Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kevin's Krew and a 10th place finish at Auto Club Speedway

Kevin Harvick showed two sides of his personality at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana on Sunday. He showed his generous side before the race started, providing 75 at-risk students with tickets to the race and spending time with them before the driver introductions.
He showed his prickly side after the race when he rushed out of the garage area not wanting to talk much about his 10th place finish.
Harvick can be that way. It was great to see Harvick spend time with some kids who might not otherwise get a chance to see a NASCAR race, let alone meet one of the drivers. He took photos with them, signed autographs and answered some questions all with team representatives urging him to leave and go to the trackside stage for the introductions.
The program, called Kevin’s Krew, has grown from five kids he invited to attend a race at Auto Club Speedway last year to more than 700,000 kids who got a chance to attend races at six tracks.
The program was initiated by Colton Police Officer Todd Smith. Kevin’s Krew has expanded with support from the Avondale Police, Phoenix Police, Oakland Police, Charlotte Police, Henry County Sheriff and Brooklyn Police departments.
With a new group of fans wearing bright yellow Pennzoil colors securely seated in the grandstands, Harvick did his best to give them something to cheer about.
He started the race in seventh, moved into the top five and raced in third place for the first half of the race. He had great pit stops, but he had troubles on the restarts after the pit stops. His crew would gain one or two spot in the pits, but his car did not respond well with fresh tires. Harvick battled his way to a 10th place finish as his team made a number of adjustments throughout the race.
Gil Martin, his crew chief, said after the race he was faced with a tough decision about Harvick’s car. An eight-car crash stopped the race with five laps to go. Martin decided to bring Harvick’s car into the pits for tires and gas. The pit stop cost Harvick track position. With only four laps left in the race after it resumed, Harvick did not have enough time to make up many spots.
Martin said he turned Harvick’s fifth-place car in to a 10th place effort. Harvick said after the race he wasn’t happy with his 10th place finish. That was about all he said as he walked out of the garage area and to his trailer.
Jimmie Johnson won the race. It was his fifth of the season. He also took over the lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings. Johnson has a 12 point lead over Mark Martin, who was fourth in the race at Auto Club Speedway.
Jeff Gordon, Johnson’s teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, finished second. Juan Pablo Montoya was third.
The race at Auto Club Speedway was the fourth in the 10-race Chase, NASCAR’s playoff. The next race will be at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday night.

1 comment:

  1. This is true Kevin Harvick style. I have personally witnessed how generous and kind he can be, even when you would have no idea he was paying attention.

    Great man!!