NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
RACE: Samsung Mobile 500
TRACK: Texas Motor Speedway
DATE: April 9, 2011
RCR teammates finished second (Clint Bowyer), fifth (Paul Menard), 11th (Jeff Burton) and 20th (Kevin Harvick).
RCR teammates are ninth (Harvick), 11th (Menard), 12th (Bowyer) and 25th (Burton) in the Sprint Cup Series point standings following Saturday night’s race at Texas.
The runner-up performance was Bowyer’s best career finish at Texas Motor Speedway
Bowyer led five times for 44 laps
Bowyer has three top-10 finishes in the last three NSCS races
Harvick continues his streak of running at the end of all races contested at Texas Motor Speedway.
Burton has finished in the top 15 in eight of the last nine races at Texas Motor Speedway.
Burton’s 11th-place finish is his best effort of the 2011 season thus far.
Menard recorded his best finish of fith at Texas Motor Speedway.
The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 17, televised live on Fox and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio beginning at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Top-Five Finish Under the Lights of Texas Motor Speedway for Menard and the Quaker State/Menards Team
Paul Menard sported a slightly different look this weekend, carrying a special paint scheme on the No. 27 Chevrolet. “Quaker State green” and “Menards yellow” decorated the Richard Childress Racing Impala as Menard started 19th in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event under the lights of Texas Motor Speedway. Within 25 laps, Menard moved into the top 15 and never looked back. Menard reported to the Quaker State/Menards team that the car’s handling was tight as he entered the corners, but that the drive off was very good. Crew chief Slugger Labbe made calls for minor adjustments with each pit stop which, coupled with the track’s changing conditions as the sun set, the car’s handling shifted slightly and Menard requested help with the drive off of the corners as it was a little too tight. He entered the top 10 shortly after the halfway point of the 334-lap race. A caution for debris on lap 210 gave the Labbe-led team the opportunity to make additional adjustments. The Quaker State/Menards crew executed a four-tire pit stop, adding Sunoco fuel and reversing the wedge adjustment from the previous visit to pit road. Menard restarted from the 10th position and quickly climbed up to sixth. The final caution of the night was brought out by a multi-car accident on the backstretch of the 1.5-mile speedway. The race returned to green-flag conditions on lap 222 where it remained until the checkered flag was displayed on lap 334. Menard came in for two additional pit stops, getting four fresh tires and fuel with each visit. Happy with the car’s balance, he asked that his team make no further adjustments. In the closing laps, Menard battled to return to the top five and it became apparent that fuel mileage was going to play a role in the night’s results. With some teams on different pit strategies, it wasn’t until 12 laps to go that the race leader relinquished his position and came to pit road. One car remained in the top-five runners that had not refueled. On the final lap, the No. 14 car ran out of fuel and Menard snagged the fifth spot as the field took the checkered flag. The fifth-place finish marks Menard’s second of 2011 and his fourth overall in his NSCS career. Still recovering from his 38th-place result in Martinsville as a result of over-heating due to damage sustained on track, he climbed to 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings with the fifth-place finish in Texas and sits only four points out of the 10th spot.
Start – 19 Finish – 5 Laps Led – 0 Points – 11
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
“We had a fast car all weekend at Texas (Motor Speedway). Quaker State, which has been a long-time supporter of mine, came on board this weekend with some different colors on the car, which was pretty neat. They’ll be back with us for three more races this year. We had hoped to debut the paint scheme in victory lane, but a solid top-five finish is something for this team to be proud of. We didn’t qualify as well as we had hoped, but made a lot of small adjustments all night long while we tried to keep up with the track changes as the sun went down. The track freed up a little bit as the night went on. If the biggest challenge I have is coming out of the box with a brand new race team this year, we’re looking good.”
Harvick, No. 29 Team Return to Victory Lane for the Second Time this Season
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team left Texas Motor Speedway with a 20th-place finish in Saturday night’s Samsung Mobile 500. After starting from the 29th position, the No. 29 team struggled with the handling of the Budweiser Chevrolet throughout the race and Harvick wasn’t able to gain a lot of ground. The team attempted to make gains on the first two trips to pit road, but instead lost ground through no fault of their own. On the first stop, Harvick was caught between the No. 47 and No. 00 teams that were pitted on either side of the No. 29’s stall. On the following trip to pit road, the No. 00 car spun leaving his pit box, blocking Harvick behind the No. 47 in the No. 29 team’s stall. The No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team made air pressure and chassis adjustments throughout the race to help the car’s handling. Despite the changes, Harvick continued to battle to stay inside the top 20. Two long green-flag runs in the second half of the race left Harvick down two laps to the leaders going into the final run of the race. In the closing laps, a couple of teams ran out of fuel, moving the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet up to the 20th position when the checkered flag waved.
Start – 29 Finish – 20 Laps Led – 0 Points – 9
GIL MARTIN QUOTES:
The streak had to come to an end, but I bet this isn’t what you expected at Texas. “No. It’s not, but it’s not the end of the world either. We’ve had a good race every race this year. Sooner or later you’re going to have a bad one. We’ll bounce back from it.”
Does this give you any concern for the next mile-and-a-half race track? “No, not at all. It’s just one of those things that happens. We’ll come back from it. We’re tough.”
The other three RCR teammates were all top 12 and your team won two in a row. What does that say about RCR? “I just think it shows how strong our whole organization is. All the cars have run good every week, just the other three guys, especially the No. 31, have had some bad luck. Tonight, they were able to put a pretty decent finish together. It just shows that none of the teams are weak and that they’re all pretty strong. We’ve just been able to put some of them together at the end.”
Burton, Cat Racing Team Turn Season Around with 11th-Place Finish at Texas
In his 900th career NASCAR start, Jeff Burton and the Cat Racing team turned their troubled early season finishes into a respectable 11th-place effort on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway. Posting his second-best qualifying effort of the 2011 season, Burton rolled off the starting grid 12th and lost seven positions in the opening 10 laps before an early caution provided an opportunity for crew chief Todd Berrier to summon the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner to pit road for two fresh right-side tires with air pressure adjustments. That pit call proved to be beneficial as Burton began his accent through the field to as high as 11th. For the remainder of the first half of the 334-lap affair, the veteran driver visited pit road on four scheduled occasions to keep up with the changing track conditions. Burton was running 13th at the halfway mark and advanced to 11th at the night’s final two caution periods that occurred at laps 209 and 215. Adjustments made to the Caterpillar Chevrolet during those slowdowns kept his lap times in the ball game despite having issues turning through the 24-degree banked turns. The final green-flag run placed a handful of teams on different pitting sequences but, in the end, Burton took the checkered flag 11th and posted his best finish of the season thus far.
Start – 12 Finish – 11 Points Position – 25 Laps Led – 0
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
“After having bad luck follow us from Daytona all the way to Martinsville, I’m happy with our finish today. The Caterpillar Chevrolet was fast all night despite being loose and tight at times. We just need to get better at a few things as a team and we’ll be right back up there. Tonight was proof that this team can do it and we’ll keep digging until the wins start coming.”
Bowyer Scores Career-High Finish at Texas Motor Speedway
Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet team, riding momentum from two straight top-10 finishes, led 44 laps en route to a second-place result in the Samsung Mobile 500 under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway. Starting from the third position while the sun was still out at the Fort Worth, Texas-based facility, the No. 33 Chevrolet was a dominant car from the beginning of the 334-lap event. In the opening laps, Bowyer gave feedback to crew chief Shane Wilson that the car was running a little bit tight in the turns. After the sun went down, everything, from the significant drop in track temperature to air pressure adjustments during pit stops, helped Bowyer remain in the top five until he weaved his way through the field, taking the lead on lap 200. After coming down pit road under green-flag conditions just past the halfway point of the race in the third position, Bowyer, once again, plowed his way through the top five to take the lead on lap 214 where he would pace the field until a minor incident on lap 248 involving the No. 83 car. The Emporia, Kan., native rubbed fenders with his competitor while on the TMS frontstretch and managed to save the No. 33 Chevrolet from spinning through the infield grass. After the contact, Bowyer slid back as far as fourth, but thanks to a strong car and great pit stops by the “Helping Hands” pit crew, he would climb up the leaderboard again over the 113-lap green-flag run to the checkered flag and bring home a runner-up finish behind Matt Kenseth. With his impressive finish, Bowyer moved up four more spots to 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 3rd Finish – 2nd Points Position – 12 Laps Led – 44
CLINT BOWYER QUOTE:
“It was a good night and a good weekend for us. I’m really proud of everybody on this Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet. We’ve come on, had solid runs and we’re clicking now. That’s what it takes in this sport. You have to be able to get on a momentum swing, get some confidence built back up and you have to start with that. I can’t say enough about everybody digging in deep, bringing good equipment to the race track, and having great finishes. I got in the lead there, and got away from him (Matt Kenseth) once but I was driving as hard as I possibly could to stay in front of him, obviously. I got into the (No.) 83 car,and about ruined our night for us. But, it was a solid run. It’s a run we can be proud of.”