RCR Post Race Report — Pocono and Texas

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

RACE: Pocono 500

TRACK: Pocono Raceway

American Muscle

DATE: June 12, 2011


Race Highlights:

• RCR teammates finished fifth (Kevin Harvick), 14th (Paul Menard), 16th (Clint Bowyer) and 20th (Jeff Burton).

• RCR teammates are fourth (Harvick), eighth (Bowyer), 19th (Menard) and 25th (Burton) in the Sprint Cup Series point standings following Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway.

• Harvick posted an average running position of 10.92, ninth best amongst the 43-car field.

• Harvick spent 86 percent of the race running in the top 15 and posted the eighth-best Driver Rating of 99.2.

• Menard ranked first in the category of Quality Passes (71) and second in the category of Green-Flag Passes (149) in NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics.

• Menard ranked fifth fastest on restarts with an average speed of 159.90 mph on the first two laps run under green-flag conditions.

• Burton made 147 green-flag passes in the 200-lap event that ranked him third best amongst his competitors.

• Bowyer made 116 green-flag passes during the race and spent 61 laps running in the top 15.

• Jeff Gordon took home the checkers, beating Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch to the line. Jimmie Johnson and Harvick rounded out the top-five finishers.

• The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 19, televised live on TNT and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.



Top-15 Finish for Paul Menard and the Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Team at Pocono


Starting from the front row in Sunday’s 500 miler at Pocono Raceway, Paul Menard rallied to a 14th-place finish after an early pit road penalty. With the pole sitter choosing the outside row, Menard lined the No. 27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet up on the inside to take the green flag in the first of two 200-lap events at the Long Pond, Pa. facility this season. With the outside line having the momentum, Menard settled into the third position as the top-three cars pulled away from the rest of the field. On lap six, he moved back into the second spot, where he remained until the first caution flag was displayed for debris on lap nine. Crew chief Slugger Labbe instructed his driver to stay out and Menard restarted from the second position, barreling three wide into turn one. He maintained the position until the next caution on lap 18. NASCAR officials declared the caution period the competition caution that had originally been scheduled for lap 20. The Labbe-led crew changed four tires which included slight air pressure adjustments, made a track bar adjustment and filled the No. 27 Impala with Sunoco E15 fuel. With some teams opting to take only two tires or remain on the track, Menard restarted from the 11th position. In 10 laps, he slipped back to 14th, but then began to pick off positions, moving into the top 10 by lap 39. As green-flag stops began, Menard brought the Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet to pit road for four tires, fuel, air pressure and wedge adjustments on lap 49. He was penalized for exiting pit road too fast and assessed a pass-through penalty, costing the No. 27 team valuable track position and relegating him to the 32nd spot on lap 50. Menard continued to turn lap times that were often faster than the leader as he battled through the field, moving up to 23rd by lap 67 and 20th on lap 108. The field cycled through two additional green-flag pit stops before the next caution period on lap 110 for debris. Labbe made the call to change only right-side tires, catapulting the No. 27 up to the eighth spot for the restart on lap 117. In addition to battling for position against cars with four fresh tires, track conditions began to change as the sun made its first appearance of the day, causing Menard to wrestle with the car on a slicker surface. Menard ran as high as 10th and as low as 17th, but climbed back to 14th before the checkered flag was displayed.


Start – 2 Finish – 14 Laps Led – 0 Points – 19



“Slugger (Labbe, crew chief) and this No. 27 team gave me a really fast car this weekend. I want to thank them for all of their hard work. Unfortunately, at a track like Pocono (Raceway), track position is very important and we just couldn’t make it up after I got penalized for speeding on pit road. We’re heading in the right direction, though. We were close to getting the pole position this weekend and we would have been a lot closer to the front in the end without the pass-through (penalty).”




Harvick, No. 29 Okuma Team Earn Sixth Top-Five Finish of the Season in Pocono


Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Okuma Chevrolet team raced to a fifth-place finish in Sunday’s 500 miler at Pocono Raceway after starting from deep in the field in the 32nd position. Harvick made progress in the early stages of the 200-lap race at a rapid pace, climbing to the 21st position within the first 15 laps. The only obstacle for Harvick in the early part of the race was a loose-handling condition at the exits of the turns. A miscue in the pits during the second caution at lap 18 resulted in not enough fuel being added to the No. 29 Okuma Chevrolet. As such, Harvick was forced to pit out of sequence during the next two stops. Fortunately, the race went green from lap 21 to lap 110. By the time the third caution of the race waved at lap 110, Harvick was in sequence with the leaders and running in the eighth position. Harvick competed amongst the top-10 cars during the next 50 circuits around the track despite trying to compensate for a loose-handling condition that required a little finesse at the exits of the turns. The fourth and final caution of the race waved at lap 154 for debris. Harvick was in the 10th position when green-flag racing resumed at lap 159 and he quickly went to work, picking up five spots during the next two laps. The No. 29 Okuma Chevrolet team made its final pit stop during green-flag conditions on lap 173, taking four tires and enough fuel to finish the race. The race ended without incident and Harvick in the fifth position.


Start – 32 Finish – 5 Laps Led – 0 Points – 4



“It was a total team effort to get our Okuma Chevy up there. They did a great job at the beginning, playing with pit strategy and we got up to the top 10 before we even got to halfway. It was a good solid day for us. We just have a little bit of work to do before we come back. We had a good car in qualifying. I just didn’t do a very good job of qualifying. That is probably about where we should have finished though. It’s a solid top five and we’ll go on with this.”




Burton, Cat Racing Team Finish 20th at Pocono Raceway


A loose-handling No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet coupled with a fuel shortage halfway in Sunday’s 500 miler at Pocono Raceway left Jeff Burton and the Cat Racing team with a disappointing 20th-place result. Burton took the green flag from the 33rd position and was scored 21st when the second caution of the day was displayed on lap 19. The black and yellow Chevrolet came to pit road for two right-side tires and fuel before restarting 13th on lap 21. The veteran driver battled with a loose-handling racer for the majority of the event but was then faced with a fuel-shortage issue on lap 93. The RCR entry was forced to pit for fuel, four fresh Goodyear tires, which included a slight air pressure adjustment, before rejoining the competition. Unfortunately, going two laps down to the leaders while being serviced on pit road was the result and crew chief Todd Berrier quickly worked on putting a strategic plan in place. After Burton regained one of his laps, a caution was displayed on lap 112 and Berrier’s strategic plan would soon unfold as he instructed his driver to stay out under caution, receive the wave around to be placed back on the lead lap and then pit one lap after the field took the green flag for the restart. The No. 31 team serviced the No. 31 Chevrolet with four new tires, fuel and a tire pressure and track bar adjustment before returning to the racing surface 25th in the rundown with 41 laps remaining. The 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner hustled as the laps began to wind down, gaining five spots before crossing the line in 20th.


Start – 33 Finish – 20 Laps Led – 0 Points – 25



“Obviously, we wish we could have had a better finish, but we couldn’t get the handling right on the Caterpillar Chevrolet. Our fuel-shortage miscue halfway in the race set us back and we couldn’t get back the spots we lost with track position being so valuable.”




No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Team Gain a Spot in Points with 16th-Place Finish at Pocono Raceway


Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet team brought home a 16th-place finish in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. After a solid 12th-place qualifying effort on Saturday, the Richard Childress Racing driver started off the overcast day working his way into the top 10 for the first few laps before settling into the 11th position for a majority of the first 50 laps. Bowyer reported to the team that he had little to no grip for most of the race, but continued to run in the top 15 for the first 100 laps while routine pit stops, most of them under green-flag conditions, gave crew chief Shane Wilson and the “Helping Hands” pit crew opportunities to improve the handling on the Chevrolet Impala. While running in the top 15 on a lap-116 restart after the third caution period of the day, the Emporia Kan., native started to drop back rapidly through the field while complaining that the splitter on the front of his Chevrolet was damaged and hitting the pavement in the turns of the 2.5-mile facility. Wilson and crew could not determine from pit road if there was damage to the car until the four-time Sprint Cup Series race winner was able to make a green-flag pit stop on lap 142. It was confirmed there was minor damage to the left-front side of the splitter which threw the car’s balance off and made it severely loose coming off the turns. The final caution period, on lap 156, allowed the pit crew to go to work on the car for an extended period of time to try to fix the damage without going a lap down to the leaders. After repairing it to the best of their abilities, Bowyer restarted in the 22nd position – the last car on the lead lap. Over the final 40 laps of the 200-lap affair, he gained six of the positions lost during the prolonged pit stop and brought home a 16th-place finish. Bowyer moved up a spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings and sits in eighth place, 73 markers out of first.


Start – 12 Finish – 16 Laps Led – 0 Points – 8



“It was just one of those days where we couldn’t get anything to go right for us on the track but still managed a top-20 finish. We gained a position in points so there is some consolation in there with that. I want to thank Cheerios/Hamburger Helper again for all the support they give us each week. We wouldn’t be here without them.”




NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

RACE: Winstar World Casino 400k

TRACK: Texas Motor Speedway

DATE: June 10, 2011


Race Highlights:

• RCR teammates finished fifth (Joey Coulter) and 26th (Austin Dillon).

• Coulter finished fifth for the second week in a row, tying his best NCWTS finish.

• Coulter led eight laps, his first time leading in a NASCAR-sanctioned race.

• Dillon led 46 laps but finished 26th following two separate on-track incidents.

• Dillon fell back one position in the NCWTS point standings, to fourth, and is now 35 markers shy of current point leader Johnny Sauter, while Coulter moved up two positions in the NCWTS’ point standings, to ninth.

• Ron Hornaday earned his 48th career NCWTS victory and was followed to the finish line by Parker Kligerman, David Mayhew, Brian Ickler and Coulter.

• The next NCWTS race is the UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday, July 7, televised live on SPEED beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio beginning at 7:45 p.m. EDT.


Tough Luck for Austin Dillon at Texas Motor Speedway


Judging by running position and NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet was the strongest truck in the field for much of Friday’s Winstar World Casino 400k NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, but bad luck prevailed in the Lone Star State. Following two separate on-track incidents, Dillon finished 26th and dropped to fourth in the point standings. Starting the race from the third position in front of an estimated 40,000 people, Dillon took control of the race on lap four, and spent much of the opening laps battling for the point position with James Buescher. Dillon was leading the race when the caution flag was displayed on lap 21, prompting crew chief Danny Stockman to bring the black No. 3 Chevrolet down pit road for four tires and fuel. Following the pit stop, Dillon restarted third and was able to find his way back into the lead within two laps. He pitted again under caution for fuel only on lap 50, and for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment on lap 67. Following the lap-67 pit stop, Dillon restarted the race in fifth position, and was working his way forward when Matt Crafton made contact with him, causing damage to the left-front fender of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. Dillon immediately brought his Chevrolet Silverado down pit road so that the RCR team could make repairs to the truck’s left-front fender during three separate pit stops under caution. The team did not lose a lap, and Dillon restarted the race in 26th position. During the ensuing laps, Dillon was running lap times competitive with the top three trucks despite all of the damage to his truck, which included a hot-running Earnhardt-Childress Racing engine due to grass and dirt that had collected in the front grill of his truck. Several pit stops under caution alleviated the problem, and Dillon quickly worked his way into the top 15. He was running 14th when another driver lost control of his truck and spun across the track in front of Dillon, collecting the No. 3 Chevrolet in yet another incident. This time around, the damage was extensive and the team lost five laps on pit road making repairs. However, Dillon was still able to complete the race and recorded a 26th-place finish.


Start – 3 Finish – 26 Points Position – 4 Laps Led – 46



“This is the best I’ve felt about our trucks all year long. Danny Stockman and the boys put together a really good truck. Even after that first accident, we were still capable of finishing in the top five. Tonight was our race, but it didn’t turn out the way it should have.”




Joey Coulter Ties Best Career NASCAR Finish with Top Five at Texas


With the blue and black colors of American Eurocopter on his No. 22 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie Joey Coulter finished fifth at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night and earned his career-best qualifying effort (second) on Thursday evening. It was the second top-five finish in a row for the Miami Springs, Fla., native, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Wednesday. Coulter started the 167-lap/200-mile race on the outside front row, but slipped back in the running order during his initial run as he massaged a loose-handling Chevrolet Silverado. He was running fifth when he pitted under caution on lap 50, but exited the pits 15th when his pit stop was slowed by a broken socket on the right-rear tire changer’s gun. Coulter’s team made air pressure adjustments during the stop to tighten up the No. 22 American Eurocopter Chevrolet, and the truck came to him on the lap-162 restart, as he was able to drive his way into the top 10 within one lap. Coulter was running 12th when the caution flag was displayed on lap 67, and while many of the front runners decided to pit, crew chief Harold Holly directed Coulter to remain on the race track to gain track position, and he restarted fourth on lap 72. Coulter made his way to second by lap 80, and took control of the race lead on lap 83 – his first laps led in nine NASCAR national series starts. He was leading when he pitted under caution on lap 90, taking right-side tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Restarting the race eighth, Coulter moved back to 11th in the running order as the truck once again developed a loose-handling condition. He was able to pit one additional time to tighten up the Chevrolet. The rookie driver was running seventh when a late-race caution flag was displayed, and advanced to fifth during the green-white-checker restart.


Start – 2 Finish – 5 Points Position – 9 Laps Led – 9



“I had a blast. I’m so proud of the No. 22 team. They worked hard and gave me a great truck. It was another great weekend and I have to thank American Eurocopter and Richard Childress Racing for their support.”




ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards

RACE: Pocono ARCA 200

TRACK: Pocono Raceway

DATE: June 11, 2011


• RCR teammates finished first (Tim George Jr.) and fourth (Ty Dillon).

• George earned his first-career ARCA Racing Series victory.

• George made his career-best ARCA start seventh at Pocono Raceway in Saturday’s Pocono ARCA 200.

• George won the fog-shortened event under red-flag conditions over Chris Buescher, Grant Enfinger, Dillon and Brennan Poole.

• Dillon increased his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards point lead to 155 points over Frank Kimmel.

• The next ARCA Racing Series race is the RainEater Wiper Blades 200 at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, June 17. The race will be live on SPEED starting at 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Live audio, scoring and timing will be available at www.ARCAracing.com.




Tim George Jr. Earns First Career ARCA Racing Series Win at Pocono Raceway


Tim George Jr. and the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet team made all the right moves at Pocono Raceway to take home the win in Saturday’s fog-shortened Pocono ARCA 200. Starting from the seventh position in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards’ seventh event of the 2011 season, George reported that he was very happy with the car’s handling and asked crew chief Gere Kennon to not make any adjustments as he came to pit road running sixth under caution on lap 20. The No. 31 pit crew changed four tires and packed the Impala with fuel with such lightning speed that they returned him to the racetrack in the third position. As a dense fog rolled over the 2.5-mile superspeedway, ARCA officials brought the field down pit road and displayed the red flag on lap 35. When the field returned to green-flag racing on lap 38, George slipped briefly to fourth but retook the third spot as the lead pack maneuvered through lapped traffic on lap 43. He remained there until the yellow flag was displayed on lap 51. The No. 31 team performed perfectly again on lap 55 when they serviced the car with four tires and fuel, gaining two positions in the pits. The only car in front of the No. 31 off of pit road had elected to take two tires during the pit stops. As the green flag flew on lap 57, the fog was so dense that spotter Kevin Hamlin informed his driver that he was unable to see him as he drove towards the end of the frontstretch. George made the pass for the point position in turn one and as the field continued around the racetrack, ARCA officials again displayed the yellow flag due to the poor visibility. George led the field around the track for two additional laps under caution before being called to pit road for another red-flag period. With the fog thickening and track conditions worsening, officials declared the shortened 59-lap event complete and George the race winner. The win marks his first career ARCA Racing Series victory and his third top-five finish of the 2011 season.


Start – 7 Finish – 1 Laps Led – 3 Points – 8



“There are a lot of people to thank – everyone at RCR and ECR, this team and the over-the-wall crew did an amazing job. To rebound from only completing two laps last week, and to be able to be in position to pull off a win this week is the definition of the word resilient. I’m really happy for everyone that supports our effort; a lot of hard work has finally paid off. I need to thank my family and my father, in particular. The whole support network around me and at Tim George Jr. Racing, LLC has also been strong. I owe everyone at Team Dillon Racing a huge thank you for showing me what grass roots racing is all about.”


“I will never forget the race itself. It was my 50th start in the ARCA series. I had never been too fond of Pocono, but I am now! Gere (Kennon, crew chief) and the guys hit on a setup that gave me the confidence to drive the car hard. The pit stops were equally amazing today. Kevin Hamlin (spotter) did a great job on the spotter tower. Everything just pulled together to put us in the position to win. Sometimes you need to have luck and sometimes you need to have speed – today we had both.”




Ty Dillon Finishes Fourth in Fog-Shortened Pocono ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway


Ty Dillon earned his fifth top-five finish of the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season Saturday at Pocono Raceway despite the race ending 21 laps early due to dense fog. A light mist greeted the No. 41 Richard Childress Racing team Saturday morning, but a small break in the weather allowed ARCA officials to start the Pocono ARCA 200 on time. Dillon took the green flag from the outside pole and eight laps later moved into the lead. With rain beginning to pick up, track conditions worsened and the young driver radioed to his crew of a loose-handling Chevrolet as he lost the lead to another competitor. Dillon regained the lead back on lap 16. The first caution of the day was displayed on lap 18 and the red and black RCR Chevy was called to pit road for four fresh Hoosier tires and fuel. The Lexington N.C., native was scored second for the following restart but dense fog began setting in over the race track, decreasing driver and spotter visibility. The next 17 laps were run under caution due to the fog and the race’s restart was waved off. ARCA officials called the field to pit road when the red flag was displayed. Soon after, the fog began to lift off the raceway and the 80-lap event went back to green-flag racing on lap 38 with Dillon in second. The five-time ARCA Racing Series race winner radioed to his crew on lap 51 that he was “tight in the center and loose off” as the second caution of the day was presented to the ARCA drivers. The Scott Naset-led team was called Dillon to pit road for four fresh Hoosier tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment during the ensuing caution. Dillon restarted fourth four laps later but once again fog began creeping back over the 2.5-mile facility. ARCA officials brought the field back down pit road on lap 59 before finally ending the Pocono ARCA 200, 21 laps short of the 80-lap completion mark. Dillon brought home a fourth-place finish at his first visit to the “Tricky Triangle” despite the heavy fog and mist endured throughout the day.


Start – 2 Finish – 4 Laps Led – 3 Points – 1 (leads by 155 points)



“The guys put together a great car this weekend. We were really fast in practice and qualifying but, unfortunately, we couldn’t get by some of the lap traffic. With all of the caution laps, we didn’t have enough time to get back up to the front. I learned a lot this weekend.”


“I’m really happy for the No. 31 RCR team. Tim (George Jr.) and his crew work really hard; it’s great to see them come away with a win for RCR.”

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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