News - Harvick, No. 29 Team Cap Martinsville Victory With Two Contingency Awards
Gil Martin Captures Second-Consecutive ‘MOOG Problem Solver Of The Race’ Award
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Apr. 5, 2011) – Despite a loose-handling, damaged race car, Harvick and the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team fought back to capture another thrilling come-from-behind victory in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 62nd annual Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, scoring back-to-back wins and two post-race contingency awards.
Gil Martin won his second MOOG Problem Solver of the Race Award of the season, which recognizes the crew chief whose car delivers the largest improvement in average lap speed during the second half of each NASCAR Sprint Cup event while finishing on the lead lap. Harvick and the MOOG chassis parts-equipped No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet posted a race-high .083 second improvement during the final laps of the race.
Harvick, who started ninth, fell back early fighting a loose car. After sustaining chassis damage in a wreck on Lap 231, crew chief Gil Martin and crew went to work and made major adjustments and repairs to improve the car's handling. Martin, who made a key call for a two-tire stop on Lap 372 to gain track position, kept Harvick in contention. Harvick’s ability to close in the last laps of the race continues to be among the best in the sport. In the last 10% of the race, he has gained 22 positions this season, second only to Juan Pablo Montoya with 31 positions gained.
“I think we waited for the right time to get our two tires,” said Martin. “I have to give everybody a ton of credit for just going through our engineers going through the simulation and the tire plotters.”
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.
“I've been coming here with RCR for ten years and up until last year, we were hit and miss with all three teams,” said Martin. “To come here and win two in a row, it's a special feeling for me.”
In a race that saw 31 lead changes, a new track record, Harvick was able to charge past Dale Earnhardt Jr. with just four laps remaining to capture the checkered flag with a 0.727-second margin of victory. In addition to the Grandfather Clock trophy, Harvick also won his fourth Mobil 1 Driver of the Race Award of the season. It was Harvick’s 16th victory in 364 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, his second overall victory and fourth top-10 finish in 2011.
To come here and win two in a row, it's a special feeling for me.
“I think it just shows what we are made of again today,” said Harvick post-race. “We started the race and our car was really, really loose. We came in and made a lot of adjustments and we kept working on it. It's just a huge credit to the organization and the team.”
With the Martinsville win, Harvick gained four positions in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings. He currently sits fifth in the standings with 204 points, just 15 points behind new points leader Kyle Busch heading to Texas Motor Speedway for the April 9th Samsung Mobile 500(7:30 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: Clint Bowyer
· COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD: Jamie McMurray (96.509 mph., 19,621 secs.)
· DIRECTV CREW CHIEF OF THE RACE AWARD: Kevin “Bono” Manion (crew chief for Jamie McMurray)
· GOODYEAR GATORBACK BELTS FASTEST LAP AWARD: Jimmie Johnson (94.0125 mph, Lap 187)
· MAHLE CLEVITE ENGINE BUILDER OF THE RACE AWARD: Mark Cronquist, No. 18,JGR
· 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, 0.083 secs.)
· O’REILLY AUTO PARTS POSITION IMPROVEMENT AWARD: Juan Pablo Montoya (23 places)