Kevin Harvick qualified fifth for Saturday's race at the "Track too tough to tame," to claim his second top five starting position of the season and second in a row. As the race got underway, Harvick pushed towards the front of field. He sliced...
Kevin Harvick qualified fifth for Saturday's race at the "Track too tough to tame," to claim his second top five starting position of the season and second in a row.
As the race got underway, Harvick pushed towards the front of field. He sliced and diced his way up to second place and exchanged positions several times with Todd Bodine by surrendering the second position to him going into turn one and taking it right back exiting turn two. Harvick radioed in shortly thereafter, "That run was the most fun I've had in a race car, I guess since last week anyway," in reference to his Winston Cup race win last week at Atlanta.
The first caution flag that called for pit stops flew on lap 50 while Harvick was running in fourth and he suggested adjustments to help the slight loose condition that he was experiencing.
Harvick returned to the track in second position after a good pit stop on lap 52. He pitted again on lap 76, and resumed racing in third. Not long after that, however, Harvick noticed a tight condition developing in the ACDelco machine as he slipped to sixth.
The last round of stops came on lap 123 as the team adjusted tire pressures to give Harvick a shot at running for the front. Not long after the green flag dropped, however, Harvick suffered a setback as three cars got by him after contact on lap 130. Harvick then settled into seventh place over the closing laps until Winston Cup veteran Steve Park slipped by him on the final lap to give Harvick an eighth place finish and his fourth top 10 in five races.
"It wasn't a bad day," Harvick said. "But it wasn't a great day either. The guys did an excellent job in the pits. We made adjustments on every stop and gained positions almost every time. We were a little too tight on that last run. We probably would've made a run into the top five if we could've gotten the car freed up. We definitely learned some things that we'll be able to put to use tomorrow (in the Winston Cup race) and in September (the next time the Busch cars compete in Darlington)."
Jeff Green won the race by holding off Matt Kenseth over the closing laps. The series heads to Bristol next weekend for the sixth race of the 33-race schedule. Harvick won the race the last time the Busch cars competed at Bristol and the fast ½-mile oval is perhaps his favorite racetrack. The race is Saturday, March 24th at 1 pm on FX.
-T. Kirk Lowry