Roswell, GA (October 26, 2010) – Gil Martin, crew chief for the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick, has been named the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Sunday’s TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Martin and company rebounded from a disappointing 36th starting spot and rallied for a third-place finish – the first top-five for Harvick at Martinsville. And, it couldn’t have come at a better time as Harvick, third in the Sprint Cup Series championship standings, closed the gap on the two frontrunners. With four races to go, he is only 62 points behind Jimmie Johnson and 56 in arrears to Denny Hamlin.
After the poor result in time trials at NASCAR’s shortest track, Martin and crew used Saturday’s two final practice sessions to make wholesale changes on the No. 29. The changes worked, as he was third and fifth fastest.
At Martinsville, a driver who starts at the back of the pack can go down a lap in a hurry, but Harvick’s car showed strength from the beginning, vaulting into 17th by lap 48 when the day’s first caution flag flew. The first of numerous lightening fast pit stops during the day moved Harvick up an additional five spots to 12th when racing resumed.
He danced up the leader board and cracked the top five on lap 89, and then eventually took over the top spot on lap 377. Late in the race, he held the lead, but his yellow and red machine lost grip in the latter stages of the race, but he held on for third. He led a total of 97 laps on six different occasions.
“Gil and the No. 29 team did an amazing job this weekend,” said WYPALL Wipers crew chief representative Jeff Hammond. “They made the adjustments needed after qualifying that enabled Kevin to drive to the front, gave him great pit stops, and inched closer to Jimmie and Denny. These last four races are going to be something to see which crew chief will make the right calls.”
WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief Results
Todd Berrier, Jeff Burton and the No. 31 CAT team finished ninth after leading the most laps. Jeff started 18th, but quickly maneuvered his way to the front. He was running second with 50 laps to go when his car began experiencing a loose condition, eventually dropping him to ninth.
Frank Kerr, crew chief of the No. 47 Camry driven by Marcos Ambrose, qualified second for the event, but dealt with numerous struggles throughout the day. He suffered a flat tire after making contact with Johnson, spun out, but stayed on the lead lap. Later in the race, Ambrose had to pull behind the wall with brake issues. After making lengthy repairs, The No. 47 Camry wound up 34th, seventy two laps behind.
WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief Team
Berrier, Kerr and Hammond, along with representatives from the WYPALL Wipers brand, serve as the panel for the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge and vote for the weekly crew chief winners. In addition to the $500 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at season’s end.
Former winners of the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge include Tony Eury, Sr. (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.), Robbie Reiser (Matt Kenseth), Doug Richert (Greg Biffle), Mike Ford (Denny Hamlin) and Chad Knaus (Johnson).
About WYPALL Wipers
WYPALL is a brand of Kimberly-Clark Professional. Since 2004, WYPALL Wipers has been affiliated with some of racing’s top teams. Offering heavy-duty to versatile light-duty towels, WYPALL Wipers provide race teams with a number of products that demonstrate strength and durability. Defeating the toughest of challenges, from absorbing tough grease and oil to wiping down windshields without leaving residue behind, WYPALL Wipers continue to offer performance and versatility.
The WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the 2010 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.wypall.com.