Richard Childress Racing Loudon 301 Race Report

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New Hampshire International Speedway

RCR teammates finished 16th (Jeff Burton), 17th (Clint Bowyer), 21st (Kevin Harvick) and 24th (Paul Menard).

RCR teammates are fourth (Harvick), 12th (Bowyer), 19th (Menard) and 25th (Burton) in the point standings after this weekend's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Paul Menard, Richard Childress Racing
Paul Menard, Richard Childress Racing

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

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Menard and No. 27 Richmond/Menards Team Take Home 24th From New Hampshire Motor Speedway

After starting from the ninth position in Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Paul Menard and the No. 27 team were faced with a much-changed Richmond/Menards Chevrolet from Saturday's practice sessions during which the track's temperature was much cooler. The Slugger Labbe-led team tried a number of adjustments, but the tight-center condition persisted, relegating them to a 24th-place finish at Loudon, N.H.-based short track. Menard took the green flag in front of an estimated crowd of 95,000 at "The Magic Mile" and remained a fixture in the top 10 for the first 60 circuits. He hit pit road during the second caution of the afternoon for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment in an effort to remedy the loose-in and loose-off handling.

During the subsequent green-flag run, Menard reported to the team that the adjustment had not helped the exit and, consequently, had hurt the center, resulting in a tight condition. The team continued to try a number of chassis and air pressure adjustments during each pit stop throughout the remainder of the 301-lap event. As the laps counted down, it became apparent that fuel strategy would play a part in the final results of the race. The final caution flag of the day was displayed on lap 240. The No. 27 team took the opportunity to change the left-side tires with a minor air pressure adjustment and top their Chevrolet off with enough fuel to complete the race. Some teams rolled the dice and remained on track, placing Menard deep in the field for the restart. Sliding back to as far as 29th, Menard was able to regain some ground as cars ran out of fuel in the closing laps, and brought home a 24th-place finish.

PAUL MENARD: "I think it's safe to say that the off-weekend came at a pretty good time. We'll take these next couple of weeks to regroup and then head to Indy (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) refreshed and ready to go."

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Tough Outing for Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Team in Loudon

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team battled handling issues and track position all day in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway before finishing the event in the 21st position. After starting the race from 18th, Harvick patiently made laps while dealing with a car that was too tight in the center and loose getting into the turns. The team made its first big adjustment during the first caution at lap 29, raising the track bar, changing two tires and adding fuel. Harvick was in 15th place when racing resumed at lap 34. Varying strategies were exercised up and down pit road while the No. 29 Budweiser team elected to do two-tire stops in their first three pit road visits in an effort to pick up track position. The strategy worked, moving Harvick up to the seventh position after the first 100 laps of the race.

Trouble ensued during the middle stages of the race as the Budweiser Chevrolet fell to the extreme loose side at lap 104. Harvick slid through the field, dropping as far back as the 18th position until the team elected to bring him to pit road for four tires, adjustments and fuel during green-flag conditions at lap 141. The fourth caution waved two laps later, placing the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet a lap down. Having just pitted, Harvick took the wave around to get back on the lead lap but was mired deep in the field in the 32nd position. Harvick spent the remaining laps battling persistent handling issues on the Budweiser Chevrolet. As the race started to wind down, fuel mileage became an issue. The No. 29 Budweiser team could never get their pit activities in sequence with the front runners which resulted in the No. 29 car competing in the 25th position during the closing laps of the event. A number of drivers ran out of fuel during the final laps of the race, allowing Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser team to pick up four more positions to finish in 21st place. The finish dropped Harvick a position in the driver point standings. He is currently in fourth place, 15 points out of first place.

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Strong Run for Burton and Caterpillar Team Ends in 16th-Place Result

After battling in the top five for the majority of the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, Jeff Burton and the Caterpillar team were bit by fuel strategy, resulting in a 16th-place finish. The four-time NHMS winner proved he knows how to get around the picturesque one-mile oval when he qualified the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet in the sixth position for the 301-lap main event. From the drop of the green flag on the 19th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event of the season, the black and yellow Caterpillar machine became a fixture in the top 10. With minor air pressure adjustments during the team's first few pit stops under caution, the handling on the No. 31 Chevy came to life and Burton chased down the leaders as the race passed the lap-100 mark, remaining there for the next 85 circuits and climbing to as high as second on lap 144.

When the caution flag flew on lap 240, the Caterpillar Chevy peeled of the track while running third to come to pit road for their final two-tire pit stop of the day to ensure Burton would have enough fuel to make it the distance. Unfortunately, many of the competitors behind the No. 31 Chevrolet chose to forgo pit road and remain on track, dropping the 21-time NSCS race winner to the 20th position for the restart on lap 244. Mired in traffic, the handling on the Caterpillar Chevrolet became a challenge and the No. 31 team; ultimately, settled for a 16th-place finish, gaining a few positions as other vehicles ran out of fuel in the closing laps.

JEFF BURTON: "The Caterpillar Chevrolet was fast all day long. The handling just went away on the final run. It was disappointing for the entire team not to leave Loudon with the type of finish we were looking for today. We had a strong weekend but weren't able to put it all together."

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No. 33 Good Sam Club Team Leads Laps, Brings Home 17th-Place Finish at New Hampshire

Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Good Sam Club Chevrolet team brought home a 17th-place finish in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. After a solid 12th-place qualifying effort on Friday, the Richard Childress Racing driver started off the sunny day fighting a loose condition. After making two pit stops under the same lap-61 caution flag to put a rubber in the right rear, the Emporia, Kan., native fell back to 34th only to gain 11 of those positions back before the next caution was displayed on lap 101. Over the next 60 laps, Bowyer clawed his way into the top 15 and by lap 180 had earned a top-10 spot on the NHMS leader board while fighting a loose condition. After taking two fresh right-side Goodyear tires under caution on lap 185, the four-time Sprint Cup Series race winner restarted 23rd and fought his way back into the top 15 again by the time the caution flag flew on lap 217 for debris.

It was on this pit stop that crew chief Shane Wilson made the decision to not change tires and only put Sunoco E15 fuel in the No. 33 Chevrolet to gain valuable track position at the one-mile facility. After restarting third, Bowyer continued to run in the top five until the competitors in front of him decided to come down pit road for service on a caution seven laps later while Wilson made the call to stay out on track and not service the red and yellow Impala. Bowyer restarted as the leader and held the top spot for three laps, earning a championship driver point in the process before falling back in the top five. Under the final caution on lap 241, Bowyer came down pit road for two right-side tires and a wedge adjustment and restarted in the 22nd position. Over the final 57 laps, the RCR driver gained five positions back and brought home a 17th-place finish, remaining 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 28 points out of the top 10.

CLINT BOWYER: "It seemed like we were playing catch up all day in the No. 33 Good Sam Club Chevrolet. In the end, our pit strategy didn't work out and we ended up 17th. We led some laps and are still 12th in points."

By: richard childress racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags bowyer, burton, chevrolet, childress, harvick, loudon, menard, nascar, new hampshire, nscs, sprint cup