Harvick wins truck race at Atlanta

Kevin Harvick got tired of watching Kyle Busch win so many truck

races.

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.