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November 18, 2013

Sprint Cup Series Post Race Report from Homestead

                                     NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Homestead 400
Homestead-Miami Speedway      
November 17, 2013

Race Highlights:

•Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 10th (Kevin Harvick), 23rd (Jeff Burton) and 39th (Paul Menard) in the Homestead 400.
•Following the event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Harvick rounded out the 2013 season third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 34 markers behind the leader, while Menard ended the season 17th and Burton 20th.
•The No. 29 Chevrolet SS team completed the season third in the Sprint Cup Series owner championship point standings, while the No. 27 team ranked 17th and the No. 31 team 21st.
•According to NASCAR's Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Harvick was the ninth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run and ninth-Fastest on Restarts.
•With 120 passes completed, Harvick ranked third in the Green-Flag Passes category.
•RCR teammates Harvick and Menard posted 17 of the Fastest Laps Run with 15 and two, respectively.
•Menard was the Fastest Driver Early in a Run and second-Fastest Driver Late in a Run that didn't finish within five laps of the leader.
•Burton made 69 green-flag passes, five of which came while competing in the top-15 (Quality Passes).
•Denny Hamlin earned his first victory of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season and was followed to the finish line by Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Martin Truex, Jr. and Clint Bowyer.
•The Sprint Cup Series banquet is Friday, Dec. 6 at the Wynn Las Vegas and is scheduled to be televised that evening on FOX Sports 2 with coverage beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.
  
Menard Finishes 39th After Explosion at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Starting the Homestead 400 from the 12th position, Paul Menard and the No. 27 Moen/Menards Chevrolet SS team ran in the top 10 for the majority of the day before an exploding tire relegated them to a 39th-place finish in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In the early laps of the 400-mile event, Menard faced a loose-handling condition. That handling issue led the No. 27 team to make a variety of chassis adjustments during the ensuing pit stops. Though he was struggling with a loose-handling car, the Wisconsin native maintained a position inside the top 10 until sustaining right-rear damage on the lap-194 restart. Just 10 laps later, Menard cut a right-rear tire. As a result of the flat tire, the Richard Childress Racing driver visited pit road several times under caution to make repairs. Rubber from the flat right-rear tire became wrapped around the axle and several laps after restarting in 27th on lap 211, a fire erupted near the new right-rear tire causing Menard to pit for repairs. Upon entering pit road, the right-rear tire exploded from the fire, forcing Menard to end his night early because of extensive damage to the car. He ultimately finished the race in 39th, and ended the 2013 season 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings with three top-five and nine top-10 finishes.

          Start - 12          Finish - 39           Laps Led - 0          Points - 17th

PAUL MENARD QUOTE: "That was pretty wild. First of all, the Moen/Menards Chevrolet was really good all night. On that restart, everybody kind of checked up and we got some right-rear damage and had a flat tire. I guess a bunch of rubber got wrapped up underneath around the axle. We came in a couple of times trying to fix the damage and tried to get the rubber off. We didn't get it all and I guess it just caught fire. I didn't really know it until there was a little bit of spark coming in the car and landed on the window net. I thought that was kind of weird. About a lap later they said I was on fire. I lost my brakes and then the wheel blew right off of the car. I thought they were going to hit the fire extinguisher. But the tire blew out and knocked the fire extinguisher out of my gasman's hands. Then everything caught on fire. I just tried to get out of the car as fast as I could. When it blew, I was worried about all my guys on the right-rear corner. We've seen tires blow before and they are pretty violent. I'm just glad everyone is okay."


Harvick Closes Out Season with 10th-Place Finish

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser team closed out the 2013 season with a 10th-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday evening. The Richard Childress Racing driver started the 267-lap affair from the sixth position and battled a tight-handling Chevrolet during the early stages of the race. Crew chief Gil Martin directed Harvick to pit road on laps 13, 25 and 69 for tires, fuel and chassis adjustments to combat the handling issues his driver was fighting. The California native continued to struggle with an ill-handling red and white machine, influencing the team to make an unscheduled four-tire pit stop under green-flag conditions on lap 116. After falling as far back as the 29th in the running order and going one lap down to the leader, Harvick persevered and raced his way back onto the lead lap and into the top 15 just past the halfway mark. The team continued to work on the handling of the Budweiser Chevrolet throughout the remainder of the event, allowing Harvick to cross the finish line 10th in his final race for RCR. Harvick ended the season third in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on the strength of four wins, one pole award, nine top-five and 21 top-10 finishes.

          Start - 6          Finish - 10           Laps Led - 8          Points - 3rd

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE: "We just weren't very good today and couldn't get the car to turn like we needed to. We had one set of tires that gave us some real troubles for whatever reason, but just like always these guys on our Budweiser Chevy kept after it. We were able to salvage something out of the night. Obviously, it's not what we wanted, but we came back and were way better at the end than what we were in the beginning. It's what we've done all year and I'm just proud of everybody and thank them for everything that they have done."


Jeff Burton Finishes 23rd in Season-Finale Race at Homestead


Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team finished off the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with a 23rd-place effort in the season-finale race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Starting 14th, the South Boston, Va., native maintained a top-20 running position early in the 400-mile event while battling a loose-entry and tight-middle handling condition on his Chevrolet. After a routine green-flag pit stop on lap 66, the caution flag was displayed for debris, trapping the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner two laps down to the leader. After taking the "wave around" pass under caution, Burton restarted 32nd and continued to battle with the ill-handling machine as the Luke Lambert-led Caterpillar pit crew made chassis and air pressure adjustments on multiple four-tire pit stops during the middle stages of the event. The Caterpillar team finally caught a break with 60 laps remaining when they were awarded the "Lucky Dog" pass and returned to the lead lap. The fortunate turn of events gave Burton the opportunity to re-enter the top 20, but the tight-handling condition returned after the last restart and Burton brought home a 23rd-place finish in his final race with Richard Childress Racing. Burton finished the season 20th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings with two top-five and six top-10 finishes.

          Start - 14          Finish - 23          Laps Led - 0          Points - 20th

JEFF BURTON QUOTE: "I had a lot of fun driving this No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet over the last five seasons. I enjoyed this team. We've had a good time together. We haven't had the performance we wanted, but I strongly believe in this group. I really do. The hardest part for me is that I'm walking away from a group that I feel really good about. I feel like they're going to be a lot better next year than this year. That has been hard, but other than that, I'm at peace with everything. I feel good about what I've got going on. Hopefully in the next several days, I can talk about it. I'm excited about my future and about these guys' future, too. I like this team and feel really close to them.
 
 

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