RCR Post Race Report — Homestead-Miami Speedway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
RACE: Homestead 400
TRACK: Homestead-Miami Speedway
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished sixth (Clint Bowyer), eighth (Kevin Harvick), 10th (Jeff Burton) and16th (Paul Menard) in the Homestead 400.
It was Bowyer’s 16th top-10 finish of the 2011 NSCS season.
Bowyer made 122 green-flag passes during the race and spent 75 percent of the race running in the top 15 according to NASCAR Loop Data Statistics.
Harvick’s 9.288 average running position was sixth best during the 267-lap affair that included him leading on two separate occasions for a total of 12 laps.
Harvick spent 88 percent (235 of 267 laps) running inside the top 15, ranking him eighth amongst the 43-car field.
Harvick’s top-10 run earned him the seventh-best Driver Rating of 100.5
Burton made 134 green-flag passes during the 267-lap race, placing him third best amongst his competitors.
Burton led one time for a total of four laps.
Menard made 125 green-flag passes during the race, ranking him eighth in the 43-car field according to NASCAR Loop Data Statistics.
Gaining two positions in the final 10 percent (27 laps) of the race, Menard tied for eighth in the NASCAR Loop Data category Closers.
The next points-awarding NSCS race is the 2012 season-opener Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 27.
Paul Menard and the Duracell/Menards Team Wrap Season with 16th-Place Finish at Homestead
Paul Menard and the Duracell/Menards team endured series of rain showers and a persistent tight-handling condition to finish in the 16th position in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. With rain cancelling all track activity on Friday, NSCS teams had a packed Saturday with two practice sessions and time trials. A less-than-satisfactory qualifying lap put the No. 27 Duracell/Menards Chevrolet in the 23rd spot when the green flag dropped for the 267-lap affair. A light shower slowed the field under the caution flag on lap 13. Menard reported that the No. 27 machine was tight on entry and in the centers of the corners. Crew chief Slugger Labbe called for four new Goodyear tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments on lap 15. Restarting in the 23rd position, the Eau Clair, Wis., native continued to search for a line around the 1.5-mile race track where the Chevrolet Impala handled best, but told the team that the handling was a little improved. On a visit to pit road on the lap-34 caution period, Labbe instructed the pit crew to change right-side tires only, moving Menard into the top 10 for the restart on lap 38. On the ensuing green-flag run, Menard reported that the car had very little grip early in the run, was loose on entry and tight on exit while maintaining a position in the top 20. Heavy rain began to fall on lap 107, requiring NASCAR to display the red flag and park the field on pit road while the jet dryers worked to return the track surface to safe racing conditions. One hour and 14 minutes later, engines were fired and the cars returned to the track under caution. Menard brought the Duracell/Menards Chevrolet to the attention of his pit crew where he received chassis and air pressure adjustments, four tires and fuel. The team also worked to repair fender and extensive rear quarter-panel damage received from contact with a competitor. For the remainder of the 2011 season finale, Menard continued to battle a slight tight-handling condition under the lights, but the continued efforts of Labbe and the team allowed him to compete in and around the top 15, taking the checkered flag in the 16th position. The Brickyard 400 winner earned a 17th-place result in the 2011 driver championship point standings, the best in his five-year NSCS career.
Start – 23 Finish – 16 Laps Led – 0 Points – 17
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
“This was a great first year at Richard Childress Racing and I want to thank this No. 27 Duracell/Menards team for all of their hard work. We are so much further ahead than we were a year ago, and I am looking forward to getting back at it with them in 2012. We were a little too tight all night at Homestead (Miami Speedway), but we gained another position in the points, which we were working to do.”
Harvick, Budweiser Close Out 2011 Season on Strong Note
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team closed out the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway with an eighth-place finish in Sunday’s 400-lap event. Harvick started the race from the 21st position and raced his way up to 16th by the time the caution flag waved for the first time at lap 12 for rain. The Richard Childress Racing team elected to pit at lap 14 for right-side tires and fuel to gain track position and restarted in the eighth position at lap 21. When the caution flag waved again at lap 33, Harvick reported that the car needed rear grip exiting the corners. Crew chief Gil Martin called Harvick to pit road for right-side tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment at lap 35. The two-tire call once again gained Harvick track position and he restarted in the third position at lap 37. On the following run, Harvick told the team that the car was too loose. Martin called Harvick to pit lane for four tires and fuel under green-flag conditions at lap 76. The caution flag waved after pit stops had cycled through at lap 82 with Harvick running in the sixth position. Martin decided to have Harvick stay out and, as a result, he restarted fifth at lap 87. Harvick worked his way up to third before the caution flag waved again for rain at lap 107. He told the team the car was “too loose up off (the corner),” but was “starting to get better.” As the rain continued, NASCAR brought the drivers down pit road and put out the red flag. Jet dryers worked for an hour and 14 minutes to dry the track before the race resumed. The No. 29 Budweiser team pitted at lap 113 for right-side tires and fuel and restarted in the lead. Harvick slipped back to the sixth position at lap 122 and informed the team that the car was still a tad too loose. The Bakersfield, Calif., native pitted again for right-side tires under caution at lap 135 and once again restarted in the lead. When the caution flag waved again at lap 154, Harvick told the team that the car was “sideways,” so Martin brought him to pit road for four tires and fuel. Harvick restarted 17th at lap 160 and raced his way up to 11th at lap 192. The team pitted under green five laps later for four tires and fuel. Once green-flag stops cycled through, Harvick was posted in the seventh position. The caution flag waved again for rain at lap 212. The No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team pitted for the final time at lap 214, taking four tires and fuel. Harvick restarted 10th and was able to gain a couple positions in the final laps of the race to finish eighth.
Start – 21 Finish – 8 Laps Led – 12 Points – 3
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
“We struggled a bit with being too loose tonight, but came back and got a decent finish with the Budweiser Chevrolet to end the season. The guys did a good job all year. I’m looking forward to some downtime in the off season and then getting back after it again in Daytona in February.”
Burton, Cat Racing Team Cap Off 2011 Season with Top-10 Effort at Homestead
In typical Jeff Burton fashion, the driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet overcame a disappointing qualifying effort of 31st position to score a top-10 finish in Sunday’s 400 miler at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It was the Cat Racing team’s fourth top-10 run in the last five races of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, catapulting them from 24th to 20th in the point standings. The 267-lap showdown saw five caution periods in the first half of the race, including a 74-minute red flag for rain. During that time, the South Boston, Va., native tussled with a temperamental-handling black and yellow machine that received doses of relief in the form of four pit stops, advancing him to 15th in the 43-car field rundown by the halfway mark. Despite still needing further adjustments to aide in Burton’s climb, crew chief Luke Lambert made the call to keep the Caterpillar Chevrolet on track during the next two caution periods at laps 141 and 154 in order to put the team within the much needed fuel window. That decision placed the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner at the point on the lap-160 restart. He was able to hold his own inside the top seven positions on old tires, versus his competitor’s fresh tires, before making a scheduled pit stop on lap 190 for four new tires, further adjustments and fuel. Although Burton returned to action 28th, he steadily moved up the leaderboard as other teams pitted, returning to the top 10 with 65 laps remaining. Another rain shower slowed the competition 23 laps later and pit strategy talk commenced between the veteran driver and Lambert. It was determined the No. 31 team would make their last pit stop of the day on the ensuing lap while some teams chose to stay out and make their final stop in the laps ahead. Burton restarted in the 16th position on lap 230 and was able to make his way around several competitors before sliding into 10th with eight circuits to go, holding onto the coveted spot when the checkered flag was displayed.
Start – 31 Finish – 10 Laps Led – 4 Points – 20
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
“Our team set a goal before the race of running the best we possibly could and to finish inside the top 20 in the point standings and we were able to accomplish both. It’s disappointing to set those types of goals, but that’s the unfortunate position we were in. The performance this year was not up to par but our string of top-10 finishes toward the end of the season is a promising feeling going into next season.”
Bowyer Finishes off RCR Career with Sixth-Place Result at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Clint Bowyer, driving in his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race for Richard Childress Racing, scored his 16th top-10 finish of the 2011 season by bringing home a hard-fought sixth-place effort at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After piloting the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Chevrolet to a 17th-place starting position during Saturday’s time trials, the 32-year-old Bowyer started off the 267-lap event very happy with the handling on the race car before the first caution flag of the event waved at lap 12 for light rain at the Homestead, Fla.-based facility. After taking two right-side tires on the first pit stop of the day, the five-time Sprint Cup Series race winner reported his Chevrolet was too tight upon entry into the 20-degree banked corners of the 1.5-mile oval and that the decision to change only two tires wasn’t a good idea at that stage of the race. Crew chief Shane Wilson called Bowyer to pit road again under caution on lap 34, which allowed the “Helping Hands” pit crew to change four tires and make minor air pressure and chassis adjustments. Upon completion of the pit stop, Bowyer settled into the top 10 for the next 75 laps until another consistent rain shower led to a one hour, 14 minute red-flag period. During the delay, the Emporia Kan., native was able to exit his Chevrolet Impala and meet with his RCR teammates and Wilson on pit road to discuss track conditions and potential adjustments. Once the track was dried by NASCAR officials, Bowyer brought the red and yellow machine to the attention of the “Helping Hands” pit crew who put on four fresh Goodyear tires, filled it with Sunoco E15 fuel and took a spring rubber out of the left rear. Those specific changes made the No. 33 Chevrolet handle much better immediately on short runs. However, during longer green-flag periods, the racer became very loose and Bowyer dropped back through the 43-car field before eventually clawing his way forward into the top 15 at lap 182. With just under 80 laps to go, Wilson directed the RCR driver to start conserving fuel so the team could play pit strategy, needing to make only one more pit stop for the remainder of the event while most competitors needed to make two. The strategy worked out perfectly as the caution flag was displayed one last time for rain on lap 214, just three laps after Bowyer made his final four-tire pit stop of the day. After running under yellow-flag conditions until lap 230 while NASCAR officials brought out jet dryers to dry the track, Bowyer restarted the event in the top 10 with 37 laps to go and continued to put together consistently-fast lap times before eventually coming to the checkered flag in sixth-place. The 16th top-10 finish of the season, along with one win (Talladega Superspeedway-October) and four top-five finishes, helped him secure 13th-place in the final 2011 NSCS driver championship point standings. In six fulltime seasons with the Welcome, N.C.-based organization, Bowyer amassed five wins, two poles, 31 top-five and 95 top-10 finishes.
Start – 17 Finish – 6 Laps Led – 0 Points – 13
CLINT BOWYER QUOTE:
“I can’t thank Richard (Childress, team owner) enough for giving me the opportunity to drive his race cars these last six years. This organization is like family to me and I will miss everyone very much.”
, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
RACE: Homestead 200
TRACK: Homestead-Miami Speedway
RCR teammates finished fifth (Joey Coulter), sixth (Ty Dillon) and 10th (Austin Dillon). According to NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics, each of the three RCR entries maintained average running positions in the top 10, with Coulter holding an average position of 7.008 (ranked sixth), A. Dillon holding an average position of 7.395 (ranked seventh) and T. Dillon a 8.521 (ranked ninth). J. Coulter, T. Dillon and A. Dillon spent 99.2 percent of the race (118 of 119 laps) running in the top 15. A. Dillon led the field in Quality Passes with 53. Coulter and T. Dillon were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, according to NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics with 44 and 43. T. Dillon was ranked second in NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics category Speed in Traffic with an average of 160.818 mph. A. Dillon ranked eighth (160.085 mph) and Coulter ranked 10th (160.005 mph). A. Dillon led the field in the NASCAR Loop Data Category of Closers, gaining five positions in the final 10 percent (14 laps) of the event. Coulter was awarded the 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year title. A. Dillon was crowned the 2011 NCWTS Champion. Coulter completed his freshman season ranked seventh in the NCWTS driver championship point standings. Leading the field at the time of the red flag, Johnny Sauter earned the victory in the 2011 NCWTS season-finale. He was followed by Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Coulter. The NCWTS will return to action in the 2012 season opener on February 24 at Daytona International Speedway.
Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Team Earn 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Driver’s Championship
Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team posted a 10th-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, allowing Dillon to clinch the 2011 driver’s championship. Intermittent rain showers throughout the day on Friday caused NASCAR officials to scratch qualifying and set the starting field according to practice speeds. Dillon took the green flag from the fourth position, falling back to 12th after a lap-20 pit stop during a competition yellow-flag period when his team serviced his Chevrolet with four tires while several other teams opted for a two-tire stop. Following the pit stop, Dillon moved forward through the field, climbing to the sixth position on lap 77 and into third by lap 81. He was running second when the caution flag was displayed on lap 96, during which time the Bass Pro Shops team serviced their Chevrolet Silverado with four tires and fuel. The team’s flawless pit stop allowed Dillon to lose no time on pit road and restart in the second position on lap 101. When green-flag racing resumed, another competitor dived into the front row, making the field three-wide. Dillon had nowhere to go and slipped back to the 15th position on the restart. Smart, aggressive driving helped him move up to 10th before heavy rainfall forced NASCAR officials to declare the race complete shy of the advertised distance. Dillon was credited with a 10th-place finish and clinched the championship by six points over Johnny Sauter. The accomplishment marks the second NCWTS championship for RCR and the 14th championship overall. Dillon joins an exclusive list of NCWTS driving champions, including Todd Bodine, Ron Hornaday, Jr., Johnny Benson, Ted Musgrave, Bobby Hamilton, Travis Kvapil, Mike Bliss, Jack Sprague, Greg Biffle and Mike Skinner. He will be formally honored at the annual NASCAR Nationwide Series and NCWTS Awards Banquet at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel on Monday, November 21. SPEED will broadcast the banquet on Friday, December 2 from 7-9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Start -4 Finish – 10 Laps Led – 0 Points – 1
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE:
“God was looking down on us today. We definitely worked hard this year and accomplished this as a team. This was our goal at the beginning of the year and no one ever gave up. Danny Stockman and every member of the Bass Pro Shops team worked nonstop. We rebounded from so many little mistakes and unfortunate incidents this year-the hood flipping up at Kentucky Speedway, for example. It’s the way you react to the undesirable situations that show what a championship team is made of, and these guys reacted in all the right ways. This championship means so much to me and I’m thrilled to be able to represent my family, Richard Childress Racing, Bass Pro Shops and NASCAR as a champion.”
Ty Dillon Earns Second Consecutive Top-10 Finish at Homestead
Ty Dillonand the No. 21 Charter Media Chevrolet team earned their second consecutive top-10 finish in the rain shortened NASCAR 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday night. With inclement weather intruding over the Homestead, Fla.-based race track, NASCAR and track officials were forced to cancel qualifying earlier that day. The starting grid was determined by practice speeds, granting Dillon’s Chevrolet Silverado the second-place starting position. The green flag waved in front of an estimated 22,000 people and Dillon dropped back to the fourth position before the first caution flag of the night was displayed on lap five. The Lexington, N.C., native radioed to his crew chief Scott “Flash” Naset the handling of his truck was really good. Shortly after the ensuing restart, Dillon experienced a tight condition that developed on the No. 21 Chevrolet. Relief came on lap 20 as NASCAR officials displayed a competition caution. Naset directed the 19-year-old driver to the attention of his Richard Childress Racing pit crew for four fresh Goodyear tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Lining up in the 11th position for the lap-23 restart, Dillon raced his way to eighth before slipping back to 12th as the black and white Chevrolet shifted to the loose side. Dillon made his second trip to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 70 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to remedy the loose-handling condition. Returning to the racing surface in the 10th position, the High Point University freshman began posting quick lap times, improving his position to seventh by lap 79. Dillon was scored fourth on lap 98 when the caution flag slowed the field for a single-truck spin in turn two. Naset called the young driver to pit road for four fresh dancing shoes, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. A quick stop by the No. 21 team allotted Dillon the fourth spot for the lap-101 restart. Although Dillon slipped back to the eighth position, he was able to gain two spots, to sixth, before rain started falling over the 1.5-mile race track, forcing NASCAR and track officials to end the race 15 laps shy of the scheduled 134 laps.
Start – 2 Finish – 6 Laps Led – 0 Points – N/A
TY DILLON QUOTE:
“I wish the rain would have stayed away until the end of the race. I think we could have made up a few positions before the checkered flag, but I’m happy with sixth place. The guys worked hard all day and put together a really fast truck. The Charter Media Chevrolet was fast during practice and the fastest truck a few times during the race. I’m really excited for next season and ready to run the NCWTS full time!”
Coulter Caps Season with NCWTS Rookie of the Year Honors and Fifth-Place Finish at Homestead
Joey Coulter completed his freshman year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series claiming the Rookie of the Year title and a top-five finish at his hometown track of Homestead-Miami Speedway in Friday night’s season finale. The Miami Springs, Fla., native started the No. 22 RCR Graphics Chevrolet from the 10th position under the lights at the Homestead, Fla.-based facility, advancing one spot before the mandatory lap-20 competition caution. Coulter reported to crew chief Harold Holly a loose-in condition was his biggest struggle. After receiving four fresh Goodyear tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment on a lap-21 pit stop, Coulter drove up to fifth by lap 44 with the improved balance on his Chevrolet Silverado. As the long green-flag run progressed, the No. 22 racer developed a tight-center condition, but with his steadfastness, Coulter maintained his position in the top 10 while the Holly-led crew made air pressure adjustments on two subsequent visits to pit road. The 21-year-old driver drove as high as third during the final run before settling into the fifth position when a sudden downpour of rain slowed the field under caution on lap 117. NASCAR displayed the red flag two laps later and, ultimately, called the race complete. Coulter was awarded a fifth-place result, his fifth top-five and 13th top-10 finish of the season, accomplishments which also earned him the 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year title.
Start – 10 Finish – 5 Laps Led – 0 Points – 7
JOEY COULTER QUOTE:
“The competition among the Sunoco Rookie of the Year class in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this year was unbelievable. It was really cool to be in such a competitive battle because it makes the award more significant. I am so grateful for the opportunity to drive for Richard Childress Racing this year and proud of Harold (Holly, crew chief) and all of the No. 22 guys. They all did a great job this year. I cannot wait to get started on 2012.”