Richard Childress Racing set for Charlotte 500

Richard Childress Racing press release

Race winner Paul Menard, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Race winner Paul Menard, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

This week's CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway ... Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 326 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 on track at Chicagoland Speedway, where Menard tied his season-best starting position of second and drove it to a 20th-place finish.This racer also saw competition at Michigan International Speedway (August) where he started 11th and finished 26th, at Bristol Motor Speedway (March) where he started fourth and finished fifth, The Sprint Showdown (May) where he started third and finished 11th, and again at MIS (June), where Menard started ninth and finished fourth.


You've had some good finishes at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Do you like that track? "Yeah, we've had really strong cars there. We had a really good car there in the spring. I tried running the outside groove and ended up wrecking the car. I felt pretty dumb about that, but I like Charlotte. It's becoming a very racy track. They repaved it enough years ago that now it has several grooves and that makes it a lot of fun."

Every track has a turn that stands out, which one stands out for you at Charlotte Motor Speedway? "Turns one and two are a lot different than turns three and four at Charlotte. Turns one and two drive more like a Texas Motor Speedway, whereas turns three and four drive more like a Kansas Speedway. Each end is different for being a pretty symmetrical track."

How do you think the fall race will be different from the spring race at Charlotte Motor Speedway? "We don't really see a difference from the spring to the fall. The spring race is generally a little hotter than the race in October. There's a little bit more grip in the fall and the race is shorter. You don't have that big transition from the daytime to the nighttime. But, you still feel some of the change because it is a temperature sensitive track."


Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: / ASP Inc.

This Week's Jimmy John's Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will race chassis No. 373 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. The team utilized this car for the August race at Michigan International Speedway where Harvick finished 22nd.

Picking Up the Pace ... Harvick has publicly commented numerous times about his dislike of CMS. However, the Bakersfield, Calif., native has scored solid runs at the speedway recently. In the past three points-paying races at CMS, Harvick holds an average finish of 6.67, which is more than 12 positions better than his career average finish at the track.


What are your thoughts on racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway? "From a driver's standpoint, it's just never been a race track where I've had a great feel. There's nothing wrong with the surface, nothing wrong with the shape of the race track or anything like that. It's just from a performance standpoint we just don't have the stats that need to be there like we do at a lot of other places. Over the last couple of years it's definitely gotten a lot better for us. We won a race there at the beginning of the year and after we won there we feel like we can win anywhere."

Talk about racing at night at Charlotte Motor Speedway with cooler temperatures expected. "As soon as it goes to night there, the track becomes a different race track than it is during the day. I'm sure that we'll practice during the day and have no clue what we have at night. All- in-all, it's going to be the same old Charlotte that it always is - really, really fast at night. The cooler it gets, the more grip there is."

It's known that you haven't been a big fan of Charlotte Motor Speedway in the past. After winning at the track in May, can one win really give you a better attitude coming into this race? "We've definitely run better at Charlotte over the last couple of years. For us that's a huge step. In the past, it's been a place where you just want to come and survive and try to get a top-10 (finish). The last time we were in contention, I think we restarted fifth there and had a solid car all night. It seems like we've gotten better every time. Hopefully that win keeps everybody happy coming in before we get started."


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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway ... Jeff Burton will pilot chassis No. 372 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in Saturday's Charlotte 500. This brand new Caterpillar Chevrolet will be put through its first paces of competition this weekend.


You finished 21st in May's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, talk about how that race went for the Cat Racing team. "I'm a big fan of Charlotte. We typically go there and run really well. In the spring, we were in such a rut and not doing anything right. I really don't look at the finishes. I just go back and really pay attention to video and pay attention to what we did during the race. What matters to me is where we are now because I think we are so different now compared to what we were then. I'm optimistic about going back there this weekend. It's a place that I really like. I feel like we'll go there and be competitive."

Why do you think the last few years have been so tough there? "We actually ran really well there at both races last year but had problems late in the races. We had an issue with a tire go down in one of the races. We've had good runs; we just haven't had the good finishes."

Both races at Charlotte Motor Speedway end in the night. Are there still differences in the races there? "The fall race starts later so you don't have the big transition like you do during the spring race from the daytime to the nighttime. It's more of just a night race. It's a little easier because there isn't quite the transition."

Will your car be more consistent in the fall race? "I think in the fall race, it stays the way it would at any race track. Charlotte (Motor Speedway) is a very temperamental race track. I don't think the conditions change as much in the fall race as they do during the spring race."


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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

This Week's Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot chassis No. 333 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This Chevrolet Impala, built new at the start of the 2011 season, has been utilized this year at Auto Club Speedway in March (started-17th, finished-seventh), Charlotte Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in May (started-second, finished-16th), and both Pocono Raceway events in June (started-12th, finshed-16th) and August (started-14th, finished-18th).

Career Charlotte Stats ... This week's 500 miler marks Bowyer's 212th career NSCS start.

In five NSCS starts at the fall event at Charlotte, Bowyer owns one top-five and four top-10 finishes.

He has completed 100 percent of the laps (1,338 of 1,338) contested at the fall Charlotte events during his career.

The Emporia, Kan., native has led two laps at the 1.5-mile facility.

Bowyer owns an average starting position of 15th and an average finishing position of 10.8.

Red and Yellow ... The familiar Cheerios/Hamburger Helper paint scheme is on Bowyer's No. 33 Chevrolet this weekend.

Media Advisory ... Bowyer, team owner Richard Childress and USO representative Frank Thorp, Sr. will unveil a special USO paint scheme for the No. 33 Chevrolet on Thursday, October 13 at 2p.m. eastern Daylight Time in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Center-Theater Room. The participants will also discuss a new campaign launched by Cheerios in partnership with the USO to honor military families.

Another Top-10 Finish at Kansas ... Starting from the 24th position, Bowyer wasted no time moving toward the front of the 43-car field and the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet team capped off another strong run in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with their third top-10 finish in the last four Sprint Cup Series races at the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

On a Roll ... Bowyer and the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet team have three top-10 finishes in the first four 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. The only finish outside of the top 10 came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when Bowyer finished 26th after running out of fuel while leading the race with two laps remaining.

Points Racing ... Bowyer remains 13th in the NSCS driver championship point standings.


You've had decent finishes at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but there have been circumstances across the board at Richard Childress Racing that CMS hasn't been one of those really good tracks? "No, it's just one of those race tracks that we've always struggled with. It's one of our worst race tracks. As a group, we always seem to struggle there."

Obviously, the night race in May and the night race in October will have quite a bit of temperature change. How will that affect this weekend's race? "There will be a little bit of change. The grip level will be higher and it will be faster. It really all comes down to the tire that Goodyear brings. That's what sets a good race from a bad race on a track like that."

Do you think having night races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup are a good thing? "Yeah, I like night races. I think it brings an extra excitement element to the atmosphere. I think it's a good thing. It's something we all grew up doing, racing under the lights. I think you have them use them."

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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