HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 20, 2011) — During the final race of the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) co-owner Kevin Harvick returned to the driver’s seat of the No. 2 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet for the Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. With qualifying being canceled due to rain, the field was set based on the NASCAR rule book, lining up the trucks by practice times. Harvick started the 134-lap race from the eighth position and went on to lead 16 laps before finishing third after rain showers brought the event to an early end.
Harvick wasted no time working his way toward the front of the 36-truck field moving into the second position by lap three. The driver was about to make his move to take over the lead when the first caution came out on lap five for oil on the track. Being early in the race, the No. 2 team opted to stay on track allowing Harvick to restart the race on lap eight from the second position.
As green-flag racing resumed, Harvick moved into the lead where he stayed until lap 20 when NASCAR waved the yellow flag for a competition caution. During the green-flag run, the Bakersfield, Calif., native informed his crew that the No. 2 Chevrolet was becoming too tight for his driving style. Under caution crew chief Bruce Cook called his driver to pit road for the crew to bolt on right-side tires and fill the truck with fuel. The quick visit to pit road positioned the No. 2 truck back in the lead for the lap 23 restart.
Back on track, the No. 2 machine fell into the third position by lap 31 when the third caution of the night fell for a two-truck accident in turn four. Visiting pit road only a few laps prior to the caution, Harvick remained on track restarting the race third on lap 34.
During the restart the No. 31 truck made contact with Harvick as the field raced into turn one. The Chevrolet sustained damage to the left-front fender from the incident causing the No. 2 machine to be shuffled back as far as the 11th position. Green-flag racing continued as the NASCAR veteran worked his way back toward the front settling into the seventh position by lap 61.
As the laps ticked away, scheduled green-flag pits stops began to cycle through the field. Cook called his driver to pit road on lap 73 for their scheduled stop. Just as Harvick pulled onto pit road, the No. 31 truck made contact with the No. 2 machine for a second time during the race, damaging the left-rear fender of the No. 2 Chevrolet. On pit road the KHI crew worked to fix the damaged truck while changing four tires and adding fuel.
Harvick returned to the track running in the eighth position where he remained until the field was slowed for a fourth time on lap 94 for a single-truck spin in turn two. Knowing they couldn’t make it to the end of the race on fuel, Cook brought his driver down pit road for a final stop taking four tires and fuel while working to repair damage to the left-front fender. The stop positioned Harvick eighth when the field returned to full speed racing on lap 101.
Back under green, Harvick worked his way toward the front taking over the third position on lap 103. The driver continued to gain ground and was just about to take over the second position when rain began to fall on the track causing the fifth and final caution of the night on lap 119. Due to the heavy rain showers in the area, NASCAR officials called the race complete with Harvick scored in the third position.
After the conclusion of the race, KHI was titled the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner’s Champions courtesy of the No. 2 truck team. The championship is KHI’s third in their 10 year history.
Thoughts from the Driver – Kevin Harvick:
“What an interesting race. I just wish we could have finished it. I think we could have made our way back out front if we would have had a few more laps. Third is a good finish, but a win would have been a great way to end the season. I’m really proud of all the guys. Winning the Truck Series Owner’s Championship is a great way to end our 10-year career in the sport. I’ve got to thank everyone who supported the No. 2 truck this season Hunt Brothers Pizza, Bad Boy Buggies, Rheem, JEGS, Tide, TapouT, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Chevrolet, Champion, OneMain Financial, Budweiser and Hollywood Casino.”