Roswell, GA (September 14, 2011) – Gil Martin, crew chief for the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick, has been named the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Saturday’s Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
As the caution flag flew for the final time on lap 384, Martin called his driver – who was running second to Jeff Gordon – to pit road for new tires and fuel. A lightening-fast pit stop by the Martin-led team put Harvick back out on track in the top spot. On the restart, he jumped in front of Gordon to pace the field, then held off a hard-charging Carl Edwards in the final laps to take the checkered flag – his fourth win of the 2011 season.
“Everybody did a great job, and the Budweiser guys on pit road had just a great last pit stop and were able to get us the track position,” said Harvick. “Our car was really good all night on the restarts, and that last run there we were actually too tight and Carl was actually a little bit better, and then with about three or four laps to go, I just locked it on the bottom and hoped for the best there, so it all worked out.”
“After the Saturday night race Bristol a few weeks ago, the Martin-led team had a Sunday team meeting – and pulled the guys together to work on what they needed to improve so that they as a team could step up for this surge before the chase to the Sprint Cup,” said Sirius XM NASCAR Radio host and WYPALL voting panel member Claire B. Lang. “That team meeting and Gil’s leadership paid off as the team went back and took a really hard look at what they could improve at Atlanta and at Richmond, which resulted in a win at Richmond. Gil pulled the team together through their middle-to-late-summer slump, and they ended up celebrating in Victory Lane, now poised for the start of the chase.”
WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Results
Steve Addington led Kurt Busch’s No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team to an impressive fifth place and are seeded fifth to begin the Chase.
“Really a good, hard fought battle,” Busch said. “That debris from that early caution cut our right rear tire, and you know, we were lucky to obtain a yellow while we were sitting there limping around. To fight back from that and to be in good position all night we had a top-five car with our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge. The last two races we have run strong, and to be up front, this is what we need for the next 10 weeks. It’s all a tribute to the guys giving me good pit stops and we’re making good adjustments on the car as we run.”
Busch started from the 11th spot and quickly moved up to the top-10 area for the entire race. Although he never led a lap, he ran as high as second and battled for the lead twice.
Paul Wolfe and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge of Brad Keselowski finished a strong 12th place, securing the 11th seed in the Chase.
Starting 19th, Keselowski communicated to Wolfe early on that his car was handling tight in the center of the corners. Wolfe called for the necessary adjustments on their first stop, but unfortunately nothing seemed to solve the issue. Following some additional adjustments directed by Wolfe, Keselowski worked his way up to second but couldn’t hold his spot up front, eventually settling for the 12th spot.
“It’s an incredible feeling to be in the Chase,” said Keselowski. “What a great sense of accomplishment for this entire Miller Lite Dodge team. This is one big step. We have more steps to go. It’s something to be proud of that’s for sure. Early in the season when things weren’t going right we just kept focusing in on the positives and stayed true to the course. We knew that we had fast Dodges. We kept plugging away, not giving up and eventually you’re going to be rewarded for that.”
WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Voting Team
Addington and Wolfe, along with Lang and FOX/Speed analyst Jeff Hammond, serve as the panel for the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge and vote for the weekly crew chief winners.
Each weekly WYPALL Crew Chief Challenge winner will be a guest on Lang’s “Dialed In” program on Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 128 at 8 p.m. EST on Wednesdays throughout the season.
The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $10,000 check during the weekend of the WYPALL 200 Presented by Kimberly-Clark Professional Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, November 12, 2011.
About WYPALL Wipers
Since 2004, Kimberly-Clark Professional’s WYPALL Wipers brand has been affiliated with some of racing’s top teams. Offering heavy-duty to versatile light-duty towels, WYPALL Wipers provides race teams with a number of products providing 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 remainder of the 2011 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.wypall.com.
About Penske Racing
Penske Racing is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Competing in a variety of disciplines, cars owned and prepared by Penske Racing have produced 332 major race wins, 396 pole positions and 23 National Championships. The team has also earned 15 Indianapolis 500 victories. For more information about Penske Racing, please visit www.penskeracing.com.