MARTINSVILLE, Va. (October 24, 2010) – After demonstrating his truck’s strength in practice and qualifying and leading 35 laps, brake issues and subsequent contact led to a disappointing 15th place finish for Kevin Harvick at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Harvick experienced brake issues while leading early in the race, then made contact with multiple trucks, which ruined his chances of winning his fourth Truck Series race of the season in the No. 2 Kroger/Tide Chevrolet Silverado.
Harvick qualified fourth for the Kroger 200 after running second and seventh in the first and final practice sessions, respectively. Taking the green flag, Harvick quickly began his move to the front, taking the lead on lap eight before the first yellow flag of the race waved on lap 10 for an accident in turn three. Remaining on the track, Harvick restarted in the lead on lap 15 and maintained the first position through a caution for a spin on lap 26. Opting to remain on the track once again, the race restarted on lap 29 and Harvick continued to pace the field until the yellow flag waved for a spin on lap 41.
Feeling that the truck was turning too loosely in the middle and exit of the corners, Harvick and crew chief David Hyder called for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment. The No. 2 Kroger/Tide Chevrolet restarted in the13th position after several trucks chose not to pit, but Harvick proceeded to march back toward the front when the green flag waved on lap 47. Harvick navigated up to third by the time a caution came out on lap 92, but as the field slowed, he keyed his radio. “I think we’re in trouble, boys,” said Harvick. He informed Hyder that the brakes were fading fast and that the pedal was going to the floor without stopping the truck.
Hyder called Harvick to the pits to take the tape off the grille of the truck, perform a track-bar adjustment and change four tires and fuel. Harvick pumped the brakes on the truck and was unsure if they’d hold out through the remainder of the 200-lap event, but adjusting the brake bias from the back to the front gave Harvick some extra stopping power when green flag racing resumed on lap 99.
Restarting in 16th, the No. 2 initially slid back to 18th, but Harvick was able to advance to seventh before he felt the brakes fading again on lap 127. He earned one more position before the caution would wave for debris 20 laps later. Hyder told his driver that his lap times were still very good and that his brakes were not glowing. Harvick continued to adjust his brake bias from inside the truck to do what he could to preserve his braking ability.
Harvick restarted from the fourth position on lap 155. As the green flag waved, Harvick made contact with the No. 17 of Timothy Peters, and within four laps Harvick felt that he had a flat left-rear tire. Before he could ease the truck to pit road, the flat tire caused Harvick to spin. At the same time, two other trucks collided, bringing out the caution. Harvick brought the No. 2 to pit road for four tires, fuel and to repair the rear bumper bar that had become damaged prior to the spin.
Racing resumed on lap 164 and Harvick was mired in 25th, one lap down. One lap later, Peters made contact with another truck on the restart, causing his own tire to go down, resulting in a damaging spin which brought out the red flag. When racing restarted on lap 174, Harvick was in 24th and one position away from being the free pass beneficiary. Harvick fought for position, taking over 23rd before the caution came out for a spin on lap 183, earning the Lucky Dog which allowed him to return to the lead lap.
Restarting 21st on lap 187, Harvick was on a mission to fight his way back to the front. He maneuvered up to 19th before a multi-truck melee erupted in front of him and the No. 7 of Justin Lofton made contact with him, causing Harvick to spin for the second time, damaging the rear end of the truck. Restarting with four laps remaining in the 18th position, Harvick made it through one final caution on lap 198 for a spin by the No. 24, which set up a green-white-checkered finish and allowed Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) teammate Ron Hornaday to take the checkered flag. Harvick crossed the finish line in 15th.
“I hate it for our Tide ride today, but I’m so happy that we were able to finally get Ron [Hornaday] into victory lane at Martinsville,” said Harvick after the race. “We had some brake issues that put us behind, and you never want to have to come from the back at Martinsville. We had some contact later in the race which made it an eventful day, but that’s all part of it at this track.”
Ron Hornaday earned his first-career victory at Martinsville Speedway and second of 2010, followed by Kyle Busch, Todd Bodine, Jason White and Aric Almirola rounding out the top five. The No. 2 remains fifth in the Owner’s Point Standings, 380 points out of first place.
The Truck Series hits the track again on Saturday, October 30th for the Mountain Dew 250 fueled by Fred’s at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway where Ken Schrader will be behind the wheel of the No. 2 truck. The race can be seen live on SPEED at 3:30 p.m. ET.