RCR's Menard finishes 26th in a rain-filled event at Talladega Superspeedway
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 26th (Paul Menard), 28th (Jeff Burton) and 40th (Kevin Harvick).
Paul Menard started the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway from the 16th position on Sunday after qualifying was rained out and the field was set by Friday's first practice speeds.
Restarting in 34th, he quickly made his way to 19th, when the caution flag was again displayed for a multi-car accident, which Menard narrowly avoided moving him into 11th-place.
Continuing to run in the top 10, Menard came to the pits for a routine green-flag pit stop and lost the lead draft causing him to fall back to 24th.
Working his way back to the lead pack, Menard's No. 27 machine began to overheat and he was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap 121 to add water. Shortly after pitting, the red flag was displayed at lap 124 for a heavy downpour.
After the rain showers subsided and the track dried, Menard restarted 32nd, three laps down to the leader. After making several laps under green-flag conditions, the No. 27 began to overheat again and Menard was forced to pit to add more water.
Restarting five laps down to the leader, with 54 laps remaining, Menard was able to avoid a multi-car accident in the closing laps to pick up several positions, ultimately finishing 26th.
Gaining one spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, Menard sits in eighth heading into the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Paul Menard (Start - 16 / Finish - 26 / Laps Led - 1 / Points - 8): "Our CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet was fast today at Talladega Superspeedway. We avoided trouble early on and were able to run up front.
Unfortunately, we overheated and had to spend some time in the pits putting us behind. We never gave up and where able to avoid "The Big One" at the end to gain some spots. It was a long day in the rain, but we were able to gain a spot in the points, so we're happy with that."
Harvick Finishes 40th at Talladega Superspeedway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser team finished 40th in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway after being involved in an early race, multi-car incident which led to engine issues that ended the team's day prematurely.
The Richard Childress Racing driver started the scheduled 188-lap event from the 24th position after rain canceled qualifying setting the field by the NASCAR rulebook.
Harvick worked his way into the top 10, but spent the majority of the race riding around mid-pack in an attempt to avoid trouble synonymous with superspeedway racing. On lap 44, a multi-car accident broke out in front of the red and white Chevrolet.
Harvick attempted to drive around the spinning cars, but was collected forcing the driver to come down pit road for the No. 29 team to assess the damage sustained.
After surveying the car, the Budweiser Chevrolet was pushed to the garage for the team to make repairs. Harvick returned to the racing surface on lap 72 in the 36th position, 25 laps down to the leader.
Back on track, Harvick reported the engine had expired bringing the team's day to an early end. Following the 40th-place finish, Harvick is now 12th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Kevin Harvick (Start - 24 / Finish - 40 / Laps Led - / Points - 12): "I feel like this race was a flashback to Daytona (International Speedway). We had a great run last weekend, and I was really hoping that we could carry that momentum into this weekend, but we didn't have a chance to make it to the end.
I've got to thank the Budweiser team for working so hard to try and get us back on track. Wish we could have had a better result, but that's part of superspeedway racing."
Burton Collected in "The Big One," Finishes 28th at Talladega Superspeedway
A multi-car accident on lap 44 collected Jeff Burton's No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet and spoiled any chance of a solid effort from the Richard Childress Racing team at Talladega Superspeedway.
The South Boston, Va., native started the race in 29th-place after NASCAR officials were forced to cancel qualifying due to persistent rain showers.
After working his way into the top 10 early in the race, the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner took the lead on lap 30, earning a valuable bonus point in his quest to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Shortly after making his first pit stop of the afternoon for fresh right-side Goodyear tires, disaster struck when Burton and 15 other competitors were collected in "The Big One".
The black and yellow machine suffered significant damage that forced the team to make repairs during multiple pit stops under caution-flag conditions, with Burton eventually returning to the track two laps down to the leader in 36th.
The No. 31 Caterpillar crew, led by crew chief Luke Lambert, worked hard all afternoon and into the evening to keep the car running competitive lap times.
Despite the damage, the team persevered through a three-hour, 46 minute red-flag delay due to rain showers. Burton also survived a 12-car melee with four laps remaining and gained eight positions to finish in the 28th.
With the result, Burton remains 19th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Jeff Burton (Start-29 / Finish-28 / Laps Led-1 / Points-19): "There really isn't too much to say about the wreck except we were very close to making it through without damage.
It makes you think sometimes whether or not we should ride around in the back of the pack at these types of race tracks to stay out of trouble.
I'm bummed for the entire team because we had a strong Caterpillar Chevrolet and led laps early. I am confident we will get back on track next weekend at my favorite track, Darlington (Raceway)."
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About this article
|Drivers||Jeff Burton , Kevin Harvick , Paul Menard|
|Teams||Richard Childress Racing|
|Article type||Race report|