Harvick Rallies for a Top-Five Finish at Loudon
Race/Date: Sylvania 300 / September 19, 2010
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway – Loudon, N.H.
Start Position: 27th
Finish Position: Fifth
Points Position: Third (45 points behind the leader)
Kevin Harvick and the No.29 Shell-Pennzoil team rallied in the closing stages of the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, finishing fifth in the first race of 10 events in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The effort is Harvick's 12th top-five and 19th top-10 finish in the season's 27 races, both series highs.
The Gil Martin-led team brought a brand new chassis to New Hampshire that they worked hard on Friday and Saturday, battling a very tight Chevrolet during Friday's lone practice and Saturday's duel sessions. Harvick qualified 27th on Friday afternoon, but the team felt confident they were headed in the right direction for Sunday's 300-lap affair.
Chamber of Commerce weather greeted the 43 teams on Sunday, and Harvick took the green flag at 1:15 pm Eastern Daylight Time. He worked his way inside the top 20 on lap 15, and communicated to Martin that his car was tight in the center of the corner, and loose off.
The Shell-Pennzoil team would make a series of air pressure and wedge adjustments throughout the day, but track position was the crucial component needed to salvage a respectable finish.
Harvick methodically worked his way forward throughout the event. The 14-time NSCS winner raced his way inside the top 15 on lap 115, and he was scored 10th on lap 232.
After pitting moments later for enough fuel to make it to the end, Harvick raced his way to seventh in the closing laps. Armed with plenty of fuel, he passed two cars in the final two laps, and crossed the stripe in fifth.
RCR teammate Clint Bowyer scored the victory, his first of the season and the first ever for primary sponsor, Cheerios. He was followed by Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Fellow RCR teammate Jeff Burton, while running fifth, ran out of fuel on the last lap, and finished 15th.
Hamlin remains the leader in points, with Bowyer second, 35 points back, while Harvick is third, 45 points behind Hamlin. Burton is 10th, 112 points in arrears.
Next week is the second race of the 10-week Chase, and the teams will battle it out in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, September 26th. The race will be televised live on ESPN at 1pm EDT, and will be broadcast worldwide on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius-XM Satellite Radio. Qualifying for the 28th race on the NSCS tour will be Friday at 3:10 pm EDT, and will be televised live on ESPN2.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
“Congratulations to the whole 33 team. That's awesome for them. We had an eventful day. Track position was critical, and we fought it all day long. We were too tight in the center, and then we adjusted too far, and our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet was just loose. But, we hung in there, we battled, and we came away with a top-five finish. We need to get better, and we will.”