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RCR Sprint Cup Series Race Preview: Bristol Motor Speedway

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series News and Notes
Food City 500
March 17, 2013
Bristol Motor Speedway

RCR in Thunder Valley ... In 137 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Richard Childress Racing boasts nine wins - seven with Dale Earnhardt, one with Kevin Harvick and one with Jeff Burton - three pole awards, 32 top-five and 59 top-10 finishes. RCR Chevrolets swept the top-three positions in the 2008 Food City 500 when Burton drove to Victory Lane, Harvick finished second and Clint Bowyer third. The Welcome, N.C.-based organization has led 3,593 laps at the "World's Fastest Half Mile."
RCR Las Vegas Rewind ... In last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Harvick (ninth-place) and Paul Menard (10th-place) both collected their first top-10 finishes of the 2013 season, while Jeff Burton finished 26th. 
Get to the Points ... RCR's three full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers rank 12th (Menard), 19th (Harvick) and 20th (Burton) in the driver championship point standings heading into this weekend's race at Bristol Motor Speedway. 
Interactive RCR ...
For up-to-date news and exclusive content, visit RCR's Twitter page - @RCRracing - along with the RCR Sprint Cup Series team Twitter pages - @RCR27PMenard, @RCR29KHarvick, @RCR31JeffBurton and driver Twitter page @KevinHarvick. Information about the 14-time championship winning organization can be found on Facebook at and at along with official driver pages -, and
Catch the Action ... Live coverage of the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway will be televised on FOX Sunday, March 17, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Time and will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.

Paul Menard
No. 27 Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet SS
Event Preview Fact Sheet

This Week's Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet ... Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 412 at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. This No. 27 Chevrolet SS has never been run under race conditions, but was tested earlier this year at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway. 
Bristol Stats ... Menard has 11 starts at the half-mile oval. His best start of fourth and best finish of fifth both came in 2011. In Menard's last four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Bristol Motor Speedway, he has earned three top-10 finishes. The Wisconsin native has completed 5,490 of 5,509 laps attempted (99.7 percent) at the Bristol, Tenn., track, leading 35 of them.
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Driver Points ... Menard's 10th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway allowed him to gain five positions in the driver championship point standings. He heads to Bristol Motor Speedway in 12th, just six markers out of the top 10.
Race Rewind ...
In last year's spring event at Bristol Motor Speedway, Menard started the No. 27 Chevrolet seventh and finished 10th, collecting his third top-10 finish at the Tennessee short-track. 
What are your thoughts on racing at Bristol Motor Speedway?

"Short tracks are the heart of our sport and Bristol (Motor Speedway) is the type of track that NASCAR was built around. We've had some good runs at Bristol the past couple of years, so we are looking forward to this weekend and seeing what the No. 27 Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet can do. Bristol is a track where we have to find a good rhythm and track position is very important. If we can qualify well, stay up front on Sunday and stay out of trouble, I think we'll be in good shape."  

Kevin Harvick
No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS
Event Preview Fact Sheet

This Week's Budweiser Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot chassis No. 391 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the Food City 500. Harvick last drove this RCR Chevrolet to a sixth-place result during the 2012 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 
Volunteer State Stats ... Sunday's event at Bristol Motor Speedway will mark Harvick's 25th Sprint Cup Series-career start at the half-mile facility. Through the years, the RCR veteran driver has collected one victory (March 2005), nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. He has completed 11,790 of 12,013 (98.1 percent) of the laps contested and is credited with 427 laps led. 
Bud Tap Room ... Fans wanting to take their Bristol racing experience to the next level can purchase tickets for the Bud Tap Room package, which combines grandstand seat tickets with access to an indoor, climate-controlled, skybox suite. Not only will fans have spectacular racing views, but also a $25 food and drink voucher, access to private restrooms and the ability to watch closed-circuit TVs. Harvick will make a special appearance at the Bud Tap Room on Sunday prior to the Food City 500. More information on the special ticket package can be found by calling 866-415-4158 or by visiting
Meet the Man ... Fans can meet Harvick during a NASCAR autograph session on Friday, March 15 from 5:30-6:15 p.m. Eastern Time during Food City Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway. 125 wristbands will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis when the track Hospitality Village opens at 4 p.m. ET. 
Double Duty ... Harvick will not only compete in the Food City 500 Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway, but he will also drive the No. 33 Armour Vienna Sausages Chevrolet during the NASCAR Nationwide Series event Saturday afternoon. The race is scheduled to air live on ESPN2 beginning at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
2012 Race Rewind ... Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team rebounded from an early wreck to score an 11th-place finish in this event last season.

This is the second race at Bristol Motor Speedway on the new track configuration. What did you learn about the changes to the top lane of the track from the 2012 fall race?

"I don't think the changes that were made to the track did much to the top lane. Everyone still wound up in the top groove, and the racing ended up pretty much as it was in the past. We had an exciting race there last time, I think any time you go to a short track - no matter if the groove is top, bottom or middle - you're going to have cars beating and banging on each other. I think with the way the groove moved up the track, everyone is a little more aggressive in trying to slide themselves into a spot, so you have to be aggressive to take the opportunity to pass somebody."

Jeff Burton
No. 31 Cheerios Chevrolet SS
Event Preview Fact Sheet

This Week's No. 31 Cheerios Chevrolet SS ... Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 372 this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS). This is a brand new No. 31 Chevrolet seeing its first on-track action during Friday's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session.
Burton in Thunder Valley ... Burton has 38 starts at Bristol Motor Speedway with one win (2008), eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. In addition, he has led 322 laps at the 0.533-mile facility.
No Stranger to Victory Lane ... Burton claimed the 2008 Food City 500 trophy at Bristol Motor Speedway in a 1-2-3 RCR finish. He also visited Victory Lane in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition at the half-mile facility in April 1997.
Black and Yellow ... The iconic General Mills brand Cheerios returns as the primary sponsor on Burton's No. 31 Chevrolet SS. America's No.1 cereal franchise will bring its fan-favorite yellow and black paint scheme to these additional races in 2013: Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 26), Dover International Speedway (June 2), Michigan International Speedway (August 18) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway (September 22). General Mills has roots as a NASCAR sponsor for more than 15 years and began its partnership with RCR in 2008 with the Cheerios brand as the primary sponsor of the No. 33 Sprint Cup Series team. The program moved to the No. 31 team as a co-primary sponsor for the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season.
Food City Race Night ... Burton will take part in the Food City Race Night fan question-and-answer session on Friday, March 15 at 5:45 p.m. in the track hospitality village located outside turn four. For more information on the free event, log on to
Race Rewind 2012 ... Burton and the No. 31 Chevrolet team scored their second top-10 finish of the 2012 NSCS season, after placing sixth in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
To be successful at Bristol Motor Speedway, do you need to be aggressive or patient?
"You definitely have to be aggressive. I think the fans like to see drivers beating and banging on each other. At the same time, they like to see side-by-side racing. We gave them side-by-side racing and now they want to see us hit each other. You aren't going to make everyone happy all the time. There are not as many wrecks as there used to be, but the actual racing is better."
The top groove was supposed to be fixed last year where drivers couldn't run up there. That wasn't the case though.
"The top groove was incredible. To be honest, I was really surprised. They took the banking out of it, but we got up there and made a lot of grip. It was definitely rough, but faster up there. I think it surprised everyone. I think they just need to let us go race and let the race speak for itself. I know I'm in the minority there, but I think when we try to manipulate something, we always make it worse."

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