethanol/AAA Chevrolet) along with 2008 Daytona 500 champion and 2013 Brickyard 400 winner Ryan Newman (No. 31 Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s/ Caterpillar/Grainger/Liberty National Chevrolet). Its XFINITY Series program includes first-year RCR driver Matt Tifft (No. 2 Nexteer Automotive Chevrolet Camaro), a multi-driver lineup with the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro and second-year XFINITY Series driver Daniel Hemric (No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro).
Source: Richard Childress Racing
As part of RCR’s NASCAR XFINITY Series multi-driver lineup this year, Shane Lee will be sharing seat time with veteran drivers Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, and Brendan Gaughan, as well as Jeb Burton later this year. As the 24-year-old driver prepares to make his XFINITY Series debut, here are five things you may not have known about him.
Lee is a native of North Carolina.
Lee grew up in the heart of NASCAR country in the small town of Newton, North Carolina and raced go-karts and stock cars all around the southeast. In 2012 and 2013, he captured the Limited Late Model track championships at local short track Hickory Motor Speedway.
Health plays an important role in his life.
When he’s not on the track, Lee can be found in a gym near his home in Mooresville, North Carolina. On average, Lee works out five to six days a week to help him prepare for when he gets behind the wheel. He also manages his nutrition to help with overall health and utilizes items like protein shakes.
Lee is an avid golfer.
Another passion of Lee’s is golfing, which he became involved in about four years ago. When he’s not on the track or at the gym, he’s likely out at a golf course or watching a tournament on TV.
Lee loves to hit the shooting range.
Lee loves to be outdoors and often spends time out at local shooting ranges. He often goes hunting and finds the shooting range is a good place to practice.
Lee is a dog person.
Lee has one German Shepard named Torq that he adopted last year who travels with him all over the place.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – With Matt Tifft and Daniel Hemric set to make up two full-time teams for Richard Childress Racing in 2018, the organization’s third NASCAR XFINITY Series team will have a flux of drivers to complete the 33-race schedule.
Joining brothers Austin and Ty Dillon as drivers of the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro, newcomer and ARCA veteran Shane Lee, Jeb Burton and Brendan Gaughan will complete the driver roster, CATCHFENCE.com has confirmed.
Nick Harrison will serve as crew chief.
Austin Dillon, the 2013 XFINITY Series champion will drive the car in the season-opening race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Feb. 17.
The eldest Dillon brother has 17 career poles awards, eight wins, 62 top-five and 99 top-10 finishes in the Series throughout his racing career.
Ty Dillon, also a Series veteran, has collected four poles, 32 top-five and 86 top-10 finishes. He won at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2014.
Lee, a native of Newton, N.C. joins RCR after a stint in the ARCA Racing Series which included a third-place championship run with Cunningham Motorsports last season. Lee, an accomplished short track racer earned nine top-five and 18 top-10s in 30 career starts.
He also has three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) starts under his belt, two with SS Green Light Racing and his most recent for GMS Racing at Texas Motor Speedway in 2016.
Burton, the son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton joins RCR after a six-race run last year with JGL Racing. The 24-year-old Virginian has 22 XFINITY starts since 2013 with a best finish of fourth last summer at Daytona.
He is the nephew of former RCR driver Jeff Burton and has also logged laps in both NXS and MENCS competition.
Brendan Gaughan (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner / Getty Images)
While not competing full-time in the XFINITY Series this season, Gaughan will still have a presence and will run the road course races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Road America (Wisc.) in August for RCR this season.
The two-time XFINITY winner scored both of his victories driving a RCR Chevrolet at Road America and Kentucky Speedway during the 2014 season.
Gaughan will also attempt the Daytona 500 driving the No. 62 Chevrolet Camaro for Beard Motorsports who purchased a superspeedway car from RCR.
An exact race schedule for Lee and Burton are forthcoming, as well as sponsorship for the team.
Follow Chris Knight on Twitter @Knighter01.
Shane Lee, No. 22 Big Tine Ford Fusion
Start: 6th / Finish: 4th
Sitting sixth and reporting a loose car, Lee opted to make an early stop under a lap 17 caution for four fresh General Tires, Sunoco fuel and adjustments.
Restarting 10th, Lee jumped to fifth on lap 27 and by lap 45 the No. 22 was sitting in third.
At the halfway point, Lee came down pit road one more time under caution for four General Tires, Sunoco fuel and a slight track bar adjustment.
Lining up fourth for the restart on lap 63, Lee swiftly bounced up to second until a battle with teammate Ty Majeski ensued, pushing Lee back into third.
When the final caution fell on lap 85, Lee and the team chose to stay off of pit road.
Starting second for the last restart with nine laps to go, Lee slid back into fourth for the remaining laps to earn his eighth top-five finish of the season.
Lee: “I was really hoping to have a strong run to end the year and a top-five is definitely great. This 22 team has had some ups and downs this season, but no matter what was thrown at them, they stayed resilient and came to the track every week ready to win. I wish we could have come away with a win this year, but we’ve had a lot of accomplishments to be proud of and finishing third in championship points is a good feeling. It’s bittersweet that the season is over…it was definitely a great year racing this No. 22 Big Tine Ford Fusion.
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 25, 2017) – With another race coming down to a two-lap shootout finale, all three Cunningham cars were once again sitting within striking distance of victory lane Friday night in the Crosley Brands 150 at Kentucky Speedway. Leading 12 laps, Dalton Sargeant steered his No. 77 Big Tine Ford Fusion to a team-high fourth place while teammate Shane Lee picked up valuable championship points with a fifth-place finish in the No. 22 Big Tine car. Roush Fenway development driver Ty Majeski wheeled his No. 99 Treeo’s Ford Fusion up to sixth for his fourth top-10 finish in four races.
Shane Lee, No. 22 Big Tine Ford Fusion
Start: 6th / Finish: 5th
Making it through two early cautions before lap 11, Lee moved up to fourth battling a tight car.
The No. 22 team chose to come down pit road on lap 32 during the third caution of the night. With four new General Tires, Sunoco race fuel and adjustments, Lee lined up fifth for the restart.
By lap 72, Lee was back to eighth fighting a tight race car and trying to work a different line on the track to maintain position.
With a caution falling seven laps later, Lee had a chance to come down pit road for more adjustments and a new set of four General Tires.
Restarting eighth on lap 86, Lee moved up four spots before receiving minor left front fender damage from a caution that brought out a green-white-checker finish.
Lee lined up third but finished fifth with effects of the exterior damage being felt on the restart.
Lee: “We had a pretty good run at Kentucky. We were able to avoid major damage from all of the cautions and come away with a top-five finish. I thought we had a good shot at the win on that last restart but we just lost essential speed from some of the left front damage we picked up on the last caution. Overall, we had a great points day and extended the lead over fourth in driver points. With one race left it would be great to finally get that first win that we’ve been edging closer to for a few weeks and hopefully everything comes together for us at Kansas.”
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 16, 2017) – In a race that came down to a green-white-checker finish, Cunningham Motorsports proved dominating and determined throughout the SCOTT 150 at Chicagoland Speedway Thursday night. Strapping in the No. 99 Treeo’s Ford Fusion, Ty Majeski nearly came away with his first ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards win after leading 50 laps, but the final restart shuffled him back to finish seventh. Teammate Shane Lee surged from 15th-place to eighth for his 12th top-10 finish of the season. Dalton Sargeant, with Performance Plus sponsoring his No. 77 Ford, overcame starting from the back of the field to earn a sixth-place run.
Shane Lee, No. 22 Big Tine Ford Fusion
Start: 6th / Finish: 8th
After the initial start, Lee stayed in the top-10 but slid back into 12th when the second caution of the night came with 21 laps complete. He stopped for four General Tires, Sunoco race fuel and adjustments, restarting in the 12th position.
By the time the yellow fell on lap 50, Lee had moved back to 14th, but came down pit road for a shock adjustment. Losing just one spot on the stop, Lee chose to come down pit road a second time for the team to check all changes. He remained 15th after the second stop for the restart.
Moving back into the top-10 with 15 to go, Lee was sitting in the 10th position when a late-race caution came. He opted to stay off of pit road.
On the last restart with two laps left, Lee lined up fifth but was held up by cars in front, ending the night with an eighth-place finish.
Lee: “Overall, it was a great day for this Cunningham team and it was a really good points day. We were able to move back into third in the driver standings and I think we’ll be able to go into these last two races and secure that spot. I thought we were lined up to get a top-five finish on that last restart and we just ended up getting stuck in a bad spot. An eighth-place finish, though, isn’t bad and we’ll move on to Kentucky and look for some more strong runs.”
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 11, 2017) – Running within the top-five for the majority of the race, Cunningham Motorsports drivers Shane Lee and Dalton Sargeant completed a strong showing at Salem Speedway Saturday night with a top-five and top-10 finish. Sargeant took home a third-place finish while teammate Lee finished ninth in the Eddie Gilstrap Motors Fall Classic 200.
Shane Lee, No. 22 Big Tine Ford Fusion
Start: 3rd / Finish: 9th
Lee held the third position for the majority of the first half of the race until he moved into fifth 57 laps in to the 200-lap feature.
The first caution fell on lap 68. Lee reported being free all the way through the corner. He came down pit road for new right side General Tires, Sunoco fuel and adjustments.
Coming off pit road in the seventh position for the restart on lap 73, Lee moved up to sixth before falling back to eighth when the second caution came out on lap 86.
Restarting in the eighth spot on lap 92, Lee made contact with the wall in turns one and two. He came down pit road during a green flag stop on lap 105 for four General Tires and adjustments.
By the time Lee made it back out on the track, he had fallen back to the 14th position.
For the last 60 laps of the race, Lee worked his way back into the top-10 fighting lap traffic and managing tires for a ninth-place finish.
Lee: “We had a really fast, good car for the race and we were able to run with the leaders for a good portion of the race, which is great. Salem is a place you really have to concentrate and if you lose focus and make one mistake, it could end your night. I made contact with the wall at one point during the night and we had to pit for tires and fix the damage, but this 22 team never gives up and we were able to come away with a top-10 finish. We have some work to do at Chicago to regain some championship points we lost this weekend, but I think it’s the perfect track to get those points back.”