Kevin Harvick, No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet Subway 300, Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, AL Saturday, April 21, 2001 Some people say that champions are made through the way they deal with adversity. If there is any truth to this statement, based...
Kevin Harvick, No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet
Subway 300, Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, AL
Saturday, April 21, 2001
Some people say that champions are made through the way they deal with adversity. If there is any truth to this statement, based on what happened Saturday afternoon in Talladega then the ACDelco team with driver Kevin Harvick is going to be in the championship hunt all season long.
After qualifying in impressive fashion, fourth, in a field of 43 cars, Harvick was looking forward to Saturday's race as he took one of the field's best cars and years of RCR restrictor experience and success into battle.
As the race got underway, Harvick slipped back to seventh on lap eight but then climbed his way to third just nine laps later. Harvick noticed, however, that the motor way running fairly hot as tape on the grill and cars running directly in front of the ACDelco machine limited the amount of air that was getting into the radiator to help cool the car. Harvick, therefore, decided to poke his nose out of the draft on several occasions to get the motor the badly needed air it needed to keep from overheating.
Not long after Harvick got the temperatures under control, he got caught on the outside of the lead draft and was shuffled back to 15th position by lap 21 after helping teammate Mike Skinner get to the top three.
There was no reason to panic, however. Harvick knew there was a lot of race left and as strong as his car was, he knew he would have a chance to win with patience and perseverance.
Unfortunately, Harvick wouldn't get another shot at running for the front. On lap 23, several of the cars running directly in front of Harvick's No. 2 car checked up and so did he. Unfortunately for Harvick however, Jay Sauter, who was running directly behind him, wasn't as quick on the brakes. He made contact with Harvick's car and sent him spinning rear end first into the turn four wall.
Harvick limped to the pits under caution and crew chief Todd Berrier quickly indicated that the car would have to be pulled to the garage for repairs. For the next 50 laps, the ACDelco team joined by the crew chief Kevin Hamlin of RCR's Goodwrench Winston Cup team and several members of the No. 29 team worked quickly and efficiently to fix the badly damaged rear end of the car.
The ACDelco and Goodwrench crews combined forces and were able to straighten the frame by lifting the rear of car some eight inches using a hydraulic apparatus and welding torches. Harvick returned to the track, miraculously, on lap 72, 48 laps down in 41st place. The hard work paid off as Harvick was able to gain one position and finish 40th which is especially critical given the competitiveness of the points race this year.
"I was trying to get the car cooled down," Harvick said, "by pulling out of line for a little while. We got shuffled back in the pack, but I wasn't concerned at all because the ACDelco car was really strong and I have all the confidence in the world in these guys to give me good pit stops. I'm not sure what happened with the wreck, but I noticed the cars checking up in front of me. Matt Kenseth saw it. I saw it and waved my arm, but I guess the guy behind me didn't because he hit me and turned me around. It's going to hurt us in the points, but both of our teams came together and worked hard to get us back out on the track. It says a lot about both of these teams. They're the best in the business and that sort of teamwork is going to continue to pay off."
Mike McLaughlin won the race. Greg Biffle assumed the points lead with a ninth place finish and leads Harvick, who's in second, by just three points. Jason Keller is in third, 49 points back, and Jeff Green is fourth, 54 points behind. Harvick, the Bakersfield, Calif. native, heads to his home state this weekend for the Busch race at California Speedway in Fontana on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PDT.