Richard Childress Racing press release
One Trophy Missing from the Shelf ... Homestead-Miami Speedway has been a bit of an Achilles Heel for RCR and is one of the few race tracks where team owner Richard Childress has not earned a Sprint Cup Series victory.
Get to the Points ... Harvick represents RCR in the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and is currently third in the driver championship point standings, 51 markers outside of the top spot with one race remaining. Bowyer remains 13th in the standings, with Menardclimbing to 18th and Burton advancing to 21st.
This week's Duracell/Menards Chevrolet at Homestead-Miami Speedway ... Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 364 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet Impala was a brand new addition to the RCR fleet for the 2011 season and was last seen on track at Atlanta Motor Speedway in October, where Menard started 22nd and finished 18th. This racer also saw competitive laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where Menard drove it to Victory Lane after starting 15th
PAUL MENARD QUOTES: You've had some ups and downs this season including a win, would you like to see the season end or keep going after the race Homestead-Miami Speedway? "There's always mixed feels whether you want the season to end or not at Homestead. You kind of want to get going onto next year and get a fresh start but on the other hand, you feel like you have some unfinished business and want to keep working on what you've been working on all season. It's always kind of bittersweet in Miami."
Do you feel like the season has gone by slow or fast? "It's been up and down emotionally for our team, but the season itself has gone by pretty fast. It's hard to believe we're at the last race already."
How important is it to end the season on a high note? "It's really just another race. You run well there and you'll feel good for a couple days after but then it's back to work. I try to take a vacation and enjoy Thanksgiving maybe go deer hunting but after all that, it's back to work and focusing on the 2012 season."
You seem to have a handle on the 1.5-mile race tracks. "We've made some pretty big improvements in our cars this year than what we've had in the past with our intermediate track program. Our engines are much better so I'm looking forward to improving our finishes even more in Miami."
This Week's Budweiser Chevrolet at Homestead-Miami Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will race chassis No. 373 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) stable. The No. 29 team has raced this car twice this season. Harvick finished 22nd in the car at Michigan International Speedway in August and scored a sixth-place finish in it at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTES: Why is Homestead-Miami Speedway one of your favorite tracks? "Homestead is one of those race tracks that you don't know when it is going to stop aging. It seems like every time we return to the track it loses a little grip, which is a good thing. Since they repaved the track a few years back it has become one of my favorites. You can move all around trying to find a groove that works for you. There are a lot of different places where you can make your car work. For me it has been a lot of fun to race on."
How does Homestead fit your driving style? "It's just unique. You can charge turn one a little bit more than you can at most places, because as you get through the corner, the banking seems to get steeper all the way through, and you have options. You can run the top, you can run the bottom, you can run the middle, or you can split the middle-top or middle-bottom and make your car turn. It's just a unique race track, and it seems to fit the guys that like to move around and make their cars work in different spots."
This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Homestead-Miami Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race Chassis No. 367 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This Caterpillar Chevrolet is a recent addition to the fleet and ran for the first time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July where Burton started 13th and finished 35th after facing electrical issues in the closing laps. It later ran at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September, where Burton started 27th and climbed through the field to post a 13th-place finish. Most recently this racer started 31st and finished in the 21st position at Kansas Speedway in October.
JEFF BURTON QUOTES: With all the hard times this season, will you be glad to see the season over after Homestead? "I feel like one year leads into the next and sometimes you just want to stop and regroup. I think this is one of those times. I'm still very energized and still like coming to the race track even though this has been a tough year. I feel like the way you turn things around is to keep going. The end of the year brings the finale but it also brings reality, too. There's no way to hide your year anymore. We're hoping some things will come our way and we'll find some things that will provide for better finishes and allow for a better mind set at the last race of the season. I'm really never glad to see the year end whether I'm having a good season or a bad season. The end of the season brings a hard time of year for me. I'm left wondering what to do now because I enjoy being at the race track and racing. The off season is a little odd. But, at the same time, it will be good to stop and start over again in February."
Has the season flown by or kind of dragged on considering how it's been for you? "I used to hear my parents talk about how the years fly by and I used to laugh at them, but now they really do fly by. I feel like we were just at the Daytona 500 not too long ago. It seems the years go by faster the longer you're in the sport. It's hard to see how quick the season is going by when you're in the midst of it. But, looking back on the season, it's really gone by fast."
How important is it to have a good run at Homestead-Miami Speedway as the season finale to provide momentum for the beginning of next season? "It's always important to run well at all of the tracks we go to no matter if it's the first or the last race. It doesn't matter if we win or finish last. I won't leave Homestead thinking our finish is how our season will be next year. It's always better to have a good finish because you feel good leaving the track, but three or four days later you've forgotten about it and gone onto the next thing. Homestead doesn't have a lingering affect. Just because you win at Homestead doesn't mean you're going to a great season the next year. The way we ran (at Homestead) last year doesn't mean we would have a better or worse chance to win the Daytona 500 this year. You'll know how you're going to do the following season by the preparation between now and the (Daytona) 500."
Do you think you've been snake bit there the last couple of years? "It seems like everything that's happened at Homestead has almost always been in our control - no matter if we run well or run bad. I don't look at Homestead and think 'wow, we have a lot of bad luck there.' We've been in position to win, but we haven't put ourselves where we needed to be in the last run and got beat. We didn't do a good enough job."
This Week's Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet at Homestead-Miami Speedway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot chassis No. 350 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This Chevrolet Impala, built new in 2011, has seen action four times this season, posting top-15 efforts at Texas Motor Speedway (started-third, finished-second), at the Coca-Cola 600 in May (started-10th, finished-15th) at Michigan International Speedway in June (started-27th, finished- eighth) and Dover International Speedway in October (started-27th, finished-eighth).
CLINT BOWYER QUOTES: How hard is it going to be to climb out of the car for the last time for Richard Childress Racing? "Yeah, it's going to be really tough. It's going to be awkward to be honest. It's the only thing I've ever drove and always been one of Richard's cars or one associated with him. It's bittersweet. I owe everything in my career to Richard and it's going to be tough, but change isn't always a bad thing. I'm ready for the challenge. I really am ready for this."
What would be your storybook ending for your final race with RCR? "The real storybook ending would have been running the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and winning the championship. That probably would have made for some good headlines! Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, but getting a win here before the end of the season would be pretty high up on my list."
Has the season crawled or flown by for you? "It flew by just like every season does. You find yourself in July saying 'what the hell, where did the season go?' Then before you know it, the end of the summer is here and you don't even remember the summer races. That's what's so crazy, how fast the summer months go by in this sport. Those are the months that you're the busiest on and off the race track. Through all these, there have been days where it seemed like they would never end."
How well have you run at Homestead-Miami Speedway? "Homestead-Miami Speedway is a fun race track. Our finishes don't reflect how well we've run there. I think we've actually broke twice there. It's a fun race track and a very important race because we get to crown another champion."