Daytona Shootout: Kevin Harvick race report

Harvick Overcomes Illness to Claim Second Straight Bud Shootout Victory Kevin Harvick wasn't able to make a lap of practice for the 2010 Budweiser Shootout but that didn't prevent the driver of the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet from capturing...

Harvick Overcomes Illness to Claim Second Straight Bud Shootout Victory

Kevin Harvick wasn't able to make a lap of practice for the 2010 Budweiser Shootout but that didn't prevent the driver of the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet from capturing his second consecutive victory in the season-opening exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway.

With Harvick suffering from flu-like symptoms at home in North Carolina, Richard Childress Racing teammates Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton pitched in during Thursday's practice sessions to assist the Shell-Pennzoil team with preparations for the Bud Shootout.

Under the reformatted eligibility rules, Harvick gained entry for the 32nd annual event as the defending Budweiser Shootout winner. The new qualifying rules showcased a strong lineup of drivers who were last season's top performers and previous Daytona race winners. The 24-car field competed in two segments, 25 and 50 laps, with a 10-minute pit stop between segments to allow teams to visit pit road to change tires, add fuel and make adjustments.

Courtesy of a random selection by crew chief Gil Martin at the Budweiser Shootout 'Draw Party', the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet Impala lined up for the 75-lap showdown outside the front row. The Bakersfield, Calif. native took advantage of the prime real estate and did not fall from the topfive during the first 25-lap portion of the event leading up to the 10-minute intermission.

The scheduled break could not have come at a better time for the Shell-Pennzoil team. After examining the four Goodyear tires they took off the No. 29 Chevy Impala, a small hole was found in the right-rear tire which would undoubtedly have caused major issues had racing continued.

The Shell-Pennzoil Chevy restarted fifth for the 50-lap shootout and Harvick again flexed the muscles under the hood of the bright yellow and red machine, telling his team nobody would catch him if he could get to the front. Harvick wasn't bluffing, eventually taking the lead on lap 47 and going on to lead for a total of 21 laps.

As the lapped ticked away, the 2007 Daytona 500 winner swapped the lead spot with Tony Stewart, Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle. The No. 29 Chevy regained the top spot on lap 68 but a caution flew just two laps later for an incident on the backstretch, setting up an important decision by Martin and a green-white-checkered finish for the Budweiser Shootout.

With nearly 50 laps on the tires and handling a major factor at Daytona, Martin and Harvick decided fresh tires were the necessary key to victory and brought the Shell-Pennzoil Chevy to pit road for a right-side tire stop. Harvick lined up the No. 29 Chevy in the fourth position, behind Biffle, for the two-lap shootout to the finish.

Harvick stayed right on the bumper of the No. 16 car on the restart, then dove underneath Biffle off of turn two to take over the lead. Behind him an eight-car pile up occurred, drawing a caution flag and ending the 2010 Budweiser Shootout with Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 team as the victors.

Harvick became just the fourth driver to win back-to-back Budweiser Shootout titles and it marked the seventh win in the exhibition race for RCR, more than any other organization. In addition to Harvick's victories, Dale Earnhardt won the event five times (1986, '88, '91, '93, '95)

Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton overcame a flat-tire to finish in the 12th position. The balance of the top-five finishers includes Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.

Next up for Harvick and the Shell-Pennzoil Racing team is the Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying race. Live coverage begins Thurs., Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on SPEED. The races will also be broadcast worldwide on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:

"They want to kick me out already and get sick again. I've got to thank everybody from the 29 team, Clint and Jeff, for driving my cars, all the guys back at the shop for already fixing our car, having it ready for next Wednesday to be sitting back at the racetrack in case something else happens.

"It's a lot of fun to win. I know we started the last year the same way. Tonight we led a bunch of laps, ran at the front all night. To go out and have that car start cold, never have a lap on the racetrack, to have it run like it ran, says a lot for the preparation of the team. It's a lot about the details. Good pit stops all night.

"What else do you say? We're going to let Gil draw from now on because I can't draw very good so we're going to let him draw the starting spots.

"When Biffle chose the top lane, I knew it was going to be up to me to get a good restart because we were off just a touch on the ratios. I needed to roll the start just enough to get to his bumper. It timed out perfect. I was able to get Greg out there. I knew if I could get him out, I was able to get up underneath him with the momentum we carried into one, then at that point I started dragging the brake to make sure we stayed side-by-side so we didn't drag a faster line by him or somebody else. I drug us back to the 9 car. I was hoping that my line would get there before his line. I knew if we would get to turn three, I was going to be in better shape because I had tires and he didn't.

"I wanted to maintain side-by-side with Biffle because I thought that I had an advantage over him once we got to the next corner."

"I think the biggest thing that we learned for us is our handling package is fairly good. Obviously it will change a little bit as we go through the week because everything is going to shift to daytime temperatures. It's pretty cool tonight, probably a little added grip from what we'll have during the 500 as rubber gets on the racetrack into Thursday.

"Our basic package of car is really good. And tonight, that was what was able to keep us up front. I wasn't pinned to one groove. I could run the top, bottom or middle. Didn't have to be picky about who I followed. I could go wherever I want. That's nice from a driver standpoint to have options like that. Lets you be pretty aggressive. Obviously tonight is an aggressive style race that's pretty forward thinking. There's not a whole lot of 'whatever the consequences are' thinking. So it's all about whatever it takes to go forward."

-source: rcr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Jamie McMurray , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Richard Childress Racing