AVONDALE, Ariz. (February 27, 2011) — Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) co-owner Kevin Harvick jumped behind the wheel of the No. 33 Menards Chevrolet Impala for the first time this season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Phoenix International Raceway. Harvick, the 2006 spring winner at the 1.0-mile track, rolled off pit road in the ninth position for the 200-lap event.
With the drop of the green flag, the driver immediately got to work taking his Menards Chevrolet up one position on the opening lap. With only 15 laps complete, the two-time Nationwide Series champion had climbed up to the fourth position.
Harvick relayed to his KHI team that his Chevrolet was loose all the way through the turns. Crew chief David Hyder quickly worked up a plan for adjustments to help alleviate the handling issue Harvick had reported. The opportunity came for the No. 33 Menards car to come down pit road with the first caution period of the day at lap 54. Harvick made the stop for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and a quick cleaning of the grille to make sure it was clear of debris.
Harvick took the lap 59 restart from the third position and fought through the middle stages of the event to gain momentum on the two cars in front of him. At lap 106, the yellow flag waved again for an accident on the front stretch. Running in the fourth position at the time, Harvick and the Menards team took advantage of the caution period and brought the No. 33 Chevrolet down pit road for wedge and trackbar adjustments as well as four fresh tires and fuel. The team delivered a solid stop, gaining one position for the lap 112 restart.
The No. 33 Menards Chevrolet maintained the third position as the laps wound down in the event. The yellow flag flew for the third and final time at lap 164 providing the KHI crew another opportunity to make a few adjustments to the No. 33 car. Hyder opted for a slight air-pressure adjustment in addition to four tires and splash of fuel for the final stop. When the field returned to green-flag racing at lap 170, Harvick was back in the third position.
The closing laps of the event clicked off quickly and as the last lap came, Harvick raced across the start/finish line for a third-place finish. Harvick’s solid finish pushes the No. 33 to only one point out of first in the Nationwide Series Owner’s Point standings.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series takes the racing action to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Sam’s Town 300 on Saturday, March 5. Kevin Harvick and the No. 33 KHI team return to Las Vegas as the defending race winner. Tune in to ABC at 3:00 p.m. EST and at 2:30 p.m. EST on MRN.