Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team brought home a top-five result in the Sprint Showdown, finishing third in the non-points event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Crew chief Luke Lambert called the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner to pit road under caution so the No. 31 pit crew could put on fresh Goodyear tires, add Sunoco Green E15 fuel and make adjustments for the final 20-lap dash to the checkered flag.
On the ensuing restart, the No. 31 Chevrolet came to life and Burton climbed into the top five on lap 25 and top three by lap 30. The RCR driver made a valiant effort throughout the final 10 laps to move into the second position and transfer into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, but in the end Burton didn't have enough time to catch the second-place competitor and scored a third-place finish.
Jeff Burton (Start - 6 / Finish - 3 / Laps Led - 0 / Points - N/A): "We dug ourselves a hole at the start by handling loose, but the car definitely came alive in the final segment after the pit stop. Luke (Lambert, crew chief) made the right call on pit road and we were able to showcase some speed there at the end. We also learned a lot for next weekend's Coca-Cola 600 and might even bring this car back for it."
Menard Finishes Fourth in the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Paul Menard started the No. 27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet from the eighth position and quickly drove into the top five in Saturday night's Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Though he was running up front, Menard relayed to the crew he was fighting a tight-handling condition.
The Wisconsin native maintained his position when the competition caution was displayed on lap 20, ending the first of two segments. Crew chief "Slugger" Labbe called the No. 27 machine into the pits and the pit crew changed four tires, added fuel and made track bar and air pressure adjustments in an attempt to remedy the tight condition.
Menard restarted 10th for the final 20-lap segment after several other teams elected not to pit or only take two tires. By lap 25, the No. 27 Chevrolet SS had worked its way back to fifth, when Menard communicated to the crew he was still tight. With 10 laps remaining, Menard gained an additional position crossing the stripe in fourth when the checkered flag flew.
Paul Menard (Start - 8 / Finish - 4 / Laps Led - 0 / Points - N/A): "The Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS was tight tonight and we just ran out of laps to be able to gain any ground on the leader. With just two 20-lap segments it's difficult to work on the handling of the car and be able to make up much ground. The crew did a great job in the pits and we gained some information we can use in the Coca-Cola 600 next weekend."
Harvick Earns Hard Fought 11th-Place Finish in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Rheem/Budweiser Chevrolet SS team earned a hard fought 11th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race under the lights of Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
The California native started the non-points paying event from the 19th position, but dropped to the back of the field because the team changed a motor following practice on Friday.
During the early laps of the race, Harvick reported he was battling a tight-handling black, red and white Chevrolet causing the team to pit under caution on lap eight for fuel, four tires and multiple chassis adjustments.
Back on track, the handling issues persisted leaving Harvick to finish 18th after the first of five segments. Only laps into the second segment, the Richard Childress Racing driver informed crew chief Gil Martin the car had transitioned from tight to loose. Despite the handling issues, Harvick managed to gain track position finishing the second segment 12th.
Harvick continued to work his way toward the front of the field during the third segment, settling into the ninth spot by the time caution flag waved. Between segments, the pit crew went to work changing right-side tires and adding fuel to the No. 29 machine. The quick pit stop positioned their driver in second for the fourth segment restart.
After battling competitors with four fresh tires, Harvick lost ground falling back to sixth by the end of segment four. Following a mandatory four-tire pit stop during the final scheduled caution period of the night, Harvick returned to the track in 13th for a 10-lap shootout. The 2007 Sprint All-Star Race champion worked his way up to 11th, where he ultimately crossed the finish line.
Kevin Harvick (Start - 19 / Finish - 11 / Laps Led - 0 / Points - N/A): "This was a long, tough weekend for the Rheem/Budweiser team. Between switching engines after practice on Friday and making a bunch of changes to the car during the race, these guys really worked hard. We didn't get the finish we would have liked tonight, but we did learn a few things about the car that will hopefully be useful for us during the Coca-Cola 600 next weekend."
Richard Childress Racing