Saturday, March 6, 2010

Kevin Harvick Wins Truck Series Race in Atlanta

Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

While the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series rolled through their first 3 races in the passing 3 weeks for 2010, the E-Z-Go 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway was only the second race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In hindsight, this three-week break for the NASCAR's Tailgaters gave the teams an adequate opportunity to mend after the crashfest at Daytona.

Taking pole, the #88 Kevin Harvick Incorporated (KHI) Chevrolet driven by Ron Hornaday led the field from an elected outside position. Into the first corner, Matt Crafton used a strong start to force a three-wide scenario between Busch and Hornaday. Through this brief battle, the tight run led Ron Hornaday's Chevrolet lowered to collide with Kyle Busch, running in the middle of the three-abreast racing. While both vehicles suffered fender damage (Hornaday's truck briefly smoked through the friction of the fenders and tire rubber), both trucks continued.

Attributed to a durable but racy Goodyear tire, drivers were unafraid to push their race trucks around the 1.52 mile oval of Atlanta Motor Speedway. Even in the initial circuits By lap 11, Ron Hornaday and Kyle Busch fully recovered from the lap 1 incident by sweeping by Crafton. Hornaday's truck team owner Kevin Harvick, running the #2 Chevrolet for the event, hung within striking distance of top 3 for a handful of early laps. After the dicing of Hornaday and Busch, Harvick decided to join in action taking the lead on lap 16.

As laps continued to tick away without incident, the #18 Toyota Tundra and #33 Chevrolet Silverado appeared to have no ill effects of the opening lap contact. However, on lap 23 the tire rub wore enough on Ron Hornaday's truck to cut the right front in the middle of turn 3 and 4. Snapping the KHI-owned truck sideways, Hornaday slammed hard into the turn 3 SAFER barrier. The #33 Chevrolet Silverado settled at the bottom of the track with massive deformation to the NASCAR truck.

Lap 61, The #88 of Matt Crafton wobbled just slightly in the lower part of turn 1 and made contact with Todd Bodine's #30 Toyota left rear. Bodine drifted through turn 2 but averted serious damage. With the track under caution, both trucks attended their pit crews for extended maintenance still running in the lead lap. However, just a few laps later, the #88 Chevrolet truck would blew a tire through the same corner of the initial incident committing the Thorsport Racing team to direct Crafton behind the wall. With Hornaday's truck wrecked, Crafton's trouble shown that the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' 1st and 2nd place points finishers of 2009 will not experience business as usual for 2010.

NASCAR Nationwide driver but truck series newcomer Steven Wallace led a few laps in the Billy Ballew Racing #15 Toyota. Providing an impressive run in his truck debut, the younger Wallace brought his truck home fourth.

With 14 laps remaining, Harvick continued to lead under green aided by the #81 truck of David Starr struggling to get up to speed beside him. Starr's restart took pressure off of the #2 truck as Kevin Harvick rolled to victory at Atlanta. The Toyota trucks of Kyle Busch and Aric Almirola followed the Chevrolet across the finish line.

2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
E-Z-Go 200
Atlanta Motor Speedway

Top 10

Pos | Car # | Driver | Sponsor/ Truck Make
1) 2 Kevin Harvick    E-Z-GO Chevrolet
2) 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Tundra Toyota
3) 51 Aric Almirola Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota
4) 15 Steve Wallace Red Top Collector Car Auction Toyota
5) 30 Todd Bodine The Night Train Toyota
6) 4 Ricky Carmichael Monster Energy Chevrolet
7) 17 Timothy Peters K&N Toyota
8) 13 Johnny Sauter etc./Curb Records Chevrolet
9) 14 Rick Crawford Circle Bar Ford
10) 3 Austin Dillon Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet

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