RCR Post Race Report — NSCS Watkins Glen International
by Official Release On Mon, Aug. 12, 2013
The Watkins Glen 355
Watkins Glen International
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
The Watkins Glen 355
Watkins Glen International
August 11, 2013
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 13th (Kevin Harvick), 17th (Paul Menard) and 26th (Jeff Burton) in the Watkins Glen 355.
Following the event at Watkins Glen International, Harvick remains fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 101 markers, while Paul Menard sits 19th, 249 points back, and Burton ranks 21st, 283 points behind the leader.
The No. 29 Chevrolet SS team ranks fourth in the Sprint Cup Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 27 team 20th in the standings and the No. 31 team 22nd.
According to NASCAR’s Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Harvick was the fifth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run.
Harvick posted four of the Fastest Laps Run, positioning him third in the loop data category.
Menard gained five positions during the final 10 percent (nine laps) of the event, trying him for third in the Closers category.
Completing 19 passes while running in top 15, Menard ranked seventh in Quality Passes.
Burton advanced three positions during the final nine laps of the 90-lap event, tying him for ninth in the Closers category.
Burton made 59 green-flag passes during the annual road-course event at Watkins Glen International.
Kyle Busch earned his third victory of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season and was followed to the finish line by Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards and Juan Pablo Montoya.
The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, August 18. The 23rd race of the 2013 season is
scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at Noon Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Pit-Road Penalty Undercuts Menard’s Efforts at Watkins Glen International
Paul Menard started seventh in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International. Once the initial green flag fell over the seven-turn road course, Menard kept the No. 27 SPLASH/Menards Chevrolet SS in a top-10 running position for the first 30 circuits of the 90-lap race. This was achieved by staying out through two cautions as crew chief “Slugger” Labbe stuck to his original strategy of going the distance via two pit stops. Under the first pit stop on lap 30 under green-flag conditions, Menard took on fuel and four tires with air pressure adjustments to give him more rear grip through the turns. The caution waved four laps later leaving Menard 18th in the running order. On the restart four laps later, he was up to 14th and looking to race back into the top 10. Just past the halfway point, Menard was 13th when a green-flag pit cycle started on lap 50. While making his scheduled stop on lap 59, the caution waved just as he was on pit road. Thinking he made it past the commitment line before the lights came on to keep it closed, the Menards pit crew added fuel, put on four new Goodyear tires with air pressure adjustments and made a track bar change, as well. Afterwards, NASCAR officials informed Labbe that Menard was one of four cars that passed the commitment line while the pits were closed and enforced a “tail of the longest line” penalty. This put Menard 33rd for the lap-63 restart. Eight laps later, he was up to 21st and was running there when another caution flag waved on lap 79. Being so far back in the pack, Labbe called Menard down pit road for tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. A multi-car wreck on lap 80 caused hood and left-front fender damage to his Chevrolet. A trip down pit road to bear bond the hood and straighten the fender enough to stay off the tire had Menard lined up 28th for the lap-84 restart. When the checkered flag waved, he had battled back to finish in 17th-place. Menard remains 19th in driver championship point standings as the series heads to Michigan International Speedway next weekend.
Start – 7 Finish – 17 Laps Led – 0 Points – 19
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
“I was very pleased with our SPLASH/Menards Chevrolet in the practices and how we qualified. For the race, we stayed in the top 10 and stuck to the pit strategy Slugger (Labbe, crew chief) had come up with. We got stuck with that penalty on pit road and that put us way back in the back. I honestly did not see any lights come on that pit road was closed, or I would have driven through and come back around. Then we got caught up in that wreck, but the crew made quick repairs and we were able to finish on the lead lap. I know we had a car much better than what the results showed.”
Harvick Earns 13th-Place Result at Watkins Glen International
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team picked up a 13th-place result at Watkins Glen International on Sunday afternoon after leading laps in the 220-mile event. Starting from the 26th position, the Richard Childress Racing driver immediately began working his way forward in the running order settling into the 21st spot on lap eight. Harvick informed the Budweiser team that his red and white Chevrolet was tight in the esses, leading crew chief Gil Martin to call his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments during the lap-15 caution period. Harvick was scored in the 26th position for the ensuing restart and continued to work his way toward the front, taking over the lead when a round of green-flag pit stops began cycling through the field for drivers who didn’t pit under the previous caution period. The California native remained out front for eight laps before surrendering the top spot and falling back in the field. Harvick continued to run in the top five until coming down pit road for four tires and fuel on lap 50 under green-flag conditions. As another round of green-flag pit stops cycled through the field, Harvick was scored in the 26th position. The team tried to make a final pit stop under green again to top off on fuel, but the caution flag was displayed before Harvick could wheel his way onto pit road, forcing the team to pit under caution on lap 61 for fuel and four tires. Unable to use pit strategy to regain track position, the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner was forced to battle traffic on his way to the front of the field. Harvick survived multiple wrecks and caution periods during the final laps to bring home a 13th-place result. Following the event at Watkins Glen International, Harvick remains fourth in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 26 Finish – 13 Laps Led – 8 Points – 4
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
“We had a really fast Budweiser Chevrolet today. We just couldn’t get the break we needed on pit strategy.”
Late-Race Incidents Relegate Burton to 26th-Place Finish at Watkins Glen International
Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team finished 26th at Watkins Glen International following two separate late-race incidents that spoiled a strong effort from the Richard Childress Racing team. Starting the 90-lap affair from the 22nd position, the South Boston, Va., native worked his way into the top 20 early and reported to crew chief Luke Lambert that the black and yellow machine was tight on the throttle and loose off the corners of the seven-turn road course. The No. 31 team maintained a top-20 running position for a majority of the event and played a pre-determined pit strategy to success. While running in the 16th position with less than 35 laps to go, the 45-year-old driver made contact with another competitor which sent the No. 31 Chevrolet SS spinning. Burton’s car didn’t suffer any damage in the incident, but many drivers passed him while he was stalled out in the middle of turn and the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner fell back to the 29th position. After coming down pit road for fresh Goodyear tires under green-flag conditions, Burton managed to pass five competitors before being collected in another multi-car accident on lap 82. The RCR driver was able to pilot the battered Chevrolet back to pit road where the Caterpillar crew went to work and repaired the damage. Burton returned to the race track without losing a lap to the leader and was scored in 26th-place when the checkered flag waved. Burton now sits 21st in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 22 Finish – 26 Laps Led – 0 Points – 21
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
“We had a competitive Caterpillar Chevrolet today, but we were taken out late in the race by another driver and then got caught up in someone else’s mess. That’s been our luck the last few years. This team just never gives up and one of these days we will get the finishes we deserve.”