Kevin Harvick Takes the Budweiser Chevrolet to Victory Lane at Martinsville

Post-Race Reports | NASCAR Cup Series | 04/04/11

No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet
Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway

Budweiser Racing Team Notes of Interest
• Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team scored back-to-back wins by capturing the victory in Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. For the second week in-a-row, Harvick saved the best for last yet again, and passed Dale Earnhardt Jr. with only four laps remaining in the event to pick up his 16th career win in Sprint Cup Series competition.
• Sunday’s victory is Harvick’s first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Martinsville Speedway and the first time he’s had back-to-back wins since the 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
• The win is also primary sponsor Budweiser’s first trip to Victory Lane since the road course race in Sonoma, Calif., in June of 2009.
• Harvick started Sunday’s race from ninth position, but fell back to 25th just 30 laps into the race as he told the team that the car’s handling was loose and just “terrible.” Crew chief Gil Martin called him to pit road at lap 54 for fresh tires and major adjustments to improve the car’s handling.
• While the changes helped, Harvick was only able to get up to 17th before the red flag waved for officials to make repairs to the track wall following a wreck at lap 220.
• The field took the green flag at lap 229 and Harvick restarted 16th. Just two laps later the caution flag waved again, but this time the No. 29 Budweiser sustained damage as the field checked up. Harvick brought the car to pit road for new right-side tires and repairs to the right-front fender.
• Harvick restarted in 25th position at lap 238. Two laps later he narrowly avoided yet another accident in Turns 1 and 2, and restarted in 21st position at lap 247.
• Harvick continued to battle the handling on the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet and was running in 23rd position when the leaders started hitting pit road at lap 315 for green-flag pit stops. Martin had Harvick stay out until he led at lap 335. The caution flag waved again on lap 351, leaving only 11 cars on the lead lap. Harvick and Martin decided to stay out and get waved around with the other lap-down cars, placing the No. 29 team back on the lead lap with 140 laps to go.
• After the field went back to green, Harvick worked his way up two spots to 16th and radioed to the team that the car was “pretty good.” When he brought the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet back to pit road at lap 372, Martin called for a two-tire stop to gain track position. Harvick restarted in 10th position at lap 376 and remained inside the top 10 for the rest of the race.
• By lap 400, Harvick had raced his way up to sixth and was closing in on the top five. He passed Denny Hamlin for fourth at lap 438 and got by Jeff Gordon for third at lap 455.
• The caution flag waved for the final time at lap 465, setting up teams for the final pit stop of the day. The No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team changed four tires and added fuel to the car and came off pit road in third position. The No. 48 car was called for speeding entering pit road, and had to serve a penalty, placing Harvick second on the final restart of the race at lap 471.
• Harvick got hung up in the outside groove and lost several positions before he could get back down to the bottom. However, once he got back in his rhythm, Harvick quickly started working his way back to the front.
• The No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet moved into second position at lap 487 and Harvick wasted no time in chasing down the No. 88 Chevrolet of Earnhardt Jr.
• Harvick made his move for the top spot at lap 496 and was able to clear the No. 88 to take over first position. He extended his lead in the closing laps and took the checkered flag with a 0.727-second margin of victory.
• Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Juan Pablo Montoya and Gordon completed the top-five finishers in Sunday’s race.
• The win on Sunday moved Harvick up four positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings to fifth place where he is a mere 15 points behind new point leader Kyle Busch. Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch are in positions two through four 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: “It was just a crazy day for us. We started the race and our car was really, really loose. We came in and made a lot of adjustments, made it a little bit better and we kept working on it and then we wrecked it. And after we wrecked it, it actually got going pretty good. But then we started changing huge swings at it. It’s just a huge credit to the organization and the team for keeping me sane. I was ready to slit my wrists and they kept me somewhat grounded I think, and then we were able to focus on working on our car and getting back to where we needed to be. It was just a great character building day for our team. I don’t know how many character building days we can have but we’ll keep enjoying them as long as we wind up this way.”

What kind of message does it send to the competition to have back-to-back wins so early in the season? “Well, I think it just shows what we are made of again today. We crashed and fell back to about the last car on the lead lap there on the first run and just everybody here on this RCR/Budweiser/Chevrolet team has done a great job and we just keep fighting. We had something left to race there at the end and heck it wound up going .I didn’t believe them when they told me how fast it was but when we got towards the front, man, they weren’t lying to me so it was pretty cool.”

The following is the finishing position of the other beverage-sponsored cars participating in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500:
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet team finished second.
• Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford team finished sixth.
• Brian Vickers and the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota team finished 17th.
• Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, finished 19th.
• Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Fast Five/SPEED Energy Dodge team finished 23rd.
• Dave Blaney, driver of the No. 36 All Sport Body Quencher Chevrolet, finished 30th.
• Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, finished 39th.

The following is the finishing position of the other Richard Childress Racing teams participating in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500:
• Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 BB&T Chevrolet team finished ninth.
• Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team finished 24th.
• Paul Menard, driver of the No. 27 Nibco/Menards Chevrolet, finished 38th. 

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams travel to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend for Saturday night’s Samsung Mobile 500. The No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team’s first practice session is at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday. SPEED will have live coverage of Thursday’s practice and Friday night’s qualifying session, which is scheduled to start at 6:40 p.m. ET. FOX will air the live race broadcast starting with the pre-race show at 7 p.m. and PRN and SIRIUS NASCAR Radio will provide the radio broadcast.

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