Harvick's Bid for Win Cut Short, Survives Wild Incident to Finish 21st at Talladega TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet team had an impressive run going during Sunday's 500-mile race at...
Harvick's Bid for Win Cut Short, Survives Wild Incident to Finish 21st at Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet team had an impressive run going during Sunday's 500-mile race at Talladega Superspeedway. However, despite how well your car runs, it's tough to overcome the damage inflicted when a fellow competitor's airborne car lands on your hood.
Such was the case for Harvick and Co. in the closing laps of the final restrictor-plate race for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
After posting the 23rd and 25th-fastest times, respectively, during Friday's twin practice sessions, the team looked toward Saturday morning's qualifying session for a good starting position on the 2.66-mile track. However, it appeared Mother Nature wanted to hang out for some Halloween fun as steady rains cancelled qualifying. This placed Harvick 21st for the start of Sunday's race, based on Owner's Points.
Teams were greeted with sunny skies when they returned on Sunday morning. When the green flag flew, the Bakersfield, Calif., native didn't waste any time in showing what the No. 29 Chevrolet Impala SS was capable of doing. By lap five, Harvick was fifth on the scoring pylon when the day's first caution flag waved.
Harvick was content with how the Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet was running, so crew chief Gil Martin decided there was no need to hit pit road. When the race restarted two laps later, Harvick remained in fifth.
By lap 15, he and Richard Childress Racing teammate Casey Mears, who started 19th, lined up nose-to-tail with Harvick pushing Mears to the lead by lap 22. From there, the two remained locked together in first and second until pitting on lap 41 under green-flag conditions.
This stop called for four tires and fuel with no adjustments. As is typical Talladega racing, Harvick moved up and down the scoring pylon as drivers debated which groove to run and, in turn, it affected how the running positions fluctuated.
For the next caution pit stop on lap 52, it was once again tires, fuel and no adjustments to the No. 29 Chevrolet. For the lap-55 restart, Harvick was 18th when the green flag flew. In just nine laps, Harvick took the lead as he and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. linked their Chevrolets together in the draft to occupy the top-two positions.
Harvick led from lap 63 to 90 and was running third by the race's halfway point. Through three more pit stops, Martin called for just fuel and four new Goodyear Eagles for their car.
Running in, or near, the top 10 until lap 158, Harvick led two more times to achieve the second-most amount of laps led at 28. At this point, the field of competitor's started to race with more sense of purpose toward the lap-188 checkered flag. While Harvick was running 19th on lap 184, Ryan Newman's Chevrolet was hit from behind and sent spinning to the inside.
Unfortunately, Harvick was running the low side and suffered right-side contact from Newman's car as it came down across the right-front nose of the red and yellow Chevrolet. Newman's car veered right and then flipped up in the air end-over-end with the back end and wing landing upside down on top of the No. 29 Chevrolet's hood and windshield. Newman's car then went into a violent spin, crashing some more before rolling over and landing on its roof in the infield grass. NASCAR and track safety officials tended to Newman's car and extricated him from the metal mayhem with no injuries.
Harvick was able to limp his Chevrolet to pit road where Martin called the shots to repair the heavily damaged right-front fender, hood and a large dent in front of the right rear tire. After making three stops for multiple repairs, once the red flag was lifted, the race resumed with a green/white/checkered finish and Harvick hung on for 21st place.
This keeps him 21st in driver's points where he now trails his RCR teammate of Mears, in 20th, by 91 markers.
Jamie McMurray won his third-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, with Kasey Kahne, Joey Logano, Greg Biffle and RCR driver Jeff Burton rounding out the top-five finishers.
In addition to Burton's fifth and Harvick's 21st place finishes, the two other RCR drivers of Clint Bowyer and Mears finished 12th and 25th, respectively.
Next weekend, the NSCS heads back to Texas Motor Speedway to race on Sunday afternoon.
"We had a really good Chevrolet today and the Shell-Pennzoil guys did a good job on pit road. We led a bunch of laps and its fun to race like that when you have a fast car. We just got too far out in front there and then got shuffled back towards the end. We were trying to working our way back up to the front and all it took was one car to spin and end our bid for a good finish. That's been pretty typical of the year we've had in regards to luck."
Regarding the wreck when Ryan Newman's car flipped and landed on the front of the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet: "I saw Ryan get hit from behind and then he came across the nose of our car. Then, he flipped in the air and the back end landed on my hood and windshield as it was upside down. I'm just glad he's okay. It was pretty calm out there until that point."