LONG POND, Pa. (August 8, 2011) — Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) co-owner Kevin Harvick climbed behind the wheel of the No. 2 Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Chevrolet Silverado for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway, which due to rain began on Saturday afternoon and concluded Sunday morning. Harvick, making his first start in the Truck Series at the track, started the Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service 125 from the pole position after setting a new track record in qualifying. The driver led the most laps before going on to win the event, his first victory at the 2.5-mile tri-oval. The win is KHI’s 36th victory in the series and ties the organization with Ultra Motorsports for the second-most wins. The weekend sweep is also KHI’s second Truck Series victory at the Pennsylvania track. During the inaugural event last season, KHI NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Elliott Sadler won the race from the pole position.
Harvick led the field to green and paced his fellow competitors around the track until the first caution of the day fell on lap four for debris. Harvick remained in the first position as green-flag racing resumed on lap five. Not long after the field returned to green with the No. 2 KHI machine steadily holding the lead, the second caution of the race came on lap seven for a three-truck accident on the frontstretch.
Being early in the 50-lap event, Harvick and the team opted not to pit and took the field back to green-flag racing on lap eight. Harvick continued to lead the field around the “Tricky Triangle” as rain began to fall on the track, causing NASCAR to wave the yellow flag for a third time on lap 15. The driver informed his crew that the No. 2 Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Chevrolet was loose in turn one but very fast. Crew chief Bruce Cook called his driver down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. Several drivers elected to remain on track during the caution, which placed Harvick in the 10th position for the restart.
As the No. 2 machine rejoined the field on track, NASCAR officials waved the red flag on lap 17 as heavier rain showers moved into the area. After a lengthy delay in hopes the weather would clear, officials made the decision to postpone the Truck Series event with the racing action scheduled to resume the following morning.
The trucks returned to the track to complete the 50-lap race Sunday morning, resuming the race on lap 18 under caution. Under the caution laps, select trucks elected to come down pit road allowing Harvick to restart the race in the sixth position as the team had already made its scheduled stop the day before. As the field was preparing to come to the green flag, Cook reminded his driver that they were half a lap short on fuel and encouraged him to conserve where ever possible. By the mid-point of the race, Harvick worked his way back into the lead. Once out front, the veteran driver began backing down his pace in order to conserve fuel.
The fourth caution of the race fell on lap 32 for debris on the track. Harvick continued out front as the field went back to green-flag racing on lap 34, but the fifth caution quickly followed on lap 37 for a three-truck accident in turn three. The driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet continued to conserve fuel, which became easier while running caution laps. Harvick maintained his lead as the green flag was displayed on lap 39.
As Harvick remained out front, the sixth caution fell on lap 43 for a stalled truck on the track. Five laps remained when the field returned to green-flag racing. Cook again reminded his driver to continue to conserve fuel to ensure they had enough should the race come down to a green-white-checkered finish.
Harvick maintained his position out front when the final caution of the race fell with two laps remaining for a spinning truck on the frontstretch. When NASCAR officials called for a green-white-checkered finish, Cook reassured his driver that he should be good until the end after doing a great job of conserving fuel during the second portion of the race. As the green flag waved for the final time of the day, Harvick maintained a solid pace and sailed across the finish line with the win. Harvick’s victory, his 10th in 110 starts in the Truck Series, earned the veteran driver his first-career win at the Pennsylvania facility.
The Truck Series will head to Michigan International Speedway Saturday, August 20 for the VFW 200 with Harvick back in the driver’s seat of the No. 2 TapouT Chevrolet Silverado. Catch the action live on SPEED at 12:30 p.m. ET and MRN at 12:15 p.m. ET.
Thoughts from the Driver:
“What a great job by the No. 2 team and all the guys at KHI. I’m very proud to have the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Chevrolet in victory lane today. It’s always great to get a victory, but when you can do it in your sponsor’s back yard… well, it just doesn’t get any better than that. It’s also a great feeling to win at a track where you never have before. We’ve got a great program here with the No. 2 team and I’m really looking forward to working with them again and getting back in the truck at Michigan.”