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Harvick Earns Seventh-Place Finish after Rain-Shortened Race

Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick
BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 17, 2008) — Kevin Harvick and the No. 33 RoadLoans.com Chevrolet unloaded at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile Track for 300 laps of action-packed racing looking to pick up where they left off in Atlanta. Poised to be a top finisher, the team had to settle for a seventh-place finish after the race was shortened due to rain.

Arriving at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Friday, teams were yet again faced with cloudy skies and rain delays. With practice scheduled for Friday and qualifying set for Saturday morning, NASCAR had to make alternate plans as rain moved into the area that afternoon canceling practice. The NASCAR Nationwide Series was unable to take to the track for any activities on Friday, forcing NASCAR to make the decision to set the field by the 2007 Owner’s Point Standings for the third time this season.

Returning on Saturday for the only practice session of the weekend followed by 300 laps around the famous track, teams were faced with more rain. The Nationwide Series was able to complete the morning practice session, with Harvick running the 10th quickest lap with a time of 15.863 (120.961 mph).

As teams prepared the cars for 300 miles around Bristol, focus also turned to the weather radar as rain was once again moving into the area. Unfortunately, the race was postponed for two hours due to weather. With teams continuing to watch the radar, the green flag waved around 4:00 p.m. with Harvick and the No. 33 RoadLaons.com Chevrolet rolling off in the sixth position.

Gaining two spots on the first lap, Harvick was on a mission toward the front of the field. On lap three, the first caution of the day waved when Bobby Labonte in the No. 21 car wrecked in turn four. Teams were restarted on lap eight with Harvick in the fourth position.

Continuing to run in the fourth spot, the caution was again out on lap 13 when the No. 5 and No. 32 cars wrecked in turn three. Again, the No. 33 RoadLoans.com Chevrolet stayed out and restarted on lap 21 in the fourth position.

Beginning to pass cars, Harvick moved into second on lap 39. Six laps later on lap 45 NASCAR threw a competition yellow, allowing teams to pit and take fuel for the first time. The No. 33 team pitted on lap 47 taking on four tires, with lower air pressure on the left side tires and fuel. The field was restarted on lap 51 with Harvick in the third position.

The fourth caution of the day waved on lap 61 when the No. 41 and No. 47 cars were caught up in an accident in turn two. While under the caution, crew chief Wally Rogers asked Harvick about the car and let him know that his lap times were good. Harvick radioed that the car was a touch free, but that it was okay. NASCAR restarted the race on lap 66.

Continuing to run laps and hoping the rain would hold off, Harvick moved into second place again before the fifth caution of the day was brought out on lap 92 when the No. 40 car spun in turn one. Rogers made the call to pit with the leaders and Harvick entered the pits in second place. Taking on four tires, with another air pressure adjustment, and fuel, Harvick reentered the track only to learn he had to pit again for a missing lug nut on the left front tire. Harvick pitted for the second time under the caution and restarted the race in the 19th position on lap 97.

On lap 100 the yellow flag was once again waved when the No. 22 car spun in turn two. Restarting on lap 104 in the 19th spot, Harvick began his move back to the front. Working his way through the field, Harvick moved into the ninth position by lap 150. With the race past the half-way point, if rain started and forced NASCAR to halt competition again, the race would be official and would not have to be rescheduled.

Shortly after the half-way mark, on lap 163, the caution was waved for rain. The No. 33 team opted to stay out taking over the seventh position. On lap 171 the race was red flagged due to the rain, with cars stopping on the backstretch of pit road. Unfortunately, the rain continued and NASCAR declared the race officially complete after running only 171 of 300 laps.

With the seventh-place finish, Harvick and the No. 33 RoadLoans.com Chevrolet maintained the points lead by 49 points. Cale Gale will take over driving duties next week at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway as he looks to maintain the Owner’s Point lead and earn his first win in the Nationwide Series.

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