Charlotte Motor Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway
RCR teammates finished ninth(Jeff Burton) and 11th (Paul Menard) in the Sprint Showdown.
RCR teammates finished ninth (Kevin Harvick) and 16th (Clint Bowyer) in the Sprint All-Star Race.
Menard ranked first in the Loop Data category of Fastest Drivers Early in a Run with an average speed of 184.632 mph.
Menard was ranked second in Fastest Laps Run, was third-fastest on restarts and was one of 11 drivers who remained in the top 15 throughout the entire event.
Burton ran inside the top 10 for the entire 40-lap Sprint Showdown event.
Harvick ranked second in the Closer category, improving five positions in the final 10 percent (10 laps) of the All-Star Race.
Bowyer started the race from the front row in the second position.
Bowyer spent 77 of 100 laps in the top 15, running as high as second before finishing 16th.
Although the Sprint Showdown and All-Star Race are non-points events, RCR teammates currently rank fifth (Harvick), eighth (Bowyer), 17th (Menard) and 23rd (Burton) in the Sprint Cup Series point standings.
Contact on Restart Dashes All-Star Race Hope for Menard and the No. 27 Moen/Menards Team
Paul Menard started the No. 27 Moen/Menards Chevrolet from the third position and quickly drove to second in Saturday night's Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He was running there when the competition caution was displayed on lap 20, ending the first of two segments. With only 20 laps remaining in the next segment and track position being vitally important, crew chief Slugger Labbe instructed his driver to stay out regardless of who came to pit road. A succession of drivers drove to pit road, some taking four tires while others only took two. Menard and race leader, and eventual winner David Ragan, were two of the drivers who remained on track. When green-flag racing resumed, Menard slipped to third on the restart, but quickly made the pass for second three laps later. An accident on lap 27 brought out the yellow flag. On the restart, the leader approached the green flag at a very slow speed and then suddenly accelerated. As a result, Menard received hard contact from behind that sent the No. 27 Chevrolet Impala sideways. The left front of the car was tagged by another car before the right-rear quarter panel bounced off the outside wall. Menard slipped backwards and the caution was displayed again for another accident on the track. Slugger and he discussed their options and agreed that regardless of the apparent tire rub, the No. 27 needed to remain on track. Only the top-two finishers transferred into the Sprint All-Star Race so it was all-or-nothing in those final 12 laps. Restarting from the seventh position, Menard fought the tire rub but, ultimately, lost four additional spots, finishing 11th.
PAUL MENARD: "It's disappointing because the car was so good; we definitely had the car to beat.
It would have been a lot of fun to have made it into the All-Star Race, but the Coca-Cola 600 is the one that counts. I am definitely looking forward to next week."
Harvick, No. 29 Team Claim Top-10 Effort in Annual All-Star Event
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser-Realtree Chevrolet team took home a ninth-place finish in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway after battling handling problems throughout a majority of the 100-lap race. Harvick started the non-points event from the 14th position and, within the first 10 laps, radioed to the team that the car's handling was just "too tight." As the run progressed, the handling grew tighter and tighter. The team pitted at lap 25 for tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. When the caution flag waved on lap 50 at the end of the first segment, Harvick was running in the 17th position. The No. 29 team pitted twice under the caution between the first and second segments to change tires, add fuel and make adjustments to the car. Harvick restarted in the 20th position for the second segment of the race. After the field went back to green, Harvick continued to report that the car's handling was very tight, so the team opted to come to pit road for additional adjustments when the caution flag waved at lap 58. Harvick restarted in the 18th position at lap 62. The caution flag waved again eight laps later marking the end of the second segment and he told the team that the car was still not turning well getting into the corners. Crew chief Gil Martin made the call for the team to stay out and gain track position, putting Harvick in the 11th position for the start of the third segment.
The No. 29 Budweiser-Realtree Chevrolet fell back a couple spots, and when the caution flag waved at lap 74, Martin called Harvick in for a four-tire stop to try a big air pressure adjustment before they got to the break before the fourth segment. Harvick restarted in the 16th position with 12 laps to go until the break and was able to pick up a couple spots before the caution flag waved at lap 90. The teams pulled down pit road for a 10-minute break and Harvick and Martin talked as the team went to work making adjustments on the No. 29 Budweiser-Realtree Chevrolet. Following the break, the teams came back down pit road for a four-tire stop to determine the starting order for the final segment of the race. The No. 29 team got Harvick off pit road in the 14th position, putting him on the outside of the seventh row to start the 10-lap shootout. In the closing laps, Harvick was able to gain a number of spots and took the checkered flag in the ninth position.
KEVIN HARVICK: "The Budweiser-Realtree Chevrolet was a lot better at the end of the race. (The car) was just bad all night getting in the corner and we, finally, got it to turn and were at least competitive there at the end. So, that was a bright spot in the day."
Burton, Cat Racing Team Finish Ninth in Sprint Showdown
A tight-handling No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet coupled with bottlenecked restarts moved Jeff Burton and the Todd Berrier-led team to a ninth-place result in the annual Sprint Showdown held Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The two 20-lap segment event began with the veteran driver taking the green flag in fifth, battling a tight condition on his RCR entry for the first 20 laps. During the intermission, Berrier called the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner to pit road for two fresh right-side tires and adjustments to help alleviate the lack of turn through the 24-degree banked corners. Burton returned to action in 10th for the final 20 laps where only green-flag laps counted. He quickly advanced to sixth before two caution flags were displayed, choosing not to pit during both times. On the night's final restart, the frontrunners in the outside lane bottlenecked in front of the veteran driver that resulted in the loss of several spots. But, fortunately, he was able to gather himself up and race his way back up to ninth in the closing 13 laps.
This was a good test for next weekend's (Coca-Cola) 600...
JEFF BURTON: "Obviously, we wish we could have raced our way into the All-Star Race but the Caterpillar Chevrolet was a bit too tight during the initial run. I was happy with how the car was handling in the second half of the race but we got jammed up on the last restart and lost some spots as a result. This was a good test for next weekend's (Coca-Cola) 600 and I think we learned a lot so now we'll just focus on what we need to do to run well next Sunday night."
No. 33 Team Brings Home 16th-Place Finish in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race
After starting from the front row, Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 BB&T Chevrolet team finished 16th in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Rolling off the starting grid in the second position for the 100-lap, one-million dollar to win shootout, Bowyer immediately reported to crew chief Shane Wilson on the team's communication channel that the No. 33 Chevy was very tight and he was having trouble turning the car in the corners. Despite the handling issues, Bowyer continued to run in the top five for a majority of segment one, which included a mandatory four-tire pit stop under green-flag conditions on lap 25. After the pit stop, the Emporia Kan., native continued to slide back in the field, but finished the first 50-lap segment in the eighth position. During the caution-flag period in between segments one and two, Wilson decided to bring the Chevrolet Impala down pit road to make track bar and air pressure changes.
... we actually did learn some things about the track ...
Restarting segment two in the 12th position, the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner still complained that the car was tight in the turns. An early caution flag period in the second segment gave Wilson and the "Helping Hands" pit crew the opportunity to bring the No. 33 Chevy to pit road not once, but twice, to make wholesale changes to the setup, and Bowyer came off pit road in the 19th position. He remained 19th through the end of the 20-lap segment. Following a four-tire pit stop for tires and Sunoco E15 prior to the third segment, Bowyer gained a position on pit road and restarted18th. The adjustments Wilson called for worked, as Bowyer gained seven positions during the 20-lap segment, going into the 10-minute intermission 11th. During the final break, drivers were able to turn off their engines and get out of the car while pit crews, engineers and mechanics went over the wall to make chassis adjustments on the car. With no championship driver points on the line, Wilson and Bowyer decided to completely change the setup on the car and almost every aspect of the white and burgundy Chevrolet was altered to loosen the car up enough to give Bowyer a serious shot at the win. At the start of the fourth segment, NASCAR called for all teams to, once again, make a mandatory four-tire pit stop and the "Helping Hands" pit crew reeled off another fast stop, putting Bowyer in the top 10 for the final 10-lap shootout. The changes to the car didn't free up the Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet enough and Bowyer crossed the finish line in the 16th position.
CLINT BOWYER: "We started the race a tight today and just couldn't seem to find the setup I needed to make a run for the one-million dollar payout. We were getting better during the third segment so we actually did learn some things about the track for next week's Coca-Cola 600. We will bounce back next week when there are points on the line."