RCR Post Race Report – NSCS Homestead-Miami 400By Official Release
November 18, 2012
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished eighth (Kevin Harvick), 11th (Paul Menard) and 19th (Jeff Burton).
Harvick closed out the 2012 season ranked eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 79 points shy of champion Brad Keselowski, while Menard ranked 16th in the standings and Burton held finished in the 19th position.
Harvick completed 88 Green Flag Passes, 32 of which came while running in the top 15 (Quality Passes).
According to NASCAR’s Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Menard ranked third in the Closers category gaining seven positions in the final 10 percent of the race, while Harvick ranked fourth gaining five positions and Burton ranked seventh while progressing three spots in the closing 27 laps.
Menard made the seventh-most Green Flag Passes (109) and spent 126 laps competing in the top 15.
Burton made 98 Green Flag Passes during the 267-lap race.
Jeff Gordon earned his second Sprint Cup Series victory, crossing the finish line ahead of Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle. The annual Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet will be held at the Wynn Las Vegas on Friday, Nov. 30. SPEED will broadcast the banquet beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
Paul Menard and the Duracell/Menards Team Close Season with 11th-Place Finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Duracell/Menards team closed the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with an 11th-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his career-best result at the 1.5-mile race track. Menard started Sunday’s 267-lap event from the 18th position and reported a loose-handling condition during the early laps. Crew chief Slugger Labbe called the Eau Claire, Wis., native to pit road on lap 43 under green-flag conditions for four tires and chassis adjustments. The quick pit stop and improved handling allowed Menard to drive into the top 15 by lap 47. As the sun began to set on the Homestead, Fla.-based facility, track conditions changed, requiring additional chassis and air pressure adjustments to continue to improve the neon yellow Chevrolet’s handling. Menard continued to compete just outside of the top 15 while battling the loose machine. Fuel strategy played in the Richard Childress Racing team’s favor as they made their final visit to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 214. Armed with a full fuel cell, Menard gained valuable track position as some teams were required to make a final pit stop in the closing laps and took the checkered flag in the 11th position. The 32-year-old driver closed out the 2012 season earning his career-best finish of 16th in the Sprint Cup Series championship driver point standings.
Start – 18 Finish – 11 Laps Led – 0 Points – 16
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
“We had a pretty decent night. We worked on the balance throughout the race and everything played out in our favor to get a good finish. I want to thank all of the guys on this No. 27 Duracell/Menards team and those at the race shop for all of their hard work this year.”
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Team Bring Home Eighth-Place Finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser team drove to an eighth-place finish in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season-finale event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After starting the 267-lap affair from the 23rd position, the Bakersfield, Calif., native battled handling issues that left the black and red Chevrolet tight in the center and loose on exit of the turns. Harvick maintained a running position in the top 20 while the race progressed and the pit crew made adjustments to the Budweiser Chevrolet during multiple scheduled green and yellow-flag pit stops. Harvick drove toward the front of the field, settling into the top 15 prior to the team’s final four-tire green-flag pit stop on lap 214. The 36-year-old driver broke into the top 10 with 20 laps remaining, ultimately crossing the finish line in the eighth position. The top-10 finish allowed Harvick to maintain his eighth-place position in the 2012 Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 23 Finish – 8 Laps Led – 0 Points – 8
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
“We struggled with the handling of the Budweiser Chevrolet for a good portion of the race today, but the team worked hard to get the balance where it needed to be. That commitment allowed us to pick up a top-10 finish, and end the season on a high note.”
Jeff Burton Finishes 19th in Season-Finale Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team finished off the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with a 19th-place effort in the season-finale race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Starting from the 33rd position, the South Boston, Va., native climbed into the top 25 early in the 400-mile event while battling a loose-handling condition on his Chevrolet. Despite different chassis adjustments on multiple four-tire pit stops by the Caterpillar pit crew throughout the 267-lap affair, the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner wrestled with the loose-handling machine for a majority of the event. During a caution-flag period on lap 158, crew chief Shane Wilson decided to play pit strategy which allowed Burton to only pit once for the remainder of the event compared to other competitors who needed to pit multiple times. The pit strategy paid off as the event concluded under green-flag conditions. The fortunate turn of events gave Burton the opportunity to gain three positions over the final part of the race and bring home a 19th-place finish for the Caterpillar team. Burton finished the season 19th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings with two top-five and six top-10 finishes.
Start – 33 Finish – 19 Laps Led – 0 Points – 19
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
“First off, I want to thank our partners Caterpillar, Wheaties, BB&T and Coca-Cola as well as all the fans out there who continue to support our team each year. This No. 31 team put forth a great effort this entire season and even though we didn’t get the results we wanted today, I couldn’t be more proud of them for never giving up. I also wanted to thank Shane Wilson for helping us out for the last three races.”