Coca-Cola Family scores six-pack at BMS
Burton, McMurray rebound with strong finishes; Biffle remains the points leader
By Andrew Shain, Special to NASCAR.COM
March 20, 2012 11:03 AM, EDT
The Coca-Cola Family drivers' winning streak ended at two at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, but a six-pack finished among the top 16.
Seven of the eight Coca-Cola Family drivers are among the top 20 in the season standings with one driver continuing to hold the series lead.
Bristol finish: sixth
Season standings: 11th
Despite starting 33rd, Burton stayed out during an early caution for track position to earn his first top-10 finish at Bristol in three years. He remained in the top 10 all day by being fourth-best late in runs and having the fifth-best green flag speed. He scooted up four spots in the series standings and sits 11th after getting three top-15 finishes in four races this year.
What he said: "I really couldn't be any more proud of the guys. We qualified poorly on Friday and worked hard to get the car where it needed to be for a top-five run [Sunday]. It just shows how important track position really is at a place like Bristol."
Bristol finish: seventh
Season standings: 19th
NASCAR's bullring has been good for McMurray. He got his fifth top-11 finish in his past six races at Bristol by staying out during an early caution and making the second-most passes of drivers in the top 15. McMurray had gone to 19th in the standings from 36th in two weeks with a pair of consecutive top-10 finishes.
What he said: "We gambled on track position at the competition caution and stayed out. Our guys kept us up front all day long. It's great to put the McDonald's Chevy up in the top-10. I'm happy with [Sunday's] results."
Bristol finish: 12th
Season standings: 12th
Newman is another pro in recent years at Bristol. He came home with his 10th top-12 finish in his past 13 races at the short track despite twice going a lap down with a tight-handling car. Newman recovered both times to finish on the lead lap though he was unhappy with his weekend after qualifying third.
What he said: "I feel like we let one slip away [Sunday]. We were better all weekend than a 12th-place finish, that's for sure. Our Chevy was fast off the truck, and we were strong all weekend. The guys did good in the pits, and they worked hard all day. But we just could never adjust on it the way we needed."
Bristol finish: 13th
Season standings: first
Biffle had another finish with a three in it, but it was 13th instead of third -- like he had in the first three races. The pole-sitter spent all but three laps in the top 15 and was running in the top 10 much of the race before falling off late in the race with a tightening car. Biffle managed to keep the series lead.
What he said: "It wasn't bad. We were back and forth but there at the end I don't know what happened. It hadn't been like that all day, just way, way too tight. We were way too tight at the end and we were plowing down on the splitter. It was all I could do."
Bristol finish: 14th
Season standings: seventh
Stewart has a fickle record at Bristol. He had worked his way into the top 10 after he made up a lost lap with the second-most green flag passes. Then he collided with Brendan Gaughan on Lap 479. Stewart still managed his best finish in four races at the track. He remains seventh on the series standings and has not finished worst than 22nd this year.
What he said: "Normally, 14th isn't something we're too happy about, but compared to how we've been, I thought we made big gains on it [Sunday]. ... Really proud of [crew chief] Steve [Addington] and proud of our guys. They worked hard all day and fought through it all day."
Bristol finish: 16th
Season standings: ninth
Another week of dealing with a tight car left Logano with his second consecutive 16th-place finish. He really could have used some more cautions to adjust the car, but the race had just five yellow flags. He still did not end up far from his best Bristol finish of 13th. Logano stayed at ninth in the standings.
What he said: "This is not what we were expecting coming out of Bristol. We just got a little behind on the handling and never had a chance to come in and make the adjustments that we needed too. It's not too often you see such long green flag runs here at Bristol and that was when we were struggling the most and we needed to be able to come in and make some adjustments."
Bristol finish: 20th
Season standings: fifth
Like his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Logano, Hamlin repeated his finish from a week earlier with a 20th. He finished two laps down because of similar handling problems that Logano suffered and few chances to make adjustments. The series leader after winning at Phoenix slipped two more spots in the standings to fifth.
What he said before the race: "We've been close here before and ran really competitive here before. Just haven't got a race win. The spring race has typically not been that great of one for us."
Bristol finish: 28th
Season standings: 21st
Bristol has not been kind to Labonte in recent years and that continued Sunday. He finished two laps down for a season-worst 28th place after failing to get higher than 24th. His car struggled for speed. After a promising start, he slid five spots in the standings to 21st.
What he said before the race: "I'm still very excited about each time we get on the race track, our learning curve is pretty sharp -- we're learning a lot quick about each other and I think that goes well and says a lot for our race team."