Kevin Harvick left Bristol last weekend very disappointed. After possessing the fastest cars in both the Winston Cup and Busch races, Harvick had bad luck strike on two occasions and the best he had to show for it was a seventh place finish in...
Kevin Harvick left Bristol last weekend very disappointed. After possessing the fastest cars in both the Winston Cup and Busch races, Harvick had bad luck strike on two occasions and the best he had to show for it was a seventh place finish in the Busch race.
But that "never give up," attitude prevailed in the No. 2 ACDelco camp and Harvick, Todd Berrier and the rest of the team decided to go all out for the win at Texas. Harvick qualified seventh for Saturday's race as he turned the 1.5-mile superspeedway in 28.846 seconds at 187.201 mph.
Harvick quickly established the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet as one of the cars to beat. He seized the lead for the first time by passing Richard Childress Racing teammate Mike Skinner on lap 67. Harvick held the lead for a miraculous 51 laps while he built his lead and saved his tires at the same time.
The ACDelco team gave Harvick excellent pit stops all day, helping him maintain his position in the running order or improve it on every occasion. One such occasion, Harvick pulled into his stall in fourth position and just over 15 seconds later the team had him back on the track and running in second place.
Harvick grabbed the lead again on lap 131 and held it for another 23 laps before he had to surrender it to pit for the final time. Jimmy Johnson opted to take two tires on the final round of pit stops and therefore grabbed the lead, but held it for just seven laps until Harvick's tires came in. Harvick's car was much better on long runs and he stated on several occasions that the car was faster on worn tires as opposed to fresh tires or stickers.
The NASCAR Busch Series points leader grabbed the lead for the final time on lap 161 and was pursued over the closing laps by Jeff Burton. The team had a chance to pit for one final time for fresh tires under caution with only a handful of laps remaining and Harvick replied when asked if he wanted to pit, "No way. We're so much better when we get some laps on these tires, let's make a run for the finish."
And that's exactly what Harvick did. Jeff Burton tracked Harvick and got within one car length of him but wasn't able to make a run for the lead. Harvick won his first Busch race of the year by holding off Burton and the rest of the field over the final 40 laps.
"This place owed us one from last year, when we had the dominant car," said Harvick of his ninth-place finish a year ago where the team ran out of fuel while leading the race. "To have the dominant car again and win is just awesome. Jeff Burton is a great race car driver and he and Mark Martin have proved that they can dominate races both in the Cup Series and especially Busch. We had a great car today and we were able to hold him off. Todd and the guys made a good adjustment after the first round of stops that freed the car up just enough to enable me to drive it to the front and keep it there."
Harvick led a total of 114 laps for the race after not leading a lap on the Busch Series until last weekend at Bristol. Points rivals Jason Keller and Jeff Green had a tough race as they finished 24th and 32nd, respectively. Harvick extends his lead in the points to 115 over second place Keller. Green sits 174 points behind in fourth place. The series returns to action after one weekend off as they go to "Music City" and the Nashville Superspeedway for the inaugural event at the 1.5-mile track on April 14th.