NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
RACE: Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola
TRACK: Daytona International Speedway
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished second (Jeff Burton), 14th (Paul Menard) and 23rd (Kevin Harvick).
Harvick ranks sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 90 points behind Matt Kenseth’s lead, while Menard ranks 13th and Burton ranks 18th.
According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, RCR teammates Harvick and Menard ranked first and second, respectively, in the category Fastest Drivers Late in a Run.
Each of the RCR drivers ranked in the top 10 in the Loop Data Category Fastest Laps Run – Harvick tied for first with 10 laps, Menard ranked fourth with eight laps and Burton tied for fifth with seven laps.
The runner-up finish was Burton’s fourth-consecutive top-10 finish at restrictor-plate tracks.
Burton gained the fifth-most positions (13) in the last 16 laps of the 160-lap event.
Burton made 258 Green-Flag Passes during the 400-mile race.
Menard maintained the ninth-fastest Green Flag Speed of 197.250 mph.
Harvick maintained a Green Flag Speed of 197.389 mph, ranking him third in the Loop Data category.
Tony Stewart captured his third Sprint Cup Series win of the 2012 season and was followed to the finish line by Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman.
The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 15. The race is scheduled to be televised live on TNT beginning at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Paul Menard and the Quaker State/Menards Team Finish 14th in a Wild Night at Daytona
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Quaker State/Menards team survived a wild night under the lights at Daytona International Speedway to finish 14th in the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola. After starting the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from the 13th position, Menard dropped back in the running order in an effort to maintain safe engine temperatures. Battling a tight-handling condition on the exit of the corners during the majority of the 160-lap affair, the Slugger Labbe-led crew made air pressure adjustments during routine pit stops to improve the car’s balance. During the lap-124 caution period, Labbe called for a two-tire pit stop to gain track position, advancing the No. 27 Chevrolet to the 11th spot for the restart on lap 130. The Eau Claire, Wis., native drove the Richard Childress Racing machine into the top 10 two laps later, where he remained until he was caught up in a multi-car incident on lap 153, bringing out the caution flag. Menard made several trips down pit road for repairs to the green and yellow Chevrolet during the ensuing caution period and lined up in the 22nd position for the two-lap dash to the checkered flag. A multi-car pileup occurred as the field exited turn four on the final lap and Menard was able to maneuver through the melee to bring home a 14th-place finish. Menard remains 13th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 65 points out of the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup spot.
Start – 13 Finish – 14 Laps Led – 0 Points – 13
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
“It’s frustrating to have to ride around in the back and wait until the end to drive to the front, but that’s what we had to do to keep the temperatures on our Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet at a safe level. The big wrecks happened with 10 laps to go, and we got caught up in the first one. Fortunately, the damage wasn’t too bad and the guys on the No. 27 team did a great job making repairs on pit road. Luckily, that put us in the back for the restart and we stayed out of the last big mess to finish in the top 15.”
Kevin Harvick Gets Caught Up in Last-Lap Incident to Finish 23rd at Daytona International Speedway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor ran strong in the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday night but ultimately finished 23rd after being collected in a last-lap incident at Daytona International Speedway. The Bakersfield, Calif., native started the 160-lap event from the 11th position and fell to the back of the 43 car field during the early laps in an effort to protect his red, white and blue Chevrolet from the elements of superspeedway racing, namely high engine temperatures. As Harvick circled the track in the back of the field he informed the team that the car was loose. The Shane Wilson-led pit crew worked on the car’s handling during several scheduled green and yellow-flag pit stops, allowing their driver to advance his track position and move into the top 10 by lap 150. During the final laps, Harvick worked with Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton to maneuver their way toward the front of the field. When the duo was spilt up on the white flag lap, Harvick received drafting help from the No. 88 Chevrolet and advanced to the sixth position on the lap 159 before another competitor made contact with the Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet, sending Harvick for a spin in the fourth turn on the final lap. With his damaged race car unable to cross the finish line, Harvick settled for a 23rd-place finish. Harvick remains sixth in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 90 points behind the leader.
Start – 11 Finish – 23 Laps Led – 0 Points – 6
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
“It was another tough night for the Budweiser Folds of Honor team. We did our best to stay out of the trouble during the race, but fell victim to superspeedway racing at the end. We will regroup and focus on the race next weekend at New Hampshire (Motor Speedway).”
Jeff Burton Avoids Trouble, Brings Home Runner-Up Finish in Coke Zero 400 at Daytona
Jeff Burton made three amazing saves, avoided multiple accidents, and led the No. 31 Wheaties Chevrolet team to a second-place finish in the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. The South Boston, Va. native qualified the Richard Childress Racing machine in the 21st position and decided early to use a conservative strategy during the race, falling back to the tail end of the 43-car field with teammates Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard to prevent engine temperatures from rising. After running mid pack for a majority of the 160-lap event, the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner dodged his first bullet of the night on lap 92 when multiple cars collided in front of the 45-year-old driver, sending the No. 47 car spinning, barely missing Burton’s orange and black machine and bringing out the caution flag. Burton restarted in the 18th position after his final pit stop of the day with 30 laps to go and began his climb up the leaderboard, working his way into the top 15 on lap135 and top 10 on lap 152. With six laps remaining, Burton once again, with assistance from spotter Brett Griffin, escaped “the big one” unscathed, maneuvering his way around spinning competitors. Restarting in the top five for a two-lap dash to the checkered flag, Burton paired up with Harvick as a two-car tandem draft and maintained a top-five running position gaining momentum for one last run. On the white-flag lap, Burton made contact with another competitor but managed to keep his No. 31 Chevrolet from spinning. He held the outside line going into the final corner as typical restrictor-plate chaos ensued to the bottom of the track and narrowly escaped the multi-car pileup, crossing the finish line less than a second behind race winner Tony Stewart. With the top-five result, Burton gained two positions, moving to 18th in Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start-21 Finish-2 Laps Led-0 Points-18
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
“It certainly feels good to have a good finish Wheaties team. We finished fifth here in the Daytona 500 and second tonight. Two top-five finishes down here is probably more than I can expect with all the wrecks and stuff. Hopefully, it’s something that’ll kick start our year a little bit. It’s been a difficult year and hopefully we can build on this.Momentum is created by running well. Momentum doesn’t create good runs, good runs create momentum. So we’ve got to go to New Hampshire (Motor Speedway) and perform.”