NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
RACE: STP 400
TRACK: Kansas Speedway
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished sixth(Kevin Harvick), 18th (Paul Menard) and 22nd (Jeff Burton). With 122 passes, Kevin Harvick was scored first in the NASCAR Loop Data category Green Flag Passes. Harvick ranked third Fastest Drivers Late in a Run, with a speed of 164.822 mph. Menard ran as high as eighth and as low as 34th, maintaining an average running position of 21.041 during the 267-lap STP 400. Gaining three positions in the final 10 percent (27 laps) of the race, Menard tied for first in the NASCAR Loop Data category Closers. Burton’s 12th-place qualifying effort was his second-best career start at Kansas Speedway. Burton made 86 green-flag passes during the 400-mile race. Denny Hamlin scored the win in Sunday’s race. He was followed to the checkered flag by Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle. The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Richmond 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, April 28, televised live on FOX beginning at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio beginning at 6 p.m. EST.
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Team Finish 18th in Kansas
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Zecol/Menards Chevrolet were faced with handling issues throughout the STP 400 and returned home with an 18th-place finish in the first of two visits to Kansas Speedway by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Menard qualified the No. 27 Richard Childress Racing entry in the 19th position for the start of the Sunday afternoon event and took the green flag in front of an estimated 75,000 people. Crew chief Slugger Labbe and the Zecol/Menards team made adjustments to the yellow Chevrolet throughout the 267-lap event in the hopes of combating the simultaneous tight and loose-handling conditions that challenged the Welcome, N.C.-based team. A series of chassis and air pressure adjustments during routine pit stops provided little relief to the Eau Claire, Wis., native and the No. 27 Zecol/Menards team took the checkered flag in the 18th position, dropping Menard to 14th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 31 points out of the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup spot.
Start – 19 Finish – 18 Laps Led – 0 Points – 14
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
“We struggled throughout the race to find the right setup for the Zecol/Menards Chevy but were never able to get exactly what we needed. Slugger (Labbe, crew chief) and the team worked really hard to find the car’s handling balanced, making adjustments on every pit stop. The team had a really good day in the pits. Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite shake the tight-handling condition in the center of the turns. At one point we were really loose on exit, too. We’re leaving here scratching our heads.”
Kevin Harvick and the Rheem Chevrolet Team Score a Sixth-Place Finish at Kansas Speedway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Rheem crew captured a sixth-place finish during the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway after running out of fuel under green-flag conditions and battling a tight handling car throughout the race. Harvick started the 267-lap affair from the second position and quickly reported the No. 29 Chevrolet was tight. The Bakersfield, Calif., native held onto his second-place starting position until lap 86 when the Rheem machine ran out of fuel during a green-flag run. Harvick coasted his Chevrolet down pit road to the attention of the No. 29 crew to add fuel and bolt on four fresh tires. The Richard Childress Racing veteran headed back on track in the 26th position, one lap down from the leader. As the field cycled through green-flag pit stops, Harvick returned to the lead lap taking over the 15th position by lap 94. As the race continued, the Shane Wilson-led crew worked on the red and black Chevrolet’s tight-handling condition, making several air pressure and chassis adjustments during their next two visits to pit road. Harvick’s persistence to make his way back toward the front of the field ultimately left him in the sixth position when the checkered flag was displayed to conclude the race. Harvick dropped one position, to sixth, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 25 points behind the leader.
Start – 2 Finish – 6 Laps Led – 0 Points – 6
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
“This was not the day we were looking for. We made some mistakes, but everyone kept it together and we earned a solid finish. We fought a tight-handling condition for the entire race and ran out of fuel on a green-flag run, so a sixth-place finish for the Rheem Chevrolet was a good rebound. Our cars are fast, we just need to push forward and start thinking about the next race.”
Burton and Caterpillar Crew Finish 22nd at Kansas Speedway
Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team battled to find the right handling and finished 22nd in the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. After a strong qualifying effort, the South Boston, Va. native rolled off the starting grid in the 12th position. Immediately providing feedback to crew chief Drew Blickensderfer that the No. 31 Chevrolet was tight in the 15-degree banked corners of the 1.5-mile Kansas City, Kan.-based facility, Burton continued to run in the top 20 for the first 100 laps until the second caution-flag period of the afternoon on lap 133. The Cat Racing pit crew took extended time to make major chassis adjustments on pit road under caution to improve the car’s handling. Burton returned to the track in the 23rd position and searched for the necessary balance on the car to combat the tight condition in the center of the corners. During the final caution of the 267-lap event, Blickensderfer called the 44-year-old driver back to pit road for additional chassis adjustments. Upon returning to the track for the final 75-lap green-flag run, the Richard Childress Racing driver maintained his 24th-place running position then, with assistance of a few additional adjustments under final pit stops, went on to gain two positions on the track in the closing laps to bring home a 22nd-place finish for the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team. Burton now sits 17th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 48 points out of the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup spot.
Start – 12 Finish – 22 Laps Led – 0 Points – 17
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
“Though it isn’t the type of finish we were hoping for with the Caterpillar team, our goal this weekend was to make advancements to our 1.5-mile speedway program and despite finishing 22nd, I thought we were able to do that to some degree. Towards the end of the event, we gained a few spots and ran stronger lap times after working hard on the car all day. It will be interesting to see what happens to this track when they repave it for the October race. We’re looking forward to getting back to some short track racing at Richmond (International Raceway) next Saturday night under the lights.”