Paul Menard and the No. 27 CertainTeed/Menards team were relegated to a 28th-place finish in Sunday's Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 after getting caught up in the "Big One" on the final lap of the event at Talladega Superspeedway.
The Eau Claire, Wis., native started the scheduled 188-lap affair from the 16th position and spent the early laps running near the back of the field to avoid trouble. Menard began his charge to the front of the field following a green-flag pit stop on lap 60.
The Shane Wilson-led pit crew bolted on four fresh tires and filled the Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet with fuel for the green-white-checkered finish.
While several teams opted to only take fuel, the CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet was scored in the 24th-position for the final restart. Menard worked his way into the 12th spot before being collected in the "Big One" on the final lap, relegating the team to a 28th-place result.
PAUL MENARD: "The CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet was strong all weekend long. The pit crew did a great job during the race and Shane (Wilson, crew chief) made good calls that kept us in contention all day.
We couldn't avoid the "Big One" at the end and ended up with a finish that didn't reflect how we ran today."
Kevin Harvick and the Budweiser Team Capture an 11th-Place Finish at Talladega Superspeedway
Kevin Harvick drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet to an 11th-place finish in the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 after being involved in a final-lap incident at Talladega Superspeedway.
The 36-year-old driver started the scheduled 188-lap event from the 21st position and raced as high as 12th before the caution flag waved on lap 16.
Crew chief Gil Martin instructed Harvick to stay out when the leaders came to pit road on lap 18, allowing him to lead a lap and collect one bonus point prior to visiting pit road for tires and fuel.
The Bakersfield, Calif., native was scored in the 30th position for the lap-21 restart and began his charge towards the front of the field, moving into the top 10 by lap 36 after pairing up with RCR teammate Jeff Burton.
As the race progressed, Harvick was shuffled throughout the field, but regained the lead on lap 109 and held onto the top spot until lap 117. The RCR driver was scored in the fourth position when NASCAR officials displayed the caution flag on lap 184.
Harvick lined up in the third spot for the green-white-checkered finish and took the white flag while running fourth before being caught up in a 24-car incident in turn four, crossing the finish line 11th.
Following the event at the 2.66-mile track, Harvick fell to 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 49 markers behind the leader.
KEVIN HARVICK: "Well, this was definitely a crazy race. We were able to keep the Budweiser Chevrolet up front most of the day, but got caught up in the wreck on the final lap.
It's all part of superspeedway racing, so we'll move on from this and turn our focus on the upcoming race at Charlotte (Motor Speedway)."
Jeff Burton Brings Home Top-10 Finish at Talladega Superspeedway
Richard Childress Racing driver Jeff Burton survived a multi-car accident on the final turn of the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 and piloted a battered No. 31 DriveCAT.com Chevrolet to a top-10 finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Talladega Superspeedway.
After starting the scheduled 188-lap race in the 26th position, the South Boston, Va., native maintained a top-15 running position until teaming up with RCR teammate Kevin Harvick and maneuvering his way into the lead on lap 51.
After taking four fresh Goodyear tires on a lap-61 pit stop under green-flag conditions, crew chief Drew Blickensderfer played pit strategy for the remainder of the 500-mile race by calling for fuel only or two-tire pit stops throughout the final 125 laps.
The 45-year-old veteran driver practiced patience over the latter part of the event, leading twice for three laps and running a majority of the race in the top 10 until a late-race caution flag was displayed on lap 184, setting the stage for a green-white-checkered finish.
Burton restarted in the 20th position, teamed up with another competitor and drafted his way into the top 10 on the white-flag lap when the No. 31 DriveCAT.com Chevrolet was collected in a 24-car melee on the final turn of the race.
With extensive damage to the RCR machine, Burton managed to drive the car across the finish line in the 10th position for his fifth consecutive restrictor-plate top-10 finish.
With the strong effort, Burton remains 19th in Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
JEFF BURTON: "That was a crazy finish and I am glad everyone is okay. We had a really good DriveCAT.com Chevrolet today. It was good to run up front and come home with another top-10 finish. This is a good momentum builder for the final stretch of the season."
- Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 10th (Jeff Burton), 11th (Kevin Harvick) and 28th (Paul Menard).
- According to the NASCAR Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Burton made the sixth-most Green Flag Passes (499) with 279 of those passes coming while running in the top 15 (Quality Passes).
- Burton spent 131 Laps (69.3 percent) Running in the Top 15 and earned an Average Running Position of 11.471, ranking him eighth amongst his competitors.
- Kevin Harvick led the field in Fastest Drivers Early In a Run with an average speed of 197.214 mph.
- With 11 circuits in the front of the field, Harvick was ranked fifth in Laps Led.
- Harvick earned the second-best Driver Rating (111.7), while Burton finished with the sixth-best Driver Rating (101.5).
- Paul Menard completed 533 Green Flag Passes and 301 Quality Passes, positioning him second and 10th, respectively in the Post-Race Loop Data categories.
- Menard spent 129 Laps in the Top 15, the ninth-most of all drivers in the 43-car field.
- RCR teammates Harvick and Menard each posted three of the Fastest Laps Run during the scheduled 500-mile affair.
- Matt Kenseth captured his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the 2012 season and was followed to the finish line by Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, David Ragan and Regan Smith.
The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is the Charlotte 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 13. The race is scheduled to be televised live on ABC beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Source: Richard Childress Racing