Last season, Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick was not the happiest of competitors, after finishing a very disappointing 38th during the second race of the season at Auto Club Speedway because of a blown engine.
Harvick, who had just won the Daytona Shootout along with finishing second behind Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth, thought for sure his season was headed for success after leaving Florida on a positive note.
As the 2009 season progressed, Harvick would find out that he was slowly headed for another winless season, and multiple sources were quoted saying he wanted out of his contract with Richard Childress Racing.
Harvick, who still had one year remaining on his contract with RCR, was hoping to take the Shell/Pennzoil sponsorship deal from his No. 29 Chevy over to Stewart-Haas Racing. The Shell deal ended at the close of the 2009 season.
A day after the report had surfaced; President and CEO Richard Childress went public with this statement, putting to rest any rumors that Harvick might be leaving by season’s end.
"Rumors about Kevin not driving for RCR next season have been flying around the garage area and in the media," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing.
"We want to put the rumors behind us by stating together that Kevin will drive RCR's No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Kevin and the No. 29 team are also preparing for next season with the goal of making a run at the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.”
Representatives from Shell also confirmed that the sponsorship deal that was made with Harvick, would match whatever his current contract was with RCR along with Childress who assured Harvick’s fans that he would be back.
“RCR also has a multi-year contract with Kevin Harvick that includes the 2010 season. That said, Shell will be the sponsor and Kevin will be the driver of RCR’s No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet Impala SS in 2010.”
You could hear the frustration in Harvick’s voice week after week when he failed to make the Chase for the third time in his career, and the look in his eyes told the story of a driver who wanted nothing more than to get himself back into Victory Lane.
For the second straight season since his last win in the 2007 Daytona 500, victory lane had eluded this Bakersfield, Calif., native, and the aggravation of not giving his team something to celebrate quickly turned into disappointment that was also felt amongst the Harvick faithful.
With Harvick locked in for the 2010 NASCAR season, it was once again time to prepare for the upcoming season with a whole new outlook along with a new game plan.
Harvick began the season with a very strong performance in the Budweiser Shootout, when he took the checkered flag for his second win in as many years.
With “The Great American Race” just a week away, Harvick was riding a 72-race winless streak.
Harvick qualified his No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet on the third row in the fifth position, and by the time race ended, he led seven times for race-high 41 laps, while finishing in the seventh spot.
Unlike the 2009 season when Harvick finished the second race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in 38th with a blown engine, Harvick was able to race his way to a second-place finish behind race winner Jimmie Johnson, but more importantly Harvick left Fontana with the points lead.
So as the Sprint Cup Series heads into the desert city of Las Vegas and its 1.5-mile oval asphalt race track for the third race of the season, Harvick finally has something to be happy about knowing that all three of RCR’s Sprint Cup Series drivers are in the top five of the overall championship point standings.
In nine starts at Vegas, Harvick has two top-five, and three top-10 finishes while coming in as 15-1 favorite to win this weekend’s race.
Kevin and DeLana Harvick will also be celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary on Sunday, Feb. 28.
The couple got married in Las Vegas in 2001, two days prior to Harvick scoring his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top-10 finish (eighth – Las Vegas Motor Speedway).
“We’ll go eat dinner on Thursday night, for our anniversary; it usually falls every time we go out there,” said Harvick when talking about his anniversary plans.
“Pennzoil has a huge event going on this year, which we’ll attend on Friday night.”
Harvick also added that, “Yes, race day this year is our anniversary, so it would be a good race to win.”