RCR Post-Race Report — NSCS Dover International Speedway

FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks
Dover International Speedway

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Dover International Speedway
June 2, 2013

Race Highlights:


American Muscle

Richard Childress Racing teammates finished eighth (Kevin Harvick), 11th (Jeff Burton) and 20th (Paul Menard).

Following the event at Dover International Speedway, Harvick gained two positions moving to fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 74 markers, while Menard ranks 10th, 102 points back, and Burton sits 21st, 150 points out of the top position.

The No. 29 Chevrolet SS team ranks fifth in the Sprint Cup Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 27 team 10th and the No. 31 team 24th.

According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Post-Race Statistics, Harvick completed 40 passes while running in the top 15, ranking him third in Quality Passes. He earned a 103.4 Driver Rating positioning him fourth amongst all competitors, was the fourth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run (143.585 mph), the fifth-Fastest Driver Early in a Run (147.626 mph) and completed the fifth-most Green Flag Passes (54).

Harvick spent the entire 400-lap event running in the Top 15, tying him for first in that loop data category.

Burton gained five positions during the final 40 laps, ranking him third in the NASCAR Loop Data statistic category of Closers.

Burton made 37 Green Flag Passes during the 400-lap race and recorded the Fastest Laps Run 14 times. Menard made 26 Green-Flag Passes throughout the 400-lap event and was ranked 12th in the Closer category, which is positions improved in the last 40 laps of the race.

Tony Stewart earned his first victory of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and was followed to the finish line by Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski.

The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Party in the Poconos 400 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, June 9.  The 14th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on TNT beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio.

Menard Finishes 20th at Dover International Speedway

Paul Menard started the 400-mile event at Dover International Speedway from the 16th position and struggled with handling issues throughout the day to finish 20th on Sunday afternoon. A long green-flag run at the start of the race, coupled with a tight-handling condition, caused Menard to fall a lap down to the leader at lap 56. The No. 27 crew made a variety of chassis adjustments during the ensuing pit stops on laps 71 and 82. The changes provided some relief to the Eau Claire, Wis., native as he radioed to the crew that the car was the best it had been all day. As the laps wore on, Menard began to struggle with a race car that was loose on entry and exit, and tight in the center of the corners. Continued long-green-flag runs and persistent handling issues contributed to Menard falling two laps down to the leader at lap 282. The team never gave up and made an array of chassis adjustments for the remainder of the event. A caution on lap 379 allowed the 32-year-old driver to take the “wave around” gaining one of his laps back. Restarting in 19th with 20 laps to go, Menard was able to maintain a top-20 running position for the remainder of the event, crossing the finish line 20th. Menard sits in 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings heading into Pocono Raceway.

Start – 16         Finish – 20          Laps Led – 0          Points – 10th

PAUL MENARD QUOTE:

“It was a tough day for the No. 27 Libman/Menards crew. We struggled with handling all weekend at Dover (International Speedway), and never seemed to hit on the right setup. My guys never gave up and worked their guts out making a variety of adjustments all day to try and get the car to handle better. We fought hard to get one of our laps back, but we just couldn’t gain any track position. We’ll head to Pocono (Raceway) next weekend looking for better results.”

Harvick Finishes Eighth at “The Monster Mile”

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John’s team earned an eighth-place result at Dover International Speedway on Sunday afternoon after starting from the seventh position and battling handling issues during the 400-lap affair. The California native maintained a spot within or near the top-10 throughout the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks while battling loose and tight-handling conditions. The Gil Martin-led pit crew executed multiple scheduled two and four-tire pit stops, along with an array of chassis adjustments, in an effort to neutralize handling of the Jimmy John’s Chevrolet. Speedy stops on pit road allowed Harvick to gain valuable track position, working his way up to as high as third for the lap-285 restart. As the race progressed, the Richard Childress Racing veteran alerted the team he was still battling a loose-handling condition, which ultimately caused him to fall back in the field crossing the finish line in the eighth position. Following the top-10 finish, Harvick gained two spots in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings moving up to fifth.

Start – 7          Finish – 8          Laps Led – 1            Points – 5th

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:

“Our Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was good one run, really loose one run and really tight the next run. At the end we were loose and tight, so we lost a few spots and weren’t able to make our way back toward the front. The team really worked hard today and the pit crew was on top of things, so were able to hang in there and get a solid top-10 finish.”

Burton Finishes 11th at Dover International Speedway

Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Cheerios Chevrolet team battled their way to a top-15 finish of 11th at Dover International Speedway. Starting the 400-lap event from the 29th position, the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner worked his way into the top 20 early, but was trapped one lap down to the leader during a long green-flag run. As a loose on entry and tight in the middle-handling condition persisted throughout the race, Burton struggled with ill-timed caution-flag periods as opportunities to return to the lead lap via the “Lucky Dog” award eluded him. Finally, on lap 161, the caution flag was displayed and the 45-year-old driver was able to return to the lead lap. Restarting in the top 20, Burton struggled throughout another long green-flag run and found himself one lap down to the leader again. The Cheerios team didn’t give up through the course of the race, making several chassis adjustments to remedy the ill-handling condition and finally started to showcase speed in the latter stages of long runs. The Richard Childress Racing driver was finally dealt good luck with 22 laps to go when he received the “Lucky Dog” award to again return to the lead lap. The fortunate turn of events gave Burton the opportunity to gain five positions during the final 20 laps and bring home an 11th-place finish. Burton is now tied for 20th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.

Start – 29          Finish – 11          Laps Led – 0          Points – 20th

JEFF BURTON QUOTE:

“Everyone on this Cheerios Chevrolet team put in a solid effort all weekend. I had a really fast car on the long runs, but getting trapped a lap down twice hindered our chances of a top-10 finish. After testing at Pocono Raceway last week, I feel like we are starting to gain momentum moving into the summer races and am looking for another strong result there.”


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