Richard Childress Racing Texas II race report

Richard Childress Racing press release

Paul Menard and the No. 27 Quaker State/Menards Team Earn Top-15 Finish at Texas Motor Speedway

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

Paul Menard and the Quaker State/Menards team started from the fourth position and brought the No. 27 Chevrolet Impala home with a top-15 result in Sunday's AAA Texas 500, taking every opportunity to adjust the car's handling as the track's conditions changed with the dipping sun in the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. When the green flag dropped for the 334-lap affair, Menard had his hands full with a tight- handling machine, losing ground and slipping to back to the 10th position by lap 31. As the long green-flag run ensued, the handling shifted to a tight-center and loose- off characteristic. During the first green-flag visit to pit road on lap 43, the Slugger Labbe-led team put on four fresh Goodyear tires, added Sunoco fuel and made an air pressure adjustment to the front tires in an effort the improve the Chevrolet's balance.

With the center of the turns much improved, Menard continued to report that the loose-exit condition was his biggest challenge. The afternoon's first caution flag of the afternoon was displayed on lap 112 and allowed the crew to service the No. 27 racer with additional adjustments. Menard remained on track to lead a lap and gain a valuable point in the driver championship point standings before coming to pit road where he received four tires, fuel and additional chassis adjustments. Restarting 25th on lap 116, he climbed into the top 20 on lap 150 and remained there for the 84-lap green-flag run. Trapped one lap down and in the 18th position due to a pit stop just prior to the yellow flag being display, Menard remained on track and restarted 17th on lap 207. Gaining momentum despite requesting help turning the 3,400-pound machine, Menard drove up to the 11th spot and jumped into the top 10 following a speedy pit stop while under caution on lap 263. He immediately surged into the top five, but then dropped back in the field, as he was struggling with the car's drive-off of the corners.

The final pit stop of the afternoon for the No. 27 team came on lap 298, under green-flag conditions, changing four tires, packing the car with fuel and making a small track bar adjustment. The car's handling shifted dramatically with Menard reporting a very loose-off condition and falling to the 24th position with 20 laps remaining in the event. In the closing laps, some competitors were forced to pit road for fuel, gaining the No. 27 Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet team valuable track position and a 15th-place result when the checkered flag was displayed.

Start - 4 Finish - 15 Laps Led - 1 Points - 20

PAUL MENARD QUOTES: "I honestly don't know what happened with that last run. We had no grip and were really tight in the center and loose off of the turns. The No. 27 Quaker State/Menards team did a great job all weekend, especially today (Sunday). The weather was so different today here (at Texas Motor Speedway) than it had been all weekend, so we were all busy during the race trying to find the setup that would work best."

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Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Rheem Team Finish 13th at Texas {{1269235|right|s3

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet team finished 13th in Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway after struggling with a loose-handling race car following a two-tire call on the final pit stop of the race. Harvick started the race from the 21st position and raced his way up to the16th spot by the time the field came around to complete the first lap. He climbed as high as 12th in the running order, reporting to the team that the car was "loose in, tight in the middle and loose off" of the corners of the 1.5-mile Fort Worth, Texas-based facility. The No. 29 Chevrolet hit pit road on lap 43 for four fresh tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment in an effort to improve the car's balance.

The Rheem machine made additional visits to pit road for four tires and fuel on laps 87 and 113 and Harvick moved back into the top 10. Crew chief Gil Martin called his driver in for another four-tire stop at lap 199 and when the caution flag waved on the following lap, Harvick was caught a lap down to the lead cars that had yet to pit. As the first car one lap down, Harvick was granted the Lucky Dog award and returned to the lead lap. Struggling with a tight-center and loose-off condition, Martin called Harvick to pit road while under caution on lap 203 for fresh Goodyear tires and an additional chassis adjustment to help the car's handling. Restarting 11th, Harvick quickly moved back into the top 10 where he remained until the final pit stop of the day. As other teams started to hit pit road under green-flag conditions, Martin called Harvick in for a two-tire stop at lap 299 in an effort to gain track position.

However, as the laps wound down on the final run of the race, Harvick told the team that the car was way too loose. As teams continued to cycle through pit stops late in the final green-flag run, Harvick ran as high as 10th before he began to slip back in the field, ultimately driving the No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet to a 13th-place result.

Start - 21 Finish - 13 Laps Led - 0 Points - 3

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE: "We gambled a bit on the last stop and it just didn't work. We were way too loose there at the end and lost more than we had gained with that two- tire stop. It wasn't the run we needed today, but this No. 29 Rheem team will move on to next weekend."

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Fuel Gamble Comes up Short for Burton and Caterpillar Team in Texas

Jeff Burton, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Jeff Burton, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

Jeff Burton and the Caterpillar Racing team took a gamble on fuel mileage late in the AAA Texas 500 in an attempt to pull out a victory at the 1.5-mile track; instead they came up short and had to settle for a 27th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway. After a less-than-desired qualifying effort lined up the No. 31 Chevrolet in the 31st position on the starting grid for the 334-lap affair, Burton and crew chief Luke Lambert focused their efforts on the race day setup and strategy.

By lap 100, the No. 31 Chevrolet climbed up to the 17th position when Burton relayed the temperature gauges were reading extremely high, which necessitated the removal of tape from the grill during the team's pit stop on lap 158. The removal of the tape kept the temperatures in line and took away the concern of damaging their ECR engine, but in turn created a challenge with the handling on the Caterpillar Chevrolet. Lambert and crew devised a plan to further diagnose the overheating problem, spending extended time on pit road for the next two visits. When it was determined the duct work had come loose from the nose, the Cat Racing team repaired the damage and were back in business running in the 15th position with 75 laps remaining in the event.

Now armed with a sporty-handling Caterpillar Chevrolet, Burton climbed into the top 10 with 50 laps remaining, then up into the eighth position on lap 290. Due to the extended visits to pit road which allowed the team to add additional fuel to the No. 31 machine, Burton and Lambert felt they were now in position to set up a fuel strategy gamble to the finish. Calculations showed they were going to be short running laps at the current quick pace so Burton was ordered to slow down and save fuel. As other competitors in front of the Caterpillar Chevrolet peeled off the racing surface onto pit road to fill their fuel cells, the South Boston, Va. native began making his ascent through the top five and ultimately took over the lead on lap 305.

The black and yellow machine paced the field for the next 24 laps, saving fuel the entire way. As laps ticked away and hopes grew in the No. 31 pit stall, Burton radioed the crew alerting them the No. 31 Chevrolet was out of fuel on lap 329 and slowly made his way to pit road to top off for the finish. The 21-time NSCS winner returned to the track and scored in the 27th spot in the final rundown.

Start - 31 Finish - 27 Laps Led - 24 Points- 23

JEFF BURTON QUOTE: "It was worth a try. We thought we could save that much. I don't know if we weren't quite full that time, if we got a false [fuel mileage] reading the time before, or something; but we weren't even close. We saved a lot of fuel, and to be that far off -- we were a lap-and-a-half off of our calculations. So something didn't add up. We thought we had to save six laps and if we'd have saved six laps it would have been close. But it ended up we had to save a lot more than that. We knew we were gambling, and sometimes when you're gambling, you're going to lose. That's kind of the way our year's gone."

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Bowyer Scores 14th Top-10 Finish of 2011 season with Ninth-Place Result at Texas

Clint Bowyer, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet team scored their 14th top-10 finish of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season bringing home a hard- fought ninth-place effort in the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The 32-year- old Bowyer, starting in the 18th position after a lackluster qualifying performance on Friday, immediately took his Chevrolet Impala through the pack from the drop of the green flag. The Emporia Kan., native found himself in 13th-place by lap 15 and on lap 30 entered the top 10 where he became a mainstay until the first caution flag on lap 113.

Trying to remedy a loose-handling condition on the red and yellow machine, crew chief Shane Wilson directed the "Helping Hands" pit crew to make significant chassis adjustments to tighten up the car for the Richard Childress Racing driver. The changes didn't balance the setup on the car as excepted and Bowyer fell back through the field, eventually settling into the 24th position and falling two laps down to the leader after the caution flag waved after the No. 33 Chevrolet exited pit road on lap 202.

Bowyer was able to take advantage of NASCAR's wave-around rule under that same caution-flag period and earned one of the laps back. Restarting in the 22nd position, the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner fought hard to maintain position as the first car one lap down for more than 20 laps and was awarded the "lucky dog" free pass when the caution flag was displayed on lap 263. After restarting in the 19th position with 60 laps remaining, the handling on the No. 33 Chevrolet began to adapt to the changing track conditions due to cloud cover in the vicinity.

Bowyer found himself back in the top 15 before the final pit stop of the day on lap 301 when the "Helping Hands" pit crew reeled off another fast four-tire pit stop while adding enough Sunoco E15 fuel to make it the finish of the 334-lap event. The RCR driver continued to post some of the fastest lap times in the entire 43-car field and passed several competitors on the track over the final 30 green-flag laps to secure a ninth-place finish. Bowyer remains 13th in NSCS driver championship point standings with two races remaining in the 2011 season.

Start - 18 Finish - 9 Laps Led - 0 Points - 13

CLINT BOWYER QUOTE: "It was a hard-fought battle all day long for us with a loose- handling Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, but this team showed that we aren't going to give up yet with another top-10 finish."

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags bowyer, burton, chevrolet, childress, harvick, menard