Richard Childress Racing heads to Dover II

Richard Childress Racing press release

This week's Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet at Dover International Speedway ... Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 351 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet Impala was a brand new addition to the RCR fleet for the 2011 season and was last seen in competition at Kansas Speedway (June) where he started ninth and finished 19th. Menard also raced this Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway in April where he brought home a fifth-place result after starting from the 19th position.

Paul Menard
Paul Menard

Photo by: Adriano Manocchia

Off to Slay "The Monster Mile" ... In his eight previous starts at Dover, Menard has finished each of his contested races and completed 98.3 percent of his laps (3,147 of 3,200). He has an average starting position of 22.9 and an average finishing position of 20.9. His best start of ninth and his best finish of seventh were both claimed in last year's September affair.


Do you feel you get a little more comfortable each time you go to Dover International Speedway? "Yeah, I do. Dover (International Speedway) is a tough place. It's the kind of race track that you can feel really good about, and then it will bite you and put you back into your place. I really enjoy racing at Dover; it's one of my favorite tracks, especially when the tires are good and you can move all over the track. I like it because you can run the top, bottom and middle of the track. Hopefully, Goodyear will allow us to do that again this time. In the Spring, the tires were really good and you could move around. It really comes down to tires more than anything there."

Your RCR teammate Jeff Burton calls Dover International Speedway a rhythm track. What do you think? "You can drive Dover two different ways. You can throttle up through the center of the corner then get out of the gas and drive it, or you can drive it like a diamond and wait for the car to rotate and drive it straight off. Depending on what your car is doing, you can drive it a couple of different ways. You just get in rhythm and try to click off times."

What is the sensation of speed like at Dover International Speedway? "It seems the sensation of speed is greater at Dover. That's probably because of the elevation changes. You dive off of the corner then you drive up out of the corner. There are a lot of elevation changes and that makes the car go through a big range of motion. That definitely throws you around inside the car giving you a good sense of speed."


This Week's Rheem "Chasing the Cure" Chevrolet at Dover International Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will race chassis No. 353 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Prior to this weekend the team utilized this No. 29 Chevrolet twice in 2011 to score a win in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May and a seventh-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway in early September.

Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick

Photo by: Adriano Manocchia


What are some of the challenges for your team in going to Dover International Speedway this weekend? "We've had a good car there the last several times and haven't necessarily got the finishes that we probably have deserved with where we ran all day, but it's been a decent race track for us. It's a fast race track. You've got to keep up with the race track as the groove moves around and the rubber builds up on the track. The biggest challenge is being able to get the car up off of the corner under power, wide open throughout the whole run."

What does it take to be successful at Dover International Speedway? "We'll have to have our Rheem "Chasing the Cure" Chevrolet handling good because it's so fast and there are so many things happening so fast at Dover that the driver has to be comfortable in the car. It seems like at Dover they always have one of those runs where you have green-flag pit stops and halfway through that run the caution comes out, so you have to be a little bit lucky to not end up on the wrong side of that there."

How do you feel going into this weekend's race at Dover International Speedway? "We should be fine in Dover. I felt like we've run well there the last few times so I don't really have any specific concerns. I think as you go to every race track there is always concern on whether you're going to run good or bad and you never really know until you get there and see what the tire is and see exactly what the weekend brings with weather and all the different things that come with putting a weekend together. We can run really well at any race track. Along with anybody in the garage we have that opportunity to run bad, too. You just have to make the best out of whatever the weekend gives you."


This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Dover International Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 359 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2011, this is the same Caterpillar Chevy Burton qualified fifth and drove to a 21st-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May and qualified 22nd and drove to a 19th-place effort at Kentucky Speedway in July.

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography


You were runner up last year at Dover International Speedway. Did you feel like you had a chance to win there? "No, we weren't quite good enough to win, but we were fast. Dover has been a really good track for us. We've run really well there. It's a track that I really look forward to going to. It's been one of our best race tracks statistic-wise, but, I don't look back at that race and think 'we had a really, really fast car.' We were good, but we weren't great."

You've won at Dover International Speedway before. What kind of day does it have to be for you to be able to beat that track? "You have got to have a car that you can get into rhythm with. You and the car have got to be together. That's the only way I can describe it. You can't muscle a car around Dover. The car has to be able to help you. You have to drive aggressively but to do that, you and the car have to be synced up. When you are, it's magic. It's great. When you're not, you're not going to win. There's a real rhythm to that track. It's very fast. You have got to have a car that will allow you to get into a rhythm and be consistent with it. If you don't have that, you're not going to win at Dover."

What is it like when you're in rhythm with your car and it does what you want it to do? "There's never a perfect-handling car. A perfect-handling car you could run around the track and never lift off the gas. Of course, you can't do that. You have to make sacrifices to get around that. The easier it is and the fewer sacrifices you have to make, the easier it is to drive a car. That's when you can become really in synced with your car. When you drive it into a corner and it does something different on the eighth lap and changes again on the 20th lap, it's hard to ever get in a rhythm."

What makes the "Monster Mile" so tough? "You can't be loose. If you're loose there, you can't go fast. However, if you're not a little loose, you push so bad that you can't stand it. It's hard to do both. A lot of patience is required. It's aggressive patience. You have to drive the car exceptionally hard there, but if you go a little too hard, you're hurting yourself. You have to have a good balance between having the car tight enough but not too tight."


This Week's Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet at Dover International Speedway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot chassis No. 350 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend at "The Monster Mile." This Chevrolet Impala, built new in 2011, has seen action three times this season, posting top-15 efforts at Texas Motor Speedway (started-third, finished-second), at the Coca-Cola 600 in May (started-10th, finished-15th) and Michigan International Speedway in June (started-27th, finished-eighth).

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.


You earned your best finish at Dover International Speedway in May. What did you think about that race? "Well, we've always run well at Dover, but we never finish well there. We should've won that race in May. We were leading late and the caution came out. Matt (Kenseth) stayed out or took two tires and we took four. We just got snookered in there. Dover has always been one of my favorite race tracks. I've won twice there in a Nationwide Series car, but just haven't been able to put the finishes together in a Sprint Cup car."

Your RCR teammate Jeff Burton calls Dover International Speedway a "rhythm" track. What does that mean to you? "I agree with that. You can fall off rhythm there pretty easy. You have to get in a groove and settle in. You have to get in that rhythm."

Explain the sensation of speed at Dover International Speedway. "There's probably more of a sensation of speed there than any other place that we go. It really throws you down into that banking hard. The car really works hard and digs deep. It's a really fun race track."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Kevin Harvick , Paul Menard , Clint Bowyer
Teams Richard Childress Racing
Tags bowyer, burton, chevrolet, childress, harvick, menard