RCR Post Race Report — Charlotte Motor Speedway and New Jersey Motorsports Park
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
RACE: Sprint Showdown and All-Star Race
TRACK: Charlotte Motor Speedway
DATE: May 21, 2011
* RCR teammates finished ninth(Jeff Burton) and 11th (Paul Menard) in the Sprint Showdown.
* RCR teammates finished ninth (Kevin Harvick) and 16th (Clint Bowyer) in the Sprint All-Star Race.
* Menard ranked first in the Loop Data category of Fastest Drivers Early in a Run with an average speed of 184.632 mph.
* Menard was ranked second in Fastest Laps Run, was third-fastest on restarts and was one of 11 drivers who remained in the top 15 throughout the entire event.
* Burton ran inside the top 10 for the entire 40-lap Sprint Showdown event.
* Harvick ranked second in the Closer category, improving five positions in the final 10 percent (10 laps) of the All-Star Race.
* Bowyer started the race from the front row in the second position.
* Bowyer spent 77 of 100 laps in the top 15, running as high as second before finishing 16th.
* Although the Sprint Showdown and All-Star Race are non-points events, RCR teammates currently rank fifth (Harvick), eighth (Bowyer), 17th (Menard) and 23rd (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 29, televised live on FOX and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Contact on Restart Dashes All-Star Race Hope for Menard and the No. 27 Moen/Menards Team
Paul Menard started the No. 27 Moen/Menards Chevrolet from the third position and quickly drove to second in Saturday night’s Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He was running there when the competition caution was displayed on lap 20, ending the first of two segments. With only 20 laps remaining in the next segment and track position being vitally important, crew chief Slugger Labbe instructed his driver to stay out regardless of who came to pit road. A succession of drivers drove to pit road, some taking four tires while others only took two. Menard and race leader, and eventual winner David Ragan, were two of the drivers who remained on track. When green-flag racing resumed, Menard slipped to third on the restart, but quickly made the pass for second three laps later. An accident on lap 27 brought out the yellow flag. On the restart, the leader approached the green flag at a very slow speed and then suddenly accelerated. As a result, Menard received hard contact from behind that sent the No. 27 Chevrolet Impala sideways. The left front of the car was tagged by another car before the right-rear quarter panel bounced off the outside wall. Menard slipped backwards and the caution was displayed again for another accident on the track. Slugger and he discussed their options and agreed that regardless of the apparent tire rub, the No. 27 needed to remain on track. Only the top-two finishers transferred into the Sprint All-Star Race so it was all-or-nothing in those final 12 laps. Restarting from the seventh position, Menard fought the tire rub but, ultimately, lost four additional spots, finishing 11th.
Start – 3 Finish – 11 Laps Led – 0 Points – N/A
PAUL MENARD QUOTE: “It’s disappointing because the car was so good; we definitely had the car to beat . It would have been a lot of fun to have made it into the All-Star Race, but the Coca-Cola 600 is the one that counts. I am definitely looking forward to next week.”
Harvick, No. 29 Team Claim Top-10 Effort in Annual All-Star Event
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser-Realtree Chevrolet team took home a ninth-place finish in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway after battling handling problems throughout a majority of the 100-lap race. Harvick started the non-points event from the 14th position and, within the first 10 laps, radioed to the team that the car’s handling was just “too tight.” As the run progressed, the handling grew tighter and tighter. The team pitted at lap 25 for tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. When the caution flag waved on lap 50 at the end of the first segment, Harvick was running in the 17th position. The No. 29 team pitted twice under the caution between the first and second segments to change tires, add fuel and make adjustments to the car. Harvick restarted in the 20th position for the second segment of the race. After the field went back to green, Harvick continued to report that the car’s handling was very tight, so the team opted to come to pit road for additional adjustments when the caution flag waved at lap 58. Harvick restarted in the 18th position at lap 62. The caution flag waved again eight laps later marking the end of the second segment and he told the team that the car was still not turning well getting into the corners. Crew chief Gil Martin made the call for the team to stay out and gain track position, putting Harvick in the 11th position for the start of the third segment. The No. 29 Budweiser-Realtree Chevrolet fell back a couple spots, and when the caution flag waved at lap 74, Martin called Harvick in for a four-tire stop to try a big air pressure adjustment before they got to the break before the fourth segment. Harvick restarted in the 16th position with 12 laps to go until the break and was able to pick up a couple spots before the caution flag waved at lap 90. The teams pulled down pit road for a 10-minute break and Harvick and Martin talked as the team went to work making adjustments on the No. 29 Budweiser-Realtree Chevrolet. Following the break, the teams came back down pit road for a four-tire stop to determine the starting order for the final segment of the race. The No. 29 team got Harvick off pit road in the 14th position, putting him on the outside of the seventh row to start the 10-lap shootout. In the closing laps, Harvick was able to gain a number of spots and took the checkered flag in the ninth position.
Start – 14 Finish – 9 Laps Led – 0 Points – N/A
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE: “The Budweiser-Realtree Chevrolet was a lot better at the end of the race. (The car) was just bad all night getting in the corner and we, finally, got it to turn and were at least competitive there at the end. So, that was a bright spot in the day.”
Burton, Cat Racing Team Finish Ninth in Sprint Showdown
A tight-handling No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet coupled with bottlenecked restarts moved Jeff Burton and the Todd Berrier-led team to a ninth-place result in the annual Sprint Showdown held Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The two 20-lap segment event began with the veteran driver taking the green flag in fifth, battling a tight condition on his RCR entry for the first 20 laps. During the intermission, Berrier called the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner to pit road for two fresh right-side tires and adjustments to help alleviate the lack of turn through the 24-degree banked corners. Burton returned to action in 10th for the final 20 laps where only green-flag laps counted. He quickly advanced to sixth before two caution flags were displayed, choosing not to pit during both times. On the night’s final restart, the frontrunners in the outside lane bottlenecked in front of the veteran driver that resulted in the loss of several spots. But, fortunately, he was able to gather himself up and race his way back up to ninth in the closing 13 laps.
Start – 5 Finish – 9 Laps Led – 0 Points – N/A
JEFF BURTON QUOTE: “Obviously, we wish we could have raced our way into the All-Star Race but the Caterpillar Chevrolet was a bit too tight during the initial run. I was happy with how the car was handling in the second half of the race but we got jammed up on the last restart and lost some spots as a result. This was a good test for next weekend’s (Coca-Cola) 600 and I think we learned a lot so now we’ll just focus on what we need to do to run well next Sunday night.”
No. 33 Team Brings Home 16th-Place Finish in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race
After starting from the front row, Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 BB&T Chevrolet team finished 16th in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Rolling off the starting grid in the second position for the 100-lap, one-million dollar to win shootout, Bowyer immediately reported to crew chief Shane Wilson on the team’s communication channel that the No. 33 Chevy was very tight and he was having trouble turning the car in the corners. Despite the handling issues, Bowyer continued to run in the top five for a majority of segment one, which included a mandatory four-tire pit stop under green-flag conditions on lap 25. After the pit stop, the Emporia Kan., native continued to slide back in the field, but finished the first 50-lap segment in the eighth position. During the caution-flag period in between segments one and two, Wilson decided to bring the Chevrolet Impala down pit road to make track bar and air pressure changes. Restarting segment two in the 12th position, the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner still complained that the car was tight in the turns. An early caution flag period in the second segment gave Wilson and the “Helping Hands” pit crew the opportunity to bring the No. 33 Chevy to pit road not once, but twice, to make wholesale changes to the setup, and Bowyer came off pit road in the 19th position. He remained 19th through the end of the 20-lap segment. Following a four-tire pit stop for tires and Sunoco E15 prior to the third segment, Bowyer gained a position on pit road and restarted18th. The adjustments Wilson called for worked, as Bowyer gained seven positions during the 20-lap segment, going into the 10-minute intermission 11th. During the final break, drivers were able to turn off their engines and get out of the car while pit crews, engineers and mechanics went over the wall to make chassis adjustments on the car. With no championship driver points on the line, Wilson and Bowyer decided to completely change the setup on the car and almost every aspect of the white and burgundy Chevrolet was altered to loosen the car up enough to give Bowyer a serious shot at the win. At the start of the fourth segment, NASCAR called for all teams to, once again, make a mandatory four-tire pit stop and the “Helping Hands” pit crew reeled off another fast stop, putting Bowyer in the top 10 for the final 10-lap shootout. The changes to the car didn’t free up the Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet enough and Bowyer crossed the finish line in the 16th position.
Start – 2 Finish – 16 Laps Led – 0 Points – N/A
CLINT BOWYER QUOTE: “We started the race a tight today and just couldn’t seem to find the setup I needed to make a run for the one-million dollar payout. We were getting better during the third segment so we actually did learn some things about the track for next week’s Coca-Cola 600. We will bounce back next week when there are points on the line.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series RACE: North Carolina Education Lottery 200 TRACK: Charlotte Motor Speedway DATE: May 20, 2011
Race Highlights: * RCR teammates finished seventh (Austin Dillon) and 16th (Joey Coulter). * Dillon started third and finished seventh despite falling back to as far as 29th in the field following an early-race pit stop. * Coulter started 23rd and finished 16th in his first appearance at Charlotte Motor Speedway after his truck jumped out of gear on several restarts during the middle and late stages of the race. * Dillon moved up three positions in the last 10 percent of the race, ranking him second in the “closers” category, and made 69 green-flag passes over the course of the 200-mile race, ranking him third in that category. * Dillon moved up one position in the NCWTS point standings, to fifth, and is now 20 markers shy of current point leader Cole Whitt. * Coulter moved down one position in the NCWTS’ point standings, to 16th. * Kyle Busch earned his 28th career NCWTS victory and was followed to the finish line by Clint Bowyer, Cole Whitt, James Buescher and Ron Hornaday. * The next NCWTS race is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, June 4, televised live on SPEED beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio beginning at 1:45 p.m. EDT. Austin Dillon Moves up to Fifth in NCWTS Point Standings Following Top-10 Finish at Charlotte
Austin Dillonearned his fourth top-10 finish of the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Friday evening at Charlotte Motor Speedway, moving up to fifth in the series point standings. The NCWTS sophomore started Friday’s N.C. Education Lottery 200 on the inside of the second row after qualifying third on Friday afternoon. Soon after taking the green flag in front of an estimated 25,000 people, Dillon reported to the Danny Stockman-led crew that the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/National Wild Turkey Federation Chevrolet was loose. He was running fourth when the second of 10 caution flags was displayed on lap 24. The team initially decided not to pit, but when the caution period ran long, Stockman called Dillon down pit road for four Goodyear tires, Sunoco fuel and a chassis adjustment to correct the loose-handling racer. Dillon restarted 29th when green-flag racing resumed, faced with the daunting task of working his way up through the competitive field. He was able to race his way up to 16th before pitting during a lap-53 caution for fuel and a track bar adjustment. The team hoped to gain valuable positions on pit road by not changing tires during the stop but, unfortunately, the truck pitting directly in front of the RCR team stopped short of their pit box and Dillon was unable to exit his box. When green-flag racing resumed, Dillon was scored in the 10th position. Intense, three-wide racing ensued as Dillon continued to try to gain positions on the race track. He pitted one additional time for fuel and tires, and survived six more caution flags and their subsequent restarts to finish seventh.
Start – 3 Finish – 7 Points Position – 5 Laps Led – 0
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE: “I’m really disappointed with our finish today. We had a really good truck so I was hoping to do much better than seventh. We just couldn’t get going on restarts. Oh well. It was still a good points day so we will move on and focus on Kansas.”
Transmission Issues Lead Coulter, No. 22 Team to 16th-Place Result at Charlotte
Armed with a fast No. 22 RCR Chevrolet Silverado in Friday night’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Joey Coulter and the Harold Holly-led crew were well on their way to a top-10 finish before transmission issues transpired with less than 45 laps to go, resulting in a 16th-place effort. After starting the 134-lap showdown from the 23rd position, the Miami Springs, Fla., native slipped to as low as 31st due to a tight condition he was battling with on his white, black and red machine. It only took one pit stop early in the night to remedy the handling conditions before Coulter found himself running in and around the top 15 from lap 25 thru the race’s halfway mark. The rookie driver cracked the top 10 at lap 81 and was scored two positions higher just eight laps later. But, on the night’s third-to-last restart, the shifter in his No. 22 Chevrolet popped out of gear that resulted in the loss of 15 spots. A timely caution at lap 96 afforded the No. 22 squadron to temporarily fix the transmission issue when Holly summoned the 20-year-old driver to pit road. He restarted in the 23rd position on lap 100 and was able to notch seven spots by the time the checkered flag waved.
Start – 23 Finish – 16 Points – 16 Laps Led – 0
JOEY COULTER QUOTES: “To finish 16th is disappointing after getting our RCR Chevrolet dialed in at the right time. It looked like we were on our way to at least a top-10 finish when the shifter began popping out of gear. The last couple of cautions didn’t help us because we would lose spots on the restarts but the strength of our No. 22 Silverado was evident when I was able to pass a handful of trucks before the checkered flag waved.” ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards RACE: ModSpace 150 TRACK: New Jersey Motorsports Park DATE: May 22, 2011
Race Highlights: * RCR teammates finished fourth (Tim George Jr.) and eighth (Ty Dillon). * George’s fourth-place finish marks his second consecutive top-five finish of the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season. * George led the 67-lap race for three laps, his first competitive laps led this season. * Dillon’s eighth-place result is his fourth top-10 finish this season. * Dillon leads Frank Kimmel in the driver point standings by 90 markers. * With his top-five finish, George moved up one position, to seventh, in the series’ driver point standings. * Andrew Ranger won by 2.059 seconds over George Miedecke, Chad McCumbee, George Jr., and Tom Hessert. * The next ARCA Racing Series race is the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 150 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, June 4, 2011. The race will be televised live on SPEED starting at 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Tim George Jr. Earns His Second Consecutive Top-Five Finish
A troublesome Saturday could have deterred Tim George Jr. and the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team at New Jersey Motorsports Park, but the road racing veteran kept his composure for Sunday’s 67-lap ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race, helping the team lead laps and finish fourth. George and his team hit the track Saturday afternoon for two practice sessions where he topped the leader board for a majority of the allotted track time, despite having transmission problems and an unvarying vibration throughout the day. Teams were welcomed to the Southern New Jersey-based road course on Sunday morning with sunny skies. The New York, N.Y., native rolled off sixth for the ModSpace 150 and was able to advance one position on the racetrack by lap two. He continued to charge forward, and when the first of three cautions was displayed 21 laps into the race, crew chief Gere Kennon called George and the black and red Chevrolet to pit road for four fresh Hoosier tires, fuel, and a tear-off. The RCR entry restarted sixth on lap 24 with a lot of lapped traffic between him and the leaders. George continued to increase his track position, and within four laps he moved up two positions to third place. The second caution of the day was waved on lap 37, and the team decided to stay out during the ensuing caution to keep their track position. The No. 31 team advanced their position to second on the lap-39 restart. The distance between George and the leader shortened with each lap and on lap 54, George took over the top spot with 13 laps remaining in the 150-mile event. He began pulling away from the field when three laps later the driver radioed in, “we’re getting low on fuel.” He dropped back to third on lap 57 as the final caution of the day was displayed. The field restarted with seven laps to go, but the No. 31 team opted to stay out and do their best to save fuel. George drove his Chevrolet to a fourth-place result, despite the fuel shortage; to earn his second consecutive top-five finish of the season.
Start -6 Finish -4 Laps Led – 3 Point Position -7
TIM GEORGE JR QUOTE: “We were killer on the fast part of the track; it was in the technical sections where I lost ground to those two road course guys. Every time I got passed was in the slower, technical section of the track. That comes back to me. I’ve got to refocus more on the technical side of road racing. Funny thing, as I get better and better on the ovals, I seem to lose a bit of my edge on the road courses. My team did a great job. Everybody worked really hard this weekend. I would have liked to have been on the podium for that third place spot.”
Ty DillonTakes Home a Top-10 Finish at His Road Course Debut
Ty Dillonworked through the 14-turn Thunderbolt Course to drive his No. 41 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to an eighth-place result in Sunday’s ModSpace 150 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Dillon started Sunday’s 150-mile affair from eighth-place. He advanced his fast Chevrolet to sixth on lap three, and began racing his raced his way toward the top five until lap 11 when he was passed by another competitor. The RCR entry settled into seventh, focusing on posting consistent lap times. By lap 19, he was running times as fast as the leaders. Lap 21 brought out the first full-course caution of the day and crew chief Scott Naset called Dillon and the black and red Chevrolet to pit road for four fresh Hoosier tires and fuel. Dillon told his crew “the car’s good and getting better.” The field resumed racing on lap 24 with Dillon in seventh. Once again, the Lexington, N.C. native was running faster times than the leaders on lap 30 and decreasing the distance between himself and the front of the field. The No. 41 team put their pit strategy into play on lap 33 when they allotted to make a green-flag pit stop for fuel only. Dillon was scored in the 10th as he rejoined the rest of the racers. The second full-course caution was displayed on lap 37 and the Scott Naset-led team made a last minute decision to come to pit road for four more tires and a splash of fuel, giving them 15-lap fresher tires than the rest of the lead lap cars. The 19-year-old battled his way back into the top 10 by the time the final caution was waved on lap 57, he was scored seventh. Dillon restarted sixth with seven laps remaining in the 67-lap event. He raced his way into the top five, but with one lap to go, was struck by another competitor. However, Dillon continued fighting and drove to an eighth-place finish in his career-first road course appearance.
Start -8 Finish -8 Laps Led -0 Points Position – 1(leads by 90 points)
TY DILLON QUOTE: “I’m proud of the guys. I came here never having raced on a road course before, and the guys gave me a great car. They worked hard all weekend. We we’re going for a top-five finish, but the No. 52 made contact with us on the last lap. It’s frustrating, but it’s racing. It was a good point’s day overall. I’m just really excited to get to some of the other oval tracks coming up. I know we’ll be fast.”