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Harvick Wins True Value IROC Championship; Jarrett Captures Victory at Indy Finale

Indianapolis (Aug. 3, 2002) - Kevin Harvick claimed the 2002 True Value International Race of Champions points title Saturday by finishing fifth in the season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Dale Jarrett won the race as the star Winston Cup driver led all 40 laps on the famed 2.5-mile oval. Jarrett started second and took the lead on the first lap, passing pole sitter Ken Schrader, who was substituting for the injured Danny Lasoski.

"I knew it was important to get my car out front," said Jarrett, who finished third in the point standings. "I fought Schrader as hard as I could there on that first lap, trying to get the lead. I knew the car was going to tighten up later on, and if I could get out front, I'd have a better chance."

Two-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves finished second, 0.380 seconds behind Jarrett. Schrader was third and Indy Racing League driver Buddy Lazier finished fourth.

Harvick, representing the NASCAR Busch Series as the 2001 champion, came into the fourth and final race as the points leader with finishes of ninth in Daytona, first in California and third in Chicago.

He started Saturday's race 11th and by the tenth lap he moved up to fifth where he stayed for the remainder of the race. He became the first driver representing the NASCAR Busch Series to win the True Value IROC championship worth $250.000.00.

"This is obviously a huge accomplishment and something that I can put next to my Busch Grand National trophy," said Harvick. "There are not very many people who can say they won an IROC race let alone an IROC championship. It's something that means a lot to me -- the fact that I beat the best drivers in Winston Cup, Busch, trucks and IRL. You don't get the opportunity to win many championships, and when you do it's something to cherish."

Harvick ended with 54 points, five more than Lazier and Jarrett, who were tied with 49 points each. Lazier was credited with the second-place finish due to a better season finishing average than Jarrett, which included a race victory in Chicago.

By winning the True Value IROC championship in his first year, Harvick became the sixth rookie driver to win the all-star series championship. The others were: Mark Donohue (1974), Harry Gant (1985), Al Unser Jr. (1986), Geoff Bodine (1987) and Ricky Rudd (1992).

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