Found August 23, 2012 on Start 'N' Park Blog:
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In 134 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Richard Childress Racing boasts nine wins – seven with Dale Earnhardt, one with Kevin Harvick and one with Jeff Burton – three poles, 32 top-five and 58 top-10 finishes. RCR Chevrolets swept the top three positions in the 2008 Food City 500 when Burton drove to Victory Lane, Harvick finished second and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top three. The Welcome, N.C.-based organization holds an average starting position of 16.7, average finishing position of 15.3 and has led for 3,593 laps at the “World’s Fastest Half Mile.”

Catch the Action … ABC’s live coverage of the IRWIN Tools Night Race begins Saturday, August 25 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Qualifying for the 24th points-paying event on the Sprint Cup Series will be broadcast live on SPEED on Friday, August 24 at 5 p.m. ET.

Paul Menard #27 Schrock/Menards Chevrolet

This Week’s Schrock/Menards Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway … Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 347 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the IRWIN Tools Night Race. This No. 27 Chevrolet was recently utilized at Darlington Raceway in May, where Menard started from the 14th position and finished 13th. The chassis was also used in 2012 competition at Bristol Motor Speedway in March where the Eau Claire, Wis., native started from the 11th position and finished 10th.

Menard at the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” … In 10 previous starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Menard has finished each contested race and completed 99.6 percent of his laps (4,990 of 5,009). He has an average starting position of 21.3 and an average finishing position of 20.5. Menard’s best start of fourth and best finish of fifth came in last season’s March visit to the Bristol, Tenn.-based facility.

By the Numbers in 2012 … With 23 points-paying events of the 2012 season complete, Menard sits 15th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 62 points out of the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup spot on the merit of five top-10 and 13 top-15 finishes. In his sophomore season with RCR, Menard has an average starting position of 16.6, an average finishing position of 15.2, maintains an Average Running Position of 17.415, and has completed 99.7 percent of his laps (6,017 of 6,037), the fourth-best of all drivers.

Race Rewind … Starting from the seventh position in the 500-lap annual event under the lights of Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2011, Menard and the No. 27 Sylvania/Menards team were relegated to a 30th-place finish following an early pit road penalty and a series of wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time events, typical at the half-mile bullring.

In the Rearview Mirror: Michigan International Speedway … Menard started the No. 27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet from the 10th position in the Pure Michigan 400, driving to a ninth-place finish at the two-mile speedway nestled in the Irish Hills of Michigan.

Last year’s night race at Bristol Motor Speedway didn’t go quite as planned. Tell us about your night. “If it could go wrong during last year’s night race, it did for the No. 27 team. We were put back in the field with a pit road penalty, and just never could make it back. Track position at Bristol (Motor Speedway) is so important, especially with the long green-flag runs at such a short track.”

Now that we have fewer cautions at Bristol Motor Speedway, is it a rhythm track more so now and how do you get in a rhythm when things are happening so fast? “It’s a big rhythm track. It reminds me a lot of this quarter-mile track in Rockford, Ill. where we used to race. It has that progressive banking and you kind of run up the hill a little bit. You have to find your rhythm and just click off laps. You know you’ve found it when you understand your car and how it is going to react. Then you just sit back, try to drive smooth and do the same thing over and over again.”

You finished 10th at Bristol Motor Speedway in March of this year; do you feel like the team’s short-track program has something figured out? “Track position is everything and we were able to stay out of trouble for 500 laps in March and walk away with a top-10 finish. This team has come a long way with the short-track program. We had a top-10 car at Phoenix (International Raceway) but caught up in someone else’s mess. We had a really fast car at Richmond (International Raceway), too. If we can qualify well and stay up front this weekend at Bristol (Motor Speedway), I think we’ll be fine.”

Kevin Harvick #29 Rheem Chevrolet

This Week’s Rheem Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway … Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 383 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend’s IRWIN Tools Night Race. Built new for competition during the 2012 season, Harvick raced this chassis at Phoenix International Raceway in March and Dover International Speedway in June, collecting second-place finishes in both races.

Racing in Thunder Valley … This weekend’s event at Bristol Motor Speedway marks Harvick’s 418th Sprint Cup Series career start. During the last 11 seasons, the 36-year-old driver has made 23 starts at the 0.533-mile oval and collected one win (spring 2005), nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. Harvick maintains an 18th-place average starting position, an average finishing position of 12.4, has completed 98.1 percent (11,290 or 11,513) of laps contested and is credited with 427 laps led.

Going for a Loop in Bristol … Harvick has made 15 Sprint Cup Series starts at the Bristol, Tenn.-based facility since the inception of NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics in 2006. The Bakersfield, Calif., native has collected impressive statistics through the years and leads all competitors in the Closers category, after improving an average of 1.5 positions in the final 10 percent of the laps completed. Harvick is also ranked fourth in Green Flag Passes (713) and Fastest Driver Late in a Run (112.958 mph), seventh in Green Flag Speed (114.204 mph), ninth in Average Running Position (14.139) and Speed in Traffic (113.726 mph). Harvick has completed 4,361 Laps in the Top 15 ranking him 10th amongst all competitors.

Points Racing … With 24 point-paying events in the books, Harvick ranks eighth in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 85 markers behind the leader. Harvick has collected three top-five and nine top-10 finishes thus far this season, completing 99.71 percent (5,864 of 5,847) of the laps contested.

Saturday Evening Cruise for a Cause … Following driver introductions for the Sprint Cup Series event on Saturday night, Harvick will participate in the Speedway Children’s Charities Ride of a Lifetime parade lap, where one lucky fan will have the opportunity to ride in the parade vehicle with the Rheem racing driver. The proceeds generated from the auction benefit the Speedway Children’s Charities along with the Kevin Harvick Foundation. Harvick will also participate in the Speedway Children’s Charities Ride of a Lifetime parade lap at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September, Charlotte Motor Speedway in October and Texas Motor Speedway in November. For details on how you can bid on this once in a lifetime event visit the respective track’s website.

Meet Harvick … Prior to race weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, Harvick will make a trek to the Northeast for the grand opening of an Ollie’s Bargain Outlet store located at 200 Blair Mill Road in Horsham, Pa. The RCR driver will be on-site to meet fans and sign autographs from 9 – 11 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, August 22. Ollie’s staff will distribute 250 tickets on a first-come, first-served basis the morning of the appearance.

Scoot & Shoot with Harvick … Hunt Brothers® Pizza is looking for NASCAR fans and hunting enthusiasts to show off their skills and compete in the ‘Scoot & Shoot Challenge’ on Thursday, August 23 at Food City Race Night in Bristol, Tenn. Sixteen lucky fans will be selected from the crowd at the Food City Race Night event to compete in the tournament-style competition, which challenges contestants to race big wheels through a relay course of target-shooting stations which will test their aim and speed. The winner of the ‘Scoot & Shoot Challenge’ will receive an autographed HBP die-cast car. Following the ‘Scoot & Shoot’ event, Harvick will meet with fans at the Hunt Brothers Pizza display to sign autographs from 5-6 p.m. Eastern Time. Only 200 wristbands will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the display.

The Last Time By … Harvick and the No. 29 Chevrolet team scored a 22nd-place finish in the 2011 IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Harvick started the night from the 15th position and battled handling problems from the beginning of the race.

In the Rearview Mirror: Michigan International Speedway … Harvick and the No. 29 team finished 16th at Michigan International Speedway after battling handling issues during the Pure Michigan 400.

Talk about racing at Bristol Motor Speedway, and share your thoughts on the recent round of changes to the track.  “I have always liked racing at Bristol (Motor Speedway). I’ve got a good record at this track, but to be honest, I have no clue what to expect when we head back. There have been so many changes made to the track over the last year, I wish they wouldn’t have made the changes, so who knows what we might happen this weekend.”

You won the spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2005. Talk about the sense of accomplishment that came with winning at such notable track.  “You always have a sense of accomplishment when you win a race, but to win at a track like Bristol (Motor Speedway) was pretty cool. The racing gets really intense at Bristol and sometimes just being able to finish the race is an accomplishment itself, so to win there is something to be really proud of.”

Jeff Burton #31 CAT Global Mining Chevrolet

This Weekend’s No. 31 CAT Global Mining Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway Jeff Burton will race Chassis No. 385 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the IRWIN Tools Night Race. Burton has driven this No. 31 Chevrolet four times this season including Pocono Raceway in August (started-23rd, finished-22nd), the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May (started-22nd, finished-19th), Texas Motor Speedway in April (started-24th, finished 29th) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March (started-22nd, finished 14th).

Wherever There’s Mining … The No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet will be adorned with the colors of CAT Global Mining this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Wherever you go in the mining world, you’ll find Caterpillar. From underground coal mines in the United States to gold mines in Africa and iron ore mines in Australia, Caterpillar products are hard at work and CAT people are right there too with building and supporting products, training operators, helping customers mine more profitably and working with schools, organizations and communities. As industry leaders, Caterpillar is engaged in the mining industry at every level.

Winner, Winner … Burton claimed the 2008 Food City 500 trophy at Bristol Motor Speedway in a 1-2-3 RCR finish. In addition, he also visited Victory Lane in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition at BMS in April 1997.

Career Bristol Stats … This weekend’s 500-lap event marks Burton’s 38th start at the half-mile bullring and his 643rd-career Sprint Cup Series entry. Burton has garnered one win, eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes at the track and led 322 laps at the Bristol, Tenn.-based race track.

Getting Loopy in Thunder Valley … Burton has accrued impressive NASCAR Loop Data Statistics at Bristol Motor Speedway since its inception in 2006. Of all drivers entering the event, he has the third-most Green Flag Passes (791) with 350 coming while running in the top 15 (ninth-most Quality Passes). Burton has spent 4,254 laps running in the top 15, ranks third in the Closers category and ninth in Speed in Traffic and Fastest Driver Late in a Run.

Sign Here, Please … On behalf of General Mills, Burton and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer will participate in Food City Race Night at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, August 23 along with several other Sprint Cup Series drivers and teams. Tickets are $5 in advance, $6 at the door (all proceeds go to charity) and wristbands that guarantee an autograph from Burton and Blickensderfer are limited to the first 300 fans. The event is slated to take place in downtown Bristol on State Street.

First Response Team of America … Caterpillar has teamed up with RCR to show appreciation for the First Response Team of America by offering a special ticket discount for the Labor Day weekend race on Sunday, September 2, 2012. The ticket program consists of a $20 discount off any regularly-priced $99 Champions Grandstand seat for the AdvoCare 500 Sprint Cup Series race at the 1.54-mile facility, located less than an hour from downtown Atlanta, Ga. For each ticket sold through this unique program, $29 will be donated to the First Response Team of America, a nonprofit emergency cleanup crew that provides immediate aid to areas hit by disasters. For more information, visit  www.CATRacing.com or to donate directly to the First Response Team of America, please visit www.firstresponseteam.org.

Top-10 Finish in March … After qualifying 33rd, Burton and the No. 31 BB&T Chevrolet team scored their second top-10 finish of the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season, placing sixth in the Food City 500 at BMS.

Race Rewind: Pure Michigan 400 … After starting from the 32nd position in the Pure Michigan 400, Burton and the No. 31 Wheaties Chevrolet team scored a 19th-place finish in the Sprint Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway.

Points Racing … Burton sits 20th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings. After 23 points-paying events of the 36-race Sprint Cup Series season, Burton has two top-five and four top-10 finishes. The veteran RCR driver has spent 1,908 laps running in the top 15 and has made 2,250 green-flag passes.

After testing at Bristol Motor Speedway, what do you expect to see from a racing standpoint with the track modifications? “We are still going to see multiple race grooves. We are not going to see a single-file race track. We will see a nice mix of the new and old Bristol (Motor Speedway). You are going to choke down the number of grooves available to the drivers. That very top lane isn’t going to be available to us anymore. We won’t see as many escape routes, but more cautions. A little bit of mix between the old and new.”

Do you expect more wrecks or bumping and banging that people want to see? “I anticipate some. It’s not going to be a night and day difference, but I anticipate some.”

You finished sixth-place at Bristol Motor Speedway in March. Were you happy with that finish? “We ran well there. There were a few times when we even had the best car on the race track. We battled for the lead there a few times. We had a top-10 car, but ran well all day. It was one of our better outings.”

How do you feel about the No. 31 team’s short-track program this season? “I’ve been pleased. We haven’t won any races, but our short track program has surpassed our 1.5-mile program this season.”

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