Rough Day for RCR

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick was the top finishing RCR driver at Martinsville in 19th. (Photo: Getty Images)

The entire Richard Childress Racing team suffered a tough afternoon in last Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

After winning the race last year with Kevin Harvick, the RCR stable was expected to contend for another victory at the Virginia short track. But a variety of issues challenged the trio of drivers with Harvick’s 19th-place finish being the best of the organization.

Harvick dominated the field in Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville leading a record 248 of 250 laps on his way to Victory Lane. But Sunday’s Sprint Cup headliner was a much different story with Harvick forced to battle a loose handling racecar all afternoon.

“We just went in the wrong direction with the setup for today and learned what not to do when we come back in the fall,” said a dejected Harvick. “It was just not a good day at all. As a group we probably made some wrong decisions before the race but as a group we will fix them for the fall race."

Teammate Paul Menard will also need to see a set-up improvement by the time the series returns to Martinsville in October. Although he qualified 11th, Menard fought a balance issue throughout the race and could not find the right handle to be competitive.

A pit road speeding penalty late in the race compounded the day’s misery and Menard was credited with a 26th-place finish.

“Today was a tough day for the No. 27 team and the RCR organization,” said Menard, who sits 14th in the Sprint Cup Series point standings. “We felt like we had a good setup coming off of our practice sessions but we struggled with the early long green-flag runs. Then the speeding penalty toward the end of the race hurt us even further. We'll regroup and get back after it at Texas (Motor Speedway)."

Jeff Burton and the No. 31 team will need to regroup as well for next Saturday night’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Burton had a fast racecar during the first half of Sunday’s 500-lap event and looked to be at least a top 10 contender.

But an electrical issue quickly ended any chance the veteran had to come home with a good finish, forcing him to pit road for repairs and ultimately handing Burton a 23rd-place finish. He is 15th in the standings with six races in the book.

Burton remains positive about the direction of his race team and hasn’t wavered on his optimism about an improved performance this season.

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