Kevin Harvick's first weekend of double duty started with a third place qualifying effort in the Winston on Friday night in Charlotte and a second place in qualifying at Nazareth on Saturday. Harvick missed capturing the pole by fractions of a ...
Kevin Harvick's first weekend of double duty started with a third place qualifying effort in the Winston on Friday night in Charlotte and a second place in qualifying at Nazareth on Saturday. Harvick missed capturing the pole by fractions of a second when Tony Raines barely bettered his time. He flew to Charlotte immediately afterwards for the Winston.
Harvick flew back to Nazareth on Sunday morning after a wild and eventful Winston. He put Saturday night's wreck and mechanical problems behind him and looked forward to running for the win in Nazareth.
As the race got underway, Harvick quickly established the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet as the car to beat. He grabbed the lead for the first time by passing Raines on lap eight and held it until he pitted on lap 96 under green for fuel and tires. He stretched his lead during the run over Jeff Green, Jason Keller and Greg Biffle. The ACDelco team made air pressure adjustments during the exceptionally quick pit stop to combat the tight condition that Harvick had begun to experience late in the run.
It didn't take Harvick long to regain the lead, however, as the rest of the field cycled through pit stops. Harvick grabbed the point position by lap 110 and held it five laps until the caution flew for debris. Everyone pitted, including Harvick, for tires and fuel except for Biffle and a few others. Harvick resumed racing in fourth, but quickly jumped up to second behind Biffle.
Biffle was gambling on fuel mileage in an attempt to run the rest of the way on fuel in the top position. A long caution flag situation helped him immensely from lap 122 until the restart on lap 134 when Kenny Wallace hit the front-stretch wall. That sealed the deal for Biffle in terms of mileage, allowing him to go the rest of the way without stopping. Harvick then turned to trying to run down Biffle even though his car had become tight in the corners again.
Harvick did his best in an effort to try to close the gap on Biffle, but the race remained green and he had the mileage cushion he needed to stay up front. Harvick held off a late race run by Green who ran up on Harvick's back bumper and made contact with the ACDelco Chevrolet. Fortunately, Harvick kept it on the bottom, and therefore, kept Green behind him. Biffle won the race and Harvick finished second for the second straight week. He again extended his points lead over Green to 71 points from 56 last week. Harvick did not lose any ground in the points to fourth place Biffle because Harvick earned the same amount of points, 180, by leading the most laps in the race.
"The ACDelco car was really strong today," Harvick said. "We got a little tight there at the end so we had the second best car. Things worked out for Biffle because of the long caution. It's really hard to pass at this racetrack. It's a single groove track and it was a lot of follow-the-leader out there. We had the best car early, but then we got tight. We adjusted on the car and the ACDelco guys gave us great stops that kept us out front because track position is so important here. It was a great weekend overall. We didn't lose any ground to Biffle and we increased our points lead. And that's what this season is all about for us."