Phoenix International Raceway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
March 3, 2013
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 10th (Jeff Burton), 13th (Kevin Harvick) and 20th (Paul Menard).
RCR drivers made a total of 105 Green-Flag Passes. Burton led the organization with 44, Menard made 39 and Harvick completed 22.
All three RCR drivers placed in the top 10 for Quality Passes: Harvick third with 22, Burton fifth with 18 and Menard 10th with 16.
Collectively, RCR drivers posted 19 of the Fastest-Laps Run. Harvick led the group with 12, Burton 6 and Menard 1.
Burton tied for 10th in the Closers category, after improving by one position during the final 10 percent of the race.
Harvick was the only driver in the 43-car field to complete 100 percent of the Laps in the Top 15.
Carl Edwards earned his first victory of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season and was followed to the finish line by Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 10. The third race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on FOX beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Satellite Radio.
Menard Finishes 20th in the Arizona Desert, After a Green-White-Checkered Finish
Starting from the 16th position, Paul Menard and the No. 27 Serta/Menards team faced handling issues throughout the 316-lap event, earning a 20th-place finish when the checkered flag flew at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. The early laps of the race looked promising as the No. 27 machine quickly made its way to eighth by lap 15. As time went on, Menard began to struggle with a loose-handling racecar on entry into the corners and a tight condition through the middle and on exit. The Serta/Menards pit crew made a variety of adjustments to the Chevrolet SS in hopes of remedying the issue. The series of chassis and air pressure adjustments provided some relief to the Eau Claire, Wis., native toward the later part of the event, and Menard was scored 18th with just two laps remaining. A late-race caution set up the field for a green-white-checkered finish. When the green-flag flew, Menard was shuffled out of line on the last lap, crossing the stripe 20th.
Start – 16 Finish – 20 Laps Led – 0 Points – 17
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
“We struggled throughout the race to find the right setup for the Serta/Menards Chevrolet, but we were never able to get exactly what we needed. Slugger (Labbe, crew chief) and the team worked really hard to get the handling balanced, making adjustments on every pit stop. They never gave up all day. There at the end, the car was handling better, but we just couldn’t gain any track position. We’ll move on and hope ‘Lady Luck’ is on our side at Las Vegas.”
Kevin Harvick and the Jimmy John’s Team Finish 13th at Phoenix International Raceway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John’s team battled handling issues which resulted in a 13th-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday afternoon. Harvick started the race from the seventh position and was a fixture in the top 10 for the majority of the scheduled 312-lap event while battling a loose-handling condition. The Gil Martin-led pit crew made several two and four-tire pit stops along with chassis adjustments to help alleviate the issue. During the late stages of the event, the Bakersfield, Calif., native informed the team that the Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS was as loose as it had been all day, as he began to slip back in the field. Harvick was scored in the 10th position for the green-white-checkered finish, but was shuffled backward, ultimately crossing the finish line 13th.
Start – 7 Finish – 13 Laps Led – 0 Points – 30
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
“This was a tough one for the Jimmy John’s team today. We had a great qualifying effort and had high hopes for this race after our win here last fall. With the changing track conditions, we just couldn’t find the right setup to get the car handling like we needed and couldn’t get to the front. We’ll put this race behind us and move on to Vegas.”
Jeff Burton Finishes Off Solid Effort with Top-10 Finish at Phoenix International Raceway
Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Cheerios Chevrolet SS team finished off a solid afternoon with a top-10 finish at Phoenix International Raceway. After qualifying 20th for the scheduled 312-lap event, the team received news early Sunday morning they would be without the services of crew chief Luke Lambert, who returned to Charlotte, N.C., to be with his wife as the couple is expecting their second child. With interim crew chief Ernie Cope calling the shots from atop the No. 31 pitbox, Burton quietly maintained a top-20 running position for the early part of the event before entering the top 10 on lap 75. Midway through the race, Burton radioed to Cope the No. 31 Chevrolet was losing grip, so Cope called for fresh Goodyear tires and fuel under the next caution period, as opposed to their two-tire pit stops earlier in the race. Burton was scored 20th on the lap-242 restart and the handling on the car balanced out over the next 42 laps. The Richard Childress Racing driver gained 10 positions and clocked the fastest laps of any car in the field over a long green-flag run; moving him into ninth-place with seven laps to go. Cope, worried about Burton having enough fuel to finish the race and directed the 45-year-old driver to save fuel over the final laps before the caution flag was displayed; setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Burton managed to save enough fuel to complete the final two laps and crossed the finish line in the 10th position, collecting his first top-10 of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Start-20 Finish-10 Laps Led-0 Points-15
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
“Over the last 60 or so laps, we consistently had the fastest car in the field. It was great to end it off with a top-10 finish, especially after all the adversity the team faced early in the day when Luke (Lambert, crew chief) flew home to be with his wife who was expecting their second child. Ernie (Cope) stepped in and made great calls all day. I appreciate him and the entire No. 31 Cheerios team pulling together and working hard. It paid off in the end with a solid finish, and we hope to build on that momentum next weekend at Las Vegas (Motor Speedway).”