Harvick wins 2nd straight Budweiser Shootout
Fighting the flu and driving a backup car that he hadn’t turned a lap in until Saturday night’s race, Harvick passed Greg Biffle on the second lap of a green-white-checker overtime session just moments before Biffle got sideways in turn three to touch off a eight-car melee with two laps to go.
The field finished the final lap under caution, giving Harvick his second straight Budweiser Shootout victory, joining Neil Bonnet, Ken Schrader, and Tony Stewart as the only drivers to win back to back in the 31-year history of the all-star pre-season event.
It's a lot of fun to win. I know we started the last year the same way,” said Harvick. “I have to thank my team, they did a great job. Wrecked a car in practice, I was sick on Thursday, didn't even get to sit a lap in this thing. Man that thing was a rocket.”
Kasey Kahne managed to dodge the wreck to finish second, followed by Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin
Harvick’s primary car was wadded up in a multi-car crash during the first practice session on Thursday. Harvick himself was not in the car during the wreck, giving up the seat to Richard Childress Racing teammate Clint Bowyer while Harvick recovered from flu-like symptoms at home in North Carolina.
With Harvick still ailing, teammate Jeff Burton put the back-up car through it’s paces on Thursday night, while Harvick’s first laps in the car were when he took the green flag on Saturday.
“Tonight we led a bunch of laps, ran at the front all night,” said Harvick. “To go out and have that car start cold, never have a lap on the racetrack, to have it run like it ran, says a lot for the preparation of the team.”
Carl Edwards led the event after drawing the pole slot alongside Harvick and led all 25 laps of the first segment before bringing the field to pit road for a 10-minute break.
Harvick showed his muscle at the start of the second, 50-lap segment – leading a total of 19 laps. Harvick continued to lead the field before Michael Waltrip brought out the fourth caution flag on lap 71, setting up the three-lap overtime finish.
Biffle and Kahne gambled and stayed on the track while the rest of the leaders came to pit road, with many electing to take just right-side tires only.
Restarting fourth, Harvick quickly overtook Biffle as he dropped out from behind and down to the low side ahead of Kahne going thought turn one.
For Kahne, the decision not to pit likely saved him from getting caught up in the big wreck.
“Yeah, that actually worked out great for us,” said Kahne. “We were right there. Even on the restart there, Harvick got in front of me and I was pushing him and I was right on the white line. I was like, ‘Man, the tires aren’t too bad.’ So I was happy.”
For Harvick, Saturday night’s victory was a vindication for a team that endured a terrible run of luck in 2009.
Harvick’s victory in last season’s Shootout was the lone bright spot for Richard Childress Racing, as the team was shut out of victory lane for the first time since 2004, with all four RCR entries missing the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
“We got beat down a little bit in the middle last year,” said Harvick. “We kind of built that up as we got towards the end of the year.
“There's nothing like slinging Budweiser in Victory Lane that can replace that feeling. It just gives those guys that confidence and gives us that confidence, gives everybody that confidence that we've done it a lot and we can still do it a lot more.”
Saturday night’s race was the first race using larger restrictor plates for the cars, giving the drivers a little more horsepower to work with. It was also the first race since NASCAR loosened it’s stance on policing bump-drafting at the series two superspeedway tracks, allowing the driver’s to settle it out amongst themselves on the track.
Despite the change in the rules, most of the drivers said there was no more bump drafting than usual for a typical Daytona race.
“I was getting hit and I was hitting cars, but I thought it was pretty similar at times the way the packs get caught up,” said Kahne. “I think the biggest thing is you can just get some huge bursts of speed and get some big pushes, but….I thought it was probably pretty similar to how it’s been.”
“It wasn’t nearly as crazy as I thought it would be,” said Hamlin. “We are running so fast and handling is such an issue that everyone was being fairly cautious with each other and that was good.
“It was an anticlimactic ending, that’s for sure. You would’ve liked to have seen a little bit more excitement.”
1. (2) Kevin Harvick, Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet, 76, Running
KERRY THARP: We'll roll into our post-race winning team for the 2010 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. This is Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. He's joined by his crew chief Gil Martin. Congratulations for putting on a great show tonight.
Kevin, I know you've been under the weather the last couple days. I'm sure this is pretty good medicine for you.
KEVIN HARVICK: They want to kick me out already and get sick again. Got to thank everybody from the 29 team, Clint and Jeff, for driving my cars, all the guys back at the shop for already fixing our car, having it ready for next Wednesday to be sitting back at the racetrack in case something else happens.
It's a lot of fun to win. I know we started the last year the same way. Tonight we led a bunch of laps, ran at the front all night. To go out and have that car start cold, never have a lap on the racetrack, to have it run like it ran, says a lot for the preparation of the team. It's a lot about the details. Good pit stops all night.
What else do you say? We're going to let Gil draw from now on because I can't draw very good so we're going to let him draw the starting spots.
KERRY THARP: Gil, talk about how the team performed tonight, winning that race.
GIL MARTIN: They did a great job. Like you say, it was a different situation all week long in the way the format of the race was this week or practice on Thursday, trying to get the cars all ready, getting the 500 car ready at the same time. There was a lot of stuff crammed into a couple of days. They stepped up to the task.
The guys at the shop, engine shop, everybody always thanks those guys, but the tremendous amount of work they did this week, to field two cars that were good, that were that good for this race, I'm very proud of them.
KERRY THARP: We're also joined by team owner Richard Childress. I know you have to feel good about starting off 2010 with a victory here for RCR Racing.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yeah, like Gil was just saying, everybody put so much effort into this. I'm really excited about the race Sunday. Thursday and Sunday I think we got some really good cars there. But this one tonight, Kevin Harvick made the right move at the right time. He just knows how to do it here.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions now for either Kevin, Richard or Gil.
Q. Kevin, it's said that sick and injured drivers sometimes perform better, get a great performance out of it. Do you subscribe to that now?
KEVIN HARVICK: I don't know. I was sick Thursday. It was a short sickness. I felt really good when I woke up this morning. Felt good at the second half of the way yesterday. Didn't have a whole lot of time in the racecar. That was probably the only part that concerned me the most.
Before I got to the start/finish line, Newman hit me about three times. I knew I was going to be all right. So whatever we got to do, however it shakes out is good for me. I guess we can skip practice if Gil and Richard are good with it (laughter).
Q. Kevin, can you talk a little bit about how you won this race, the winning move, following Biffle long enough to get yourself broke clear. Was that your plan all along? Was that something that happened?
KEVIN HARVICK: When Biffle chose the top lane, I knew it was going to be up to me to get a good restart because we were off just a touch on the ratios. I needed to roll the start just enough to get to his bumper. It timed out perfect. I was able to get Greg out there. I knew if I could get him out, I was able to get up underneath him with the momentum we carried into one, then at that point I started dragging the brake to make sure we stayed side-by-side so we didn't drag a faster line by him or somebody else. I drug us back to the 9 car. I was hoping that my line would get there before his line. I knew if we would get to turn three, I was going to be in better shape because I had tires and he didn't.
I wanted to maintain side-by-side with Biffle because I thought that I had an advantage over him once we got to the next corner.
Q. Kevin, this is the appetizer for Sunday. What did you learn tonight, if anything, that you'll be able to apply on Sunday?
KEVIN HARVICK: I think the biggest thing that we learned for us is our handling package is fairly good. Obviously it will change a little bit as we go through the week because everything is going to shift to daytime temperatures. It's pretty cool tonight, probably a little added grip from what we'll have during the 500 as rubber gets on the racetrack into Thursday.
Our basic package of car is really good. And tonight, that was what was able to keep us up front. I wasn't pinned to one groove. I could run the top, bottom or middle. Didn't have to be picky about who I followed. I could go wherever I want. That's nice from a driver standpoint to have options like that. Lets you be pretty aggressive. Obviously tonight is an aggressive style race that's pretty forward thinking. There's not a whole lot of 'whatever the consequences are' thinking. So it's all about whatever it takes to go forward.
Q. Kevin, the decision to come in and get tires there at the very end, how much discussion went into that? Is that ever just a black-and-white call where you know you have to do this or is it more often where you don't know how it's going to play out?
KEVIN HARVICK: I saw more lined up on the yellow line than stayed up on the racetrack. I said, Screw it, we're going to come in. Gil said, You can't have any more than two tires. I said, Okay. That wound up being the right call for sure.
Really the won 1 is the only car that got up in front of us in the pits. That's really what won us the race, because Biffle chose the high line. We were able to get going.
You know, it's Daytona. You got to have some sort of tires after you've run them that long. And I think I knew that the 14 was gonna come. I knew that the 24 was gonna have tires. You know, those guys all race. When you run that long, they know these racetracks, like we do, that you have to have some sort of tires. No matter if you're coming to two laps or 10 laps, you're going to have to have some sort of tires.
Q. Kevin, was there any confusion as to whether they were going to do multiple attempts at a 'green-white-checkered' at the end? Did you pretty much know what was coming?
KEVIN HARVICK: I was a little bit off kilter on that one. They knew. But I thought myself, I didn't say a word on the radio. That's why I didn't say a word. I read on something somewhere, it wasn't the entry blank, I know that for sure, but I read race will end under green. Maybe it was on a TV telecast as I was delusional sleeping in bed on Thursday. I don't know. Maybe I dreamed it. But they knew what was going on. As long as they know what's going on.
KERRY THARP: The entry blank was 'green-white-checkered' one attempt.
KEVIN HARVICK: I should have known that because that's how it ended last year. It ended exactly the same as last year.
Q. Kevin, what was functionally different about the cars tonight? Was the throttle response better because of the plates?
KEVIN HARVICK: I don't know how fast we were going but it sure felt like we were going pretty fast, compared to normal. The cars, they just felt fast. But they were very forgiving, as well. You could get the cars really sideways, so you could be very aggressive, I could be very aggressive with my racecar. Even when the thing would get dead sideways, you could stay late in the gas. You could steer the thing and drive the car.
That's probably not the way you want to drive it every lap, but tonight you were just going 25, 50-lap increments so it didn't really matter. But the car felt very forgiving to me. It felt like the speed was there. When you fell behind and had to lift off the gas if you got tight or loose, you could make that ground up pretty fast. Still going to be a handling race, though.
Q. Kevin, now that you've won the Shootout, what is your confidence for winning the 500? Is it more?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I don't think you ever want -- I've been here enough times to know this can be a funny week. It can mess with you time after time. Hour by hour can bring something that's unexpected, just like getting sick to start the week. I mean, that's not something that you plan for or can plan for.
Wrecking a car in the first practice with somebody else driving it, there's so many different variables that you can get thrown -- that can get thrown at you this week. You just got to stay even keel. This is great that we won tonight. We're all really excited about what we want to do. The big picture is on Sunday. It's just take it hour by hour, one day at a time.
These guys have been here enough, they know this place can knock you down as fast as it can pick you up. You got to maintain even keel and you got to be able to keep that focus through Sunday, all the way through the race. I mean, strange things happen.
Q. If you could just talk about what this does for your team to start off like this. There have been some guys that are really getting a good start on Speedweeks. It probably does make a big difference.
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I think it's good for our particular group because, you know, some of us, a few of us, have won together before, but never -- this is a fairly new group still from a team standpoint. For us all to win together, it kind of gives you that team bonding you really need. It gives you a little swagger in your step that everybody knows that they can win. We got beat down a little bit in the middle last year. We kind of built that up as we got towards the end of the year.
There's nothing like slinging Budweiser in Victory Lane that can replace that feeling. It just gives those guys that confidence and gives us that confidence, gives everybody that confidence that we've done it a lot and we can still do it a lot more.
KERRY THARP: Guys, great show tonight. Thank you.
An interview with: KASEY KAHNE and JAMIE McMURRAY
KERRY THARP: We'll roll right into our post race press conference for the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. We're pleased to be joined by tonight's race runner-up, that is Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports.
Kasey, talk about the race out there tonight, how you thought things unfolded for the No. 9 car.
KASEY KAHNE: I thought it was a great race. I really enjoyed it. From the time it went green, we started 19th, just kind of marched our way up to the top three or four cars and raced there for the majority of the race. It was a lot of fun to have a Budweiser Ford that fast.
The Roush-Yates engine, the way it comes up through the gears, the way it races, the way you can get pushes and push other cars was something that was new to me and I enjoyed it. I thought it was pretty awesome.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for Kasey Kahne.
Q. Through the allowance of bump-drafting or through the new plate, whatever other changes made on the car, did it feel any different out there?
KASEY KAHNE: Well, to me, my car slid around a lot. But it always turned. You can't really get tight off these corners, or you can't push, because it kills your straightaway speed to me. The way ours was, it slid around a lot, but it was fast that way.
I thought it was some pretty exciting racing. I was on edge from the time it went green. Even the first 25, in intros, there were guys saying, Should we take it easy, we do this, do that. I felt it was on from the time the green flag came out tonight.
Q. Did you feel like you received more bump-drafting than normal?
KASEY KAHNE: I felt like I was getting hit and I was hitting cars. But I thought it was pretty similar, the way the packs get caught up. The thing is, you can get some huge bursts of speed and get some big pushes. More bump-drafting or any of that, I thought it was pretty similar to how it's been.
KERRY THARP: Let's hear from tonight's third-place finisher, that is Jamie McMurray. He drives the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi. Congratulations, Jamie. A good run for you. Talk about your run.
JAMIE McMURRAY: We had a great night. It's a wonderful way to start my relationship back with Chip Ganassi and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. You never know when you start out if you're going to like the setups that they give you or the cars, if you're going to have to work on all of that.
We unloaded pretty much with the setup that they built at the shop, and didn't change anything all night long. Pretty much the way we unloaded the car. We got caught up in that wreck. It kind of worked out to benefit us because the backup car drove a lot better than what the primary car did. Kevin explained to me after practice that they chose the third best car for the Shootout. Our backup car was the second best car. So it wasn't surprising to him.
But feels great to be back. It's just a really good way to start that relationship again.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for either Jamie or Kasey.
Q. Kasey, what could you tell from the Roush-Yates horsepower? How did it compare?
KASEY KAHNE: The way the car handled was fairly similar to what we've done in the past. I still have the same team, so we're still doing a lot of the same things, which was really nice. I understand the way our cars feel and the way they're set up.
The biggest difference was just the engine. From the time it goes green up through the gears, second, third, fourth, it just pulls hard. You can get nice, you know, good -- I can bump a little bit and get bumped a lot. That to me was really good.
I was pleased. I was really happy with it. You come down here and you always see how well the Roush-Yates engines run in the past. They've won a lot of races at this track over the years. Yates has back. I feel like it was something to look forward to and I was real happy with it. Look forward to next week. I think it's going to be a great week for us.
Q. Jamie, did you feel you had one of the fastest cars during the race? You mentioned Matt did as well. Who did you think was really capable of being up front much of the race?
JAMIE McMURRAY: I thought the 99 had one of the best cars because we ran the first 25 laps and nobody could really clear him. He could work both lanes. It looked to me like, whether it was Stewart or Harvick or me, or even Kasey, if you got to the lead, you could only hold it for a lap. Carl was able to hold onto it quite a while. I don't know exactly what happened to him.
But I thought that Carl and Matt had really good cars. And honestly I thought that we had one of the better cars tonight. You know, the ECR engines run really well. They did a really good job at making the car drive great. That's what Daytona is all about. You know, when you can drive in the corner and the car doesn't wash up, you can run wide open on the bottom with guys on your outside, it's really hard to do that. I could run pretty much flat out the whole night. The car was really loose, but you were able to hold it wide open. That's what you work for in practice, is to be able to do that.
I'm hoping I can make some Twitter page at this point, too, so you know. If you want to send the highlight out, I'd appreciate it (smiling).
Q. Tony made a pretty aggressive pass between y'all near the end of the that first segment. Is that more of the kind of passing we are likely to see next week? Are the cars able to make that move a little better now?
JAMIE McMURRAY: Like what he said, with the package they have right now, you get stalled out when you get two cars kind of side-by-side. You're just able to get huge run behind the guys. It's not necessarily because your car is handling better. It's like the cars in the front get stalled out. Whoever is behind him, Tony got a bunch of those tonight.
I think it's just kind of a product of the environment we have right now with the plate and the endplates and the wing.
Q. Jamie, you talked a little bit about the engines. Given how strong you've been on restrictor plates in the past, with this new package, what do you think your chances are for next Sunday?
JAMIE McMURRAY: I feel really good about it. I mean, every race I finished at Daytona and Talladega, I finished pretty good. Just have to stay out of the trouble. Honestly, we had a little bit of a debate before this race even started about riding around in the back to start because they wrecked twice in practice within 10 laps. You know, I told them, This will be wild tonight because everybody is going to be amped up and ready to go.
But we elected to just race all night. Glad we did because certainly nobody likes to ride around in the back. But I think I know our other car has a little more speed in it. I think the aero numbers are better even on downforce, so. They tell me that other car is going to drive as good, if not better. Obviously we have a good setup for this track. Yeah, I mean, I feel as good about this year as ever.
Q. Jamie sort of answered my question. But for Kasey, every time rules change, even in a subtle way, you see something new when you watch the races. Is there anything in particular that you noticed about this package that you couldn't do with the previous package here?
KASEY KAHNE: Well, I think it's kind of tough. That's a tough question for me because my engine is so much different. My car runs so much different than it has in the past. It's hard to say that it was this that made you feel this way, the plate, the endplates. There was a lot of changes for myself at this type of a track.
I like everything that's been changed. I think it's more exciting. Definitely in the car tonight I was excited the whole time. There were a lot of times we were on edge. So I think the changes were good.
Q. Did the racing turn out like you expected it was going to be? First night out, people are amped up. New rules package. Were people racing like you expected? And, Kasey, were you worried being a sitting duck there not pitting like that? Biffle said he was.
KASEY KAHNE: I was a little bit nervous because I saw one stay. You would think more would stay out. The whole field came in. I was definitely nervous. My car handled good on the bottom. I needed to stay in front of cars. When we got one lap to go, who knows what was going to happen. It would have been pretty wild.
But, you know, we made it. It worked out well for us. Yeah, I don't know about the rest. I think it was good, pretty exciting. I liked the way the cars handled tonight.
Q. Kasey, as far as everybody starts with a clean slate next week. Does this win give you a couple of nicks on that slate or does it go away when you crank the engine up next week?
KASEY KAHNE: I think it goes away. This is a great night for us. We ran well in the Bud Shootout. We were up there all night with our Budweiser car. We had some things we learned. We didn't get a whole lot of practice. We didn't run that second practice because of the fender bender a little bit in the wreck with Kurt. We didn't run a whole lot in there. Tonight in the race I feel like I learned a lot. Talking to Kenny, there's things we're going to be able to make our Daytona 500 car even better than what it was tonight hopefully and have just as fast of a car throughout the whole week.
Q. There's a little bit of confusion. Might just be me. Did you think this race was supposed to end under green? Regardless, if you did or didn't, would you have liked to have seen it end under green?
KASEY KAHNE: I'm happy I'm right here. I mean, I don't know. I thought it was 'green-white-checkered'.
JAMIE McMURRAY: I'm the same way. On TV it said it must end under green. There wouldn't have been anything left. They would have just kept wrecking.
KASEY KAHNE: In the drivers meeting they did say one attempt at a two-lap 'green-white-checkered'. That's what I understood. The way it ended was normal.
Q. Jamie, can you talk about the problems you had that forced you to drop back in the middle of the race.
JAMIE McMURRAY: They told me to save fuel. The easiest way to save fuel is to push the clutch in, turn the ignition off. So I did that. When I turned the ignition back on, there was no power. Lost everything. I don't know why.
I've never had that happen. At Roush we did not run the kill switch on the steering wheel. So I didn't know if I hit that. I didn't know how you even know if that's on or off because I spent four years of not having it. They came on the radio and said, Just turn the master switch off and turn it back on. As soon as I did, all the power came back on. It worked fine.
I told them, I'm like, I didn't know that was going to happen. They acted like they didn't either. I don't know if we had something broke or what happened. But that's definitely not normal because everybody does that at the road courses and stuff. I can't imagine they have to reset that every single time. Something wasn't right.
Q. Jamie, can you also talk about that slingshot move you pulled with eight laps left.
JAMIE McMURRAY: Slingshot? Pretty cool. I didn't know I did that.
You just are able to get really big runs. The racing is not dramatically different, but it is in that way because we never were able to get runs without having two guys hooked up, you were never able to get those runs before. I like the package they have. I think it's going to put on a great show Sunday.
I tell you one thing nobody has brought up, that everybody writes about when it's bad. It rained really hard, and we haven't had any tire problems since we've been here. That's always been the story at Daytona the first few days in practice, that everybody has issues with tires. I think Goodyear should get their -- they're back. You know what I'm trying to say.
KERRY THARP: Pat on the back?
JAMIE McMURRAY: I think it's a really big deal they were able to bring us a tire. All the drivers like the way their cars drove. There weren't any tire issues at all. I haven't heard anybody even bring that up. And the cars are running faster. I know they were really worried. We're running about a second a lap faster than we have, so they've done a great job.
Q. Even with the subtle changes, are you sensing you're going to have a different strategy or have to think things through any differently come the Duels, the 500, when you can make your move? Can you make them later, earlier, work harder, not as hard on making moves now?
JAMIE McMURRAY: You can have that one.
The 150s are going to be different because it's going to be running in the daylight. The cars are going to drive really bad with the sun on the track. I know from the first Shootout practice to the second, it was a big difference in the amount of grip.
I think the 150 is going to be a little bit unique. The 500 is going to end around the same time as this one or dark.
KERRY THARP: Probably around 4, 4:30, 5.
JAMIE McMURRAY: Never mind. I'll have to rethink my question. It's always ended in the dark from what I remember. But it will be different running in the sunlight than what it is running at night.
KASEY KAHNE: Have to make some adjustments.
Q. Can you talk about how competitive the racing was. Was it more or less?
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, I thought it was really competitive. I thought, like I said earlier, when it went green, you know, I was two, three-wide for the 75 laps. I thought throughout most of the race there was action. At least where I was, there was action. I felt like I was in the mix and had runs going. I just felt like there was a lot going on. It was exciting.
So I thought it was a little more than usual and I was happy with it.
JAMIE McMURRAY: I agree.
Q. DW keeps saying with the bigger plate you're able to get out of the throttle a little bit if you have to, modulate a little bit more than you used to be able to. Is that true?
JAMIE McMURRAY: I never let off the gas. I don't know about him, but I ran flat out. The only time I had to let off is if I had a huge run, and I knew pushing the guy in front of me that I was going to shove him through whoever he was behind. I for the most part I didn't let off the gas.
I will say that I think the huge runs that everybody is getting is because we have a bigger plate. I don't think that a smaller plate would benefit anything. I mean, I think that's great they keep opening that up. It seems to give the cars more acceleration. I think what he's referring to more than anything, with the old style cars and everything, it took a long time to get everything wound up. If you got out of the gas, it would slow down and take you like a lap to get wound back up. Where with this, it takes one straightaway and you're kind of back to where you were.
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, I agree with that. The thing about it is, like Jamie said, I drive like Jamie, I guess. We do similar with our feet. But there's guys out there that, you know, I've always known of Harvick to lift. You hear him lifting a lot. He's lifting tonight. He was lifting three years ago. I think it's a driving style. It's however you learn to race these types of tracks.
But he's definitely right on the plate. You can get speed up quicker than what you could in the past.
KERRY THARP: All right, guys, great show out there tonight. We'll see you next week. Thank you.
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