Harvick set Busch Series pole record; claims another top-10 CONCORD, N.C. (May 24) - PayDay Racing driver Kevin Harvick continued his impressive 2003 Busch Series pace with a ninth-place finish in Saturday's Carquest Autoparts 300 at Lowe's...
Harvick set Busch Series pole record; claims another top-10
CONCORD, N.C. (May 24) - PayDay Racing driver Kevin Harvick continued his impressive 2003 Busch Series pace with a ninth-place finish in Saturday's Carquest Autoparts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. To accompany Harvick's seventh top-10 finish in seven races, Harvick also set a new Busch Series track qualifying record with a blistering lap time of 29.277 seconds at an average speed of 184.445 mph.
Harvick, who led 53 laps on Sunday, faded to ninth, while fellow Winston Cup driver Matt Kenseth held off rookie driver Kyle Busch for the win on Saturday.
"The car was real good all day long," crew chief Butch Hylton said after the race. "The last pit stop we got a bad set of tires, and Kevin was able to hold on to the thing for the last 25 or so laps. His veteran experience enabled him to give us another top-10 finish."
The PayDay team remains at the top of the NASCAR Busch Series owner standings with a 128-point lead over the No. 92 team, which features Todd Bodine. PayDay Racing driver Johnny Sauter finished 25th in the No. 43 Chevrolet and is ninth in the driver rankings.
The race, which only had five caution periods, remained uneventful until lap 165 of 200 when the field returned to pit road for one final stop on the day. The PayDay team was on pace for another fantastic pit stop when a lug nut on the left front tire came off, costing the team a few extra seconds. Harvick returned to the action in fifth place.
Harvick was capable of winning the race by coming from behind, but the car was handling loosely. Harvick told the crew he thought the cause was a deflating right rear tire. Harvick battled the car until the end, keeping it off the wall, as it was extremely loose. Later, the team discovered that tires contributed to the problem. The final caution period of the day started on lap 198, so the 200-lap event ended under caution.
Lowe's received no relief from Mother Nature this weekend, as rain showers were present everyday, and qualifying was no different. After several lengthy delays on Friday, the Busch Series was finally able to have its first practice of the weekend just after lunch on Friday.
The PayDay team set up the car in race trim and worked extremely hard on the car for Harvick during the first practice. The practice session was shortened because of a crash. Because of the truncated session, the PayDay Racing team was not able to execute mock qualifying runs, leaving the fate of the qualifying setup in the hands of Harvick and Hylton.
The setup the crew chief and driver came up with proved to be the best Lowe's Motor Speedway has seen yet for Busch Series qualifying, as Harvick set the new track record on his one-lap qualifying pass.
Eighteen hours later, as the green flag waved over the field to start the race, Harvick was off to an early lead that he would hold for the first 21 laps of the race. Harvick would hold onto the second-place position until lap 65 when the PayDay machine came in for its first scheduled green flag pit stop of the day. After the PayDay team gave Harvick four fresh tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, he would return to the racing surface in fourth place.
A caution period that began on lap 103 brought Harvick to the pits again. The PayDay team had one of its best pit stops of the year, and returned Harvick back to the track with the lead, which he held for approximately 30 more laps, leading up to the caution period that began on lap 165.
Next week the Busch Series travels north to Dover International Speedway, in Dover, Del. The MBNA Armed Forces Family 200 can be seen live on FX at 12:30 p.m. ET and heard live on MRN radio at 12:30 p.m. ET.