2010-04-08 / Sports

Harvick Wins With Two Tires


LEBANON, Tenn. – Kevin Harvick won the Nashville 300, his second Nationwide win of the season, by taking only two tires late in the race, while most other teams took on four.

“I knew we had 25-30 laps to hold them off and (the car) got tighter than we would have wanted it to,” said Harvick, who was competing at the track for the first time in four years and took home his second guitar trophy from Nashville.

“But we had the track position and it worked out. … It was definitely fun. It’s a lot more fun when you win.”

The driver/owner beat Reed Sorenson by 0.199 seconds.

“We were a little bit better than (Harvick) the whole time and I was catching him,” Sorenson said. “When we got caught in lapped traffic, he was able to hold his own through a couple of those corners. At the end, I was catching him. We needed about five more laps to get to him.”

Joey Logano, who led 122 of the 250 laps, and Keselowski were the only two lead-lap cars not to pit when the caution came out with 82 laps remaining. Both had to pit later under green, lost a lap and then the caution came out with 38 laps remaining, leaving Keselowski 18th and Logano 19th on the restart with 35 remaining.

Logano got stalled on the inside lane on that restart and ended up eighth.

“We had a winning car,” Logano said. “There’s no reason why we couldn’t have won. We gave it away.”

Kyle Busch, winner of Friday night’s truck race was third, followed by Justin Allgaier, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Scott Wimmer, Joey Logano, Michael Annett and Brendan Gaughan.

Top-10 points leaders after 5 of 35: 1. Edwards-820, 2. Keselowski-804, 3. Allgaier- 799, 4. Kyle Busch-764, 5. Harvick 759, 6. Menard-658, 7. Logano-589, 8. M. Wallace- 575, 9. Biffle-563, 10. Annett- 544

Kyle Busch takes Nashville truck race

Kyle Busch won the Camping World Truck Series’ Nashville 200 at Nashville Superspeedway in a dominating fashion. Busch, who started from the pole position, led 131 of the 150 laps around the 1.33-mile concrete oval and cruised to a victory by 0.426 seconds over Kevin Harvick. It was also Busch’s first win as a team owner.

Ron Hornaday, Timothy Peters, Todd Bodine, Matt Crafton, Mike Skinner, Aric Almirola, Stacy Compton, and Rick Crawford were the remaining top-10 finishers.

Top-10 points leaders after 4 of 25: 1. Peters-666, 2. Almirola-584, 3. Bodine-573, 4. Harvick-560, 5. Crafton-538, 6. Hornaday-488, 7. Carmichael 478, 8. White-477, 9. Malsam-469, 10. Kyle Busch- 467

Biffle off to good start

It has been 18 years since a Cup driver has started the season with six consecutive top-10 finishes. Terry Labonte finished fourth at Bristol in 1992, which was the sixth race of that season and his sixth top-10 finish in a row. Greg Biffle took 10th at Martinsville and that was no small feat for a driver whose average finish at the Virginia short track is 22.3. The top- 10 finish was his sixth in a string of top 10s that started at the 2010 Daytona 500 when he finished third.

Biffle’s average finish this season is 7.5, with three 10thplace finishes, one eighthplace finish, one fourth-place finish and the third-place finish at Daytona. He has led a total of 109 laps in three races, coming from an average starting position of 17.8. The only column left blank in his 2010 record is the win column, and he feels the team is very close to putting a mark or two in that box.

“I am thrilled with they way we’ve started this season,” said Biffle. “This team is incredible in every aspect. They are building fast race cars, they have some of the most consistently fast pit stops in the series, and we are all determined to get the best finish we can week in and week out. I really think that a win for the 16 3M team is right around the corner.”

Despite all of their success, Biffle and his team seem to be sneaking up on the points lead fairly unnoticed. Perhaps that is because they have yet to put that “W” up on the board or maybe because they have sidestepped all of the drama that has unfolded on the track so far this season. Either way, the team plans to just keep performing at their highest level and let the heads turn when they will.

In that 1992 season, Labonte actually went on to make it eight consecutive top-10 finishes to start the year. That is what Biffle and the team are focused on now, and they are determined to get to victory lane along the way. History shows that each of the eight drivers before Biffle who started the season with six top-10 finishes ended the season no further back than 10th in the point standings.

For Biffle and his team, of course, anything less than a championship trophy would be a disappointment. Having come so close in 2005 and then taking third in 2008, they know what it feels like to get within reach of the title – a title that would put Biffle in the history books as the first driver ever to win the championship in all three of NASCAR’s elite racing series.

Meanwhile, the surgery on Denny Hamlin’s knee last week was successful. He is expected to make a full recovery and is scheduled for the Phoenix Cup Series race on April 10. His team will have driver Casey Mears on standby should Hamlin experience any complications while driving in the race and need to be replaced in the car.

“Denny had his surgery and everything went well,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “He will start rehab immediately and now we can concentrate on getting his knee back to the full strength. The doctors tell us it will improve with each passing week and that he cannot damage it by driving. We expect him to be in the car in Phoenix, but we’re fortunate to have Casey Mears standing by in case he would need to come out of the car for any reason.”

Weekend racing: The Cup and Nationwide teams travel to the one-mile Phoenix (Arizona) Raceway for two night races.

Fri., Apr. 9, Nationwide Series Bashas Supermarkets 200, race 6 of 35; Starting time: 7:30 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN2.

Sat., Apr. 10, Sprint Cup Subway Fresh Fit 600, race 7 of 36; Starting time: 7:30 p.m. ET; TV: Fox.

Racing trivia question: Which Cup team is Martin Truex Jr. driving for this year?

Last week’s question: What year did Kasey Kahne begin in the Nationwide Series? Answer. His first season was 2002.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@ earthlink.net.

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