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Martinsville

Kevin Harvick Wins at Martinsville; Team Chevy Drivers Score Four of Top-10 and Seven of Top-10 Finishing Positions

Victory lane: race winner Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet celebrates
Victory lane: race winner Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet celebrates

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Martinsville, Va. (April 3, 2011) – For the second consecutive race, Kevin Harvick took his No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Victory Lane. This week carrying the Budweiser colors, Harvick passed runner-up finisher Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, with four laps remaining in the 500-lap Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

It is the second consecutive victory for Harvick who led three times for a total of six laps. With the win, Harvick, now sits fifth in the standings, just 15 points out of the lead, with six races in the 2011 record books.

With his second place finish, Earnhardt, Jr. jumped four positions in the standings to eighth place. He led once today for 17 laps.

Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet, finished fourth and leaves Martinsville seventh in the standings.

Giving Team Chevy four of the top-five finishers was four-time NSCS champion Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet in fifth place. Gordon moved up four places in the standings to 12th position.

Pole sitter Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Widia Chevrolet, finished seventh today and now sits 23rd in the standings. McMurray led once for a total of 31 laps.

Clint Bowyer, No. 33 BB&T Chevrolet, was ninth at the checkered flag after leading three times for 91 laps. He is 16th in the points order.

Mark Martin, No. 5 Quaker State/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, rounded out the top-10 finishers to give Team Chevy seven of the top-10. Martin is 10th in the point standings after six of 36-races.

Five-time defending NSCS champion Jimmie Johnson brought the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet to the finish in 11th position after suffering a pit road penalty late in the race. Johnson is third in points heading to Texas Motor Speedway.

Ryan Newman, No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet, fell to sixth in points after a flat tire late in the race relegated him to the 20th finishing position.

Tony Stewart, two-time NSCS champion, behind the wheel of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet fought an ill-handling race car and a penalty to finish 34th. He is 11th in the standings.

Kyle Busch (Toyota) finished third to complete the top-five finishers.

Next on the schedule for Team Chevy is a trip to Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2011.

***

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER:

YOU NOW HAVE WINS IN ALL THREE SERIES AT MARTINSVILLE WITH THIS OLD SCHOOL WIN OVER DALE JUNIOR: “Yeah, I just want to thank everybody with Budweiser, Jimmy Johns, Rheem, Chevrolet, Sprint and the fans. Let me not forget everybody this week. SKF, Hunt Brothers, Sherwin-Williams, Odyssey Batteries, Champion and Menards.”

We put those two tires on and I got to the front and all the sudden everything was woken up.

Kevin Havick

WHAT ABOUT THE DRIVE? “Just an awesome day. I didn’t think we had the car to do that and just came back up through there. We put those two tires on and I got to the front and all the sudden everything was woken up. So I had a lot of fun racing with Dale Jr, and I hate to be the guy that is the bad guy here but we are in it to win it.”

WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE DOES IT SEND TO THE COMPETITION TO HAVE BACK TO BACK WINS SO EARLY IN THE SEASON? “Well, I think it just shows what we are made of again today. We crashed and fell back to about the last car on the lead lap there on the first run and just everybody here on this RCR/Budweiser/Chevrolet team has done a great job and we just keep fighting. We had something left to race there at the end and heck it wound up going………….I didn’t believe them when they told me how fast it was but when we got towards the front, man, they weren’t lying to me so it was pretty cool.”

WILL DELANA LET YOU PUT THIS GRANDFATHER CLOCK FINALLY IN THE HOUSE? “As long as we have it, we can put it anywhere. I am not going to get in an argument.”

WHAT DID YOU GUYS DO TO THE CAR? "I've just got to thank everybody on this No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team for keeping me sane today. I was pissed at the beginning looking for whatever I needed to do to make the car to go. They just kept making it better. I nearly wrecked it and it got a lot better. I don't know what that means but just kept digging until the end. Had a lot of fun racing with Dale Jr. there at the end. I hate to be the bad guy but he had a heck of a day too."

TELL US ABOUT THE PASS THAT YOU MADE. "He was a little bit lose getting into the center of the corner and I was able to roll up under him. Just barely got up underneath his left rear corner panel there and got a good run down the straightaway. I knew what he wanted to do down there and I tried to just stop and keep him from crossing back over. I had my car pointed striaght enough to when he got into me I was able to get a good drive up off so it was a good race."

GIL MARTIN TALKED ABOUT THAT HALF-TIME CONVERSATION, TELL US YOUR PERSPECTIVE OF THAT CONVERSATION. "Well they always preach to me don't ever quit. I got over being mad and then we just started working on the car and everything just started going our way. The car started handling good and we put two tires on it and I got track position and started gaining positions. This team is just a lot of fun."

***

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET, FINISHED 2ND;

WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU COULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENT? "I don't know. I tried to put together some laps there but the back of car just wasn't into the track enough. The No. 29, he was coming and there just wasn't much I could do. Got a little lose there going down into (turn) one. I wanted to do a little bit of a cross over move and I thought I had that but we got down into turn three, I wanted to keep my nose there but not too much. I had already got into Kyle (Busch) pretty hard racing for the lead there. I just tried to keep the nose in there without turning him sideways and allowing Kyle to get into the mix. I don't know what I could have done different. We didn't have that great of a car. We weren't fast all day. We were a top-10 car but not a race winning car. We worked on it real hard but we didn't make any gains really. We made some changes that did things but nothing really to give the car any speed. Steve (Letarte, crew chief) did an awesome job with pit strategy. That's what got us up there, that's all it was. The car was good enough for 15 laps to run past those guys and try to get out there and get a big lead. Just not enough."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

ARE YOU MORE FRUSTRATED THAT YOU DIDN'T WIN OR MORE ENCOURAGED THAT YOU RAN AS WELL AS YOU DID? "I don't know. I'm just happy to be running well. Happy to be in the mix. I'm thankful for the opportunity I've got. Thankful for the help that I've got from my team. I want to thank AMP and National Guard and all of our supporters, but the race team works hard. When I don't have the speed they find the speed. It's working real good together. I'm frustrated that I got close and I was out there leading and I'm thinking I'm going to try to take me home a clock. I hate it that I didn't win."

SAW YOU AND KYLE TALKING AFTER YOU GOT OUT OF THE RACE CARS AND SHAKING HANDS, WHAT DID YOU GUYS SAY? "I don't think Kyle is real happy. It was just racing hard and I was trying to win and haven't won in a long time. I didn't spin him out or nothing, just had a little bit of a nose off of (turn) two and tried to hold my ground without be obnoxious about it and I think that all kind of worked out. When the No. 29 got there I tried to not do any more than that. I didn't want to be the bad guy today. We will win our share of races, I've got a long time to go left. Sure would like one of them clocks. A win here would be really, really nice. I love this place. It's a fun race track. The tire did really good. We all complained about it and it ended up working out okay. We wanted it to be better, there ain't no doubt but we got through this weekend and lets just try to bring something better back next time."

GREAT DRIVE TODAY AND TOP FIVE FINISH, TELL US ABOUT IT “Well, we didn’t have the best car but we worked on it to try and make it better. We had good track position and Steve (Letarte) did a great job of getting us that track position and we were racing real hard at the end and I hated to get into Kyle but we haven’t won a race in a long time and the 29 started coming and I was trying to put together some good laps but I would just get so loose and I hated to have to give it up to him but he had an awesome car. So I am happy about second but we were so close.”

***

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET, FINISHED 4TH:

GOOD DAY TODAY, DID YOU HAVE FUN? "Yeah, we had a good day. Qualified horrible yesterday in the Target Chevy. Everybody did an amazing job. We had a good race car. It was really good on the long runs. That really helped us out. Good calls from the team. You know we looked good at the end."

A TOP FIVE FINISH, YOU GUYS REALLY FOUGHT BACK HARD TODAY. "We had a bad qualifying run, had a horrible lap. Everyone on this Target Chevy did an amazing job. We had an okay car, it was really good on the long runs. The short runs it was okay but we need a little more for that. I'm really excited to get a top five here."

ON LAP THREE YOU WERE JACKED SIDEWAYS, IS THAT THE WAY THE WHOLE DAY WAS FOR YOU? "Pretty much."

***

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET, FINISHED 5TH:

GOOD RUN TODAY BUT NOT THE BEST, WHAT WOULD IT HAVE TAKEN TO WIN THE RACE TODAY? "We did have a great day with our Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet. Don't forget to text Hunger to 50555 and help us out. I was real proud of Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and all the guys on this team today. We weren't great at the beginning. We just worked our way up there slowly, took our time and were patient. Then we had a race car that could run with these guys and we got there and took the lead. That one time I got real lose. I don't know it just seemed like the track changed on us there at the end and that caution did not help us any either so that got us behind. I thought it was an awesome day for us to drive up there to fifth at the end."

TOP FIVE FINISH AND YOU LED A LOT OF LAPS, PUT INTO PERSPECTIVE HOW YOUR RUN WAS TODAY? “You know, it was really good. These tires were tricky today and getting track position was tough but we were really patient with the Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet at the beginning of the race and then it started coming to us and I thought that Alan and the guys in the pits just did an excellent job and we got ourselves out front, we just couldn’t seem to stay there when it counted most and Kyle was really, really strong on that one run and we couldn’t hold him back and we just tried to hang with him but when that caution came out when we pitted so that caught us out so we had to make up our track position at the end so it was a great top-five finish for us.

***

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 WIDIA CHEVROLET, FINISHED 7TH: ON HIS DAY:

"We finished Martinsville with four fenders and a motor intact. That is a great way for us to start trying to get on the right track. Great work from all of our guys on this WIDIA Chevy today."

***

Usually you get dinged when you pass someone or break the plane of the car in front of you.

Jimmie Johnson

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET, FINISHED 11TH:

ON THE PIT ROAD SPEEDING PENALTY: “I wasn’t speeding. They didn’t like how it looked. The way I managed my timing lines. Had this happened one other time where I do a good job with my timing lines to know exactly where I needed to accelerate and where I needed to stop. There is just know way. People will say whatever. But with the math and the way we know our timing lines, there is just no way. You accelerate real hard through your timing zone. A lot of guys get dinged for that. I’ve been dinged a couple of different times. Usually you get dinged when you pass someone or break the plane of the car in front of you. With no one there, I accelerated like I always so from my mark. There is just no way. There is just no way. It won’t do me any good to have a conversation; it isn’t going to matter. I guess I just can’t attack pit road like I know I can and like I did every single time before this.”

DO YOU THINK YOU HAD A SHOT AT THE WIN TODAY? “We would had a shot at it. You would hope you can race for it. I am disappointed about that. It just sucks to have that taken away from me at the end. But that is racing. Not the first guy to get dinged on pit road and thinking it wasn’t his fault. I know it won’t be the last so we will just go on.”

***

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET, FINISHED 20TH: ON HIS RACE:

“Our Haas Automation Chevy was bad fast. Unfortunately, we had a miss in the motor and we were down on power for the last 150 laps of the race and that really cost us. It’s not how we wanted our day to go, but at least we were able to salvage a top-20 finish there at the end. Like (Tony) Gibson said, it could have been a lot worse. We’ll take it and go on to Texas.”

***

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 NIBCO/MENARDS CHEVROLET, retired from the race due to engine issues on lap 261:

WHAT HAPPENED? “We are not really sure. It started blowing up. The water temp was fine. Came in and saw a hole in the radiator. The water pressure was ok. Not sure. I think the No. 7 (Robby Gordon) thought I got into him during that last run and he brake-checked me and I hit him. That is probably what put the hole in the radiator. So I owe Robby Gordon.”

-source: team chevy

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags chevrolet, earnhardt, gordon, harvick, martinsville