RCR Post Race Report - Kentucky Speedway NSCS Quaker State 400

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Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Monday, 02 July 2012 14:48
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Race Highlights:        
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 11th (Kevin Harvick), 12th (Paul Menard) and 24th (Jeff Burton).
Harvick ranks sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 68 points behind Matt Kenseth's lead, while Menard ranks 13th and Burton ranks 20th.
According to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, Harvick spent 93.3 percent (249 laps) running within the top 15 during the Quaker State 400.
Harvick made 66 Green-Flag Passes, tying him with RCR teammate Menard for sixth in the NASCAR Loop Data statistics category.
Menard ran as high as fourth and maintained a 15.772 average running position before crossing the finish line 12th at the 1.5-mile track.
Burton made 54 green-flag passes over the course of the 267-lap event.
Brad Keselowski captured his third Sprint Cup Series win of the 2012 season and was followed to the finish line by Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon.
The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, July 7. The race is scheduled to be televised live on TNT beginning at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Sylvania/Menards Team Finish 12th
in the Bluegrass State
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Sylvania/Menards team battled back to regain lost track position after a lengthy pit stop to finish 12th in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. After starting the 267-lap event in the 15th position for the Saturday night NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race under the lights of the Sparta, Ky. facility, Menard was faced with a tight condition in the center of the corners. Scheduled pit stops allowed the Slugger Labbe-led pit crew to service the neon yellow machine with fresh tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments to improve the car's balance. The first pit stop on lap 44 was extended do to difficulty removing a lug nut that became wedged on the wheel, costing the No. 27 team valuable track position. Restarting in the 22nd position on lap 48 the Eau Claire, Wis., native climbed back into the top-20 one lap later. Chasing the changing track conditions as the sun set, the Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet shifted from an extremely loose-handling condition to tight; however, Menard maintained a position in the top 20 and cracked the top 15 by lap 148. The loose on entry and tight in the center conditions persisted and Menard fell to 19th on lap 209. In the closing laps, the Richard Childress Racing driver was able to fight through the handling challenges and began climbing through the field, ultimately crossing the finish line in the 12th-position. The top-15 finish allowed Menard to gain one position, up to 13th, in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start - 15             Finish - 12               Laps Led - 0                Points - 13
"We had a fast Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet tonight at Kentucky Speedway. Unfortunately, we just couldn't get the handling to where we needed it to be. The guys were on it in the pits. We head to Daytona next weekend, where it can be anyone's race.

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Team Finish 11th
Under the Lights at Kentucky Speedway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor team crossed the finish line in the 11th position in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway after battling handling issues during the 267-lap event. The Bakersfield, Calif., native started the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race from the fourth position before sliding back in the field reporting that the red, white and blue Chevrolet was extremely tight during the early portion of the race. The Shane Wilson-led pit crew made several scheduled two-tire and four-tire pit stops in an effort to improve the handling issue their driver was battling, allowing Harvick to maintain a position within the top 15. As the sun set on the Sparta, Ky.-based facility, track conditions began to change and Harvick informed the crew the Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet went from being too tight, to developing a loose-handling condition. Despite changing handling issues, the Richard Childress Racing veteran driver was able to maintain a running position within the top 15, ultimately crossing the finish line to bring home the 11th-place finish. Harvick remains sixth in the Sprint Cup Series driver point championship standings, 68 points behind the leader.
Start - 4              Finish - 11                    Laps Led - 0                Points - 6
"It was a tough night for the Budweiser Folds of Honor team. We spent all night fighting handling issues and just couldn't get the car where we wanted it. We'll put this race behind us and start preparing for Daytona (International Speedway) next week in hope of finding a better finish."
Burton Finishes in 24th-Place at Kentucky Speedway
Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team posted a 24th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway. The 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner started the 267-lap event in the 29th position and raced his way into the 22nd position in the early stages of the race despite battling a tight-handling Chevrolet. A long green-flag run out the field and Burton fell one lap down to the leader. Unable to secure the "Lucky Dog" award after caution-flag periods on laps 126 and 150, crew chief Drew Blickensderfer decided to use a different pit strategy than other teams in the field by working to make it to the end of the race by utilizing one final pit stop instead of two as all other teams were planning. The No. 31 team engineers calculated the ECR engines were getting superior fuel mileage in comparison to the competition and Blickensderfer's plan was coming together as Burton brought the No. 31 machine to pit road for routine four-tire service on lap 210. However, the caution flag was displayed for an accident on the track while the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet was on pit road and the team ended where they started, pinned one lap down. In the final stages of the race Burton's car developed a loose-handing condition, but the veteran Sprint Cup Series driver battled his way to a 24th-place finish on the slick asphalt surface and now sits 20th in Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start-29            Finish-24          Laps Led-0       Points-20
"Tough finish tonight because I thought we had a top-15 car, but terrible luck found us again and we were pinned one lap down for most of the event. I really wanted to get a good finish for everyone today because I felt like these guys worked so hard and stayed positive all night. We also had a lot of CAT folks in the stands so we were racing hard for them. We should be very competitive next weekend down in Daytona where we finished fifth in the Daytona 500."


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Steven B. Wilson

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