Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 12th (Kevin Harvick), 15th (Paul Menard) and 24th (Jeff Burton).
Brad Keselowski claimed the victory at Chicagoland Speedway, followed to the line by Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman.
The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 23. The 28th race of the 2012 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Libman/Menards Team Finish 15th
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Libman/Menards Chevrolet team battled handling challenges on Sunday afternoon en route to a top-15 finish at Chicagoland Speedway. Menard lined up the neon yellow Chevrolet in the 11th position to start the GEICO 400 after a solid qualifying effort by the No. 27 team on Saturday but quickly fell to 19th in the running order during the first 25 laps. Handling issues plagued the Richard Childress Racing group throughout the 267-lap event while the Shane Wilson-led team made a number of chassis and air pressure adjustments during routine pit stops to assist Menard, who reported the car’s balance cycled from tight, to neutral, to loose throughout the course of a green-flag run at the 1.5-mile speedway. The Eau Claire, Wis., native drove to pit road while under caution on lap 189 where the No.27 Chevrolet received four fresh Goodyear tires, Sunoco E15 fuel, an air pressure and wedge adjustment, and a spring rubber inserted into the left rear spring. The car took off better than it had during previous restarts, and Menard drove from 19th up to the 16th position. Following the team’s final green-flag pit stop on lap 232, the RCR driver climbed to the 15th spot where he ultimately took the checkered flag at the Joliet, Ill.-based facility. The top-15 finish moved Menard to 16th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 11 Finish – 15 Laps Led – 0 Points – 16
PAUL MENARD QUOTE: “It’s not the finish we hoped for, but the No. 27 guys never gave up. We kept searching for the right adjustments to neutralize the Libman/Menards Chevrolet’s balance and made some progress when we added the rubber to the rear spring. The pit crew did a great job on pit road, but with the long green-flag runs, it was difficult to make up a lot of ground.”
Kevin Harvick and the Budweiser Designate a Driver Team Finish 12th
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Designate a Driver team scored a 12th-place finish in the GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway Sunday afternoon after battling handling issues throughout the 267-lap event. The 36-year-old driver started the race from the 35th position and moved toward the front of the field as soon as the green flag dropped, but alerted crew chief Gil Martin that he was battling a loose-handling condition on the No. 29 Chevrolet during the early stages of the race. Harvick worked his way into the top 20 prior to Martin calling him to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 44 for tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment in an attempt to alleviate the handling issues Harvick was fighting. Back on track, the Bakersfield, Calif., native maintained a position in the top 20, but reported the No. 29 Chevrolet was still too loose which led the pit crew to make major chassis adjustments during their next scheduled pit stops. As the race progressed, Harvick worked his way up to fourth in the running order, but as the loose-handling condition persisted, he slipped back in the field ultimately crossing the finish line in 12th position. The top-15 finish positions Harvick 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 24 markers behind the leader.
Start – 35 Finish – 12 Laps Led – 0 Points – 10
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE: “This was not the run the No. 29 team was hoping to bring home today. We just couldn’t find the right setup we needed to correct the loose handling condition we were battling all day. The Budweiser Designate a Driver team gave it their all this weekend, we just don’t have the result to show for it.”
Jeff Burton Finishes 24th at Chicagoland Speedway
Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team finished 24th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway after losing laps under an ill-timed caution flag. After battling a tight-handling Chevrolet in practice and then qualifying 32nd for the 267-lap affair at the Joliet, Ill.-based facility, Burton and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer made the decision heading into the event to apply a setup that made the car loose-handling at the beginning of the race. The South Boston, Va., native made routine four-tire pit stops throughout the first portion of the event which allowed the CAT Racing pit crew to make adjustments on the Richard Childress Racing machine. Running top-10 lap times in the 24th position, Blickensderfer called the 45-year-old driver to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 149. As Burton exited pit road following the pit stop, the caution flag was displayed and the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner was trapped two laps down to the leader. The team chose to take the “wave around” pass from NASCAR officials and gained one lap back under the same caution-flag period, but Burton struggled to find the right balance on the No. 31 Chevrolet for the remainder of the 400-mile race while chasing the “lucky dog” pass to return to the lead lap. Burton managed to gain multiple positions by the time the checkered flag waved and came home with a 24th-place finish. Burton remains 19th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 32 Finish – 24 Laps Led – 0 Points – 19
JEFF BURTON QUOTE: “We tried out some things today with our 1.5-mile program as we prepare for next season and just couldn’t find the balance on the car. New Hampshire (Motor Speedway) and Richmond (International Raceway) have many similarities and I expect us to get back on track next weekend.”