Chevy Racing–Chicago–Post Race

SEPTEMBER 16, 2013
JOLIET, IL – September 16, 2013 – Following lengthy rain delays before and during the opening round of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Kevin Harvick led the way for Team Chevy in his No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS at the GEICO 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway with a third-place finish.  It was Harvick’s seventh top-10 finish of the season and eighth top-10 finish at Chicagoland.
A mid-race five-hour red flag changed track conditions from day to night, which created a challenging situation for all. But Team Chevy Chase contenders made a strong showing with four drivers finishing in the top-10 overall.
Kurt Busch continued to impress in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing/Serta Chevrolet SS as he came home in fourth position and now moves to sixth in the standings with nine races to go in the Chase for the championship.  Busch was followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who finished fifth and sixth respectively. 
Johnson is third in points in his quest for a sixth NSCS title, while Gordon moved up to seventh after being added to the Chase field on Friday at Chicagoland Speedway after NASCAR ruled to include the No. 24 team as the 13th contender in this season’s Chase field.
Behind the wheel of his No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, Ryan Newman came away with a 10th-place finish after the post Richmond International Raceway shuffle that put him in the Chase. He sits eighth in the standings. Contact on pit road forced Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, to the attention of his pit crew several times under caution for repairs, but he rallied to a 12th place finish in the 267-lap/400-mile race. He is 10th in the standings.
A mechanical issue forced Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Time Warner Chevrolet SS to the garage on lap 224. He was scored 35th and sits 13th in the standings.
Matt Kenseth (Toyota) was the race winner and Kyle Busch (Toyota) was second to round out the top five.
The next race on the tour and the second race of the Chase is September 14th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Joining us now, we have Kevin Harvick. Let’s hear about the race tonight. Currently in fourth place in our Chase standings is Kevin Harvick. Kevin, talk about your run out there tonight and maybe how the track obviously changed from the beginning first segment, then after that and finishing it out.
KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah, the first half of the race for us, we were really tight, struggled with the handling of our car to be able to get the car to turn through the center of the corner.  We sat down, the engineers and Gil sat down in between the rain delay there and came up with some good adjustments and we were able to make some good ground.
Our car was really good on the restarts, so you could pick a bunch of them off pretty easy there going into turn one and two.  All in all, it was a good night, just too loose at the end to run with those guys up off the corner, but still a good night.
KERRY THARP:  We’ll take questions for Kevin.
Q.  Did you notice anything different in terms of the radio communications with the digital access for spotters being gone, generally the restarts, all the changes?
KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah, I mean, we didn’t really have anything different that affected what we did in the car.  I didn’t notice anything different.
Q.  Restarts pretty much the same?
KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah.  I think everybody can be a little bit more aggressive as you saw at the end, not worrying about shoving the other guy in front.  I think when the green flag goes, you just start going and make a decision as to whether you want to go low or push the guy in front of you.
Q.  Kevin, what happened on pit road?  Can you talk about virtually everybody in the top six had something possibly happen to them tonight.  You were able to get through it.
KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah, we went from top five three times to 16th or 18th.  Once was just everybody took two tires.  Another time was the 7 coming into his pit stall, stopped and going.  We all stacked up and had to stop to not crash.  The rest of it was just bad performance on pit road.
Q.  Kevin, you gave Matt the push.  Did you feel you were going to be able to follow him through and challenge him later on?
KEVIN HARVICK:  I didn’t know.  Looked like the run before, Kyle was a little bit better than the 20.  They were evenly matched.  I was hoping they would get side‑by‑side, you have one of them slide up, able to get three‑wide or something happen.  I figured that was better than going to the bottom and getting three‑wide and being pinned on the bottom and getting passed by two or three cars on the top. I figured that was my best option.      
Q.  Kevin, five hours of rain delay.  How do you keep yourself in focus, ready to get back behind the wheel?
KEVIN HARVICK:  Honestly, I just went back and hung out with DeLana and my son, ate some dinner, relaxed and watched football.  That’s what I did; really not think about racing.  When it was time to go, you get back into the right frame of mind.
Q.  Did the track conditions change after the rain delay?  Track temperature went down 17 degrees.        
KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah, I mean, the pace definitely picked up.  My car was way better in the night than it was in the day.  I mean, there was a couple times three‑quarters down the straightaway, sit on the rev limiter, I hadn’t touched it all weekend.          
KERRY THARP:  Kevin, thanks for putting on a great performance for us today.
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ADDITIONAL POST RACE COMMENT FROM: Mark Martin, No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS – Finished 17th
“I felt like we had a better racecar than that, but I feel like we had a great effort. Made a couple of mistakes on the racetrack, but we recovered from them. Like I said, we had a pretty good Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. That last run, the car got tight. I think I could’ve passed a couple more cars there if it hadn’t tightened up on me, but for some reason, after that last stop, it tightened up on me. I feel good about the speed we have. We know where we need to work now. We’ve been together long enough to know what we need. We’re building a foundation and we’ll keep learning. It was a good effort.”