RCR/Ganassi fail to make chase

Two of the most formidable teams in NASCAR failed to place a car into NASCAR's inaugural "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway. Perhaps the most disappointing, is that of Richard Childress Racing's No. 29 ...

Two of the most formidable teams in NASCAR failed to place a car into NASCAR's inaugural "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway. Perhaps the most disappointing, is that of Richard Childress Racing's No. 29 Chevrolet piloted by Kevin Harvick.

Harvick enjoyed eighteen weeks comfortably in the top-ten in points until just two races ago at California Speedway, when he tumbled from eighth in standings to 15th. Harvick was obviously at wits ends all weekend, being a no-show for a pre-event press conference, and then storming off after the race to his hauler.

"The car was good early," Harvick commented. "It just got a little bit loose there. In the second half of the race, we just couldn't get in the corner. But all in all, it wasn't a bad night for the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet. We did the best we could and that's all you can ask for."

Harvick finishes the 'Chase' 14th in points.
"We did all we could tonight to put ourselves in position to make the Chase and we just fell a little short," Harvick commented. "The guys did a great job in the pits tonight. The car just was too loose on that last run.

"It's disappointing to not be in the hunt for the championship. We've had some things not go our way this year and some miscues here and there. You can't make those mistakes and expect to be there. We'll be all right. The sun will still rise tomorrow and we'll still go on racing. We've got a chance to win races still and go for that final spot at the banquet. This team hasn't given up before and we're not going to start now."

RCR was not the only team feeling dejected Saturday night. Chip Ganassi Racing also fell short of placing one of its racers inside the top ten at the close of NASCAR's 'playoff' period.

The most disheartening was Ganassi driver Jamie McMurray who came up 15 markers shy of making 10th place. McMurray was docked 25 points at the spring race in Bristol for an incorrect 'x-measurement on the No. 42 Dodge. If not for that penalty, McMurray would have finished in 10th spot.

"The motor broke again with 20 laps to go and nothing we could do about it," said Jamie McMurray. ""I don't know how much we missed it by, but that's the way it goes with the points. We'll look back and try to win one of these races in the next 10. We gave it all we had, but we just came up a little bit short."

McMurray wound up 11th.

Other racers not making the final battle for the first NEXTEL Cup include rookie sensation Kasey Kahne, and former champions Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte. Labonte and Kahne both enjoyed sojourns within the top ten but could not maintain their positions in the final events leading to the 'chase'.

Jarrett battled hard from early season foibles to put himself in contention for the playoffs, only being in the top ten once this year; after the season opening Daytona 500. Jarrett fell as far back to 22nd, before pulling himself back up to 12th this summer. Troubles in recent weeks, however, saw him take a backward slide.

He was 13th entering Richmond, but finishes the playoff season 15th. Jarrett was clearly not amused, cursing a photographer and marching off to his transporter post race without comment.

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Series NASCAR-CUP