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June 9, 2013

Sprint Cup Post Race Report for Pocono Raceway

Kevin gets a top 10, Jeff misses out by one and Paul has a tough finish

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Pocono Raceway      
June 9, 2013  

Race Highlights


* Richard Childress Racing teammates finished ninth (Kevin Harvick), 11th (Jeff Burton) and 30th (Paul Menard).
* Following the event at Pocono Raceway, Harvick remains fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 87 markers, while Menard ranks 12th, 136 points back, and Burton sits 21st, 165 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 12th and the No. 31 team 23rd.
* According to NASCAR's Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Harvick posted two of the Fastest Laps Run during the 160-lap event.
* Harvick earned the eighth-best Driver Rating (98.8), had the eighth-fasted Green Flag Speed and made 31 Quality Passes, ranking him eighth in the loop data category.
* Burton completed 73 Green Flag Passes, nine of which came while running in the top 15 (Quality Passes).
* Menard posted 76 Green Flag Passes and 12 Quality Passes.
* Jimmie Johnson earned his third victory of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and was followed to the finish line by Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman.
* The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 16. The 15th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on TNT beginning at Noon Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio.

               Late-Race Incident Relegates Menard to 30th-Place Finish

Paul Menard and the No. 27 Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet team had their afternoon spoiled by a blown tire on the final lap and finished 30th in the 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway. Menard started the race in the ninth position after persistent rain showers forced NASCAR officials to cancel Friday's qualifying session. The 32-year old driver maintained a top-15 position during the first 60 laps while battling a loose-handling condition on his green and yellow machine. After falling out of the top 20 during the middle stages of the race, crew chief "Slugger" Labbe and the No. 27 pit crew went to work and made several adjustments to the car during multiple pit stops. As the race progressed, the Richard Childress Racing driver climbed back into the top 15 where he remained until bad luck struck on the final lap when a right-front tire went flat causing the Eau Claire, Wis., native to lose control of his car and slam into the outside retaining wall. In the end, Menard settled for a 30th-place finish and now sits 12th in Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.

       Start - 9          Finish - 30          Laps Led - 0         Points - 12th

PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
"Our Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet was pretty good for most of today's race, but it was a tough way to end the day with a blown tire on the final lap. We'll keep our heads up and look for a better result in Michigan next Sunday."
     
             Harvick Salvages Top-10 Finish at "The Tricky Triangle"

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Rheem team rallied back to a ninth-place result at Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon after receiving a mid-race pit road speeding penalty. The Richard Childress Racing driver started the 160-lap event from the fifth position after rain canceled qualifying Friday afternoon, setting the field by the NASCAR rulebook. During the early laps of the Party in the Poconos 400, Harvick informed crew chief Gil Martin he was battling a tight-handling red and black Chevrolet that transitioned to a loose condition as the run progressed. The Rheem pit crew executed scheduled two and four-tire pit stops on laps 26, 54 and 67, along with chassis and air pressure adjustments, in an effort to alleviate the handling issues their driver was battling. Harvick maintained a top-five position in the running order until a lap 99 green-flag pit stop when NASCAR officials issued a pass-through penalty for speeding on pit road, forcing him back to the 28th position. As the race progressed, the California native methodically and patiently worked his way back toward the front of the field, crossing the finish line in the ninth position. Following his sixth top-10 finish of the season, Harvick remains fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
 
       Start - 5         Finish - 9         Laps Led - 0            Points - 5th

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
"The Rheem crew did a great job today at Pocono Raceway, especially coming back from that mid-race set back on pit road. Recovering from that mistake to finish in the top 10 is proof of how hard this team works each week."

                              Burton Finishes 11th

Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team battled back to a top-15 finish of 11th at Pocono Raceway. Starting the 400-mile event from the 24th position after rain forced NASCAR officials to cancel Friday's qualifying session, the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner worked his way into the top 20 early while battling a loose on exit and tight in the middle-handling condition. Burton began to find speed as the race progressed, but a missed shift on a restart relegated the Richard Childress Racing driver to the 27th position on lap 75. By the time the next caution flag was displayed on lap 126, Burton was solidly back in the top 20. The Caterpillar team didn't give up over the course of the race, making several chassis adjustments to remedy the ill-handling condition during multiple pit stops and finally started to showcase speed in the latter stages of long runs. The 45-year-old driver restarted in the top 15 on lap 129 and worked his way into the top 10 five laps later, making it to as high as seventh on the leaderboard. Over the final 19 laps, Burton battled through multiple restarts and managed to bring home the black and yellow machine in 11th place. Burton is now 21st in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.

         Start - 24          Finish - 11          Laps Led - 0           Points - 21st

JEFF BURTON QUOTE
: "Today was just another day where the No. 31 team showed we are making progress with our 1.5-mile and above track program. I dug us a hole early in the race by missing a shift on a restart and restarts were so important today. You had to be aggressive. I also expected to run well here after our successful test session last week. We'll continue to make progress next weekend at Michigan (International Speedway)."

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