NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
RACE: Pennsylvania 400
TRACK: Pocono Raceway
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 11th (Paul Menard), 16th (Kevin Harvick) and 22nd (Jeff Burton).
Menard tied for seventh in NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics category Closers, gaining five positions in the final 10 percent (16 laps) of the race. Menard tied for fourth in the category Green Flag Passes with 67 and ranked 10th in Quality Passes with 27 made while running in the top 15. Kevin Harvick gained two positions in the final 10 percent of the race and made 56 green-flag passes during the 98-lap event. Burton ran as high as second and as low as 33rd in the Pennsylvania 400, with 18 Quality Passes.
Jeff Gordon notched his first win of 2012 season and was followed to the finish line by Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart. The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 12. The race is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Paul Menard, No. 27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet Team Finish 11th in Rain-Shortened Pennsylvania 400
Following a rain delay of almost two hours, Paul Menard started the No. 27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet from the third position in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway and was scored with an 11th-place finish when NASCAR officials called the event complete at 98 laps due to the return of inclement weather in the immediate area. The Richard Childress Racing driver reported an extremely loose-handling condition on the No. 27 machine shortly after the green flag dropped on the Pennsylvania 400, causing the Eau Claire, Wis., native to fall to 11th in the running order by lap 15. Crew chief Slugger Labbe called for two-tire pit stops under green and yellow-flag conditions on laps 20 and 39. Despite also making chassis adjustments, the loose-handling condition persisted. Labbe called Menard to pit road out of sequence on lap 70, this time for four tires and a number of adjustments in the hopes of improving the handling on the No. 27 Chevrolet. As the remaining laps ticked down and threatening storms approached, Menard climbed through the field as teams cycled through green-flag pit stops. Accidents on laps 86 and 91 slowed the field around the 2.5-mile tri-oval. The field never returned to green-flag racing following the third and final caution period of the day and was circling the track under yellow-flag conditions when the rain arrived. NASCAR officials declared the 21st points-paying Sprint Cup Series event of the 2012 season complete, leaving Menard and the No. 27 Chevrolet team with an 11th-place finish.
Start – 3 Finish - 11 Laps Led - 0 Points – 16
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
“The No. 27 Serta/Menards team worked extremely hard this weekend. We pulled out the backup at the end of first practice on Friday after something broke and I hit the wall hard. We shook it out in final practice and qualified third, which is a tribute to how hard this team works and the equipment at RCR. We tried a slightly different pit strategy at the end of the race today (Sunday) and if the race had gone a little longer, we would have definitely been up there in the top 10.”
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Team finish 16th in the Pennsylvania 400
The start of the Pennsylvania 400 was delayed nearly two hours by rain and once the track was dry Kevin Harvick took the green flag from the 21st position in the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet and was credited with a 16th-place finish in Sunday’s rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway. Harvick fought a loose-handling car on the initial run and when the caution flag waved for the first time at lap 18, crew chief Shane Wilson called Harvick in for a four-tire pit stop with major adjustments. The Chevrolet’s balance was initially much improved and the Bakersfield, Calif., native worked his way up to the 14th position by lap 39. Harvick reported a tight condition on the ensuing run and adjustments ordered by Wilson on subsequent pit stops improved the handling and kept the Richard Childress Racing driver in and around the top 15. On the final restart, a multi-car accident brought out the yellow flag and during the lengthy caution period, rain began to fall at the 2.5-mile track as a severe thunderstorm hit the area. The race was declared official at lap 98 with Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team in the 16th position.
Start – 21 Finish - 16 Laps Led - 0 Points – 9
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE: “This was not the result we were hoping for today. Unfortunately we struggled all weekend to find the right setup for the Budweiser Chevrolet, but we fought hard and salvaged a 16th-place finish. We just ran out of laps before the storms hit.”
Jeff Burton and EnerSys/ODYSSEY Battery Team Finish 22nd in Rain-Shortened Race at Pocono Raceway
After rain delayed the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway on Sunday for nearly two hours, Jeff Burton and the No. 31 EnerSys/ODYSSEY Battery Chevrolet team claimed a 22nd-place finish when severe thunderstorms enveloped the track and shortened the event. Starting the Pennsylvania 400 from the 23rd position, the South Boston, Va., native maintained a position within the top 20 during the early portion of the race, but reported to crew chief Drew Blickensderfer that the EnerSys/ODYSSEY Battery Chevrolet was becoming increasingly loose during the early run. The No. 31 team opted for altering two- and four-tire pit stops, coupled with chassis adjustments to overcome the loose-handling condition and maintain track position. As the halfway point of the scheduled 160-lap event approached, the No. 31 Chevrolet was listed in the 24th-position and the threat of rain was near. The 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner moved up two positions before the final restart of the event on lap 90, but was collected in the aftermath of a multi-car accident in turn one, causing damage to the black and red machine. Burton made his way back to pit road for repairs on the No. 31 Chevrolet and was armed with four fresh tires for the ensuing restart. Instead, the extreme weather set in, forcing NASCAR officials to call the race complete at lap 98 and crediting the 45-year old driver with the 22nd-place finish in the EnerSys/ODYSSEY Battery Chevrolet. Burton sits 20th in Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start-23 Finish-22 Laps Led-0 Points-20
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
“We hit on something with the adjustments early on with the EnerSys/ODYESSY Battery Chevrolet and thought we were going to be able to turn it into a good finish. When weather is approaching everyone is trying to utilize different strategies or stretch fuel mileage to get up front and it makes it difficult to make up any ground. I thought we were going to be in a good position, but were caught up in the mess in turn one on that last restart. We’ll regroup head to Watkins Glen next week.”