Richard Childress Racing Pocono II Race Report

Richard Childress Racing

RCR teammates finished 10th (Paul Menard), 14th (Kevin Harvick), 17th (Jeff Burton) and 18th (Clint Bowyer).

Menard had an average running position of 12.3 in the 200-lap event.

The 2011 Brickyard 400 winner spent 176 of the 200 laps running in the top 15 during Sunday's Good Sam RV Insurance 500.

Menard remains 14th in the NSCS championship point standings, 13 points behind teammate Clint Bowyer in the 12th position.

Despite the Brickyard 400 win, Menard now sits behind Brad Keselowski (two wins) and Denny Hamlin (one win) for a wild card spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Harvick was the race's eighth best Closer, advancing two positions in the last 10 percent (20 laps) of the race.

Harvick ran 68 percent of the contested laps in the top 15.

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

Burton recorded the 10th best average running position in the 500 miler with 12.1.

Burton spent 86.5 percent of the 200 laps running inside the top 15.

Bowyer spent 143 laps of the race running in the top 15.

Bowyer made 122 green-flag passes during the race according to NASCAR Loop Data Statistics.

Keselowski earned his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the 2011 season, and was followed to the finish line by Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman.


Menard Claims 10th-Place Finish at Pocono

Paul Menard and the No. 27 CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet team followed up their historic Brickyard 400 victory with a top-10 result in the Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono Raceway. Despite threatening skies and storms in the Long Pond, Pa. area, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was able to start their 200-lap event as scheduled with Menard in the seventh position as the 43-car field took the green flag. The bright yellow and black machine maintained its position in and around the top 10 for the majority of the day as Menard spent 176 of the 200 laps running in the top 15. With each pit stop throughout the day, crew chief Slugger Labbe made calls for minor adjustments on the No. 27 CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet to assist Menard with the handling through the three distinct turns at 'The Tricky Triangle.' Though rain finally made its way into the area just after 3:30 p.m., causing a red-flag condition on lap 122 for close to two hours, NASCAR worked feverously to dry the track in hopes to run the race to its scheduled 200-lap distance. The effort paid off as the teams returned to green-flag conditions around 5:20 p.m. A quick ensuing pit stop by the Menards crew brought the No. 27 Impala to life. After restarting the event on lap 131 in the 11th position, the Eau Claire, Wis., native picked off positions and climbed into the sixth position just two laps later. As the laps ticked away at the 2.5-mile track, a tight-handling condition developed on the CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet. Labbe and crew provided additional adjustments during the final pit stops of the day and Menard was able to claim his seventh top-10 finish of the 2011 season while maintaining the 14th position in the NSCS point standings.

Start - 7 Finish - 10 Laps Led - 0 Points - 14

PAUL MENARD QUOTE: 'It was a good follow-up to last week's win. We fought hard for this top-10 finish. The (No.) 27 pit crew gained us some spots on the stop coming off the red flag that really help out a bunch. The race for the final Chase spots is shaping up to be really competitive and we're fighting hard to put ourselves in position to take one of those spots."


Harvick, Budweiser Team Earn Top-15 Finish at Pocono

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team finished 14th in Sunday's Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono Raceway. Harvick started the race from 10th position and worked his way up to seventh by lap two. Several laps later, he radioed to the crew that the car was "too loose everywhere," prompting crew chief Gil Martin to call for chassis and air pressure adjustments on the team's first trip to pit road at lap 14. The No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet restarted in 11th position after losing several positions on pit road. The loose condition persisted and, a quarter of the way through the race, Harvick tried adjusting his line around the track to gain ground and was able to pick up a couple positions before the team pitted again at lap 63 for fresh tires, fuel and additional chassis adjustments. Over the course of the next two runs, Harvick radioed to the team that the car's handling was better, but still too loose. He was running in the 12th position when the caution flag waved for rain at lap 122. As the rain intensified, NASCAR officials waved the red flag and the pace car brought the field down pit road. On-track activity was halted for a little less than two hours as officials used jet dryers to dry the track after the rain subsided. The No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team pitted at lap 128 before the race restarted to get four fresh tires and make a chassis adjustment. During the following run, Harvick radioed to the team that the car was too tight exiting the turns. The team hit pit road again under green-flag conditions at lap 151 for tires and adjustments and he reported being too loose on the subsequent run before the next trip to pit road at lap 171. Once the field cycled through green-flag stops, the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet was in the 16th position. The caution flag waved at lap 179 with Harvick in the 16th position. He radioed to the team that the car was better and he could use more forward drive, but was still too loose. The team made their final pit stop at lap 181, taking four tires and fuel. Several cars stayed out and some took only two tires, placing Harvick in the 20th position when the field restarted at lap 184. In the closing laps, he was able to pass several cars and worked his way up to the 14th position before taking the checkered flag at lap 200.

Start - 10 Finish - 14 Laps Led - 0 Points - 5

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTES: "We were extremely loose from the start of the race. Then in traffic, the car wouldn't turn the front, but just snapped the back as it came up off the corner. We really struggled with getting it right and had a couple of pit stops where we lost some track position. It just wasn't the result we were looking for this weekend, but the Budweiser team will work on it this week in the shop and move forward to Watkins Glen."


Burton, Cat Racing Team Finish 17th at Pocono Raceway

A loose-handling No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet in Sunday's 500 miler at Pocono Raceway left Jeff Burton and the Cat Racing team with a disappointing 17th-place result. Burton took the green flag from the eighth position and was scored 13th when the first caution of the day was displayed on lap 12. Burton radioed to his crew that the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet was loosing grip and, as a result, crew chief Luke Lambert summoned the black and yellow Chevrolet to pit road for two right-side tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment, returning him to competition 16th in the running order on lap 16. The veteran driver jumped to seventh by lap 19 before the second caution of the day was displayed three laps later. With track position valuable at the 2.5-mile facility, the South Boston, Va., native was instructed to stay out under the caution period. Burton took the green flag from the sixth position for the lap-22 restart and began to climb up the leaderboard before developing tight-handling conditions in turn three. He slipped a few positions to seventh until relief came as the RCR entry was called to pit road for a green-flag pit stop on lap 39. The Cat Racing team quickly serviced the No. 31 Chevrolet with four Goodyear tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment and sent Burton back on track in the 13th position but he continued to battle a lack of rear grip and inability to turn in the corners. Another round of green-flag pit stops occurred on lap 62 and more adjustments were made in hopes of rectifying the ill-handling racer. The 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner had moved into the top 10 by lap 70 but rear grip was still an issue. A lap-100 caution allowed the team to make changes, including multiple chassis adjustments that left Burton 16th on the lap-104 restart. The changes seemed to help the handling on the Caterpillar Chevrolet, but the skies opened and heavy rain began falling over the Long Pond, Pa.,-based facility. After a lengthy red flag that lasted nearly two hours, drivers were called back to their cars to resume racing action. As the field went under yellow-flag conditions, Burton hit pit road for two tires and fuel, granting them a third-place starting position for the lap-131 restart after his competitors took four tires on their stops. Unfortunately, Burton continued to battle loose conditions for the remainder of the race and slipped back to 17th before taking the checkered flag.

Start - 8 Finish - 17 Laps Led - 0 Points - 24

JEFF BURTON QUOTE: "Today was a long, hard fought day. The Caterpillar Chevrolet was strong in the early going but, as track conditions started changing, the handling made it difficult to drive through the corners. We had good pit stops today and took a gamble with a two-tire call near the end because track position is so valuable. But, the No. 31 Chevrolet was so loose that I couldn't keep it up front. We'll all learn from this and now set our sights on next weekend's road course race."


Bowyer Shakes Off Illness, Comes Home 18th at Pocono

Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Good Sam Club Chevrolet team brought home an 18th-place finish in the Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono Raceway. After qualifying 14th on Saturday, the Richard Childress Racing driver woke up Sunday morning feeling under the weather. As the green flag dropped on the 200-lap event, Bowyer fought a tight race car in the middle of the turns while lacking grip upon exit of the three corners that make up the Long Pond, Pa.-based facility, resulting in the loss of a few positions that placed him 17th on the leaderboard. For the next 30 laps of the race, the Emporia, Kan., native worked his way back into 11th in the running order until entering the top 10 on lap 47. While running in the top 10, Bowyer radioed to crew chief Shane Wilson that his engine temperatures were running higher than normal. On the next green-flag pit stop, the "Helping Hands" pit crew pulled enough tape off of the front grill to allow more airflow into the engine, getting temperatures somewhat back to normal. As the race continued past the halfway mark at lap 100, the track temperatures cooled off dramatically as the sun succumbed to dark rain clouds. The drastic change in track conditions benefited the No. 33 Chevrolet Impala and Bowyer found himself running as high as sixth before a huge rain storm on lap 124 forced NASCAR officials to display the red flag, stopping cars on pit road and allowing drivers to get out of their cars for one hour and 41 minutes. Jet dryers came out on the 2.5-mile track after the rain stopped and returned the track to safe racing conditions. The red-flag conditions couldn't have come at a better time for Bowyer as the 2008 Nationwide Series champion was suffering from dizziness in the car and needed food and water. Upon returning to on-track competition, Wilson immediately called Bowyer down to pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires and Sunoco E15 fuel under caution. The sun came out again shortly after the lap-132 restart, and Bowyer, in the 15th position, radioed in that his Chevrolet Impala was again tight in the middle of the corners and loose off. Wilson and Company tried to make air pressure and chassis adjustments to the racer during two more green-flag pit stops, but Bowyer wasn't able to pass any additional competitors on the track. A caution flag with 19 laps to go gave the "Helping Hands" pit crew an opportunity to prepare the red and yellow machine for the final run to the checkered flag. The team changed right-side tires only and the four-time Sprint Cup Series race winner restarted 15th with 16 laps to go. The remainder of the event was run under green-flag conditions and the RCR driver brought home an 18th-place finish. Bowyer remains 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings with only five races remaining before the cutoff for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and is currently 41 points out of the top 10.

Start - 14 Finish - 18 Laps Led - 0 Points - 12

CLINT BOWYER QUOTE: "The No. 33 Good Sam Club Chevrolet, like me, had an up and down day. I woke up very sick this morning and struggled to stay hydrated in the car. We were better than the 18th-place finish, but it's so hard to pass on any track lately and track position means everything. It's a reoccurring theme for us. We just can't seem to catch a break with pit strategy at all."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Paul Menard , Clint Bowyer , Brad Keselowski , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Richard Childress Racing
Tags bowyer, burton, chevrolet, childress, harvick, menard, nascar, pocono