Richard Childress Racing finishing Bristol 500 with quite a good result

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Pit strategy played a key role for Richard Childress Racing teammates

Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates finished ninth (Kevin Harvick), 10th (Paul Menard) and 32nd (Jeff Burton).
  • Harvick and Menard posted 38 of the Fastest Laps Run, completing 29 and nine laps respectively.
  • With an average speed of 120.626 mph, Harvick ranked third in Green Flag Speed, while Menard was 10th with an average lap of 120.282 mph.
  • Harvick's speed of 119.531 mph placed him fourth in the loop data category, Fastest Drivers Late in a Run. Menard was sixth with a speed of 119.506 mph.
  • Burton completed 20 Green Flag Passes and maintained an Average Running Position of 33.014 after sustaining damage during an early-race incident.
  • Kasey Kahne earned his first victory of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and was followed to the finish line by Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer.

Menard Captures Second-Consecutive Top 10, Finishing Ninth at Bristol Motor Speedway

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Paul Menard captured his second-consecutive top-10 finish after pit strategy played a key role in Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Starting from the fifth position, Menard quickly made his way into the top three 20 laps into the 500-lap event. Just a few circuits into his second green-flag run, the Wisconsin native relayed to his crew the SYLVANIA/Menards Chevrolet was tight on entry and exit through the corners. As the laps wore on, the No. 27 machine's handling appeared to get better. This proved to be a common theme throughout the day as Menard struggled with a tight condition in the beginning of a run, but saw improvement after the tires heated at the end of a run. Multiple caution periods coupled with a tight condition in the early stages of a run, caused Menard to slip back to 18th before coming to the pits on lap 350 for four tires and fuel. Shortly after exiting the pits, crew chief "Slugger" Labbe communicated to his driver he needed to save fuel. When the caution flag flew on lap 296, Labbe elected to keep his driver out of the pits, knowing the majority of the field would have to come down pit road for fuel. The fuel strategy paid off and Menard gained 12 spots to restart in second-place with less than 100 laps remaining. Though Menard was on older tires than many of his competitors, he was able to maintain his position inside the top 10 crossing the stripe in ninth. Menard's top-10 finish allowed him to gain three spots in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship points standings as he now sits in ninth heading into the 400-mile event at Auto Club Speedway next weekend.

Start - 5 Finish - 9 Laps Led - 0 Points - 9

PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
"It's great to bring home another top-10 finish this weekend. In the beginning of a run we struggled with a tight condition, but the more laps we got on our tires, the better the car would handle. We got shuffled back in the field near the middle portion of the race, but 'Slugger' Labbe (crew chief) did a great job with fuel strategy and we made the right call at the end to stay out, allowing us to gain track position. It turned out to be a great day for the SYLVANIA/Menards crew. We've got some more momentum heading into Fontana. Hopefully, we can keep our top-10 streak alive out in California."

Harvick Finishes 14th at Bristol Motor Speedway

Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Kevin Harvick drove the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS to a 14th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon after late-race pit strategy played against the Richard Childress Racing team. The Bakersfield, Calif., native started the Food City 500 from the 18th position and began a charge toward the front of the field during the early laps. Following a two-tire pit stop under caution, Harvick was scored in the 10th position for the lap-62 restart. As the race progressed, Harvick remained a fixture in the top 10 until coming down pit road on lap 396 under caution for four fresh tires and fuel. Several teams opted to take two tires, or not pit at all, positioning the red and white Chevrolet SS 15th for the ensuing restart. Back under green-flag conditions, Harvick worked his way through the field once again, lining up 10th for the final restart on lap 461. As green-flag racing resumed, the RCR veteran driver was shuffled back in the pack and ultimately crossed the finish line 14th. The top-15 result allowed Harvick to gain two positions, moving to 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.

Start - 18 Finish - 14 Laps Led - 0 Points - 17

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
"That was not the result we were looking for today. Our Budweiser Chevrolet was fast, but we lost track position when pit strategy late in the race didn't work in our favor. We'll learn from our mistakes and move on to the next race."

On-Track Incident Relegates Jeff Burton to 32nd-Place Finish at Bristol Motor Speedway

A multi-car accident on a lap 55 collected Jeff Burton's No. 31 Cheerios Chevrolet and spoiled any chance of a solid effort from the Richard Childress Racing team at Bristol Motor Speedway. The South Boston Va., native started the race in 16th-place and maintained a top-20 running position for the first 54 laps of the 500-lap event when multiple competitors in front of the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner checked up, creating an accordion-style accident which collected the No. 31 Chevrolet. The right-front and left-rear damage to the yellow and black machine was extensive enough to force the team to make repairs during multiple pit stops under caution-flag conditions, with Burton eventually returning to the track four laps down to the leader in 40th. The No. 31 Cheerios crew, led by crew chief Luke Lambert, worked hard all afternoon to keep the car running competitive lap times until the right-front damage forced the team to make a quick trip to the garage to make further repairs. After returning to the track again, Burton was able to gain eight positions to finish in the 32nd position. With the finish, Burton now sits 25th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.

Start - 16 Finish - 32 Laps Led - 0 Points - 25

JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
"We had a good car in practice all weekend and bad luck just struck us early in the race. It was something out of our control which is very frustrating. There was nothing I could've done to avoid it. This No. 31 Cheerios crew led by Luke (Lambert, crew chief) never gave up. They fixed the car quickly and we ran competitive lap times for the remainder of the race. That's all I can ask for in that situation."

Richard Childress Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Race report
Tags 500, bristol, jeff burton, kevin harvick, nascar, paul menard, richard childress racing