* Harvick's attempt at dual-title history can be solidified at Richmond * Series regulars surge in season's latter stages Harvick Can Begin History Quest At Richmond DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 5) -- It's fitting this weekend at ...
* Harvick's attempt at dual-title history can be solidified at Richmond
* Series regulars surge in season's latter stages
Harvick Can Begin History Quest At Richmond
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 5) -- It's fitting this weekend at Richmond International Raceway that NASCAR Busch Series points leader Kevin Harvick is sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard since he's set to embark on a journey that could have historical implications.
Not only can Harvick (No. 21 U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Chevrolet) become only the second driver to capture three-consecutive wins at Richmond (Harry Gant did so in 1991-92), he could also join four others as drivers who swept series races at the .75-mile track in the same season.
Those accomplishments would be gaudy enough for the 32-year-old native of Bakersfield, Calif., but also in the realm of possibility is a first-time NASCAR feat -- becoming the first driver to register a NASCAR Busch Series title and a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship in the same season.
Harvick is third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings and needs to finish 40th or better in Saturday's final race in the "Race to the Chase" to solidify a spot in the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup" and a shot at the 2006 premier series title.
Ironically, Harvick is the driver who's come closest to that amazing achievement, capturing the NASCAR Busch Series championship in 2001 and finishing By the end of the weekend at Richmond, Kevin Harvick could begin a journey that ends with him becoming the first driver to win titles in the NASCAR Busch Series and in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup-in the same season. ninth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup final point standings.
"I think if we were racing for both championships right now we'd be in good shape, but momentum can swing and you just have to try to keep momentum on your side," Harvick said. "If we can keep momentum on our side, I think the performance is there.
"Right now we're just going race-to-race, just really trying to focus on what we're doing. When we get a little closer, we'll start thinking about that [both titles] and everything that surrounds it."
Series Regulars Showing Mettle As Season Winds Down
Kevin Harvick's shot at NASCAR history notwithstanding, NASCAR Busch Series regulars are also pushing toward their own late-season surges.
Paul Menard (No. 11 Menards Chevrolet) was a splash of gas away from his second win of the season last week at California Speedway, settling for a fourth-place finish. Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) was fifth, tying the Chesapeake, Va., native's best result of the year. Stuart, Va., native Jon Wood (No. 47 Armor All Ford) was eighth, his best finish in his last 11 races and Jay Sauter (No. 01 Western Union Chevrolet) quietly produced his third top-10 finish in the last seven events.
Jason Leffler (No. 38 Great Clips Chevrolet) broke into the top 10 in the points standings following California. Although he's tied with Kenny Wallace (No. 22 AutoZone Ford) with 2,815 points, Leffler is listed 10th due to his two top-five finishes this year.
John Andretti (No. 10 ppc Racing Ford) is just 35 points out of 10th placed and is also engaged in a spirited battle with Burney Lamar (No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet) for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. Andretti leads Lamar by just four points with eight races to go.