Richard Childress Racing press release
RCR at Talladega ... Richard Childress is tied with Rick Hendrick for the most all-time victories at the storied Alabama race track with 11 wins. Dale Earnhardt visited Victory Lane nine times while Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer swept both events at the 2.66-mile superspeedway in 2010 for the Welcome, N.C.-based organization. In 130 starts, RCR boasts four poles awards, 35 top-five, 55 top-10 finishes and has led 1,711 laps of competition.
Get to the Points ... Harvick represents RCR in the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and is currently second in the driver championship point standings, five markers outside of the top spot, with five races remaining. Bowyer remains 13th in the standings, with Menard 21st and Burton 24th.
Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3 ... The No. 27 Richard Childress Racing team will participate in NASCAR's Electronic Fuel Injection test session Thursday, October 20 at Talladega Superspeedway.
This week's Serta/Menards Chevrolet at Talladega Superspeedway ... Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 335 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This is a brand new No. 27 Chevrolet Impala that will turn its first laps during opening practice on Friday at Talladega.
PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
What do you think of the recent rule changes for Talladega Superspeedway and what kind of racing do you think we'll see there? "I think you're still going to see the same two-car breakaway drafting that we've seen all year. I'm not sure that rule changes are going to change that a whole lot. We'll probably go a little bit faster when we do it, but it should be about the same two-car drafting."
Do you think that something needed to be done to fix the two-car drafting at the superspeedways? "Well, if you look at the number of lead changes and leaders, we're at record numbers. I think that's what race fans like to see are passes for the lead. We don't have the big pack racing but you still get the 'big ones' that people want to see, also. No, I don't think they needed to do anything to it."
Winning is top priority for the No. 27 team, but is second helping Harvick or protecting him in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup? "Our number one goal each week is obviously to win the race. If we can't do that, we want to finish second, and if we can't do that we try to finish third. If we can help our teammates along the way without hurting our position, we'll try to do that also."
As far as the championship contenders, things are so close. Do you give those guys just a couple inches more when you race them? "You kind of race them the same way. If they take advantage of you, then you don't respect them as much. But if they respect you, you show them the same respect back. It's really no different than what we do every week."
This Week's Jimmy John's Chevrolet at Talladega Superspeedway ... Kevin Harvick will race chassis No. 377 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. It is a brand new racer that will see its first on-track activity this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTES:
Are you really excited about racing at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend? "I am, restrictor plate stuff has been great for us, you never know how it is going to go at Talladega (Superspeedway), but we have been pretty good there in the past."
How are the new changes to the restrictor plate going to change racing at Talladega Superspeedway? "I don't anticipate the restrictor plate change doing anything. I think the speeds will be a little bit higher. I think the pop-off valve will probably be a bigger change than the restrictor plate for sure."
With the changes, will two-car tandems still be a factor at Talladega Superspeedway? "Absolutely. I don't think it's going to change the two-car tandem other than you're going to have to switch spots a lot more to keep the engine cool."
What has made Talladega Superspeedway such a successful track for you? "For whatever reason, we've just always had a good plate program at RCR and when you have good cars, it makes it a lot easier to have success. We'll stick with our teammates and see where we fall at the end."
You're currently second in the point standings. What's been the key for the No. 29 team's strong finishes in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup so far? "Just battling. Everyone is just battling to keep the cars up front and doing the things they have to do. We haven't had the fastest cars in the first few races, but we just have never given up on it and wound up with decent finishes. Hopefully we can keep at that and get a little more speed out of them."
This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Talladega Superspeedway ... Jeff Burton will race Chassis No. 337 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend's Good Sam Club 500. Built new for the 2011 season, this No. 31 racer tested at Daytona International Speedway in January but will be put through its first competitive laps this weekend at Talladega. Unfinished Business ... In 35 Sprint Cup Series starts at Talladega, Burton owns four top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. Although he has yet to visit Victory Lane at the storied superspeedway, his best finish of third came in October 2001. The South Boston, Va., native also boasts a 24.3 starting average to go along with an 18.9 finishing average and has led 121 laps of competition.
JEFF BURTON QUOTES:
What do you think about the recent superspeedway rule change? What kind of racing do you think it's going to bring this weekend at Talladega (Superspeedway)? "Well it's going to be interesting. From what it looks like, you're not going to have a two-car tandem. Pandora's box is open and you can't shut it. You're still going to see that late-race push by someone. If you can even push someone for a lap, the cars might overheat and blow up. However, if it's on the last lap, so what, the race is over. You're still going to see an effort by some drivers to get together and push each other. The rest of the racing I think is going to be more like a Talladega race that we're accustomed to seeing. You'll see bigger packs of cars racing with each other. It's going to be interesting to see how track position plays in with the rule change because track position was really important with the two-car tandem."
Do you think the rules change was needed to get rid of some of the two-car tandem drafting? "It's a matter of opinion. I think that one person will stand there and say 'yeah, it wasn't fun to watch.' The next person will think it was fine. Was it needed for other reasons? No, it wasn't. From a technical standpoint, it worked fine. We had wrecks because of the two-car tandem, and we had wrecks without them. I don't know if it was needed or not, but I know there was a percentage of fans that didn't like it. So, we'll see what happens."
I know your primary reason is to go and win, but is your secondary to go and protect (Kevin) Harvick? "That's the other thing that is interesting too, with the two-car tandem there's no question that we would have dedicated someone to be with him all day. Which we did anyway, we did it at the (Daytona) 500, the Coke Zero 400 and the first Talladega race. We determined who would run with whom and did our best to stick together. Say if Paul (Menard) was working with Harvick and they got separated, one of us would be more inclined to go get him. However, without being able to bump draft in that two-car tandem, that takes a lot out of the equation."
With Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers in the race, are you more inclined to give them a little more room? "I don't know how you can give anyone more room at Talladega Superspeedway. You have to race the Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup) guys the same way you always race them. That means you always have to race everyone the right way. I know some people think that I raced (Jeff) Gordon too hard earlier in the Chase because I didn't let him go, but you know what, that's what racing is all about. If I can't do that, then I'll just go home. You have to have a code of ethics and you have to stand by those when you're racing each weekend."
This Week's Chevy 100 Years Chevrolet at Talladega Superspeedway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot chassis No. 338 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This Chevrolet Impala was originally a No. 27 racer that has been driven three times this season by RCR teammate Paul Menard in the Daytona 500 (started-19th, finished-ninth), at Talladega Superspeedway in April (started-fifth, finished-12th) and at Daytona International Speedway in July (started-10th, finished-eighth).
Points Racing ... Bowyer remains 13th in the NSCS driver championship point standings with five races remaining in the 2011 season.
CLINT BOWYER QUOTES:
What do you think of the recent rule changes at Talladega Superspeedway? What kind of race do you think it will be now? "I am looking forward to seeing what the rule changes are going to do. It's a step in the right direction. Do I think it will fix the two-car tandem? I really don't know. I am reluctant to answer right now. Only time will tell."
Did you like the two-car tandem at superspeedways? "It's not really up to me, you or anyone, but the fans. If the fans don't like it, then I don't like it and no one likes it. If they love it, then everyone loves it. We are in show business and here to put on a show. It's as simple as that."
There are times at Talladega Superspeedway when you have to give a little bit to avoid causing "the big one." If you're racing a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contender, do you give them a break? "Unfortunately, you can't. As soon as you try to be consciously aware of a specific individual and try to give them something to help them or whatever, you're probably putting them in more danger by not going with the flow of things and making sure everything is right. That's kind of a tough to juggle at a track like Talladega Superspeedway."