BUSCH USG Durock 300Final
Harvick becomes first two-time Busch winner at ChicagolandJul 14, 2007 - 10:50 PM By Bruce Martin PA SportsTicker Contributing Editor
JOLIET, Illinois (Ticker) -- There had never been a repeat winner in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.
That all changed when Kevin Harvick drove to an easy victory in Saturday's USG Durock 300.
Harvick, who easily won last year's series title, added a second Busch victory at the track 45 miles south of downtown Chicago. He also won a Busch race here in 2005.
"It was a struggle with a newly rebuilt car here," said Harvick, who drove to victory in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo. "This is the same championship team we had here and we just kept working on us. This win is for Carl Edwards and that butt-kicking he was supposed to give us today. Talking smack always comes back to haunt you."
Edwards was the early leader, but tire issues dropped him to 20th - two laps behind off the pace.
"We had a great car and a great run going, and had a loose wheel there at the end," Edwards said. "There might have been a problem with the wheel or something and we had to come in. And then, we suffered a pit-road penalty in that process and we came in again and finished 20th.
"But the car was a lot better than that. It was still fun to drive, just frustrating."
Edwards now has a whopping 716-point lead over Harvick, a Busch part-timer, in the series standings.
It was the third victory this season and 29th career for Harvick, who defeated Matt Kenseth's Ford Fusion by 1.012 seconds. Chevrolet drivers swept positions 3-5 with Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch in that order.
Busch led three times for 58 laps but pitted late and questioned his strategy at Hendrick Motorsports while the contending cars stayed on the track. He was victim of a fake from Burton, who made a move like he was going to pit but stayed on the track at the last moment.
"We only have four more months to work on that," said Busch, referring to his imminent departure from the team after this season. "We had a great car that was just awesome. We were off yesterday, guessed at it in qualifying and guessed at it today."
Harvick averaged 135.561 miles per hour and won $88,400. In the end, there was little Kenseth could do to catch Harvick for the win.
"When I had clean air, I tried to run him down," Kenseth said. "I was just a little on the tight side but couldn't make anything work to get a run at him."
Burton's in-car air conditioning caused a problem when it failed, forcing the team to add a few air hoses into the cockpit to get more air into the car. Although that was an inconvenience, it wasn't what kept him from winning.
"We just weren't where we needed to be at the end," Burton said. "We were tight, we were loose, we just weren't where we needed to be. Going into that last stop, I didn't know where we needed to make a change. We put a good effort out and it just didn't work."
Harvick's team was able to make the most of a car that started off the weekend with problems but developed into a winner.
"The car was bottoming out a little earlier, and they made some adjustments for that," team owner Richard Childress said. "After they made a stop and got the vibrating wheel off, I knew it was fast.
"Kevin dug deeper and deeper, and it was fun to watch him win a race like that."
Harvick likes to dig deep and never give up.
"The nature of this organization is to never quit," Harvick said. "You need to put yourself in a position to win the race."
Harvick is also the only two-time Cup winner at Chicagoland, so obviously there is something about this 1 1/2-mile track that suits him.
"I wish I knew why I do so well here so we could build some more like this," Harvick said. "When I first came here, we had a good package with Todd Berrier and we've kept that setup.
"We use the same driving characteristics that have worked so well in that first race. It's one of those places that fits my driving style and fits what we do. We enjoy coming here for sure."
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