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Efforts By Crew Chief Gil Martin Has Harvick Off To Strong Start In 2010; No. 29 Team's Performances in Daytona, California Secure Back-to-Back "DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Race" Awards for Martin CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 23, 2010) -- Kevin Harvick...

Efforts By Crew Chief Gil Martin Has Harvick Off To Strong Start In 2010; No. 29 Team's Performances in Daytona, California Secure Back-to-Back "DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Race" Awards for Martin

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 23, 2010) -- Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 team are off to an impressive start to the 2010 season, in part to the leadership of veteran crew chief Gil Martin. Coming off consecutive top-ten performances at both Daytona International Speedway and Auto Club Speedway, Martin has guided the No. 29 team to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings two races into the season.

Harvick's 5th place qualifying start and 7th place season-opening finish at the Daytona 500, as well as his 6th place qualifying effort and runner-up finish at the Auto Club 500 this week, helped crew chief Gil Martin secure back-to-back "DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Race" awards.

Established in 2006, the "DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Race" is awarded to the crew chief of the driver who has demonstrated the best qualifying and race effort as determined by the average of qualifying results and race finish. It provides the opportunity to recognize the critical importance of crew chiefs and their endless pursuit of new ways to put their teams in the best position to win each week.

The award is part of the NASCAR Prize Money and Decal Program, also referred to as the contingency program, which provide teams prize money and weekly awards based on performance in several categories.

"To start the year off good is always a good thing," said Kevin Harvick during his Sunday post race interview at Auto Club Speedway. "Just a great day. We got a speeding penalty early, (but) the car was good enough to come back through the field. We put ourselves back in contention in the end."

Meanwhile, atop the pit box Martin currently leads the overall standings in the year-end "DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Year" Award. Martin, a native of Nashville, Tenn., is a nine-year RCR employee and has been calling the race-day shots for Harvick since 2009. DIRECTV, Inc. has been the official satellite television service provider of NASCAR since 2005.

Official winners of this week's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Prize Money & Decal Program special awards include:

COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD: Jamie McMurray (183.744 mph, 39.185 secs.)

DIRECTV CREW CHIEF OF THE RACE AWARD: Gil Martin (crew chief for Kevin Harvick)

GOODYEAR GATORBACK BELTS FASTEST LAP AWARD: Juan Pablo Montoya (181.164 mph, Lap 2)

MAHLE CLEVITE ENGINE BUILDER OF THE RACE AWARD: Jimmie Johnson

MOBIL 1 "COMMAND PERFORMANCE DRIVER OF THE RACE" AWARD:Kurt Busch

MOOG CHASSIS PARTS PROBLEM SOLVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Todd Berrier (crew chief for Jeff Burton)

O'REILLY AUTO PARTS POSITION IMPROVEMENT AWARD: Greg Biffle (25 places)

RAYBESTOS ROOKIE OF THE RACE AWARD: Kevin Conway

SUNOCO DIAMOND PERFORMANCE AWARD: Jimmie Johnson

TISSOT "PIT ROAD PRECISION" AWARD: Jeff Gordon (257.809 sec.)

WIX FILTERS LAP LEADER AWARD: Jeff Burton (46 laps)

-source: nascar

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya