HARVICK SCORES SECOND PLACE FINISH FOR TEAM CHEVY AT MICHIGAN
A Total of Five Chevrolet Drivers Earn Top 10 Finishes
BROOKLYN, Mich. – Aug. 18, 2013 – Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet SS, scored his sixth top-five finish of the season by coming home second in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Michigan International Speedway. The Richard Childress Racing (RCR) driver holds firm to his fourth-place position in the series standings with the finish.
Kurt Busch had another strong run in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing/Serta Chevrolet SS after leading 43 of the 200 laps in today’s race. Busch finished third, and moved up two spots in the point standings to ninth with his 11th top 10 finish of 2013.
Harvick’s RCR teammates also had strong finishes today at MIS. Paul Menard scored his first top-five finish of the season today in his No. 27 Nibco/Menards Chevrolet SS by finishing fourth, and Jeff Burton came home eighth in the No. 31 Cheerios Chevrolet SS.
While Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard Youth Foundation Chevrolet SS had trouble in today’s race – teammate Kasey Kahne brought his No. 5 Pepsi Max Chevrolet SS home in seventh position. The finish helped Kahne move up one spot in the point standings to 11th. Johnson lost an engine early in the race while Earnhardt Jr. made contact with the wall after a right-front tire failure near the mid-point of the event.
Joey Logano (Ford) was the race winner and Clint Bowyer (Toyota) was fifth to round out the top-five.
The next race on the tour will be Saturday, August 24, 2013 at Bristol Motor Speedway
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 RHEEM CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SECOND
THE MODERATOR: We’ll get started with our post race press conference. We welcome Kevin Harvick, who finished second in today’s race.
Kevin, you’re fourth in points. Talk a little bit about the race out there and how you feel going into the Chase.
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, it was a good weekend for us. We needed a good, solid weekend after Indianapolis and Pocono. Our oval track, flat track stuff was not where it needed to be. We were able to come here this weekend and incorporate some different things into our car.
From the time we unloaded off the truck, the car was really fast. All in all, a good weekend, just miss‑timed that last restart there. I had a great run on the 55. Was going to beat him to the line by too much, wound up having to drag the brakes. From there, it was going to be sketchy if we were going to keep the 22 back there.
Went for it, backfired a little bit there as we got three‑wide and lost some track position. I didn’t think we were going to be racing the 55 there for the win. I thought if we could just get out of turn two in second we’d be in good shape. Got a little bit greedy and lost a couple spots there. That’s what ultimately cost us the win.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll take questions for Kevin.
Q. The last five laps, did you have any concern about fuel?
KEVIN HARVICK: We were two laps short when we filled up. We were able to have at least one caution that I remember. We saved a bunch under those cautions. I was able to save a bunch of gas under green during that first part of the run when I was behind the 43.
I felt pretty good about where we were. I think they were ultimately concerned about the green‑white‑checkered. Didn’t come down to that so it didn’t matter, but we were good on gas ‑ best I know (smiling).
Q. Generally what do you like, what maybe keeps you awake at night thinking about the Chase and matching up with the other contenders?
KEVIN HARVICK: We beat ’em all today. If we can just do that, we’ll be fine (smiling).
It’s just going to come down to getting on a run. Over the last 10 weeks obviously we’ve tried some different stuff over the past month. Today was the first time we’ve hit on some things. The car had speed and it was fast.
We never got all the way to the front. We got to second, but never got all the way to the front as far as leading the race. If we could ever have clear traffic and got out front, we would have been really good. Everybody who got out front was really good.
But we were able to make passes, use the bottom of the racetrack. That’s always an encouraging sign when you can make passes and everyone else is kind of locked into one groove.
I was very pleased with the day. It’s just going to come down to getting on a hot streak over 10 weeks and not making any mistakes.
Q. Looked like a lot of fun out there. How do you think the track is grooving in?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, last time the center groove was the preferred groove. Last time the bottom really opened up in three and four if you had your car turning and were able to stay on the throttle in exit. This time it seemed like one and two opened up, as well, on the restarts especially.
It just takes time to be able to burn a track in, obviously. A winter won’t hurt anything. Still very fast. The cars were really fast this weekend. I think the groove definitely widened out the opposite way than it normally does. It got wider going to the bottom. But still more room to race than there was last time.
THE MODERATOR: Kevin, thank you for your time.
KEVIN HARVICK: Thank you.
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING/SERTA CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED THIRD
THE MODERATOR: Joining us now is Kurt Busch, who finished third today. Kurt sits ninth in points following today’s race.
Kurt, talk about the race and your thoughts on the Chase.
KURT BUSCH: It was a good day for us. We battled hard, persevered. Came through some of the sequences where we were putting on four tires, some of the other guys were putting on two. Even saw some fuel‑only out there today.
We stuck with our game plan. At one point we were buried deep, 14th on one of the restarts. I was a little frustrated at that point, knowing we had a much better car. But our weaknesses were restarts today, trying to maneuver in traffic.
But lo and behold, got fired up, sometimes I get lucky, and opening opened up on the outside. I think I came on that restart from 14th to sixth. It was a game‑changer. That one moment was our race.
But to be in position and run well, to post a top‑three finish, just got to thank the guys. Furniture Row team is acting like a big‑time player right now. We have a little bit of weaknesses here and there, but overall we keep posting good results, and it’s very satisfying.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kurt.
Q. You almost seem like you don’t want to get excited. You’re ninth in the points now. The Chase is close. You have three races to go. You almost seem like you don’t want to get too excited about it right now. Are those next three races that critical in your mind?
KURT BUSCH: Well, it’s being focused. I’m excited that we’re running well. We’re able to seal the deal, when that had been some of our struggles through the midpoint of the season.
Now I’m just in that Chase mode where we have to get in. You can’t celebrate with a third‑place finish. You just have to feel confident and to know that you can go back next week and do it again.
The biggest thing is just staying out of trouble. Bristol, trouble can happen at any corner. There’s going to be 500 laps that we have to perform there next week where we have to protect our car and still finish well.
A day like today, we were running 14th with 60 to go or something like that, I’m looking at Biffle ahead of us, Truex, Kahne, Keselowski. We wouldn’t have gained any points today.
So it’s great. I’m happy. I’m very satisfied with the effort today. There’s still just three weeks to go where we could get in a little fender‑bender, some itty‑bitty thing happen the next three weeks and that will put us on the outside.
Excuse me if my blinders are on.
Q. How exciting is it to be in a position like this, especially after last year, to get in the Chase with three to go?
KURT BUSCH: This is tremendous. Jumping in with the Furniture Row guys last year, running six races together, got a lot of the bugs worked out. It allowed us to discover things about ourselves, some weaknesses on the team.
Each section through this season, like every six races, we can lump them together and say that we’ve improved every time we’ve gone through a chunk of six races at a time.
Now here we are. We’re 23 races in, got three to go to get in the Chase. It’s an amazing feeling to be in position right now, have a group of guys from Denver, Colorado, in the Chase right now. That’s what we have to do, make sure when the door closes, the music stops, that we got a place.
THE MODERATOR: Kurt, congratulations on your run today. Good luck next weekend.
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