Kevin Harvick Scores the Win at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California

Post-Race Reports | NASCAR Cup Series | 03/28/11

No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet
Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway

Budweiser Racing Team Notes of Interest
• Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet team scored a thrilling win by passing Jimmie Johnson on the final lap of the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California on Sunday afternoon.
• The Bakersfield, Calif., native started the race from 24th position and moved up to 16th before the team’s first pit stop at lap 32. Before the stop Harvick told the team that the car was tight when he got back in the throttle off the corners, so crew chief Gil Martin called for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment on the visit to pit road.
• Harvick cracked the top 10 at lap 55 just after radioing to the team that the car was a little loose at the start of the run, but that it was “getting better every lap.”
• While Harvick’s car was fast on long runs, the handling on the No. 29 Chevrolet took a few laps to come in after each restart, costing the team several spots after each of the four caution periods. However, after 10 or so laps Harvick was able to close back in and move back toward the front of the field.
• Harvick remained inside the top 10 during the second half of the race and moved into third position on lap 129.
• The team’s final pit stop of the day came at lap 169 and the caution flag waved on the following lap. Harvick lined up third for the restart and was running fifth when the caution flag waved again at lap 186.
• Harvick and Martin discussed whether or not the team should stay out or come in for right-side tires. Martin made the call to stay out as there would be less than 10 laps to go when the field took the green flag.
• The No. 29 Chevrolet restarted fifth and Harvick methodically picked off positions, moving up to fourth at lap 193, third at lap 196 and second at lap 198.
• Harvick raced his way past Johnson on the final lap and claimed his first win at Auto Club Speedway by a margin of 0.144 seconds. The victory was Harvick’s first since last August’s win at Michigan International Speedway, and it marked the first win at the 2-mile track for Richard Childress Racing.
• The win is also Harvick and the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team’s first with sponsorship from Budweiser. The team celebrated with a “Bud bath” in victory lane.
• Johnson, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman completed the top-five finishers in Sunday’s race.
• The win on Sunday moved Harvick up six positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings to ninth place. He is 30 points behind new point leader Carl Edwards. Newman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five in the driver point standings.
• Follow along each weekend with Harvick and the team on Twitter. Check out @KevinHarvick for behind-the-scenes information straight from the driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet. Get live updates from the track each weekend from @Black29Car, the PR team for Harvick. Also, follow @RCRracing and @RCR29KHarvick for additional information about the Richard Childress Racing organization.

Harvick on the win at Auto Club Speedway and the pass on the last lap of the race: “You know those guys (Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson) started racing and they got side-by-side and we were able to pull up in there. The more cycles that got on our tires, the better off we were. But I was really nervous about that last call staying out but it all worked out in our favor and we were able to make up ground. The guys on this Jimmy John’s Chevrolet did a great today. I just have to thank everybody from Budweiser, Rheem and Chevrolet for letting us put these cars on the track.”

You have said that you should have contended for the win in several of the first few races. Is this redemption? “Well, we have just had a lot of adversity that we have fought through. We knew our cars were fast enough to win races. We just haven’t had the circumstances go right. We had a fast car and the circumstance played in our favor.”

The following is the finish position of the other beverage-sponsored cars participating in the Auto Club 400:
• Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford team finished fourth.
• Brian Vickers and the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota team finished eighth.
• Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, finished ninth.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet team finished 12th. 
• Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, finished 26th.
• Robby Gordon and the No. 7 SPEED Energy/Food 4 Less Dodge team finished 34th.

The following is the finish position of the other Richard Childress Racing teams participating in the Auto Club 400:
• Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Ronald Regan Foundation’s Centennial Celebration Chevrolet finished seventh.
• Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team finished 15th.
• Paul Menard, driver of the No. 27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet, finished 16th.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Martinsville Speedway next weekend for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500. FOX will provide the live television broadcast of the race beginning with its pre-race show at 12:30 p.m. EDT. MRN Radio and SIRIUS NASCAR Radio will provide the live radio broadcast.

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