BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 21, 2011)—Kevin Harvick and the No. 2 TapouT Racing team came to Michigan with one goal: to bring home the trophy. The team, coming off its second win of the season, started the VFW 200 from the sixth position.
Almost immediately after the green flag waved, Kevin Harvick relayed to crew chief Bruce Cook that the truck was “really, really loose.” Despite the handling issues, Harvick managed to maneuver through the field and into the second position in the opening laps of the race.
However as the caution waved on lap nine for debris, the No. 2 TapouT Chevrolet had fallen back to seventh as the driver continued to manage the truck’s loose condition. Opting to address the handling issue early, Cook instructed Harvick to bring the No. 2 down pit road. The team made a chassis adjustment, added fuel, but took no tires and returned to the track in the 14th position.
As green-flag racing resumed on lap 11, Harvick made a daring three-wide move from the 14th position and gained 10 spots by the time the field crossed the start-finish line to complete lap 12. Another quick caution waved on lap 14 for a spin by the 22 truck. The race restarted on lap 16 and Harvick remained in the top five for nearly 25 laps before scheduled green-flag pit stops began to cycle through the field.
As Harvick brought the No. 2 TapouT machine down pit road on lap 41 for service, Cook had planned several adjustments as he continued to search for a resolution for the Chevrolet’s loose condition. The team planned to add a rubber to the left rear, but as the crewman responsible for the change had difficulty, Cook called off the adjustment. Unfortunately for Harvick, the miscue cost him valuable time on the track. As he rejoined the field, he was scored in the 20th position, the last truck on the lead lap.
Green-flag racing continued for the next 35 laps, putting the field in position for another round of scheduled green-flag pit stops. As Cook called the No. 2 down pit road on lap 76, the yellow was displayed for debris. Harvick opted not to follow through with the pit stop, and rejoined the field keeping the TapouT Chevrolet on the lead lap. When the pits were open, Harvick came down pit road for four tires and fuel.
With 16 laps to go, Harvick restarted from the ninth position with his sights set on the leaders. Four laps later, the No. 2 was scored in the third position as another caution was displayed on lap 87 for a spin by the No. 13.
The field took the green on lap 89 with the No. 2 TapouT Chevrolet in third. Harvick quickly made his move to the lead as the second and third-place trucks made contact causing a multi-truck incident on lap 91. Clean-up efforts took nearly four laps to complete, which set up a five-lap dash to the end. Before the field could complete one lap, the caution was displayed for the 22 who cut a tire scattering debris on the track.
Harvick still in command of the field protected his position for the final green-white-checkered restart to win his second consecutive Truck Series race of the season and his 11th in the series. Harvick also became the first driver to win at Michigan International Speedway in all three of NASCAR’s national series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck). The Bakersfield, Calif. native has also accomplished this feat at three other tracks: Martinsville Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. The win moved the No. 2 team into a tie for first place in the Truck Series Owner’s Point standings with 10 races left in the 2011 season.
Harvick will return to the driver’s seat of the No. 2 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet Silverado as the Truck Series makes their way to Bristol Motor Speedway for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 200 this Wednesday, August 24. Catch the action live on SPEED at 8:00 p.m. ET and MRN at 7:45 p.m. ET.
Thoughts from the Driver:
“Today was ugly (for the 2 team). We had a little bit of trouble on pit road and we were way too loose to start the race, but the TapouT Chevy guys did a great job. I’ve got to thank everybody from TapouT, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Rheem, Champion and everybody else that helps on this Chevrolet team. It’s a lot of fun to win at Michigan. You can’t get away from anybody and you wind up racing side-by-side all the time, but man these things are fun to race. I didn’t think we had the truck to do it today, but we had good tire strategy and we got a little lucky.”