August 17th, 2010
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team used a strategic call by crew chief Gil Martin to take the checkered flag, clinch a spot in the Chase and win three post-race contingency awards at Sunday’s Carfax 400 at Michigan Int’l Speedway.
Martin collected his fifth DirecTV Crew Chief of the Race Award this season, taking the lead in the race for the annual award. Martin’s latest DirecTV Crew Chief of the Race Award puts him ahead of Dave Rogers (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota) who has four and Kevin Manion (No. 1 Philips Norelco Chevrolet) who has three.
Darian Grubb, crew chief of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, won the 2009 award, which is presented to the team who demonstrates the best qualifying and race efforts based on the average of qualifying and finishing position.
Harvick led 60 laps at Michigan, capturing his third WIX Filters Lap Leader of the Race Award of 2010. As the race winner, Harvick also captured the Sunoco Diamond Performance Award as the highest finishing eligible driver.
The awards are part of the NASCAR Prize Money and Decal Program, also referred to as the Contingency program, which provide teams prize money and weekly awards based on performance in several categories.
The win was Harvick’s third of the season, but his first at Michigan in 20 starts. He has seven top-10 finishes there. His previous best finish was second in August 2003.
“It’s a lot of fun to come to the race track right now,” Harvick said. “Everybody is doing a great job of not only continuing to press but to put better things on the race track and put things together correctly and just do a great job at the shop.”
After starting eighth, the No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet stayed near the front of the field, biding time and working the high side of the two-mile track. The second half of the race proved to be the time to move. Harvick took the lead briefly on lap 102 then stayed up front for more than 40 laps.
A series of restarts put Harvick back into a battle with Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart. A strategic call with 30 laps remaining to stay out when most of the field pitted, kept the No. 29 car in clean air. Working the high line, Harvick passed Hamlin with 10 laps to go, the 17th lead change of the race, and took the checkered flag.
“Clean air was a big bonus today,” Martin said post-race. “With Tony (Stewart) staying out, knowing we had somebody to draft with, and not having any cautions at the end, led us to where we could stretch out. If we could get four or five laps, let the tires heat up, we could stretch it out, because we were probably on average about 2/10ths better than the field most of the run.”
“It was a great day for us for more than one reason. The season has gone so well from last year, but to come to Michigan, be able to run the way we did today, after the way we’ve run here the past three years, this shows how far the organization has come as a whole, not to mention the fact that Kevin did a great job today running the high line all day long. It takes a lot to do that here, to make that happen.”
Coors Light Pole Award: Kasey Kahne (187.183 mph, 38.465 seconds)
DirecTV Crew Chief Of The Race Award: Gil Martin (crew chief for Kevin Harvick)
Goodyear Gatorback Belts Fastest Lap Award: Jimmie Johnson (183.983 mph, lap two)
Mahle Clevite Engine Builder Of The Race Award: Greg Biffle
Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver Of The Race Award: Juan Pablo Montoya
Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver Of The Race Award: Todd Parrott (crew chief for Elliott Sadler)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Leader Bonus: Kevin Harvick
O’Reilly Auto Parts Position Improvement Award: Denny Hamlin (31 places)
Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Kevin Harvick
Tissot Pit Road Precision Award: Tony Stewart (205.605 seconds)
Wix Filters Lap Leader Award: Kevin Harvick (60 laps)