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Sprint Cup Preview for Sonoma Raceway

                        NASCAR Sprint Cup Series News and Notes

Save Mart 350
Date: Sunday, June 23, 2013
Location: Sonoma Raceway

Richard Childress Racing in Wine Country ...
In 54 starts at the 10-turn stadium course, Richard Childress Racing owns two wins, with Dale Earnhardt in the 1995 Save Mart Supermarkets 300 and with Robby Gordon in the Save Mart 350 in 2003, one pole award (Earnhardt, 1995), 13 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes. The Welcome, N.C.,-based team has led 137 laps at Sonoma, completed 5,574 of the 5,620 laps contested (99.2 percent) and recorded just one DNF (Did Not Finish) over that stretch (1989-2012).

RCR in the NSCS ...
In 2,319 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 103 wins, 42 pole awards, 440 top-five finishes and 924 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 Michigan Rewind ...
Last weekend at Michigan International Speedway, Kevin Harvick scored his fourth top-five finish of the season (second place) while Jeff Burton notched his third top-10 finish of the season with a 10th-place effort. Austin Dillon and Paul Menard finished 11th and 14th, respectively.
The Collective RCR ... Throughout the season's first 15 races, RCR's Sprint Cup Series entries have earned two wins with Harvick, at Richmond International Raceway (April) and in the Coca-Cola 600, notched five top-five and 14 top-10 finishes with drivers Burton, Dillon, Harvick and Menard. RCR's three full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers rank fourth (Harvick), 11th (Menard) and 17th (Burton) in the driver championship point standings.

Sonoma Qualifying Format ... Qualifying for road courses, such as Sonoma Raceway, will have an exciting new look this year. Cars will be broken into group assignments based off their practice times and will be on the race track at the same time, for a set period of time. During a car's time on the track, their fastest lap time will serve as their qualifying lap of record. This format will continue for the Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International in August; which is the only other road course on the series' circuit.  

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 ... TNT's live coverage from Sonoma Raceway begins Sunday, June 23 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

                                   Paul Menard
                  No. 27 Moen/Menards Chevrolet SS

This Week's Moen/Menards Chevrolet ... Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 358 at Sonoma Raceway. This No. 27 Chevrolet SS was previously raced by Menard at Sonoma in 2011 and 2012.

Wine Country Stats... Menard has five starts at Sonoma Raceway. His best start of third and best finish of 17th both came in 2011. The Wisconsin native has completed 556 of 567 laps attempted (99.8 percent) at the 1.99-mile road course.

About Moen ... As the #1 faucet brand in North America, Moen offers a diverse selection of thoughtfully designed kitchen and bath faucets, showerheads, accessories, bath safety products and kitchen sinks for residential and commercial applications each delivering the best possible combination of meaningful innovation, useful features, and lasting value. For more information on Moen, please visit

Race Rewind ... Starting 23rd, Menard was in contention for a top-15 finish when a late-race spin relegated the No. 27 team to a 20th-place finish at the Sonoma, Calif., road course last season.

Menard's Thoughts on Road Course Racing and Sonoma Raceway:
"I enjoy road-course racing at Sonoma (Raceway). We've always had a fast car there, but just haven't had the stats to show for it. We are taking the same car back this year that we've raced the past two years, so I'm confident we'll have another fast Moen/Menards Chevrolet this weekend. I wouldn't mind if we had a couple more road-course races on the schedule to break up the oval racing a bit. Racing in Sonoma and Watkins Glen (International) is a lot different from what we do week-to-week. There is a lot of shifting involved and we make both right and left turns. Even though we only go to two road-course events a year, it doesn't take long to get back into that type of race mode again. I've run a lot of laps at Sonoma, so it's just like going to any track. You remember what you did last year and you have confidence that your car is going to respond the same."

                                   Kevin Harvick  
                     No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet SS  

This Week's Rheem Chevrolet SS at Sonoma Raceway ...
Kevin Harvick will pilot chassis No. 395 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the Save Mart 350. Most recently, the California native raced this Chevrolet to a 15th-place result at Watkins Glen International in August 2012.

Road Course Ready ... Harvick has made 12 starts at the 10-turn road course dating back to the 2001 season. During that time, the RCR veteran has collected three top-five and four top-10 finishes. He holds a 16.7 average starting position coupled with a 16.1 average finishing position, has completed 99.9 percent (1,328 of 1,329) of the laps contested and is credited with 10 laps led.

Rheem on the Hood ... The red Rheem logo will adorn the hood of the No. 29 RCR machine this weekend at Sonoma Raceway for their fifth of seven appearances during the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season. Rheem will also be featured on Harvick's Chevrolet at Michigan International Speedway in August and Talladega Superspeedway in October.

Gotta Have a Rheem ... Rheem Manufacturing Company ( is privately held with headquarters in Atlanta and U.S. operations in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Indiana, North Carolina and Texas. In its 88th year of operation, the company manufactures a full-line of eco-friendly, technologically advanced residential and commercial heating and cooling systems; tank, tankless, solar and hybrid heat pump water heaters; whole-home standby generators, controls, swimming pool and spa heaters; indoor air-purification products; and commercial boilers throughout North America and world markets. The company's premium brands, including Rheem, Raypak, Ruud and Richmond have been recognized with countless industry and consumer awards for reliability, innovative design and high quality. Rheem is the official heating, cooling and water heating supplier to Richard Childress Racing, and is a primary sponsor of RCR's No. 29 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and RCR's No. 33 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

A Lap for a Cause ...
Fans attending the Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway this weekend have the opportunity to take the ride of a lifetime with Harvick prior to the start of Sunday afternoon's event. By attending the Speedway Children's Charities - Sonoma Chapter - Live Auction on race day at 10 a.m. Pacific Time in the Wine Country Winner's Circle, one lucky Harvick fan can bid on the chance to join the RCR driver during the pre-race parade lap. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Kevin Harvick Foundation.

Batter Up ... Following Sunday's 110-lap event at Sonoma Raceway, Harvick will make his way to Yankee Stadium to participate in the third annual "Bombers Boomer Broadway Softball Classic" on Monday, June 24.The doubleheader will include two seven-inning games, with current Broadway stars facing off in the first game and Boomer's celebrities playing members of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team and New York Yankees alumni in the second game. The California native will participate in the second game.

Race Rewind ...
Harvick and the No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet team had a 16th-place finish in the 2012 Save Mart 350 at Sonoma after running out of fuel during a mid-race run.

What are your thoughts on racing at Sonoma Raceway?
"Road-course racing is fun. We have taken the time to make sure the car is right for a track like this one. I feel like Sonoma Raceway is a place that we've been to enough times where we can hopefully take some of the notes from those prior races and be alright. I enjoy that race and really look forward to heading out there."

It's being said that Sonoma Raceway is becoming a payback track and drivers are becoming more aggressive in their driving style during this race. What are your thoughts on that observation?
"The racing is more aggressive. I think the paybacks you see at Sonoma Raceway probably come from incidents during this race, not from any other track. Lately, it seems like the cars come home more beat up from this race than anywhere else. This is definitely a narrow track with a lot of slow turns, so you have to be very aggressive to make passes on this track."

                                        Jeff Burton
                  No. 31 Utility Trailers Chevrolet SS

This Weekend's No. 31 Utility Trailers Chevrolet at Sonoma Raceway ...
Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 357 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend at Sonoma Raceway. This No. 31 Chevrolet, built during the 2011 season specifically for road course racing, was driven by Burton last season at Sonoma and Watkins Glen International where he piloted the machine to 11th and 30th-place finishes, respectively. RCR teammate Kevin Harvick also drove this chassis in 2011 at Sonoma where he finished ninth.

Career Wine Country Stats ... This weekend's 110-lap event marks Burton's 20th start at the 1.99-mile facility and 671st-career Sprint Cup Series entry. Burton garnered one top-five and five top-10 finishes at the Sonoma, Calif.-based race track with his best start coming in 2002 (third) and best finish coming in 2007 (third).

Building momentum ... 
Through the last four Sprint Cup Series events, Burton and the No. 31 team have quietly  built momentum and  are recovering from bad luck early on in the season. The RCR driver has accumulated four consecutive top-15 finishes, including a top-10 effort last weekend at Michigan International Speedway, and climbed four positions in the NSCS driver championship point standings to 17th.

About Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company ...
Utility Trailer Manufacturing is America's oldest privately owned, family-operated trailer manufacturer. Founded in 1914, the company designs and manufactures dry freight vans, flatbeds, refrigerated vans, Tautliner® curtainsided trailers and side skirts. Utility currently operates five trailer manufacturing facilities across the United States. Utility's 3000R® and the 3000R® multi-temp refrigerated trailers are manufactured at the Marion, Virginia and Clearfield, Utah plants. The 4000D-X Composite® and 4000D™ dry vans are manufactured at the Glade Spring, Virginia and Paragould, Arkansas plants. The 4000A®, 4000S™, drop deck and double flatbeds as well as the Tautliner® are all manufactured at the Enterprise, Alabama facility. Utility also has an extensive independent dealer network with over 100 locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America. Visit and for more information.

The Heart Walk in Sonoma ... Fans can start their Save Mart 350 race weekend off on the right foot by joining NASCAR driver Jeff Burton for a one-mile walk and breakfast, all in the name of heart health. Burton will team up with a Bay Area heart transplant survivor in the first-ever Heart Walk to BEAT Heart Disease at Sonoma Raceway. The Heart Walk, a collaboration between Sonoma Raceway, Save Mart Supermarkets, the American Heart Association and General Mills, will begin at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time on Friday, June 21, in the Club 7 hospitality tent above the Turn 7 Terrace of Sonoma Raceway. The event will be followed by a heart-healthy breakfast sponsored by General Mills and Save Mart Supermarkets. The Heart Walk ticket package, which includes a seat for Great Clips Fast Friday NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, participation in the Heart Walk to BEAT Heart Disease and breakfast, are $25 each and may be purchased through Sonoma Raceway. Five dollars from each ticket will be donated to the American Heart Association to help in the battle against heart disease, the nation's number one killer of women.  Fans that already have tickets for the Great Clips Fast Friday can make a simple $5 donation to join the BEAT Heart Walk at the event.

Race Rewind 2012 ...
After starting deep in the field, Burton and the No. 31 Chevrolet team took home NASCAR's official "Improving the Finish" Award by gaining 24 positions over the course of the 112-lap event, persevering to an 11th-place finish last year in Sonoma.

Would you agree that road course racing is some of the craziest racing on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule?
"I really enjoy road-course racing, but lately it's gotten out of hand on these restarts with people banging into one another. Track position is huge now because when you get back in the middle of the pack on a restart, it is comparable to racing at a restrictor-plate track in that you'll just have to assume there is a high chance you will be in a wreck. You try to protect yourself from it, but it doesn't matter because someone will just run over you. If you aren't exceptionally aggressive and pushing the guy in front of you out of the way, then someone is going to run you over. I'm a fan of aggressive racing, but I'm not a fan of people running over each other."

What are your thoughts on the new qualifying format at Sonoma Raceway?

"Anytime we can get more time on the race track in practice at a road course before we actually have to qualify, that's a good thing in my book. I also like the new qualifying format for Sonoma (Raceway) where they send more than one car out at a time. More time on the race track is always a good thing and I'm a big fan of the European-style qualifying format, which will make qualifying go by quicker and more enjoyable for the fans

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