Charlotte Motor Speedway
Dramatic Win Earns Four Contingency Awards For Harvick, No. 29 Team
Gil Martin Captures His Third MOOG Chassis Parts Problem Solver Of Race Award
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 31, 2011) – Strategic calls atop the pit box and fuel conservation in Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway earned Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress Racing a thrilling victory and four post-race contingency awards.
Saving enough fuel to overtake an out-of-gas Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the final green-white-checkered lap, Harvick scored his 17th career victory and became the first driver to score three victories in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Crew chief Gil Martin, who made aggressive calls to keep Harvick in contention for the win, earned a season-best third MOOG Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Race Award which goes to the crew chief that improves the most from the first half of the race to the second half of the race utilizing the 40 best lap times.
“We knew with 100 laps to go, we had our mindset that we needed to get to Lap 348 to be able to make it in one last stop,” explained Martin post-race. “When that caution came out on 343 or whatever it was, we knew it was going to be extremely close, and our two engineers started crunching numbers as hard as they could go. Any way we could crunch them, we were a lap and a half short. We told Kevin that and he did a great job saving fuel and maintaining speed at the same time, and that's two things that are hard to do.”
With the win, Harvick picked up the Mobil 1 Oil Driver of the Race Award as well as the O’Reilly Auto Parts Position Improvement Award presented to the eligible driver that improves the most positions from their starting position to their finishing position in each event. Harvick started in the 28th position.
The awards are part of the NASCAR Prize Money and Decal Program, also referred to as the contingency program, which provides teams prize money and weekly awards based on performance in several categories.
“I think tonight we took it to another level as far as the aggressiveness of staying on the racetrack and putting two tires on and just doing things that aren't normal for us that were a little bit outside the box,” said Harvick post-race. “But it seems like over the past couple weeks you've got to be more aggressive and you've got to take more chances if you're going to win.”
Powerful horsepower under-the-hood of the No. 29 Chevrolet earned Earnhardt Childress Racing Technologies their first MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Race Award of the season based on points awarded for qualifying and finishing position. Bonus points are awarded to the team that leads the most laps in the event.
“Gil made some great calls tonight, and we're proud to be here with these guys,” said team owner Richard Childress, after scoring the organization’s 97th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. “This whole race was probably as competitive of a 600 that I've witnessed. All night long the field kept changing at the front, but to see our cars working together, that's what an owner loves to see.”
With the win, Harvick climbed to second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings, 36 points back of leader Carl Edwards heading into Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway (1 p.m. EST, FOX).
Official winners of this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Prize Money & Decal Program special awards include:
· AMERICAN ETHANOL GREEN FLAG RESTART: Matt Kenseth
· COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD: Brad Keselowski (192.089 mph. 28.112 secs.)
· DIRECTV CREW CHIEF OF THE RACE AWARD: Mike Shiplett (crew chief for AJ Allmendinger)
· GOODYEAR GATORBACK BELTS FASTEST LAP AWARD: Jeff Gordon (186.355 mph, Lap 312)
· MAHLE CLEVITE ENGINE BUILDER OF THE RACE AWARD: Earnhardt Childress Racing Technologies, No. 29
· MOBIL 1 OIL DRIVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Kevin Harvick
· MOOG CHASSIS PARTS PROBLEM SOLVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Gil Martin (crew chief for Kevin Harvick, 0.442 secs.)
· O’REILLY AUTO PARTS POSITION IMPROVEMENT AWARD: Kevin Harvick (27 places)