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Harvick wins Michigan Truck race

NASCAR
Saturday, August 20, 2011

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Kevin Harvick celebrates
Mark Scheuern/AR1.com
Kevin Harvick drove his way around a series of late-race crashes to find Gatorade Victory Lane on Saturday during the VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway.

Harvick became the first driver to win in all three major NASCAR series events at MIS with victories in the Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series. It was also his second straight win in the Truck Series this season and 11th in his 111th series start.

“(Michigan International Speedway) has always been a fun race track for us, but as a program we’ve had some struggles here over the years,” Harvick said. “The key at the end was that I had fresher tires than the others and was able to drive the truck wide open for the last few restarts while the other guys were having to hold off a little. It was a crazy day.”

With a number of front-runners eliminated along the way in a variety of mishaps, many by a multi-car crash with nine laps remaining, Harvick took the lead on the restart.

With fresher tires he held off Timothy Peters and Miguel Paludo, who finished second and third respectively, in a green-white-checker ending.

“I didn’t think we had the truck to win, but we had good tire strategy and that caution came out (with nine laps remaining) and with fresh tires we were able to get under Mark (Martin) and some others. It was ugly but it was a lot of fun.”

Harvick’s crew chief, Bruce Cook, admitted, “It wasn’t pretty, but we had a driver who kept our heads up and some breaks went our way.”

Kyle Busch, an early race leader, left after 63 laps when someone’s side window hit his lower radiator duct, knocked a hole in it, and eliminated the leader in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner points.

A five-truck crash with nine laps remaining knocked out three-top contenders Mark Martin, Matt Crafton and Austin Dillon, all of whom led the race at different times. Martin was the leader in laps led with 33, followed by Crafton (20) and Dillon (16).

Harvick will start 24th in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at MIS starting at 1 p.m. Greg Biffle starts the race from the pole position in the Pure Michigan Ford.

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