Payback ends Harvick's night at Bristol Bristol, Tenn. (August 27, 2005) -- Saturday night's running of the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway lived up to its reputation of fender banging action and flared tempers. While GM Goodwrench ...
Payback ends Harvick's night at Bristol
Bristol, Tenn. (August 27, 2005) -- Saturday night's running of the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway lived up to its reputation of fender banging action and flared tempers. While GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick used patience in working up through traffic, it was an on-track dispute between Dale Jarrett and Ryan Newman that ended the night for the No. 29 Chevrolet and Harvick's opportunity for a Bristol sweep.
The weekend got off to a good start for the Bakersfield, Calif., native. He was 12th fastest in the weekend's only practice. The car was very fast on long green flag runs and plenty quick right out of the gate.
In qualifying, Harvick battled a tight condition for two laps around the .533-mile high banked oval, posting the 19th fastest time of the evening at 15.248 seconds. Matt Kenseth won the Bud Pole with a lap of 15.073 seconds. Following qualifying, the field was impounded for Saturday night's event.
In pre-race, Harvick, along with Reese's presented a $10,000 check to Kyle Petty and his Victory Junction Gang Camp. Following the check presentation, Harvick spent some time with Hollywood director/actor Quinton Tarantino. After the extended pre-race, it was time to get down to business.
Early in the race, Harvick kept his No. 29 Monte Carlo glued to the bottom of the track, and worked his way into 15th position by passing Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart. "The car is too loose into the corner and off," Harvick told crew chief Todd Berrier. On lap 68, Sterling Marlin blew a right front tire, bringing out the first caution of the evening. The GM Goodwrench crew took advantage of the yellow and changed all four tires, making an air pressure adjustment to tighten up the chassis. Harvick restarted 12th.
The GM Goodwrench/Reese's Big Cup Chevy continued to run in top-15 during the first quarter of the race. On lap 172, the caution was displayed for the fifth time for a spin in turn two. The entire lead pack hit pit road, but the GM Goodwrench team decided to gamble and stayed out. Harvick took over the lead and gained five valuable points for leading a lap. With only 35 laps on the tires, everybody expected the No. 29 to be able to stay in the top-five. But on the restart, Harvick was a sitting duck. He could no longer hug the bottom and quickly dropped back in the pack. Fortunately, the yellow waved just 11 laps later and Harvick was able to pit. He was now 22nd.
Now with fresh tires, the No. 29 raced its way from the back. While Harvick made progress, he was never able to get back in the top-15. On lap 317, an apparent "pay back" crash involving Dale Jarrett and Ryan Newman clogged the track in turn two. Harvick dove to the apron and missed Jarrett's machine. But, Newman slid down the track and into Harvick's Chevy. The contact ripped the right front suspension off the car. Harvick told the crew that the throttle was hung as well, before climbing from the wreck and walking to the care center.
While Harvick made the mandatory trip to the infield medical office, the GM Goodwrench team went to work cutting away sheet metal and repairing the front suspension. Harvick was cleared by the doctors and returned to his motorhome to monitor the repair work via radio and change into a dry firesuit.
On lap 400, the team had completed the repairs and Harvick returned to the garage to strap back into the No. 29. The car returned to action on lap 425 and picked up two positions, taking the checkered flag in 37th position. Matt Kenseth held off Harvick's RCR teammate Jeff Burton for the win. Greg Biffle was third.
The finish virtually ended the GM Goodwrench team's hope of making the Chase for the Championship. Harvick is now 16th in points, 122 markers out of 10th with two races to go. Tony Stewart continues to hold the top spot in the point's standings.
Next up for the GM Goodwrench team is a return trip to California Speedway next Sunday evening, September 4. The race can be seen on NBC and heard on MRN Radio.