Harvick Scores Top-Five Finish at Pocono Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil team scored their fifth top-five finish in their last six starts by finishing fourth in Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. The result capped off an ...
Harvick Scores Top-Five Finish at Pocono
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil team scored their fifth top-five finish in their last six starts by finishing fourth in Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. The result capped off an impressive weekend for Harvick, after Elliott Sadler won the inaugural truck race at Pocono in Harvick's No. 2 Chevrolet on Saturday afternoon, and then Harvick drove his own No. 33 Chevrolet to a second-place finish in Saturday night's Nationwide Series event at Iowa Speedway.
Harvick extended his lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, now leading second-place Jeff Gordon by 189 points. Additionally, Harvick is 550 points forward of the 13th- place competitor, with just five events remaining before the 2010 Chase field is set.
During the NSCS opening practice on Friday, the Gil Martin-led team prepared for Friday's qualifying session by posting the 11th-fastest lap among 45 competitors. The team followed that up by qualifying 14th for Sunday's 200-lap race around the 2.5-mile triangle-shaped facility.
Saturday's duel practice sessions gave the Shell-Pennzoil team plenty of time to fine-tune their Chevrolet, and the No. 29 team posted the third and seventh-fastest laps, respectively, in the sessions.
Overcast weather greeted the NASCAR teams and the 100,000 race fans at Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon. The 43 drivers took the green flag at approximately 2:05 p.m. local time, and the 13-time NSCS winner started the race from his 14th-place slot.
A competition caution to check tire wear on lap 15 slowed the action, and Harvick came to pit road in 11th. The car was a little tight on throttle, so Martin and the Shell-Pennzoil team changed all four tires with an air pressure adjustment and added fuel. They also took a spring rubber out of the left rear. Several teams took just two tires, and Harvick left the pits in 18th.
It just took three green-flag laps for Harvick to get back inside the top 15. He muscled his way to 11th when routine green-flag pit stops started at lap 48, and Harvick pitted for four tires with a small air pressure adjustment and added fuel. Once the pit stops had cycled through, Harvick was scored in the 11th position.
Those changes helped tremendously, and Harvick moved inside the top 10 on lap 69. His assault continued over the next 90 laps, and he ran as high as third when a caution flag slowed the action on lap 163. Martin and Harvick decided that taking four tires would be their best opportunity for the win. A wide variety of no tires, two tires and four tires were utilized by the 28 lead lap cars.
A brief rain shower slowed the action, but NASCAR dried the racing surface and the green flag was displayed with 20 laps remaining. Harvick stormed his way from 12th to fourth, but ran out of laps and crossed the finish line behind Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five, while Harvick's Richard Childress Racing teammates Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer finished eighth and 15th, respectively.
Next week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will make their annual trip to Watkins Glen International for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen on Sunday, August 8.
"It was a long day. I got into the wall on the first lap and we fought a little bit tight. But, all in all, our Shell-Pennzoil team did a great job. The 16 (Biffle) just got so far out there on that last restart. I thought we had a chance to win the race, but we just could not run him back down. It was a good race for us and we're looking forward to next week. It's been a great year. We keep knocking off top-five finishes, and that is what we have to keep doing once the Chase starts."