Runner-Up Finish for Kevin Harvick and the No. 33 Rheem Team at New Hampshire’s “Magic Mile”

Post-Race Reports | XFINITY Series | 07/16/11

Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) co-owner Kevin Harvick finished where he started this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, in the second position. The driver climbed behind the wheel of the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet Impala looking to capture his second NASCAR Nationwide Series win at the “Magic Mile,” but for the second week in a row, he brought home a runner-up finish. Harvick’s top-10 finish, his 199th in Nationwide Series competition, pushed him past Tommy Houston for the most top-10 finishes in the series, a record he tied with Houston last weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

Harvick started the 200-lap event in Loudon, N.H., on Saturday in the second position, and in the opening laps, battled polesitter Brad Keselowski in the No. 22 car door-to-door around the 1.058-mile track. By lap three, the driver moved into the race lead and put a considerable distance between him and the rest of the field.

The No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet controlled the lead with ease when the day’s first yellow flag waved on lap 33. Harvick radioed to his KHI crew that his Chevrolet was tight in the center and loose off the turns. Crew chief David Hyder called the driver to pit road for the Rheem crew to bolt on four tires and add fuel, but opted for no adjustments on the stop.

The field was brought back to green-flag conditions on lap 38 with Harvick in the third position. In the initial laps under green, the No. 33 again fought in a tight battle for the lead but by lap 42, settled into the third position. Harvick kept the front two cars in sight and was able to make the move on the 22 car by lap 69, taking over the second position.

As the event approached the halfway mark, the field slowed for a caution for a second time on lap 93. Running in the second position, Harvick wheeled the KHI Chevrolet to pit road for an air-pressure adjustment, fuel and four tires. Quick work on pit road by the Rheem crew put the No. 33 back on track with the race lead.

On lap 99 Harvick led the field to green, but just as quickly as the cars roared back to full speed, the yellow flag waved for a third time. With the lead still in hand, the No. 33 brought the field back to green on lap 104 only to see the caution lights flash again on lap 106.

Following the day’s fourth caution, green-flag racing resumed on lap 113 with the No. 33 Rheem machine in the first position.  Trouble arose again on lap 116 causing NASCAR to bring out the yellow flag for the fifth time in what shaped up to be a caution-filled afternoon. Keeping fuel mileage in mind, Hyder brought Harvick to pit road for a fuel-only stop. The driver returned to the track in the sixth position for the lap 126 restart.

Harvick worked his way forward and reached the third position by lap 131 and held the position until the sixth caution period on lap 165. The No. 33 Chevrolet remained on track and in the third position for the lap 172 restart.

In the first laps back under green, Harvick went two-and-three-wide in a fight for the second position. With 26 laps to go until the end, he was shuffled into the third position. The yellow waved slowing the field for the seventh time on lap 184. The caution period was quick and NASCAR waved the green flag with 11 laps remaining in the event.

The field raced out of turns one and two only to see the yellow flag wave before they could complete a full lap. With only four laps remaining and Harvick now in the second position, the event resumed green-flag racing. Just as with the previous two restarts, however, this one was no different. A multi-car accident erupted behind Harvick, bringing out the yellow flag for a ninth time to set up a green-white-checkered finish.

Harvick took the final restart from the second position and fought to move into the lead before the checkered flag flew but the two-time Nationwide Series champion sailed across the finish line in the second position for a second week in a row.

Next Saturday, July 23 the NASCAR Nationwide Series will compete at Nashville Superspeedway for the second time this season. The No. 33 Rheem team will have Austin Dillon back behind the wheel. Dillon made his first series start at the track and with the KHI team back in April. Watch the action live on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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