RCR Is Back and Harvick Is a Contender

Misan AkuyaCorrespondent IFebruary 22, 2010

FONTANA, CA - FEBRUARY 21:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet, takes a turn alongside Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway on February 21, 2010 in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson won the race Sunday and even led the most laps. But he was by far not the best car in the field.

Infact he probably wasn't going to finish top five if it wasn't for a lucky breaking pitting when a caution came out and barely staying on the lead lap, gaining the track position he needed to win.

Kevin Harvick had the best car, Jeff Burton the second best car, and perhaps Clint Bowyer with the third best car.

That is a right a team that finished 15th, 17th, and 19th in points with 15 top fives between them and 0 wins (Johnson had 7 wins and 16 top fives in 2009) might be the best overall team in NASCAR and be the team poised to take over the reign of Johnson and the 48 team.

Harvick and Burton led 73 laps between them and ended up second and third. Despite having to pit under green due to overheating, Bowyer came back to finish eighth. Not to mention Harvick is the new points leader and Bowyer is in second.

"We felt good about what happened in the fall, over the winter. But until you start racing, you don't know where you are, honestly," said Burton. "You feel good about it. I had quite a bit of confidence coming in. But until everybody gets out here and they're going to give somebody a trophy, you don't really know where you stand. I expected to run well."

"With the three of us running good, it pushes us to fine-tune our stuff and really get the best out of our cars week in and week out," said Harvick, the first RCR driver to lead the points since Burton was on top in the spring of 2008. "There's no hollow title. We're happy we have a shot. We just keep building on those things. It leaves that sour taste in your mouth when you don't win, and you want to go back and win again. Right now, it's just everybody's very motivated, letting our cars talk for us."

After a season like 2009 it is simply amazing how Richard Childress racing has made the changes and the improvements to get where they need to be.

To keep their engine program up to snuff too is amazing. In a joint operation with Earnhardt Ganassi racing, Ecr engines might be the best engines in the garage. Ecr engines sit right now 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 23rd in points right now.

If not for Juan Pablo Montoya blowing his engine they could sit 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th.

The only thing that stop Harvick who had the best car from winning however other than Johnson's unbelievable luck, was the fact that Harvick was caught speeding on pit road putting him outside the top fifteen, and he hit the wall once he caught Johnson with three laps to go.

"They're really good, but they're really, really lucky, too," Harvick said. "I mean, Jimmie is a good friend of mine, but there's no way of getting around how lucky they are. You don't win four championships and do all the things they've done. They did a good job [Sunday] in winning the race, but they have a golden horseshoe stuck up their a**. I mean, there's no way to get around that."

While the 48 team were the lucky ones and the ones celebrating victory Sunday, it won't be long until the three RCR drivers celebrates many victories and perhaps hoist the championship trophy.