Richard Childress Racing press release
Menard Finishes 20th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Paul Menard drove the No. 27 SYLVANIA/Menards Chevrolet to a 20th-place finish in the SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after battling handling issues and track position throughout the afternoon. After taking the green flag in the 14th position on Sunday, Menard slipped to 23rd before coming down pit road on lap 58 during the first round of green-flag stops at the "Magic Mile." Crew chief Slugger Labbe called for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment to counteract a tight-center and loose-off condition that developed during the initial run. The team raced between 20th and 25th while making chassis adjustments to the car over the next 115 laps.
A two-tire pit stop while under caution on lap 174 catapulted Menard from 22nd to 18th. During the 300-lap race, the bright yellow Chevrolet was strong at the beginning of a run, but developed a tight condition as the run progressed. Menard drove as high as 15th by lap 179 before falling back to 25th, unable to maintain track position around the one-mile track as he continued to battle handling issues. A final green-flag visit to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment on lap 232 allowed the team have enough fuel to reach the checkered flag. Menard drove up to 23rd by lap 276, gaining three additional spots as other cars ran out of fuel in the final laps. The 20th-place result marks Menards best finish at the Loudon, N.H.-based facility.
Start - 14 Finish - 20 Laps Led - 0 Points - 22
PAUL MENARD QUOTES: "New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a historically tough track for us. I feel like we are making some gains, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating. The Sylvania/Menards team did a great job this weekend, especially with the changing weather conditions. It was overcast all day Friday and Saturday. The pit crew had another good weekend, as well. We'll just keep coming back to Loudon and keep trying to figure it out."
Harvick Salvages 12th-Place Finish in Fuel Mileage Race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
At a track where track position is the key to a solid run, Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Designated Driver Chevrolet team salvaged a 12th-place finish in Sunday's SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after fuel mileage forced the team to pit off sequence from the leaders and put Harvick back in traffic during the final portion of the race. Harvick started Sunday's race from the sixth position and worked his way into the top five at lap 74. Despite minor handling issues, he kept the No. 29 Budweiser Designated Driver Chevrolet inside the top 10 until he hit pit road for the third time under green-flag conditions at lap 149. The caution flag waved for the second time just six laps later and since several teams had yet to pit, Harvick was caught a lap down in fifth. However, the No. 29 team was the first car one lap down to the leader, making Harvick the "Lucky Dog" recipient, putting him back on the lead lap. Crew chief Gil Martin called him to pit road for four fresh tires and fuel and Harvick restarted in the fifth position at lap 162. Harvick jumped up to fourth on lap 167 and the caution flag waved once again six laps later.
Martin told Harvick they couldn't make it on fuel with just one more pit stop, while some teams were going to try and stretch it on one more stop so he called the No. 29 Budweiser Designated Driver Chevrolet to pit road at lap 174 for a fuel-only stop. Harvick restarted in the 10th position at lap 177 and several laps later he radioed the team that the car was "too loose in traffic," as he fell back to 14th. The field went through another round of green-flag pit stops as cars started hitting pit road at lap 218. Harvick stayed out and led lap 237, gaining a valuable championship bonus point, before hitting pit road on the following lap. The team pitted for four tires and fuel on their final stop of the day. As teams continued to cycle through pit stops, Harvick made it up to the 15th position with 15 laps to go. In the final six laps of the race, several drivers ran out of fuel and Harvick was able to collect a 12th-place finish. Harvick now sits second in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, seven points shy of the lead.
Start - 6 Finish - 12 Laps Led - 1 Points - 2
CREW CHIEF GIL MARTIN QUOTE: "We had a good car all day long. Track position meant so much and we gambled and came in and got fuel and then went to fuel stops under green right there. You wouldn't think that would happen, but it did. We needed to have gotten a little bit better fuel mileage than we did today, but we were making a lot of horsepower. You make a lot of horsepower, it takes fuel mileage. I'll take that though and there's nothing wrong with it. If someone would have told me that we would be seven points out of the lead after two races, I'd have been tickled to death. I am not going to be mad going into Dover (International Speedway) seven points out of the lead with eight races to go. We're still in this thing."
Burton and the Caterpillar Racing Team Overcome Track Position to Finish 13th at NHMS
Jeff Burton and the Caterpillar Racing team tussled with track position on the one-mile oval of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but made the right call on fuel strategy late in the event to finish 13th in Sunday's SYLVANIA 300. With the drop of the green flag on the 300-lap affair, Burton began to make his move from his 18th-place starting position up through the field, quickly climbing as high as 12th by lap 20. The No. 31 Caterpillar maintained its position in the top 15 through the halfway point of the event until an ill-timed caution on lap 157 was displayed shortly after the Caterpillar team made its scheduled pit stop, trapping the black and yellow machine, along with the majority of the field one lap down to the leader. Burton and Company chose to take the wave around, requiring the No. 31 to restart in the 17th position on lap 162.
Racing three-wide on the restart was not kind to the No. 31 team as the beating and banging took a toll on the Caterpillar Chevrolet and knocked Burton down to the 23rd position on lap 179. Down but not out, the South Boston, Va. native knew patience and strategy would be the keys to a stronger finish. Following their final pit stop of the day on lap 234 for four tires and fuel and running in the 22nd position, Burton once again battled with passing as the Caterpillar Chevrolet struggled to turn while running behind other cars. The 21-time NSCS race winner did however gain additional positions on the track as their fuel strategy came to life. Burton was listed in the 18th position with 25 laps remaining and with other teams hitting pit road for fuel, the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet climbed its way to 13th spot in the final rundown.
Start - 18 Finish - 13 Laps Led - 0 Points- 24
JEFF BURTON QUOTE: "The Caterpillar Chevrolet was fast all day long we were just mired in traffic. With track position being so important at New Hampshire, the only thing we could have done differently was to qualify better and put ourselves in position from the beginning of the race."
Fuel Mileage Gamble Proves Unsuccessful for Bowyer at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Clint Bowyer was poised for a trip to Victory Lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon, but the defending SYLVANIA 300 race winner saw his chances of a repeat victory vanish after running out of fuel while leading with just three laps remaining, resulting in a 26th-place finish at the "Magic Mile" for the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team. Bowyer started the 300-lap race in the 11th position and quickly broke into the top 10. He was running ninth when he made his first pit stop of the race under green-flag conditions on lap 61, taking four Goodyear tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment designed to improve the handling of the red and yellow No. 33, which was loose on entry and exit to the corners throughout the race. Bowyer climbed to sixth following the pit stop, and continued to post competitive lap times.
The team made a green-flag pit stop on lap 149, but the caution flag was displayed soon after the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet team exited pit road. With several teams yet to pit, just four cars were scored on the lead lap when the caution flag was displayed and Bowyer was one of several drivers to take the "wave around" and regained his lap. He restarted eighth when green-flag racing resumed on lap 162 and the Shane Wilson-led crew went into fuel conservation mode, stretching the next run for 76 laps before making a green-flag stop for fuel, tires, track bar and an air pressure adjustment on lap 225. Bowyer inherited the race lead on lap 250 once pit stops cycled through, and Wilson again instructed his driver to conserve fuel. Bowyer was leading by a half second with just three laps remaining when the team's fuel mileage gamble proved unsuccessful and the racer ran out of fuel. Bowyer coasted to pit road on fumes but the Helping Hands crew could not service the car with fuel before the checkered flag was displayed and Bowyer's race ended on pit road with a 26th-place result.
Start - 11 Finish - 26 Laps Led - 49 Points- 13
CLINT BOWYER QUOTE: "It's just not our year. I'm proud of this team. What a great car. It just didn't turn out the way we wanted it to."