Harvick And Crew Chief Martin Claim Three Contingency Awards in California Print Page Email Page
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 29, 2011) – For Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, the winning move occurred on the final lap, but preparation and pit strategy helped propel the Richard Childress team to Victory Lane and claim three post-race contingency awards in the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
The No. 29 team claimed the Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Race, the Mobil 1 Oil Driver of the Race – its third of the season – and the O’Reilly Auto Parts Position Improvement Award for moving ahead 23 spots during the race.
Crew chief Gil Martin, who claimed the 2010 Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Year Award, captured his first race award of the season. Martin made the decision to stay out after a late caution instead of coming in for fresh tires. The award is presented to the team that spends the least amount of time on pit road during a race.
“One of the major things that made me feel reasonably confident about it was how Tony (Stewart) was able to perform when he stayed out, and everybody pitted earlier,” said Martin. “After about two laps, he posted some of the best laps of the race out there. Clean air and the tires being pumped up, I think there was just a lot of speed there.”
Harvick led just one lap on the day despite running strong during many of the green-flag laps that dominated the day at Auto Club Speedway. With a car that was strong on long runs, it was a late-race move on the last lap to overcome Jimmie Johnson that took the checkered flag at Auto Club Speedway.
“Yeah, we led the right one (lap), that's for sure,” said Harvick. “But our car was really fast all day on the long runs. The restarts weren't exactly what we needed to have. But as everybody started to stay out those last two times, at least the guys we were racing, our car was able to get some air pressure built up in the tires and we were able to really fire off there right off the bat up top.”
All 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.
With the win, Harvick moves to ninth place in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings heading to Martinsville Speedway on April 3 for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX).
Official winners of this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Prize Money & Decal Program special awards include:
· AMERICAN ETHANOL GREEN FLAG RESTART: Kurt Busch
· COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD: Juan Pablo Montoya (184.653 mph, 38.992 secs.)
· DIRECTV CREW CHIEF OF THE RACE: Dave Rogers (crew chief for Kyle Busch)
· GOODYEAR GATORBACK BELTS FASTEST LAP: Ryan Newman (180.737 mph, Lap 81)
· MAHLE CLEVITE ENGINE BUILDER OF THE RACE: No. 18, Mark Cronquist
· MOBIL 1 OIL DRIVER OF THE RACE: Kevin Harvick
· MOOG CHASSIS PARTS PROBLEM SOLVER OF THE RACE: Gil Martin (crew chief for Kevin Harvick, 0.202 secs.)
· O’REILLY AUTO PARTS POSITION IMPROVEMENT AWARD: Kevin Harvick (23 places)
· SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Andy Lally