Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 11th (Kevin Harvick), 12th (Paul Menard) and 15th (Jeff Burton). According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Harvick was the sixth-Fastest Driver Late In a Run (126.160 mph) and averaged a Green-Flag Speed of 126.706 mph, positioning him sixth amongst all competitors. Denny Hamlin captured his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the 2012 season and was followed to the finish line by Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne. The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 30. The race is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Paul Menard and the No. 27 SYLVANIA/Menards Team Earn a 12th-Place Finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Paul Menard drove the No. 27 SYLVANIA/Menards Chevrolet to a 12th-place finish in the SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Starting from the seventh position, his career best at the one-mile oval, Menard maintained a place in the top 10 for the first 50 laps despite battling a tight-handling condition in the center of the turns. Following the first visit to pit road for service during the lap-40 competition caution, the car’s handling shifted to loose on entry and exit, requiring more rear. The Eau Claire, Wis., native continued to struggle with the loose-handling machine, slipping to the 17th position even with air pressure and chassis adjustments made during routine pit stops. Relief came when the Shane Wilson-led team made air pressure adjustments to the left-side tires during a four-tire pit stop on lap 180 while under caution. The 32-year-old driver began to work his way through the field, climbing to 12th by lap 231. Menard maintained the position through a round of green-flag pit stops and a visit to pit road on lap 274 during the final caution period of the afternoon, taking the checkered flag for his best career finish at the Loudon, N.H.-based facility.
Start – 7 Finish – 12 Laps Led – 0 Points – 16th
PAUL MENARD QUOTE: “The No. 27 SYLVANIA/Menards team made good adjustments all afternoon and were solid on pit road. What helped the handling was when we took air out of the left-side tires just past the halfway point. By that time, we had lost track position and could only make it back to 12th before the end of the race. Track position is so important at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Still, it’s our best finish here and something this team can be proud of.”
Kevin Harvick and the Budweiser Team Capture an 11th-Place Finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser team captured an 11th-place finish after battling handling issues in the SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. The 36-year-old driver qualified in the 16th position for the 300-lap event and moved into the top 10 by lap 24 as he informed crew chief Gil Martin he was battling a loose-handling Chevrolet. Martin called Harvick to pit road during the lap-40 competition caution for right-side tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. The Bakersfield, Calif., native was scored in the 12th position for the lap-45 restart and returned to the top 10 by lap 53. As the race progressed, Harvick informed the pit crew that the car’s handling had shifted from loose to tight and the No. 29 team continued to work on the car during multiple scheduled two and four-tire pit stops. The Richard Childress Racing driver held a running position in the top 10 as the car’s handling returned to a loose condition leading the Budweiser pit crew to make one final attempt to improve the car’s balance during the lap-272 caution period. Harvick returned to the track in the 11th position for the ensuing restart, where he would ultimately finish the 300-mile affair. The top-15 finish moved Harvick up two positions, to eighth, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 31 markers behind the leader.
Start – 16 Finish – 11 Laps Led – 0 Points – 8th
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE: “This was a solid points day for the Budweiser Chevrolet team. We struggled to find the perfect setup for the car today, but the crew didn’t give up and as long as we continue to produce consistent results we should be in a good position as we approach the end of the season.”
Jeff Burton Brings Home Top-15 Finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Wheaties Chevrolet team battled handling issues throughout the day and persevered for a top-15 finish in the SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. After starting the race in the 11th position, the Richard Childress Racing driver was a mainstay in the top 15 for a majority of the first 150 laps. Around the halfway point of the race, the South Boston, Va., native reported that his No. 31 machine became very tight in the middle of the seven degree-banked corners of the 1.058-mile facility. Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer called the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner to pit road to pull a spring rubber out of the right-rear spring on the RCR machine in an attempt to free up the tight-handling condition. Burton continued to post competitive lap times running in the top 20 until a caution-flag period on lap 274 gave the Wheaties pit crew the opportunity to service the car with four fresh Goodyear tires and enough Sunoco Green E15 fuel for the final dash to the checkered flag. The pit strategy worked in the team’s favor as many other teams decided to only change two tires or not pit at all. The 45-year-old driver was able to pass three competitors during the final 23 laps of the race to bring home a 15th-place finish. Burton remains 19th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings
Start – 11 Finish – 15 Laps Led – 0 Points – 19th
JEFF BURTON QUOTE: “We were definitely expecting to run better today after a good weekend of practice. We never could remedy the tight-handling condition on the No. 31 Wheaties Chevrolet. We worked hard all day on it and the pit crew was awesome again. I’m looking forward to getting back to Dover (International Speedway) next weekend after running strong there in June.”