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RCR Sprint Cup Preview: Auto Club Speedway

Richard Childress Racing
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series News and Notes

Race: Auto Club 400
Date: March 24, 2013
Location: Auto Club Speedway

RCR in SoCal ... In 69 overall NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Auto Club Speedway (ACS), RCR Chevrolet teams have earned one win (Kevin Harvick - 2011), one pole award (Mike Skinner - April 2000), 10 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes. RCR has a 20.3 average starting position, a 16.6 average finishing position and has completed 16,143 of the 16,431 laps (98 percent) contested at the moderately-banked D-shaped race track. Each of RCR's three full-time drivers (Paul Menard, Harvick and Jeff Burton) competing this weekend has led laps at the two-mile speedway.

RCR in the NSCS ... In 2,285 Sprint Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 101 wins, 42 pole awards, 435 top-five finishes and 914 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 17.9 and an average finishing position of 15.8 among all races contested. RCR has earned 14 total championships (six Sprint Cup Series championships with Dale 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 title) and was the first organization to win titles in NASCAR's three national series.

RCR Bristol Rewind ... In last Sunday's Sprint Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway, Menard (ninth) collected his second consecutive top-10 finish of the 2013 season while Harvick crossed the finish line 14th and Burton 32nd, after being involved in an multi-car accident on lap 54.

The Collective RCR ... Throughout the season's first four races, RCR's Sprint Cup Series entries have made two trips to Victory Lane with Harvick in the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race and Budweiser Duel qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway. RCR has also notched four top-10 finishes with drivers Burton, Austin Dillon, Harvick and Menard. The three full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers rank ninth (Menard), 17th (Harvick) and 25th (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 and at along with official driver pages -, and

Catch the Action ... Live coverage of the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway will be televised on FOX Sunday, March 24, beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Time and will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.


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

This Week's CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet ... Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 414 at Auto Club Speedway. This No. 27 Chevrolet SS is a new addition to the Richard Childress Racing stable this season.

Menard in Fontana ... Menard has 10 starts at Auto Club Speedway. His best start of 15th and best finish of 16th both came in 2011. The Wisconsin native has completed 2,241 of 2,279 laps attempted (98.3 percent) at the two-mile oval, leading three of them.

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Don't Miss Your Chance to See Menard at the Team Chevy Stage ... Fans can participate in a question-and-answer session with Menard on Saturday, March 23 at 11:15 a.m. Pacific Time at the Team Chevy Stage, located in the midway at Auto Club Speedway.

Race Rewind ... Starting 27th, Menard finished 19th in last year's Auto Club 400 when the scheduled 200-lap event was called complete on lap 129 because of rain.

Menard's Thoughts on Racing at Auto Club Speedway:

"Speeds are really high at Auto Club Speedway and the tires fall off quickly. One of our biggest challenges will be trying to make the tires last as long as we can during a fuel run on the CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet. With tire wear we can move around a lot on the track and have multiple racing grooves. It's all about lane selection at Auto Club as the racing groove is constantly changing. In the beginning of a run we can typically run the bottom groove, but as the tires fall off momentum is important. The higher we can run the more momentum we can carry and we don't have to be as aggressive with the throttle. We had a good finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, another intermediate track, so hopefully that will help us this weekend in Fontana."

Kevin Harvick
No. 29 Jimmy John's Chevrolet SS Event Preview Fact Sheet

This Week's Jimmy John's Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot chassis No. 378 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the Auto Club 400. Harvick last ran this RCR machine to an eighth-place finish during the 2012 season-finale event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Freaky Good in his Home State ... Harvick will make his 20th-career Sprint Cup Series start at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday afternoon in front of a hometown crowd. The California native went to Victory Lane in 2011 and has earned four top-five and nine top-10 finishes. Throughout the years, Harvick has completed 98.4 percent (4,463 of 4,534) of the laps contested, with 60 laps led. 

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2012 Race Rewind ... Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John's team used pit strategy to improve their position and earn a fourth-place finish in last year's rain-shortened Auto Club 400.


Did you learn anything about the new car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that you can use at Auto Club Speedway?

"I don't think so. I think you have two totally different styles of track between Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway. You'll take the same family of car that we would race at Las Vegas to California, but that is really the only similarity. Auto Club Speedway has become pretty worn out over the last several years. It's a lot of fun to race on and move around, you can go four or five wide in the corners and down the straightaways. You just have to really pay attention to what your car is doing, to try and get it balanced throughout the whole run because there is so much fall off from start to finish."
Why do you think Auto Club Speedway has been such a good track for you throughout the years?
"We've just figured some things out there, where I want to be on the race track and the team has learned what I'm looking for in the car. To be able to go to a race track where you expect to race for the win is always fun. It seems like year after year you go to different styles of race tracks and the evolution of the car or the setups or tires change. Sometime you're on and sometimes you're off, but is seems like Auto Club Speedway has been a very consistent race track for us to be competitive."

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

This Week's No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS at Auto Club Speedway... Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 416 this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. This is a brand new No. 31 Chevrolet that will see its first on-track action during Friday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session.

Burton in California ... Burton has 23 starts at Auto Club Speedway with one pole award (1999), six top-five finishes, seven top-10 finishes and led 127 laps. 

Featured Caterpillar Dealer ... Johnson Machinery will be featured on the deck lid of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet this weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

Johnson Machinery is Caterpillar's only Platinum level dealer, serving Riverside and San Bernardino counties since 1940. Johnson offers the complete line of Caterpillar construction equipment products, new and used parts, service and rentals. Headquartered in Riverside, they have locations in Fontana, Indio, Victorville and Temecula.

Race Rewind 2012 ... Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team finished 22nd in the 2012 Auto Club 400 after NASCAR officials shortened the scheduled 200-lap event to 129 laps due to rain.

Drivers like Auto Club Speedway because the surface is worn out. Is that track harder on the drivers or crews?
"I think it is harder on the crews. In my opinion, tracks like Auto Club Speedway are why this new Gen-6 car was built. It is a slick two-mile race track. How do you make the racing more fun to watch? The decision was made to make more grip. If we leave there without seeing a better race than we have in the past, it will be disappointing. In my opinion, that race track is exactly what this car was built around." 
Why do you think drivers like old worn-out surfaces like Auto Club Speedway?
"I don't think all drivers do, just the ones that run well there do. It's fun to slide around and not have a lot of grip as long as everyone else is doing it too. It's fun to know you are on the limit with the car sliding around. It's a fun way to race."

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