Richard Childress Racing

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June 24, 2013

Sprint Cup Post Race Report for Sonoma Raceway

See why Jeff, Kevin and Paul finished where they did at Sonoma

                                                NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Sonoma Raceway      
June 23, 2013  

Race Highlights:  


* Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 10th (Kevin Harvick), 14th (Paul Menard) and 31st (Jeff Burton) in the Save Mart 350.
* Following the event at Sonoma Raceway, Harvick remains fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 63 markers, while Menard ranks 12th, 128 points back, and Burton sits 20th, 170 points out of the top position.
* The No. 29 Chevrolet SS team ranks fourth in the Sprint Cup Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 27 team 12th and the No. 31 team 22nd.
* According to NASCAR's Post-Race Loop-Data Statistics, Harvick completed 21 passes while running in the top 15, ranking him sixth in Quality Passes.
* Harvick was the ninth-Fastest Driver Late In a Run and posted the 10th-Fastest Speed in Traffic.
* Menard made 45 Green-Flag passes during the 110-lap road course race.
* Menard's 14th-place finish marks his eighth top-15 effort of the season.
* Burton made 38 green-flag passes during the annual road-course event at Sonoma.
* Burton passed four competitors through the final 11 laps, ranking him third in the Closers category.
* Martin Truex Jr. earned his first victory of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season and was followed to the finish line by Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer.
* The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, June 29. The 17th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on TNT beginning at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio.

                        Menard Earns 14th-Place Finish at Sonoma Raceway

Paul Menard started the No. 27 Moen/Menards Chevrolet from the 16th position and battled handling issues throughout the 110-lap event at Sonoma Raceway, earning a 14th - place finish on Sunday. In the early laps of the event, Menard slipped back to the 20th position and relayed to the crew that the No. 27 machine was lacking rear grip. The "Slugger" Labbe-led pit crew made air pressure and track bar adjustments during the initial stop of the race on lap 25 in an attempt to increase rear grip. Just seven laps later, Menard pitted again under caution, this time for gas only setting the team up for a possible fuel strategy advantage later in the race. Restarting in 25th on lap 33, The Eau Claire, Wis., native methodically made his way toward the front of the field and was scored in 17th at lap 61. Unfortunately, the caution flags did not fall in favor of the team and Menard was off pit sequence from the majority of the front runners. The Richard Childress Racing driver ran as high as seventh before having to pit one final time for fuel on lap 83. With the leaders able to stay out, Menard restarted 22nd on lap 85. With the handling problems improving on the No. 27 Chevrolet, Menard was able to gain eight positions in the remaining 25 laps to cross the line 14th, his best finishing effort to date at the Sonoma, Calif., track. Menard now sits in the 12th spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings heading into Kentucky Speedway next weekend.

            Start - 16          Finish - 14          Laps Led - 0          Points - 12th

PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
"We struggled with handling issues early in the race with our Moen/Menards Chevrolet. The team worked hard and we were able to make some gains throughout the race with adjustments. The cautions didn't fall in our favor and we got caught off pit sequence from the leader. All in all, we'll take a top-15 finish at Sonoma Raceway and call it a decent day."

                Harvick and the No. 29 Rheem Team Utilize Pit Strategy to Finish 10th  

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Rheem team picked up their sixth-consecutive top-10 finish Sunday afternoon after utilizing pit strategy to collect a 10th-place result at Sonoma Raceway. The California native started the 110-lap event from the 12th position and worked his way into the top 10 by lap 31 when he brought the red and black machine down pit road for fuel, four tires and a chassis adjustment. Varying pit strategy by other teams forced Harvick to restart from the 34th position on the ensuing restart. As the race progressed, the Richard Childress Racing veteran worked his way back into the top 10 on lap 61, but once again fell victim to varying pit strategies on lap 63 when the team visited pit road for fresh tires and fuel, placing Harvick 19th when the field resumed green-flag racing. During the restart, the Rheem Chevrolet was shuffled back to the 22nd spot, but moved up to 11th on lap 83 when the team opted not to pit when several teams hit pit road. During the final laps, Harvick worked his way up to as high as sixth, before ultimately crossing the finish line 10th. Following his eighth top-10 finish of the season, Harvick remains fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.

              Start - 12          Finish - 10          Laps Led - 0           Points - 4th

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE
: "This wasn't the finish we were looking for today, but the Rheem team did a great job getting us into the position we needed to be at the end to collect a solid finish."
     
                Late-Race Incident Thwarts Burton's Top-10 Effort at Sonoma Raceway

Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Utility Trailers Chevrolet team finished 31st at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday afternoon following a late-race incident with another competitor that spoiled a top-10 effort from the Richard Childress Racing team. Starting the 110-lap affair from the 27th position, the South Boston, Va., native wrestled with a loose-handling condition early before joining the top 15 after the first pit stop of the afternoon. As the race progressed and track conditions changed, the 45-year-old driver reported to crew chief Luke Lambert that the red, white and blue machine tightened up, especially on the sharper corners of the 11-turn road course. The No. 31 team maintained a top-15 running position for a majority of the event and, after playing a pre-determined pit strategy to success, Burton restarted in the seventh-position with 25 laps to go setting the stage for the RCR driver to bring home another top-10 finish. However, disaster struck with less than 20 laps to go when contact from another competitor in the treacherous turn 11 sent the No. 31 Chevrolet SS spinning. Burton's car suffered minimal damage in the incident, but many drivers passed Burton while he was stalled out in the middle of turn and the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner fell back to the 36th position. After coming down pit road for fresh Goodyear tires with 14 laps to go, Burton managed to pass five competitors before the checkered flag waved and finished the race in 31st-place. Burton now sits 20th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.

               Start - 27          Finish - 31          Laps Led - 0          Points - 20th

JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
"I'm just really bummed out about what happened this afternoon. We had a top-10 finish going and it was taken away from us. What made it worse was that we fought back from mechanical issues in practice on Friday and a poor qualifying effort on Saturday. I'm proud of this team's effort and the progress we are making."
 

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