Saturday, Jan 28

RCR Post FedEx 400 Race Report -- Dover

Race Highlights:       
Richard       Childress Racing teammates finished second (Kevin Harvick), 17th (Paul Menard) and 22nd (Jeff Burton).
Combined, the RCR entries posted the Fastest Lap of the Race for 29 circuits with Harvick posting the fastest lap 22 times, followed by Burton (six) and Menard (one).
Menard ranked fourth in NASCAR's Loop Data category for green flag passes with 61.
Harvick's      second-place finish marks his career best finish at the Dover, Del.-based      facility in 23 starts.
According to      NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, Harvick ranked second in quality passes      (36) and speed in traffic (145.648 mph).  
Burton spent 240      of the 364 laps competing in the top 15 and ran as high as eighth position
Burton's made 55      green-flag passes, slating sixth best amongst the 43-car field
Jimmie Johnson won the FedEx400 Benefiting Autism Speaks, followed by Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Clint Bowyer.  
 The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is the Pocono 400 Pocono Raceway on Sunday, June 10, televised live on TNT and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time.   


Menard Earns a 17th-place Finish at Dover International Speedway


Richard Childress Racing's Paul Menard and the No. 27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards team earned a 17th-place finish in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway. Before an estimated crowd of 85,000, the Eau Claire, Wis., native took the green flag from the 20th position and remained anywhere from 19th to 23rd in the running order during the first half of the 400-lap event. Noting to crew chief Slugger Labbe that the neon yellow machine was handling on the loose side,  Labbe directed the RCR team to alleviate the handling condition on the No. 27 Chevrolet through a series of chassis and air pressure adjustments during routine, four-tire pit stops. Despite the help in the pits, the loose-handling condition proved difficult for Menard and he fell one lap down to the race leaders before putting himself in position to earn the Lucky Dog Award and rejoin the lead lap cars when the caution flag was displayed at lap 227. Menard then moved forward in the running order, racing his way into the top 15 by lap 250. Menard was in the 11th position for a lap-352 restart but fell to 14th with a tight-handling condition before the final caution flag of the race was displayed at lap 365, prompting Menard and Labbe to strategize during the caution period. The duo decided to make one final pit stop for tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment, positioning Menard in the 15th position for the lap-369 restart.  However, the tight-handling condition remained following the stop and Menard fell to 17th in the running order before the checkered flag was displayed.



Start - 20                      Finish - 17                   Laps Led - 0                            Points - 15


PAUL MENARD QUOTE:  "The No. 27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet didn't take off the way that we thought it would following our last pit stop. The No. 27 pit crew was awesome today during every pit stop, and Slugger (Labbe) and the guys worked hard to try and give us everything we needed for a good finish. We probably would have been better off if we didn't pit at the end of the race, but sometimes you have to make those gambles."    


Kevin Harvick and the Jimmy John's Team Finish Second at the "Monster Mile"


Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John's team brought home a second-place finish in the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Harvick battled a loose-handling Chevrolet and overcame a pit road mishap on his way to collecting a career-best finish at the one-mile concrete oval. The Bakersfield, Calif., native started the 400-lap event from the sixth position and reported to the Shane Wilson-led crew that the Jimmy John's Chevrolet was too loose during the initial run. Over the course of several scheduled pit stops, the No. 29 crew made adjustments attempting to combat the issue. Despite the handling issue, the Richard Childress Racing driver maintained a position within the top 10, until lap 228 when Harvick overshot his pit stall during a scheduled pit stop under caution. The pit road mishap positioned the No. 29 Chevrolet as the last car on the lead lap in the 19th position for the lap-231 restart. As green-flag racing resumed, Harvick began to work his way toward the front of the field, landing in the top 10 by lap 250. As the laps ticked away, Harvick relayed to the crew that the car was still too loose, as he continued to make up ground on the field. The team made two more visits to pit road as they continued to work on the car's handling. Solid pit stops allowed the 36-year old driver to continue his move toward the front of the pack, taking over the second position with 47 laps remaining in the race. Harvick remained in the second position until the checkered flag fell, marking his third top-five finish of the 2012 season. Harvick remains seventh in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings after the event at the "Monster Mile", 46 markers out of the lead.


Start - 6                             Finish - 2                         Laps Led - 0                 Points - 7



"This was a great day for the No. 29 crew, it was the best finish we have ever had at Dover (International Speedway). I'm just glad we had a Jimmy John's Chevrolet that was capable of keeping up. To be able to make up that much track position says a lot about the distance that we have made on these cars. The driver made the biggest mistake today, but we fixed a lot of problems during the race and made up a lot of ground, and that's what we need to put ourselves in a position to win races."



Engine Problems Thwart Burton's Top-10 Run at Dover


After running in the top 15 for 240 of the first 364 laps in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, Jeff Burton's No. 31 BB&T Chevrolet suffered engine problems, forced the team to retire early and relegating the Richard Childress Racing driver to a 22nd-place finish. After qualifying in the 15th position for the 400-lap event, Burton settled into the top 20 for the first part of the race which included a 20-minute red-flag period for a multi-car pileup on the treacherous DIS backstretch. By lap 130, crew chief Drew Blickensderfer and the No. 31 pit crew had two opportunities to make handling adjustments during routine pit stops on Burton's Chevrolet and the 44-year-old veteran driver began climbing up the leaderboard, working his way into the top 10 with 75 laps to go. The final scheduled four-tire pit stop of the day occurred under caution-flag conditions on lap 350 and the South Boston Va., native restarted in the 10th position. On lap 364 after picking off competitors and working his way up to eighth with 25 laps remaining, Burton reported to Blickensderfer that the engine had expired. The RCR driver retired the No. 31 Chevrolet to the garage early and finished in the 22nd position. Burton now sits 18th in Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.


Start - 15                      Finish - 22                      Laps Led - 0              Points - 18



"Well, first of all, we had a good car today. The BB&T Chevrolet was fast. We had a solid top-10 car easy. I thought on the long run, we had a top-five car. That's the good thing. I feel like we're starting to get our big track program turned around. We're getting some stuff in the cars. It feels good to me and it's showing so that's the main thing. We broke an engine here, but it just is what it is. The monkey is on us right now. It will get off one day, but it seems like for the past year and a half or so, it's been on us pretty hard. We'll keep digging. I've never quit anything in my life and I won't quit this."



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