Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Harvick Using Two-Time Winning Chassis This Week at Martinsville

Harvick is using same car from April win (Getty)
Kevin Harvick
No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet

This Week’s Budweiser Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway … Kevin Harvick will race chassis No. 332 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. It is the same chassis Harvick drove to his first NSCS win at Martinsville Speedway in April. The No. 29 team has utilized this Chevrolet a total of six times so far in 2011 earning two wins (Martinsville and Richmond International Raceway) and three top-five finishes. Harvick finished 12th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the team’s most recent race with this car.

Chase Update … With four races remaining in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Harvick is ranked fifth in the driver point standings, 26 points behind the leader. He fell three spots in the standings after getting caught up in a multi-car accident at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend. In the first six races of the 2011 Chase, Harvick has scored one top-five and four top-10 finishes.

Harvick at Martinsville Speedway … In 20 starts at the Virginia short track, Harvick has earned a total of two top-fives and nine top-10 finishes at Martinsville and has led 307 laps, and scored his first NSCS win at the short track in April..The Bakersfield, Calif. native has also completed 97.3 percent (9,750 of 10,019) laps run in the 20 races he’s competed in at Martinsville and holds an average starting position of 14.4 and an average finishing position of 16.5.

Last Time Around … In the last NSCS race at Martinsville Speedway, Harvick was caught one lap down to the leaders during green-flag pit stops, elected to take the wave around and worked his way to the front in the final laps to score his first win at the 0.526-mile track. Last October, Harvick started 36th at Martinsville and went on to lead 97 laps before finishing third.

In the Loop … Harvick holds several impressive Loop Data statistics at Martinsville (Speedway) heading into Sunday’s race, including: seventh in closers; seventh in driver rating (93.1); seventh in laps run in the top-15 (4,091); eighth in average running position (14.6); eighth in fastest laps run (169); eighth in laps led (160); ninth in fastest driver early in a run; and ninth in green-flag speed.

Truck Racing at Martinsville … Harvick will return to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, piloting the No. 2 Kroger/Tide Chevrolet Silverado for Kevin Harvick Inc., in Saturday’s Kroger 200. SPEED will broadcast the race at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and MRN Radio affiliates and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio will provide live radio coverage beginning at 1:45 p.m.


First career Martinsville win came in April
Coming into Martinsville Speedway, you’ve won there in NASCAR Camping World Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series competition. What is it about Martinsville that works for you? “I think because it’s a short track and when you go back to the roots of where we all grew up racing it was on the short tracks. Over the first several years we didn’t get a lot of the finishes that we probably deserved, whether it was from a mistake on the race track or just dumb luck. The last couple of years we’ve gotten good finishes and our cars have run fast. To finally get that check mark in the win box was important for us.”

It seems like we’ve had a number of long green-flag runs the last couple years at Martinsville (Speedway). Does that change how you attack a 500-lap race there? “You can’t depend on it for sure. I guess you could say it’s dumb luck as to how it’s going to go. You can guess all you want, but it’s never going to be right. It seems as you go through the years we’ve been there and just had a ton of cautions and lately we’ve had some long stretches where we’ve pitted under green. A lot of it depends on what tire they bring as to what kind of racing you see.”

What is it that you had to learn about Martinsville (Speedway) to run in the top 10 as you have so many times? “Martinsville is just one of those places where we could not put a whole day together for a long time. The first couple of years I just crashed. Actually I think the first year, I got black flagged for spinning Bobby Hamilton out with about 10 laps to go, but I think Martinsville is just one of those places on the Sprint Cup Series circuit that just takes some time to figure out exactly why you do not need to charge the corners so hard and let the car roll and work on your car up off the corner. After the first couple of years I felt like we were able to, I don’t know, just kind of figure out what we needed to do set-up wise but we never could put the whole day together to get the finishes. Over the last couple of years I’ve felt like we are finally running fairly well.”

Is there a difference in mentality coming into Martinsville (Speedway) this weekend after winning the spring race at the track? “I think any time after you finally do something that you’ve been trying to do for a while and you finally accomplish that, it definitely eases your mind and you remember those situations and you remember the things you did to make it happen that day. In my opinion, that’s what’s great about our team. I feel like even when the cards are stacked against us or even when people count us out, I feel like we can always rebound and we can always do things that surprise people, whether it’s lead one lap or half a lap or 500 laps. Martinsville has been one of those places where we had never had all the circumstances work out for us on a whole day. I feel like we’ve run well enough to race for wins there, but just never made it happen until the spring.”

Martinsville (Speedway) is the only short track in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Having grown up racing on short tracks, do you think there needs to be more short tracks on the schedule? “With the schedule, NASCAR is really in control of that. I enjoy the short tracks and I enjoy going to Martinsville. I think it’s a great addition to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. This sport was built on the short tracks though, so more short tracks definitely wouldn’t hurt things.”

Why do you think Martinsville (Speedway) is a track that’s kept a foothold in our sport while NASCAR has branched out to other tracks across the country? “You have to remember where your roots come from and Martinsville is a good example of that. We all grew up on short tracks and Martinsville keeps that in our sport. All of us drivers like the short-track feel that we grew up racing on, so we’re looking forward to it. It’s kind of a hometown race for us. I live about 35 minutes from the track and it’s always a fun weekend for us.”

- Richard Childress Racing, Press Release

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