RCR Post Race Report — Kansas and Chicago

RCR Post Race Report — Kansas and Chicago  

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series


TRACK: Kansas Speedway  DATE: June 5, 2011

Race Highlights:    

* RCR teammates finished 11th (Kevin Harvick), 18th (Clint Bowyer), 19th (Paul Menard) and 25th (Jeff Burton).     

* RCR teammates are fourth (Harvick), ninth (Bowyer), 20th (Menard) and 24th (Burton) in the Sprint Cup Series point standings following Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway.     

* Harvick posted an average running position of 8.25, seventh best amongst the 43-car field.     

* Bowyer made 104 green-flag passes during the race.     

* Bowyer spent 117 laps running in the top 15.     

* Menard ranked seventh in the category of Green-Flag Passes (102 passes) in NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics.     

* Menard spent 135 laps (50.6 percent of his laps run) in the top 15.      

* Burton has been running at the end of all contested races at Kansas Speedway under the RCR banner with eight.     

* Brad Keselowski took home the checkers, beating Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Denny Hamlin to the line. Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five finishers.     

* The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, June 12, televised live on TNT and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.   

Menard and No. 27 Zecol/Menards Team Bring Home Top-20 Finish from Kansas

Paul Menard and the No. 27 Zecol/Menards Chevrolet dealt with handling issues throughout the STP 400 to come home with a 19th-place finish in the first of two races this season at Kansas Speedway. Menard qualified the No. 27 Richard Childress Racing entry in the ninth position and started the race next to his RCR teammate Kevin Harvick, who had qualified 10th. The Eau Claire, Wisc., native was 11th on lap 44 during the first round of green-flag stops. Crew chief Slugger Labbe and the Zecol/Menards team made adjustments to the car over next 70 laps which resulted in the car being both loose and tight in the turns. Menard made minor contact with the No. 4 car on lap 118 but there was only minimal damage to the No. 27 Chevrolet. The team raced between 17th and 19th through lap 200 before green-flag stop on lap 202 dropped the team to 21st and a lap down to the leader. Menard battled back, however, running as high as 13th but, after a late-race stop to take on two tires and enough fuel to get to the checkered flag, he had to settle for the 19th-place finish.

PAUL MENARD QUOTE: “We struggled throughout the race to find the right setup for the Zecol/Menards Chevy but were never able to get exactly what we needed. Slugger (Labbe, crew chief) and the team worked really hard to get the car’s handling balanced, making adjustments on almost every pit stop, but it seemed like we would be loose one run and then tight the next.”

Start – 9                       Finish – 19                   Laps Led – 0                Points – 20 

Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Team Finish 11th in Kansas  As fuel mileage came into play for the second week in a row, Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team finished 11th in Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. Harvick started the race from the 10th position and remained inside the top 10 through the team’s first trip to pit road on lap 44 as he battled a tight-handling race car. Crew chief Gil Martin called for a four-tire stop with air pressure adjustments to try to help get the car to turn better in the corners. The team made adjustments throughout the race, but Harvick continued to deal with a tight-handling Chevrolet for the first seven to 10 laps of a run and then, all of a sudden, the car would come to him before developing a loose handling condition. Despite the handling problems, Harvick continued to run inside the top 10 after the field cycled through green-flag stops. Toward the end of the race, a few teams elected to come down pit road while a majority of the field stayed on the track. Those teams stretched their fuel mileage in the closing laps of the race, making only one trip to pit road while the other teams, including the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team had to pit twice. Harvick came down pit road under green in eighth position at lap 241 for the final stop of the day. As the green-flag stops cycled through in the remaining laps, he ended up 11th, losing spots only to the three cars that were able to stretch their fuel mileage at the end of the race.  Start – 10                      Finish – 11                   Laps Led – 0                  Points – 4

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:”We fought it up and down; tight and loose. We had a decent car; not a great car. We gambled a little bit and just had to come in there for gas. But, that’s what we’re supposed to do, gamble.”

  Burton, Cat Racing Team Finish 25th in Kansas  Jeff Burton and the Cat Racing team endured a tough outing at Kansas Speedway in Sunday’s STP 400, finishing 25th in the rundown. Saturday’s time trials session led to an outside row eight starting spot for the South Boston, Va., native – a position that he, unfortunately, could never advance from. Immediately after the drop of the green flag, an ill-handling machine transpired and crew chief Todd Berrier used every opportunity the Richard Childress Racing team had to apply doses of medicine to the ever-so-touchy No. 31 entry. However, nothing seemed to remedy the condition and Burton spent most of his afternoon running in and around the 20th position. Adding a complex race car to a track notorious for track position and long green-flag runs made it that much more difficult for the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner to make up any ground. In the end, he found himself one lap down to the leader with 27 laps to go, dropping as low as 27th, but was able to notch two spots before the checkered flag waved.     Start – 16             Finish – 25            Laps Led – 0            Points Position – 24  

JEFF BURTON QUOTE:”Today wasn’t a very good day for the Cat Racing team. We could never get the Caterpillar Chevrolet handling well which made for a long day. It’s definitely frustrating to post a 25th-place finish.”

No. 33 American Ethanol Team Brings Home Top-20 Finish at Kansas Speedway  

Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 American Ethanol Chevrolet fought loose conditions all day long in 90-degree summer heat and salvaged a top-20 finish in the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. After qualifying 27th on Saturday, the Richard Childress Racing driver was loose when the green-flag dropped as hot temperatures and sunny skies led to a slick racing surface on the 1.5-mile oval. Despite the loose conditions, Bowyer worked his way up to 21st position over the first 50 laps and gained five more spots by lap 100. He moved into 16th while routine pit stops gave crew chief Shane Wilson and the “Helping Hands” pit crew opportunities to make chassis adjustments to the No. 33 Chevrolet to gain more grip throughout the 267-lap affair. On a lap 111 yellow-flag pit stop, the “Helping Hands” pit crew gave another great performance, which included track bar and air pressure adjustments, and Bowyer left pit road in 14th. Over the next long green-flag run, Bowyer settled into 13th on the race track and by lap 168, the black, silver and green Impala moved into the top 10. The Emporia Kan., native maintained the top-10 running position over the next 50 laps until a green-flag pit stop on lap 201 shuffled him back to 13th. For the remainder of the race, the four-time Sprint Cup Series race winner struggled to find grip and pit strategy, once again, came into play at the Kansas City Kan.,-based facility as the last 102 laps of the race were run under green-flag conditions. After a four-tire pit stop on lap 243, Bowyer went a lap down to the leaders, but was able to gain three positions in the last 24 laps and come home with a top-20 finish in 18th. Bowyer is now ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings and sits 94 markers out of first.

Start – 27                  Finish – 18                       Laps Led – 0               Points – 9

CLINT BOWYER QUOTE: “Obviously, I wanted to run better than 18th, especially at my hometown track. It was really hot and we just couldn’t find any grip the entire day and it got worse as the day went on. Somehow, we turned it into a top-20 finish. I am proud of everyone on the American Ethanol Chevrolet team. It was great to have American Ethanol on the car this weekend. The paint scheme looked awesome. I can’t thank them enough for being great partners of RCR and our sport.”

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 

RACE: O’Reily Auto Parts 250 

TRACK: Kansas Speedway  

DATE: June 4, 2011

Race Highlights:     

* RCR teammates finished fifth (Joey Coulter) and 12th (Austin Dillon).     

* Dillon earned the ninth pole award of his career on Saturday morning, and was one of five trucks powered by Earnhardt-Childress Engines to start in the top five.     

* Coulter started eighth and passed Kyle Busch on the final lap to earn his career-first top-five finish.     

* Coulter was the highest finishing rookie and earned a bonus championship driver championship point by leading a lap.     

* Coulter spent 127 laps of the race in the top 15.     

* Coulter made 73 green-flag passes, 46 of them were quality passes (made while running in the top 15), according to NASCAR Loop Data Statistics.     

* Dillon moved up one position in the NCWTS point standings, to third, and is now 30 markers shy of current point leader Johnny Sauter, while Coulter moved up five positions in the NCWTS’ point standings, to 11th.     

* Kansasnative Clint Bowyer earned his third career NCWTS victory in front of a home-state crowd and was followed to the finish line by Sauter, Todd Bodine, James Buescher and Coulter.     

* The next NCWTS race is the WinStar World Casino 400k at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, June 10, televised live on SPEED beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio beginning at 8:45 p.m. EDT.  Austin DillonMoves up to Third in the Point Standings despite a Challenging Afternoon in Kansas

Austin Dillonfinished 12th in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway, moving up to third in the driver point standings despite a series of speeding penalties and a loose-handling No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. Dillon led the 36-truck field to the green flag after earning his ninth career pole award during qualifying on Saturday morning. Soon after the start of the race, he reported to crew chief Danny Stockman that his Chevrolet was loose on entry to the corner, slipping to sixth in the running order. Stockman directed Dillon down pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 49 so that the team could make chassis adjustments and service the truck with fuel and four tires. Unfortunately, NASCAR officials called a speeding infraction during the stop, and the team was penalized with another trip down pit road, placing them one lap down to the leaders in 28th position. Even though he was one lap down, Dillon’s black No. 3 was still fast, and he was able to put himself in position for the Lucky Dog award when the caution flag was displayed on lap 65. Before green-flag racing resumed, Dillon pitted again for four tires, fuel and another chassis adjustment, as the truck was still extremely loose in traffic. Dillon was scored in 23rd position for the lap-70 restart, and worked his way up to 16th but received another penalty for speeding down pit road while pitting during a lap-98 caution period. As a result, Dillon had to restart at the tail end of the longest line in 24th. He pitted one additional time for yet another chassis adjustment, and worked his way to as high as ninth, but continued to battle a loose-handling truck, finishing 12th.

Start – 1           Finish – 12       Points Position – 3               Laps Led – 0   

AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE: “We had a terrible day on pit road with speeding penalties. It happened twice, and you just can’t recover from that. Twelfth is not the finish we were looking for, but I am happy we were able to move up to third in points. We will be better at Texas.”

Rookie Joey Coulter Scores Career-Best Truck Series Finish with Top Five at Kansas

In his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Kansas Speedway, rookie Joey Coulter powered his way to a career-best finish by bringing the No. 22 RCR Chevrolet home in the top five in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250. After qualifying eighth, the Miami Springs, Fla., native started off the 167-lap event fighting loose-handling conditions on his Chevrolet Silverado. Coulter ran the first 53 laps in the top 10 until bringing his truck down pit road under green-flag conditions for fresh Goodyear tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to combat the loose conditions caused by the 90-degree summer heat at the Kansas City Kan.,-based facility. The caution flag flew 10 laps later while Coulter was still a lap down to the leaders and he qualified as a “wave around” truck, restarting 22nd on lap 65. Coulter spent the next 15 laps working his way back into the top 10 in the running order. However, the No. 22 Silverado became very loose on long green-flag runs and Coulter settled into 13th position before he was penalized by NASCAR officials for speeding on pit road during a lap-112 pit stop under caution. Coulter restarted in the 25th position, at the tail end of the longest line, but the Harold Holly-led crew was able to make chassis adjustments to the truck in preparation for a long green-flag run to the checkered flag. The changes worked and the 20-year-old rookie began picking off competitors one at a time and was in 18th before his final pit stop on lap 133 when Holly called for only four tires and 1.5 seconds of Sunoco E15. The No.22 pit crew, which was solid all day long, gained three spots on pit road after a lightning-fast pit stop. Restarting 15th with 30 laps to go, Coulter went on a tear through the field, passing six trucks in seven laps and, eventually, working his way up to sixth with 10 laps to go. After hard side-by-side racing with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Kyle Busch in the final laps, Coulter made a dramatic last-lap pass in turn four to secure his first career top-five finish in any of NASCAR’s premier racing divisions. In the process, he gained five positions in the driver championship point standings.

Start – 8                       Finish – 5                     Laps Led – 1                 Points – 11

JOEY COULTER QUOTE:”It was a pretty wild day. It seemed like the truck just kept flipping back and forth all day. We also got caught speeding on pit road and that was my fault, but Harold (Holly, crew chief) and the guys played great pit strategy and we brought home the first top five of my NASCAR career. That was also really fun there at the end with Kyle Busch. It was a great learning experience for me and a great day for the No. 22 RCR Chevrolet team. I can’t wait to go to Texas next week.”

ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards 

RACE: Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 150

TRACK: Chicagoland Speedway  

DATE: June 4, 2011

Race Highlights:  TY DILLON QUOTE: “Our game plan was to stay patient all day. We came in that second or third stop, and we were really loose. Something was wrong with our left-rear tire; it never gained any pressure. I told the crew we were going to have to come in and pit because we can’t win the race like this. Once we got fresh tires and got everything back to where it was supposed to, we came back through the field. By then, Chad (Hackenbracht) was so far out front – it was his race. It’s unfortunate what happened to him, but the caution helped us and put us where we needed to be. We had a really fast car.”

“I can’t thank Scott Wimmer enough for getting that car where it needed to be while I was at graduation. I’m really happy for these guys. It’s Scott’s (Naset, crew chief) birthday Wednesday, and I graduated last night. I’m just really happy.”

    * RCR teammates finished first (Ty Dillon) and 32nd (Tim George Jr.).     

* Dillon earned his third win of the season in the ARCA Racing Series, his fifth career ARCA win in nine races.     

* Dillon increased his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards point lead to 125 points over Frank Kimmel.     

* George made his career-best ARCA start of second in Saturday’s Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 150.     

* Dillon won by 0.307 seconds over Chris Buescher, Josh Richards, Chad McCumbee and Andrew Ranger.     

* The next ARCA Racing Series race is the Pocono ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, June 11, 2011. The race will be televised on SPEED starting at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Live audio, scoring and timing will be available at www.arcaracing.com.

 George Jr., No. 31 Applebee’s/Potomac Family Dining Group Leave Chicagoland with a Disappointing Finish

Tim George Jr. qualified second for the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 150 Saturday afternoon, earning his career-best ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start, but made an early exit from the 100-lap event when he was involved in a single-car incident on the second lap. The Richard Childress Racing team started the race weekend with a practice session Friday afternoon where the No. 31 Applebee’s/Potomac Family Dining Group Chevrolet sat atop the speed chart for a majority of practice. George and team made minor changes during practice, and the fast RCR entry was ready for qualifying on Saturday. The New York, N.Y., native was the second qualifier and made a quick lap of 30.489 seconds, granting him the provisional pole position. George watched patiently as other teams made their qualifying runs. He held the pole until the closing moments of qualifying when another competitor took over the pole position by 0.068 seconds. Later that day, the start of the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 150 was delayed by five hours and one minute due to inclement weather and forced ARCA and Chicagoland officials to revise the race schedule. The green flag waved at 10:01 p.m. local time and just two short laps later, George made contact with the turn-two wall. Unfortunately, the damage suffered by the No. 31 Applebee’s/Potomac Family Dining Group Chevrolet didn’t allow the RCR team to rejoin competition, resulting in a 32nd-place finishing position.    Start -2                       Finish -32                   Laps Led – 0                Point Position – 8

TIM GEORGE JR QUOTE: “The car snapped loose on the second lap of the race, in the center of turns one and two. There wasn’t any time to think – it just shot sideways and it backed into the wall. My initial thought was that I clipped the apron, but there was oil or water down low on the track. I watched the replay several times and I was running a lower line than the cars in front of and behind me. I had been able to save (the car) in loose conditions in the center (of the corner) during practice several times, but this was more than just loose. My RCR team gave me a fast car and we nearly won the pole. Now, it’s on to Pocono where I’ll bring a positive mindset and a strong conviction to keep moving forward.”

Ty Dillon Earns a High School Diploma and a Win at Chicagoland Speedway    

Ty Dillon earned his third win of the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway after missing Friday’s practice session for his high school graduation from Forsyth Country Day School. Scott Wimmer filled in for Dillon on Friday and dialed in the No. 41 RCR Chevrolet for Saturday’s 100-lap event. Dillon rejoined his team on Saturday for qualifying where he posted the fifth-quickest time before inclement weather forced officials to start the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 150 five hours after its original start time. Dillon took the green flag at 10:01 p.m. Central Time and, by lap 12, was scored in the second position. The first caution waved on lap 16, and the 19-year-old driver was directed to stay out during the slowdown. The field returned to green-flag racing on lap 20 and Dillon informed his team of a loose-handling car. On lap 38, the second caution of the night was displayed, and the No. 41 Chevrolet was called to pit road for four fresh Hoosier tires and a tire pressure adjustment. The high school graduate restarted fourth with 56 laps to go. The loose conditions continued on the RCR entry, but were remedied by a new set of Hoosier tires during the next caution. Dillon restarted ninth on lap 59 and by lap 71 he had made his way to second place. The soon-to-be five-time ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race winner was catching the leader when the leader cut a right-front tire and struck the wall. Dillon took over the lead with 16 laps remaining in the 100-lap event and was directed to save fuel. The Lexington, N.C., native endured two restarts within the final 10 laps and drove his No. 41 RCR Chevrolet to his third victory of the 2011 season.

Start -5                       Finish -1                     Laps Led -16               Points Position – 1 (leads by 125 points)

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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