Richard Childress Racing set for Texas II

Richard Childress Racing press release

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

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

This week's Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway ... Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 379 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 Kansas Speedway in October, where Menard started sixth and finished 12th.

Slightly different colors on the Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet in the Lone Star State ... The No. 27 Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet will sport a slightly different look this weekend, carrying a special paint scheme. "Quaker State green" and "Menards yellow" will don the Chevrolet Impala as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rolls into Texas.


Earlier this season, you started 19th and finished fifth at Texas Motor Speedway. How satisfying was that? "We've always run well at Texas (Motor Speedway) and being a night race, that made it even more fun. I love racing under the lights. It's always been a pretty good track for us, and I look forward to going back."

How much do you have to stay up on your toes at Texas Motor Speedway? "The line changes a lot. You can run the bottom, middle or top line. Every time we go back there the bumps get worse. You have to adjust your shock and bump-stop package to compensate for the bumps. It's a track that is getting pretty old. It still has a lot of speed in it though. As it gets older, it builds more character and changes a little bit more every time we go back."

Compare the corners at Texas Motor Speedway to other 1.5-mile tracks. "It seems like all the corners are very similar. The corners feel a lot sharper than they are at Charlotte Motor Speedway or Atlanta Motor Speedway. It actually feels like a smaller race track compared to those other two tracks, but more uniform."


Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevy
Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevy

Photo by: Bob Heathcote

This Week's Rheem Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will race chassis No. 381 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This is a brand new racer that will see its first on-track activity this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

Chase Update ... As the NSCS field enters the final three races of the season, Harvick is ranked third in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and sits just 21 markers behind point leader Carl Edwards after scoring a fourth-place finish at Martinsville Speedway. The Bakersfield, Calif., native earned two top-five and five top-10 finishes in the first seven races in the Chase.


Heading into Texas Motor Speedway, you're 21 points back from the No. 99 (Carl Edwards). What are your team's goals for Texas? "The goal of the Rheem Racing Team is just to keep chipping away at the lead. We got a little behind at Talladega (Superspeedway), but we must keep doing what we're doing. We've got three to go and we're closer now then we were last week."

From a driver's standpoint, can you feel the speed at Texas Motor Speedway? "Texas (Motor Speedway) is a really fast race track and the banking is where you can really feel how fast you are going. It's one of those few race tracks where you feel the speed in the car. The unique part about Texas is that you have that big speed for about three or four laps and as you go through the tire run the speed really drops off a tremendous amount. But, from a driver standpoint, you have got a lot of options. The race track has a lot of bumps that are great for character but you have to make your car work good and you have to get up off Turn 2, but you can run all over the race track. Obviously qualifying will be on the bottom, but when race time comes the Rheem Chevrolet will be moving around all over the place, which I think is a lot of fun from a driver's standpoint."

You haven't won at Texas Motor Speedway yet, but you've been pretty solid there. "Last year everything was rock solid. Obviously, you want that consistency and the things to go with that. Texas (Motor Speedway) is a really fast race track. The grip goes away fast on the cars. You have some bumps to contend with, so you have to keep the splitter off the ground, but as low as you can to make as much grip as you can. It's a tough place to do that."

How has Texas Motor Speedway changed over the years? Every track changes over time. "You know, it really hasn't changed over the last couple of years, but there for awhile, every year we would come back it would change a lot. Goodyear has done a good job with the tires to make them still wear out, but they're really, really fast at the beginning of the run and they last fairly long through the runs. As far as the race track goes, it still has big bumps in the middle of Turns 1 and 2 and it still has the little bumps on the bottom of Turns 3 and 4. There's still a big bump in that corner over the tunnel, so it has character. It wears the tires out of the car and they become harder to drive as the run goes on. It's a fun race track to race on because you have options to move around, but you still have really, really big speed at the beginning of the runs."


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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway ... Jeff Burton will pilot chassis No. 372 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in Sunday's AAA Texas 500. This Caterpillar Chevrolet Impala is a recent addition to the fleet, posting an 18th-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway last month in its lone on-track appearance.


Earlier this year at Texas Motor Speedway, you seemed to have a pretty consistent day. "Yeah, we were really good on long runs there. We struggled a little bit on the restarts. However, on the longer runs we probably had one of the fastest cars there. We had some positive things happen there and ended up with a top-15 finish. Hopefully when we go back, we'll improve on everything to have a better race. I really like racing at Texas Motor Speedway; it's a lot of fun."

You've had some success at Texas Motor Speedway. Would you say it's been one of your better tracks? "It's been both a good and bad track for us. When people look back at our races at Texas (Motor Speedway), they think because we've won races there that it's a really good track to us, but we've had some not-so-good runs there, too. It's one of those tracks where you can run well, and then go back and run horrible. I think the reason you see so many different winners there is because of how fast the personality of the track changes. I'm not sure why that is, but you can go there one time and go back and the track is completely different. A few years ago at the exit of turn two, you could barely get off of the corner. The radius was so strange there and everyone fought a tight-handling car. Now that has switched and getting off of turn two isn't really that bad, it's getting off of turn four that gives people some trouble. Every time you go there you have to be on your toes because you don't know what it's going to be like."

What are the corners like at Texas Motor Speedway compared to other tracks that you visit? "The entrances to the corners are completely different at Texas (Motor Speedway) than anywhere else. The two most unique tracks that we go to as far as transitioning from the straightaways to the corners, in my opinion, are Texas and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Both tracks are very odd in the fact that the rate at which the corner increases in banking. It's really easy to overdrive the corners. There is a lot of grip at Texas. You push real, real hard and you're in the gas early there. However, if you try to drive into the corner too deep there, it's doesn't work very well. It's a very rough race track and with the splitters and bump stops it makes the handling difficult with all of the bumps on the race track."


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

Photo by: Ted Rossino

This Week's Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet at Texas Speedway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot chassis No. 371 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This Chevrolet Impala, built new in September, has been utilized twice during this season's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The first time it saw action was at Chicagoland Speedway in September when Bowyer drove it to a top-10 finish of seventh after starting 21st and the second time was last month as Bowyer brought home another seventh-place finish after starting 24th at Kansas Speedway.


You finished second at Texas Motor Speedway in April. What did you think of that race? "This track is like Talladega Superspeedway in that we could have won at both of those tracks. I was lapping Brian Vickers and he got a little squirrely. We almost got turned around, but saved it. By that time, Matt (Kenseth) got around me and the rest is history. Texas Motor Speedway is a good race track for us. I enjoy going there."

When looking back at Texas Motor Speedway, that was kind of a 'son of a gun' moment, right? "Yeah, it's disappointing we couldn't get to victory lane that day. It was so close. We had a car that was capable of winning, but we just came up short. Nonetheless, it was a good run for us and a good race track for us and one I think we can win at. I'm looking forward to getting there."

How much do you have to stay on your toes at Texas Motor Speedway? "The sheer speed at Texas is probably the most demanding part about that race track. When you want to talk about a sensation of speed, you think about qualifying. Track position is everything at a big track like Texas Motor Speedway. You have to be able to play your cards right and your strategy right. If a caution comes out, you have to plan accordingly and play the audible. You have to decide two tires, four tires or fuel only. Whatever you have to do to keep that track position, you've to keep yourself in position for the end of the race."

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