Richard Childress Racing ready for repaved Kansas Speedway

Richard Childress Racing in the Sunflower State ... In 41 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Kansas Speedway, RCR has three top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. RCR's best finish at Kansas was second in 2007 with Clint Bowyer. The Welcome, N.C.-based organization holds a 21.7 average starting position, a 16.1 average finishing position, has completed 10,659 of the 10,796 contested laps (98.7 percent) and has collectively led for 130 laps around the 1.5-mile race track.

Paul Menard
Paul Menard

Photo by: Adriano Manocchia

Paul Menard No. 27 CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet

This Week's CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet at Kansas Speedway ... Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 351 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend's Kansas 400. This Chevrolet was last raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September, where Menard started 18th and finished eighth. This chassis was also utilized in numerous test sessions this year and was raced last season at Texas Motor Speedway (April - started 19th/finished fifth), Kansas Speedway (June - started ninth/finished 19th) and Dover International Speedway (October - started third/ finished 16th).

Kansas Speedway was recently repaved. What are the challenges that you face when you go to a track that has a new surface? "We tested at Kansas Speedway after the repave and the groove was starting to come in already. The racing will probably be single-groove when we go back there, but I think the middle groove will somewhat come in. The biggest challenge there is going to be getting on pit road. The transition from the banking to the apron is very abrupt and it's going to be hard on the splitter."

How badly did Kansas Speedway need to be repaved? "It's hard to say (how badly Kansas Speedway needed to be repaved). From a driver's standpoint, we like old, worn out race tracks. From a track operations standpoint, I think they were having some issues with the track surface coming apart and some seepage issues, so they probably thought it was necessary."

Kansas Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway are often compared to each other as sister tracks. What are your thoughts? "There's really no comparison now. Kansas (Speedway) has just been repaved and Chicagoland (Speedway) is quite an older race track, so there are not many similarities now."

Will all the notes be thrown out the window as teams travel back to Kansas Speedway? "Yes, it's a totally different race track than when we were there this spring. We'll be starting from square one."

Kevin Harvick No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet

This Week's Budweiser Chevrolet at Kansas Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No.378 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the Kansas 400. The No. 29 team utilized this car twice during the 2011 season at Chicagoland Speedway in September (started 30th, finished second) and Kansas Speedway in October (started 14th, finished sixth). Harvick drove this Chevrolet in 2012 to a sixth-place finish at Kansas Speedway in April, a 10th-place result at Michigan International Speedway in June, and most recently a fifth-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September.

What are your thoughts going into the weekend at Kansas Speedway considering the track has been repaved since the spring race? "I'm not a big fan of repaving anywhere, to be honest, and I enjoyed racing on the old surface at Kansas (Speedway). However, I understand they had some issues with the track that made repaving necessary, so obviously it's what they had to do it. Paul (Menard) and the No. 27 team went out there for the Goodyear tire test in August, so we have some data to go off of entering the weekend that should help us. The guys that took part in the test had good things to say about the track, so we'll see what we've got to work with when we get there on Wednesday."

Jeff Burton No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet

This Week's No. 31 Chevrolet at Kansas Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 393 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 31 Chevrolet has been utilized four times during the 2012 NSCS season at Auto Club Speedway in March (started-19th, finished-22nd), Darlington Raceway in May (started-10th, finished-18th), Michigan International Speedway in August (started-32nd, finished-19th) and Atlanta Motor Speedway in September (started-26th, finished-12th).

What do you expect after Kansas Speedway repaved the track surface? "I talked to a lot of people who already tested at Kansas Speedway and got a lot of different opinions. I expect a one-groove race track. I know track officials are working hard to put rubber on the track with test sessions and Richard Petty Driving Experience cars. I just don't know what the impact of all that will be."

Why do you think track officials repaved the racing surface at Kansas Speedway? "From a racing standpoint, I don't think it needed to be repaved. I think the track was preventing structural issues from taking place. Track officials usually don't want to repave, but they have to or else they will have major problems during the race."

Do you see any similarities between Chicagoland Speedway and Kansas Speedway? "They look a lot alike from a fan's point of view, but that's about it. We were actually at Chicagoland Speedway a few weeks ago and coming out of the tunnel when I said to someone that if they added a bunch of stores, restaurants and shops at Chicagoland, it could be Kansas Speedway. The tracks are totally different though. Each track has its own personality."

Source: Richard Childress Racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Previews
Tags burton, chevrolet, childress, harvick, kansas, menard