Richard Childress Racing

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May 21, 2013

Sprint Cup Preview for the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte

Jeff, Kevin and Paul talk about what it takes to prepare for - and finish - this long race

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series News and Notes

Race: Coca-Cola 600
Date: Sunday, May 26, 2013
Location: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Richard Childress Racing at Charlotte ... In 131 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Richard Childress Racing teams have earned six points-paying victories. Four wins were claimed by Dale Earnhardt, while Jeff Burton added to that total with a win in the October 2008 race and, most recently, Kevin Harvick took home the trophy in one of NASCAR's marquee events - the Coca-Cola 600 - in May 2011. Harvick also recorded an impressive win in the 2007 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race to go along with Earnhardt's three victories in the annual all-star showcase, giving RCR 10 total Sprint Cup Series checkered flags at CMS. Additionally, RCR boasts 20 top-five and 42 top-10 finishes at the 1.5-mile track with seven different drivers including Clint Bowyer, Burton, Earnhardt, Harvick, Ricky Rudd and Mike Skinner. Childress, a former driver on NASCAR's senior circuit, contributed two of those top-10 finishes from 1978-1979. The Welcome, N.C.-based organization has led a combined 1,112 laps at the Charlotte facility.

RCR in the NSCS  ... In 2,306 Sprint Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 102 wins, 42 pole awards, 438 top-five finishes and 919 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 17.9 and an average finishing position of 15.8. RCR has earned 14 total championships (six Sprint Cup Series championships with Earnhardt in 1986, '87, '90,'91, '93 and '94, five NASCAR Nationwide Series titles, two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series titles and one ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards title) and was the first organization to win titles in NASCAR's three national series.

RCR All-Star Rewind ... Last weekend, Harvick finished 11th in the Sprint All-Star Race while Burton and Paul Menard competed in the Sprint Showdown, finishing third and fourth, respectively. 

Goodyear "Gives Back" to Help Support Our Troops® ... The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, exclusive tire supplier of NASCAR's three major national series, is honoring the U.S. Armed Forces with the launch of the "Goodyear Gives Back" program, a charitable fund-raising effort to benefit Support Our Troops®.  This organization helps to boost the morale of active duty troops and their families through care packages sent to the front lines and programs for families at home. Goodyear is running special "Support Our Troops" tires in the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races at Charlotte Motor Speedway over the Memorial Day holiday race weekend (May 23-26), hosting a care package event with volunteers and NASCAR partners helping to pack and send boxes to troops deployed overseas and will be onsite with a large display where fans can get involved. Throughout the program (May 23 - July 8) fans can join in by visiting www.Goodyear.com/GivesBack, where they can bid on authentic autographed race-used Goodyear NASCAR Support Our Troops tires, rides in the Goodyear blimp, VIP at-track experiences and other racing memorabilia.  In addition, fans can make direct donations, and purchase limited-edition Goodyear Gives Back merchandise - all to benefit the Support Our Troops organization. 
 
The Collective RCR ... Throughout the season's first 11 races, RCR's Sprint Cup Series entries have earned one win with Harvick at Richmond International Raceway (April), notched three top-five and nine top-10 finishes with drivers Burton, Austin Dillon, Harvick and Menard. RCR's three full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers are 10th (Harvick), 11th (Menard) and 20th (Burton) in the driver championship point standings.

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 www.facebook.com/RichardChildressRacing and at www.RCRracing.com along with official driver pages - www.facebook.com/PaulMenard27, www.facebook.com/OfficialKevinHarvick and www.facebook.com/OfficialJeffBurton.

Catch the Action ... FOX's live coverage of the Coca-Cola 600 begins Sunday, May 26 at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

                                                     Paul Menard
                                      No. 27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS 

This Week's Serta/Menards Chevrolet ... Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 418 in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This No. 27 Chevrolet SS raced at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this season. 

Charlotte by the Numbers ... Menard has 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway. His best start of fifth and best finish of eighth both came in 2010. The Wisconsin native has completed 4,044 of 4,246 laps attempted (95.5 percent) at the 1.5-mile track.

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Fast Fact ... Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 is the only 600-mile race on the Sprint Cup Series schedule. Starting in daylight and lasting into the late evening hours, this grueling race is truly a test of man and machine.

Race Rewind ... In last year's 600-mile race Menard started the No. 27 Chevrolet from the ninth position and fought a tight-handling race car thought the event, ultimately finishing 15th.

PAUL MENARD QUOTE
Thoughts on the racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway
: "The Coca-Cola 600 has a lot of prestige associated with it. It's one of those races, like the Brickyard or the Daytona 500, that everyone would like to win. It's the only 600-mile race on the schedule, which makes it really unique. Once the engines fire though, you kind of lose track of how long you are in the car. It goes by pretty quick and I don't really notice the extra 100 miles. We'll have a long night ahead of us and we'll need to make sure we keep up with the adjustments on the Serta/Menards Chevrolet as the track conditions change throughout the evening."

                                               Kevin Harvick 
                                     No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS
 


This Week's Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet SS at Charlotte Motor Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot chassis No. 425 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the Coca-Cola 600. This Chevrolet is new to the No. 29 team lineup and will make its first competitive laps this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

CMS Stats ... This Sunday's race marks Harvick's 24th points-paying, Sprint Cup Series start at the Concord, N.C.-based facility. In addition to his 2011 Coca-Cola 600 victory, the California native has collected two top-five and seven top-10 finishes, completed 97.3 percent of the laps contested and led six laps.

Here's to the Heroes ... The No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet will don a special patriotic paint scheme for Sunday's 600-mile event at Charlotte Motor Speedway to reflect the special "Red, White and Blue Summer" packaging featured on the iconic Budweiser bottles and cans this summer. The packaging represents a special initiative in which the brand will contribute a portion of all sales from May 5 - July 4 to help raise as much as $1.5 million for the Folds of Honor Foundation*, which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for families of U.S. military personnel killed or disabled while serving their country. Since 2010, Budweiser has raised more than $5 million for the Folds of Honor Foundation and provided more than 1,000 educational scholarships to the families of soldiers killed or disabled in service. (*Donation of 2 cents per case of Budweiser sold, May 5, 2013 to July 4, 2013, with a maximum donation of $1.5 million.)

Harvick Visiting Fort Bragg ... On Thursday, Harvick will join Folds of Honor Foundation Founder Major Dan Rooney and Rocky Sickmann, director of military sales for Anheuser-Busch, at Fort Bragg, N.C. to make a special presentation to the base, tour the Warrior Transition Battalion and meet with soldiers. The visit is a part of Budweiser's "Red, White and Blue Summer" initiative, which benefits the Folds of Honor Foundation. Media members will have an opportunity to interview Harvick, Rooney and Sickmann at 10 a.m. ET at the Fort Bragg Mini-Mall.

Budweiser Red, White and Blue Festival ... Budweiser will honor area members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families with the Budweiser Red White and Blue Festival in Fayetteville, N.C., from 4 - 10 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, at Festival Park. Entertainment for the evening includes country music recording artists Jason Michael Carroll, Parmalee and Jamie Tate, and members of the All Veteran Parachute Team. The event will feature photo opportunities with the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales and Kevin Harvick's No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet. Guests can also try their hand at being a NASCAR pit crew member with the Richard Childress Racing interactive pit car or participate in a cornhole tournament. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, but admission to the festival is free and open to the public. Additional details about the Budweiser Red, White and Blue Festival are available on the Festival Park website: http://www.faydogwoodfestival.com.

Welcome Home ... Army Lt. Jennifer Jackson, who recently returned from a deployment in Southwest Asia, will be an honorary member of the No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet team on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Jackson is being recognized as part of the track's "Welcome Home Our Troops" program to honor the many men and women returning from deployment. The speedway placed members of several units that recently returned to Fort Bragg with each of the 43 NSCS teams competing this weekend.

Teeing Off for a Cause ... On Wednesday, Harvick will tee off in the fourth annual John Paul Linville Memorial Golf Tournament Presented by BB&T Wealth, an event that honors wife DeLana's father who lost his battle with cancer in 2005. Funds raised at the tournament will benefit the Kevin Harvick Foundation, which is dedicated to the support of programs that positively enrich the lives of children throughout the United States by supporting programs such as the Kevin Harvick Athletic Scholarship, Kevin's Krew, children in foster care and P.O.W.E.R. of Play.

Double Duty ... In addition to driving the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS in Sunday night's race, Harvick will pilot the No. 33 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event on Saturday, May 25. This race is scheduled to air live on ABC at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time, along with the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Race Rewind ... Harvick and RCR's No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor team collected an eighth-place finish in the 2012 Coca-Cola 600 under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway after starting 14th and battling handling issues for the majority of the event.

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTES
The Coca-Cola 600 is a special race annually, because it falls on Memorial Day weekend. Share your thoughts about the event and the many ways it honors America's Armed Forces:
"To be able to have so many service men and women at the race track for our race this weekend and be able to see them, and shake their hands and tell them thank you is something that I think all the fans and drivers - and our sport in general - do a very good job of showing our appreciation. To have the race on Memorial Day weekend is just an added bonus, but to honor our troops is what it's all about."

Share your thoughts on running the Coca-Cola 600. "Man, the Coca-Cola 600 is a long race. For drivers, our bodies have adapted to running 400 or 500-mile events. This event is unique not only because we have to mentally prepare ourselves for that extra 100 miles, but the team also has to set the car up to go from day to night. It's a challenging race and a lot can change or happen. We were fortunate to win this race in 2011 and it came down to the last lap and fuel mileage, so you just never know how things are going to play out."

What is the key to being physically and mentally prepared for such a long, competitive race? "The biggest thing is just hydration. Obviously, you're mentally trained to run 400 or 500 miles, so that last 100 miles is different than what your body and mind is used to. You definitely have to prepare yourself a little bit different to get through those last 100 miles."

How much does Charlotte Motor Speedway change from start to finish during the Coca-Cola 600? "Charlotte (Motor Speedway) is definitely a track that changes more than most. For some reason, it seems like sun changes that track drastically, so when the sun starts going down the race track starts to take a turn in a different direction. You have to be prepared, and try to set your car up in advance for those changing conditions."

                                                Jeff Burton
                                   No. 31 Cheerios Chevrolet SS

This Weekend's Cheerios Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 372 this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600. This No. 31 Chevrolet was utilized earlier this season at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Career Charlotte Stats ... The 2013 Coca-Cola 600 marks Burton's 39th start at the 1.5-mile facility and his 667th-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Burton notched his last Sprint Cup Series victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October 2008. Throughout the years, he has amassed three wins, eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes at the track, leading 435 laps. 

No Stranger to Victory Lane ... Burton has made six previous visits to Charlotte Motor Speedway's Victory Lane across Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series competition. He owns two Coca-Cola 600 race trophies from wins in 1999 and 2001, the 2008 Charlotte 500 race trophy, hardware from three Nationwide Series victories (2000, 2002 and 2007) and one Nationwide Series pole award (2001).

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: 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.

Bring a Sharpie ... Burton is scheduled to participate in an autograph session on behalf of Coca-Cola at the Walmart located on 5825 Thunder Rd NW, Concord,N.C. on Wednesday, May 22at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. 
 
Race Rewind ... Burton and the No. 31 Wheaties Chevrolet team finished 19th after a tire issue late in the race forced them to make an unscheduled green-flag pit stop in the 2012 running of the Coca-Cola 600.

JEFF BURTON QUOTE
Talk about your mindset at Charlotte Motor Speedway with track changes from day to night in the Coca-Cola 600.
"Track position is so important in a long race like the Coca-Cola 600. If you don't push your car, you won't realize what it can and can't do. You just can't ride around, and you must put your car in position to learn from it and know what you have as the intensity picks up at the end of the race. You have to run hard every lap if you want to accomplish your goals. The temperature change definitely affects the track more here and at Indianapolis Motor Speedway than anywhere else for some reason."

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