Harvick wins truck race at Atlanta
Kevin Harvick got tired of watching Kyle Busch win so many truck
He’s done something about it.
Now the man to beat when he shows up for a NASCAR truck race,
Harvick pulled away from Busch for a dominating victory Saturday in
the E-Z-GO 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Harvick’s crew made only one slight adjustment on his
Chevrolet truck, taking out three-10ths of a pound of air in the
right rear tire on the first pit stop. It was clear right from the
start he had a machine to beat as long as he stayed out of trouble.
“We just had a really fast truck,” Harvick said.
He’s now won three straight starts in the Camping World Truck
Series, and five of his last nine. During that stretch of dominance
dating back to 2008, he’s finished no lower than fifth.
“A lot of the reason we race trucks is just to make sure Kyle
doesn’t win all the races,” Harvick said. “Sometimes, you’ve got to
protect your turf. It’s important to us and Chevrolet to score as
many bonus points as we can. That’s the honest truth. The reason we
started running more trucks races was just to protect from him
winning seven or eight races a year. It’s gone well so far.”
Harvick, winning for the seventh time in his truck career,
led 100 of 130 laps and pulled away to a 1.308-second victory over
Busch’s Toyota. The runner-up was denied his 17th career truck win
after reaching Victory Lane a series-leading seven times in 2009.
“We were not quite as fast as we’d like to have been,” said
Busch, who got into a first-lap scrape that did much more damage to
pole winner and defending series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. “But we
had a decent effort.”
Hornaday, a four-time series champ, sustained damage that led
to a blown tire, which sent him slamming into the wall between
turns three and four after just 22 laps and caused severe damage to
the rear deck of his truck. He was done for the day, finishing 34th
out of 36 trucks.
Driving for Harvick’s team, Hornaday is off to a tough start
this season, following up a 27th-place finish in the opening race
at Daytona. He’s 28th in the standings, leaving him a big hurdle to
overcome in the quest for a fifth title.
“Those guys are in a hole, but we’ll keep giving them good
trucks,” Harvick said. “That’s just part of it. You have good days,
you have bad days. They’ve had two bad days this season, but
they’ve had a lot of good days, too. They’re just in a little bit
of a slump right now.”
Sixty-year-old Geoff Bodine made his first start in the truck
series since 2004, giving props to the gold-medal-winning U.S.
Olympic bobsled program.
But his Bo-Dyn Bobsled Dodge wasn’t nearly as successful as
those sleds he helped design for the Vancouver Games. Bodine went
out after 106 laps with a gear problem and finished 26th.