Another Top-10 Finish for Harvick and No. 29 Team Kevin Harvick and the No.29 Shell-Pennzoil team scored a seventh-place finish on Sunday at California Speedway and maintained their position of third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings.
Another Top-10 Finish for Harvick and No. 29 Team
Kevin Harvick and the No.29 Shell-Pennzoil team scored a seventh-place finish on Sunday at California Speedway and maintained their position of third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings. Harvick now trails the leader, Jimmie Johnson, by 54 points with six races remaining in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The effort was the team's 20th top-10 finish of the year, three more than any other NSCS competitor.
On Friday, the Gil Martin-led team worked on race trim for the first half of the day's 90-minute practice session before switching over to qualifying trim. The team was very happy with their car, and after switching over to qualifying trim, the No. 29 team was 24th on the sheet. In qualifying later Friday afternoon, Harvick ran a lap of 182.797 mph, good enough for 21st for Sunday's 200-lap affair.
Saturday's duel practice sessions gave the No. 29 team the opportunity to fine-tune their Chevrolet, and Harvick was 13th and fifth, respectively, in the two sessions. The car was extremely fast over the course of a run, and the team was confident they were prepared for race number four in the Chase.
A crowd of 70,000 NASCAR fans came to California Speedway on Sunday, and Harvick took the green flag from his 21st-starting slot. He was extremely quiet on the radio throughout the first green-flag run, as he and spotter, Billy O'Dea, worked through traffic and moved up the leaderboard. The Bakersfield, Calif., native was scored 20th on lap five and cracked the top 15 on lap 17. Moments later, the 14-time NSCS winner reported that his Shell-Pennzoil entry was too loose on entry, and very tight off the corner.
The race's first caution flag waved on lap 40 with Harvick running 14th. He brought his red and yellow machine to pit road, where the RCR team changed all four tires with an air pressure adjustment, made a minor chassis adjustment, and added fuel. Harvick left the pits in 16th.
Once the green flag waved on lap 45, Harvick continued to make his presence felt in his home state. He powered his way back inside the top 15 on lap 46, and picked off five more positions for 10th by lap 69. The green-flag run continued, and routine pit stops started on lap 94. Martin called Harvick to pit road on lap 95, and the team made another chassis adjustment, changed all four tires with another air pressure adjustment, and added fuel. Once the pit stops had cycled through, Harvick was running 12th, but Harvick was caught speeding on the exit of pit road, and had to serve a pass-through penalty down pit road. After serving his penalty on lap 98, Harvick was scored in 28th, and the last car on the lead lap.
Harvick was only three seconds in front of the leader, but he was able to distance himself from the leader, and move up to 25th before a timely caution bunched the field on lap 113. Martin brought Harvick back to the pits for tires and fuel, and quick work by the Shell-Pennzoil team put Harvick back on the track in 21st.
Armed with new life and the leaders in his sight, Harvick went on a tear, slicing his way back to the front. He raced his way back inside the top 10 with 50 laps to go, and ran as high as fifth before fading to seventh in the closing laps.
Tony Stewart won the 400-mile race, and his win clinched the 2010 Manufacturer's Cup title for Chevrolet. Stewart was chased to the checkered flag by Harvick's RCR teammate Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman. Jeff Burton, fellow RCR stablemate, struggled and finished 23rd.
Johnson remains the NSCS point-leader, while Denny Hamlin remains second, 36 points behind. Harvick is third, 54 points behind Johnson and 18 back of Hamlin.
Next week is the fifth race of the 10-week Chase, and the teams will battle it out in the NASCAR Banking 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, October 16th.
KEVIN HARVICK: "It was a good day for our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet team, but it wasn't great. Our car was good on the long runs, but we struggled on restarts, and we had a couple pit stops that hurt us. I got busted for speeding on pit road, so all of us contributed to that finish. But still, at the end of the day, with all of that, we finished seventh. We need to step it up, and we are still in striking distance in the points battle."