Monday, February 9, 2009
Martin to complete front row
Kevin Harvick comes from behind to win at Daytona. An Earnhardt Chevrolet charges to the front of the field for the Great American Race. Ah, the sweet and familiar sights and sounds of NASCAR are back for another season.
In a scene that looked remarkably similar to the events surrounding his 2007 Daytona 500 victory, Harvick won the season-opening Budweiser Shootout exhibition Saturday night with a thrilling last-lap pass just before a caution-inducing crash froze the field for final positioning.
Harvick was forced to battle from the back of the field after fender damage in the race's opening 25-lap segment caused his No. 29 Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet to lose the draft. In typical Daytona fashion, though, Harvick was able to draft past Jamie McMurray in Turn 3 on the race’s final lap to steal the win.
"It just seemed like I was in the wrong spot for the whole race and then at the end wound up being at right place at the right time and had a good car to go with it," said Harvick.
“I just came back up through there, and I was thinking that I won the Daytona 500 in 2007 this exact same way, just never giving up.”
Tony Stewart finished third in his first race as a driver-owner for Stewart-Haas Racing, and Jeff Gordon and A.J. Allmendinger completed the top five.
Sunday was a day for Chevrolet to shine yet again. Led by a qualifying lap of 47.872 seconds (188.001 mph) around the 2.5-mile oval, Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 1 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Impala landed the top spot for the 51st running of the Daytona 500 next Sunday.
Mark Martin - competing in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 for the first time – gave the manufacturer a front row sweep by finishing just 0.047 second off the pace for a lap of 187.817 mph.
The front row starts will be the first in the Daytona 500 careers of both drivers. The remainder of the field will be set Thursday following the 150-mile Gatorade Duels.
You can see the top drivers from Speedweeks in just two months at PIR, when the Sprint Cup Series rolls to town for the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500™! Get your tickets today at www.phoenixraceway.com or call 1-866-408-RACE (7223) for more information.