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Harvick Records Third-Place Finsh at the Auto Club Speedway

Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick
 
 
Fontana, Calif. (February 26, 2008) — Scoring his career best finish in a Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) car, Kevin Harvick brought the No. 33 RoadLoans.com Chevrolet home in the third position at the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California Monday in the Stater Bros. 300.

NASCAR Nationwide Series teams arrived in Southern California for the second race of the season, only to be halted for three days by inclement weather. Teams were scheduled to practice on Friday, but rain canceled all on-track activities, wiping out the Nationwide Series practice. With practice canceled, the starting lineup was set by owner points and the qualifying session on Saturday became the only practice session for teams to prepare for the Stater Bros. 300. Harvick laid down the fifth quickest time with a lap of 40.442 (178.033 mph) as he prepared to race Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, the rain continued Saturday afternoon pushing the Stater Bros. 300 to Sunday afternoon, only to have rain postpone it yet again, to Monday following the conclusion of the Sprint Cup Series race.

With sunny skies and no rain in the forecast, the Nationwide Series took to the track for the Stater Bros. 300 Monday afternoon. Having the field set by NASCAR rules placed Harvick and the No. 33 RoadLoans.com Chevrolet sixth on the starting grid.

Continuing to maintain his position, Harvick radioed to crew chief Wally Rogers on lap 10 that he needed more rear grip and to remove tape from the grill of the car, as the temperature was slightly rising. The first caution of the day came on lap 22 with Harvick in the sixth position. Rogers made the call for Harvick to pit for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure and trackbar adjustment. Harvick restarted on lap 25 in the ninth position.

Following the restart, Harvick began making his way back to the front, only to have the race slowed on lap 49 for the second caution of the day. Harvick again pitted for four tires and fuel. The race restarted on lap 52 with Harvick in the sixth position. One lap later, the caution flag waved for the third time. Harvick opted to stay out and restarted the race on lap 56 in the sixth position. Several laps later, on lap 64, the fourth caution waved and Harvick again stayed out restarting on lap 71 in the fifth position.

Harvick moved into the fourth position on lap 84 and Rogers quickly assured Harvick his times and laps were competitive to those of the leaders. “What you’ve found there Kevin is good,” said Rogers. “Continue doing what you’re doing.”

With the race continuing under a long green flag, Harvick pitted on lap 98 for four tires and fuel. Following the fast stop by the No. 33 team, Harvick quickly radioed the team saying, “good job guys.” Harvick reentered the race 19th due to varying pit strategies. With 52 laps remaining in the race, Harvick was short on fuel by six laps and would need to stop one more time to ensure the No. 33 RoadLoans.com Chevrolet could finish the race. The team received a break on lap 107 when the caution waved for the fifth time allowing the team to take on four new tires and fuel. With teams choosing various strategies of two tires and fuel, fuel only and some opting to not pit at all, Harvick restarted the race on lap 110 in the 19th position.

Concerned about making it to the checkered flag, Harvick asked if he needed to save fuel and Rogers assured him he was good to the end. Clear on the fuel mileage, Harvick began his march to the front passing one car per lap until lap 25 when he moved into the fifth position. Rogers radioed to Harvick, “You are getting them a little at a time Kevin.” On lap 135, Harvick moved into the fourth position, six seconds behind the leader. Continuing to inch closer to the leader, Harvick finished the race in the third position, a career best in a KHI-owned car.

After the Race with Harvick:
“We were fast at the end,” said Harvick following the Stater Bros. 300. “I just ran out of laps. I was closing in on the leaders at the end, but just needed a few more laps to make something happen. This was a good week for our team. Last week we had a bad week and this week we came back. We just need to find the consistency to run in the top five each week.”

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