Kevin Harvick, No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet, Race Recap CVS 200, New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, NH Saturday, May 12, 2001 Bud Pole Winner Harvick Builds Points Lead With Second Place Finish At Loudon Kevin Harvick had a dominant ...
Kevin Harvick, No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet, Race Recap
CVS 200, New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, NH
Saturday, May 12, 2001
Bud Pole Winner Harvick Builds Points Lead With Second Place Finish At Loudon
Kevin Harvick had a dominant weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway. During the first practice on Friday, Harvick was running in the top five and was confident going into qualifying. He didn't know, however, how strong the car would be until he dove into turn one in qualifying and found that the car stuck to the track even better than it did in practice. He was able to get on the throttle earlier than before and as a result posted a lap of 29.138 seconds at over 130 mph to win the Bud Pole Award. It was Harvick's third Bud Pole of the season (Bristol, Texas) and he and Matt Kenseth lead the series.
As the race got under way, it quickly became apparent that the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet was the car to beat. In the early going, Harvick ran a comfortable distance ahead of Ryan Newman, Jeff Green and others. Green gave up his top five running position during one of the early cautions to pit for fuel, therefore giving himself a chance to run the entire race on just one more fuel stop. He was hoping the gamble would pay off late in the race.
Meanwhile, Harvick maintained the point position. He pitted for the first time under green on lap 90 for four tires and fuel. The team got him back out running the best lap times on the track. It took Harvick just 20 laps to reclaim the lead on lap 110 and, from that point, he built the margin between his No. 2 car and the second place machine.
Harvick maintained an almost three-second lead on the second place car of Jason Keller all the way up until the caution on lap 172. The team decided to come to the pits for four seconds of fuel and two right side tires in order to preserve track position. Harvick restarted the race on lap 180 in the top position but the caution flag flew once again just one lap later. The race was restarted for the final time on lap 184 when the lapped car of Greg Biffle ran hard against Harvick as he tried to keep second place Keller, who had taken four tires, at bay. Harvick and Biffle battled in turns one and two and Keller got a run on Harvick as he contended with the rookie. Keller slipped by Harvick and built a comfortable cushion as Harvick continued to fight Biffle.
Keller claimed the victory as Harvick finished second. Harvick built his points lead over Green to 56 points.
"We had our hands full with Biffle and that made it hard for us to keep Keller behind us," Harvick said. "I wish we could've just had to concentrate on running to keep ahead of Keller. His car was a little better than mine because of the four tires but I think I could've protected the spot if I didn't have to worry about the lapped car. It was a great weekend for the ACDelco team. We just didn't get the result we wanted. The best car doesn't always win. But we're happy to build on the points lead."