RCR Post Race Report — NASCAR Sprint Showdown and Sprint All Star Race

[media-credit name=”charlottemotorspeedway.com” align=”alignright” width=”199″][/media-credit]RCR Post Race Report — Charlotte Motor Speedway

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

RACE: NASCAR Sprint Showdown and Sprint All-Star Race

TRACK: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Race Highlights:

Richard Childress Racing’s Jeff Burton finished eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Showdown while teammates Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard finished sixth and 16th, respectively, in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.

According to NASCAR Loop Data Statistics, Menard and Harvick tied for second in the category Green-Flag Passes with 45 each.

Harvick ranked second in NASCAR’s Loop Data category for Closers, gaining four positions in the final 10 percent (nine laps) of the event.

Harvick ranked fourth in the Loop Data category Fastest Drivers Early in a Run, was the fastest driver late in a run and ranked fifth in the category Fastest on Restarts.

Menard ranked third in the Loop Data category Quality Passes, overtaking 37 positions while running in the top 15 under green-flag conditions.

Burton ran inside the top 10 for the entire 40-lap Sprint Showdown event.

Although the Sprint Showdown and All-Star Race are non-points events, RCR teammates currently rank eighth (Harvick), 13th (Menard) and 17th (Burton) in the Sprint Cup Series point standings.

The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 27, televised live on FOX and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

Paul Menard and the No. 27 CertainTeed Insulation/Menard Team Finish 16th in NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Debut

Following the fireworks and fanfare that are synonymous with the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Paul Menard lined up in the seventh position to take the green flag and drove the CertainTeed Insulation/Menards Chevrolet to a 16th-place result in Saturday night’s non-points affair at Charlotte Motor Speedway. During the first 20-lap segment, Menard advanced to the sixth position and reported that the Chevrolet developed a tight-handling condition in the final laps. To gain valuable track position, crew chief Slugger Labbe instructed the Eau Claire, Wis., native to remain on the race track allowing him to restart in the second position for the second segment. Menard fell from fourth to 18th as he battled an increasingly tight-handling machine. Between segments, Menard brought the No. 27 machine to pit road, where the CertainTeed Insulation/Menards team serviced the car with four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. Restarting from the 18th position, Menard climbed to 11th to finish the third segment. Chassis adjustments made to the car before and during the final 20-lap segment altered the handling further, and Menard slipped to the 17th spot. Another round of adjustments was made to the No. 27 Chevrolet during the final pit stop prior to the 10-lap dash before Menard took the checkered flag in the 16th position.

Start – 7              Finish – 16               Laps Led – 0       Points – N/A


“We started out the race really fast, just a little too tight. I think we learned a lot tonight that we can apply to next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600. We have a lot of notes to go over on Monday. All of the guys worked hard this weekend and the pit crew was solid as always.”

Kevin Harvick Captures Sixth-Place Finish in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser/Rheem team captured asixth-place finish Saturday night during the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race after battling a tight-handling condition throughout the non-points event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Richard Childress Racing team started the 90-lap affair from the fifth position and ran within the top-10 before developing a tight-handling condition. During the early laps, Harvick and RCR teammate Paul Menard made contact causing the No. 29 Chevrolet to tap the outside wall and fall back into the 10th spot. Harvick wheeled the black and red machine onto pit road during the first competition caution period between the first and second 20-lap segments for a routine stop that included four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Harvick revisited pit road for a second time during the caution allowing the crew to repair damage to the right-rear quarter panel sustained earlier in the race. The No. 29 team restarted the second segment in the 18th position and worked their way to 10th by the end of the second segment on lap 40. As the laps ticked away, Harvick continued to battle the tight condition while running within the top 10 during the final two 20-lap segments. Per the rules of the Sprint All-Star Race, Harvick made one last visit to pit road during the final caution that came between the fourth and fifth segments of the race for another round of adjustments, positioning the Bakersfield, Calif., native 16th for the restart of the final 10-lap sprint. During the closing laps Harvick continued to work his way toward the front of the field settling into the sixth position by the time the checkered flag fell.

Start – 5                     Finish – 6                 Laps Led – 0            Points – N/A


“We had a really fast car during the last segment tonight, the guys made some good adjustments at the end. There was a lot of great racing tonight, I just wish that final segment would have been 20 laps instead of 10 and we might have had a chance to put the Budweiser/Rheem Chevrolet in Victory Lane.”

Jeff Burton Earns Eighth-Place Finish in the Sprint Showdown

Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar/BB&T Chevrolet team brought home a top-10 result in the Sprint Showdown, finishing eighth-place in the non-points event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After a top-five qualifying effort, the South Boston, Va. native moved into third position on the first lap where he remained until the competition caution waved on lap 20, signaling the end of the first segment. Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer called the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner to pit road under caution for the No. 31 pit crew to change right-side tires in an effort to gain valuable track position for the final 20-lap dash to the checkered flag. On the ensuing restart, the No. 31 Chevrolet was shuffled to the eighth position and developed a tight-handling condition while trapped in traffic. Burton made a valiant effort throughout the final 15 laps to move into a position to transfer into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, but the tight condition was persistent and Burton scored a top-10 finish at the end of the event.

Start – 4                    Finish – 8                Laps Led – 0         Points – N/A


“I really thought we had a chance to win this race tonight in the No. 31 Caterpillar/BB&T Chevrolet, but the car developed a tight condition when we got shuffled back in the final segment and we had no opportunities to make adjustments in the end. We did learn a lot for next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 and we will apply that to our 1.5-mile program.”

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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