Weekend number three of double duty for Kevin Harvick went very well on the Busch Series side of things as the series points leader qualified sixth on Saturday before heading to Daytona Beach for the Pepsi 400. After an impressive performance in...
Weekend number three of double duty for Kevin Harvick went very well on the Busch Series side of things as the series points leader qualified sixth on Saturday before heading to Daytona Beach for the Pepsi 400. After an impressive performance in Florida, which unfortunately ended with disappointment for Harvick, as Kurt Busch's car made contact with the No. 29 on pit road and relegated Harvick to a 25th place finish.
Harvick returned late Saturday night by plane to the Glen and pulled into the racetrack at 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning. After a few hours sleep Harvick was up and ready for action on Sunday.
As the race got underway, Harvick took some time to get into rhythm for road course racing as he noticed the car was a little tight in the corners. He ran in the sixth position for the first nine laps of the race before the first caution flag flew. Crew chief Todd Berrier had decided on a strategy which called for an early pit stop for fuel which would allow them to preserve track position late in the race by only having to stop once more for tires and once again for a splash of fuel.
Harvick returned to action running in 33rd position as many of the people on pit road wondered why they had decided to pit so early. Harvick climbed to 25th by lap 23, 22nd two laps later. He got to the top-20 by lap 34 and checked in 17th when the caution flag flew on lap 37.
Berrier called Harvick to the pits on lap 39 for four tires and fuel and he returned to the action in 21st. Harvick came in for a "splash and go" on lap 45 and returned to the track for the final time in the 82-lap event. Harvick began turning some of the best lap times of the day and climbed to 13th by lap 51. Many competitors pitted under caution on lap 50 for their final stops while Harvick remained on the track and jumped to fifth position. The strategy was beginning to play itself out.
Harvick grabbed the fourth position by lap 55 and passed two other cars for second including the No. 17 driven by road racing ace Boris Said on lap 60. The most exciting moment of the day came when Harvick passed the leader at the time, Ron Fellows, for the lead going into turn one on the final restart. Fellows, unfortunately, grabbed the lead right back by out-braking Harvick on the track's inner-loop. Harvick surrendered the second position to Greg Biffle on lap 71, but held strong in third for the remainder of the race. The third place finish is his second in a row at the Glen on the Busch Series. He finished ahead of all of the road course specialists such as Said, Robby Gordon, Scott Pruett, and Tom Hubert. Only Biffle, of the Busch Series regulars, finished ahead of the points leader.
"What can you say about Ron Fellows," Harvick said. "He's almost untouchable here. He had a great run. Greg Biffle did a nice job too. He's really strong on road courses and we finished third and lost only 10 points in the championship race. So we're happy. It's been a long tiring weekend, but I'm proud of what these ACDelco guys have accomplished."
"I had a little trouble getting into rhythm at the beginning of the race coming from a superspeedway Saturday night. Road racing and restrictor plate racing couldn't be more different and I found myself struggling a little early to get in sync. But later on I settled in. We stuck to our game plan of pitting early and that really helped us get to the top five. I think today was about as good as a victory for us."
Harvick remains in the top position in points, 102 points ahead of Biffle with 15 races to go. Harvick leads the Busch Series in top-five and top 10 finishes with 11 and 15, respectively. He also leads in Bud Poles with four.