Saturday, February 27, 2010

Harvick Hits Jackpot at Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Race

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR

There's a saying that the best way to cure a drought is to hold a car race in the area. As the NASCAR Nationwide series Sam's Town 300 prepared to roll on Saturday in the desert of Las Vegas, rain delayed the green flag for over an hour and a half. After the rain clouds finally dispersed and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway surface dry was dried, Brad Keselowski in the #22 Dodge took field to the starting line.

Taking the green flag in the lead, Keselowski would not hold the position for lap 1 as front row starter Kevin Harvick in his Chevrolet swept around the Penske-owned Dodge. Driving again for his KHI (Kevin Harvick Incorporated) Chevy, Harvick lead held the lead for a consecutive 57 laps before he had to make a green-flag pit stop. Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, Keselowski, Carl Edwards, and James Buescher would lead through the proceeding laps.

Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Driving the photogenic #7 Chevrolet, Danica Patrick start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was her third career NASCAR Nationwide series race. Since her debut at Daytona, Patrick has been enduring a bumpy road in the stock car racing series getting caught in a crash at Daytona and having a so-par race car at Auto Club Speedway. Continuing what is a difficult transition to the heavier stock cars, Patrick's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway started in 37th place. Moving up the running order, Danica Patrick briefly ran as high as 3rd using pit stop strategy but saw her efforts fall flat. On lap 83, Patrick's #7 Chevrolet is passing the slower car of Michael McDowell on the inside of turn one when McDowell's Dodge trimmed down on the #7 Chevrolet. McDowell's car spun and collected Patrick ending her race with a heavily-damaged JR Motorsports Chevrolet. The Sam's Town 300 will be Danica Patrick's last scheduled race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series until late June. Taking precedence over her stock car racing, Patrick returns to the IZOD IndyCar series in two weeks time rejoining her full-time effort with Andretti Autosport.

As the field visited pit road for service, Kyle Busch's #18 Toyota led the leaders back up to the track. Early race leader Kevin Harvick experienced a less stellar stop which cost him five positions on the race track. This stop followed an earlier stop where the KHI #33 pit crew provided another slow service and comes just two weeks after Harvick chastised his crew members in the Daytona Nationwide race.

With an interruption for rain drawing a brief caution at lap 105, Kyle Busch led for 32 laps before a 5th race yellow flag flew for the #6 Ford hitting the wall along for frontstretch. On the pit road rush, the crew of the Carl Edwards #60 Ford got the new father out first. With three lead lap cars staying on the racetrack for track position, Edwards took 3 laps to work past those vehicles to take the lead. Caution came out again on lap 146 when Brian Scott lost control of his #11 Toyota and banged the wall in turn 4. Finishing the race in 31st, Scott has currently revealed himself as a top 15 driver in 2010 as a NASCAR Nationwide series rookie.

Pit stops again reshaped the lead of the race as Denny Hamlin was able to usher his #20 Toyota out of the pits first with Penske's Racing Justin Allgaier also finding his way around the former leading car of Carl Edwards. As Hamlin sets the pace through the latter stage of the Sam's Town 300, Kevin Harvick made a change from 6th to 2nd in the 29 laps that the #20 Toyota led. With the aid of a late caution involving Colin Braun, Steve Wallace and Tony Raines, Harvick used the double file restart to make a race winning move around Denny Hamlin. Just a few laps after teammate Hamlin relinquished the race's lead, Kyle Busch contention for victory ended when he brushed the wall with his #18 Z-Line Designs Toyota while running third. Busch would backslid to 16th place as he crossed the finish line.

Leading the final 25 laps, Kevin Harvick took the #33 Chevrolet to victory in the Sam's Town 300 overcoming the early pit problems to celebrate with his team in the winner's circle.
For the second time, a KHI Chevrolet takes victory on the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide circuit adding to the Daytona win with Tony Stewart driving a team car. This victory for Kevin Harvick was also describe by wife and team co-owner DeLana Harvick as "a nice anniversary present". NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers would dominate the top 5 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Brian Vickers following Harvick in that order across the finish line.

With only three races in the books for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Carl Edwards holds a 41 point lead over Brad Keselowski in the series-long standings. Finishing 7th in the Sam's Town 300, Allgaier currently sits 4th in series points, the highest placed Nationwide-only driver amongst a crowd of Sprint Cup regulars.

NASCAR Nationwide Series
Sam's Town 300
Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Top 10

1) 33 Kevin Harvick Rheem Chevrolet
2) 20 Denny Hamlin Interstate Batteries Toyota
3) 60 Carl Edwards Copart Ford
4) 22 Brad Keselowski Discount Tire Dodge
5) 32 Brian Vickers Dollar General Toyota
6) 99 Trevor Bayne Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
7) 12 Justin Allgaier Verizon Wireless Dodge
8) 98 Paul Menard Richmond / Menards Ford
9) 27 Greg Biffle Redman Moist Snuff Ford
10) 66 Steve Wallace 5 Hour Energy Toyota

Other Notables
16) 18 Kyle Busch Z-Line Designs Toyota
18) 87 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet
27) 40 Mike Bliss Buck Commander / Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet
28) 16 Colin Braun Roush Fenway Ford
31) 11 Brian Scott Toyota
36) 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet
42) 88 Kelly Bires Chevrolet

No comments:

Post a Comment