Talkin' Trucks at Martinsville: Kevin Harvick Incorporated in the News
On Monday, when Darrell Waltrip was adding his Mountain Dew car to the Hall of Fame, Waltrip suggested that Dale Earnhardt Jr. drive some truck races for Kevin Harvick.
"I told (car owner) Rick (Hendrick), and I really, honestly believe this, I'd run him in some truck races," Waltrip said on Monday. "He needs to get somewhere where he can win, and I'd get him in a truck. Not a Nationwide car, a truck. They're fun to drive, have a good time in the truck series.
"If I was Junior, I'd go talk to (Kevin) Harvick and ask him if I could drive that No. 2 truck. I'd go out, and I'd win me a couple of races and I think that's what he needs, it would really help his confidence, and I think his fans would enjoy seeing him do that. I think it would be a win-win."
On Tuesday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway spoiler test, Kevin Harvick was asked about Waltrip's comments.
"He hasn't been center of attention and Carl (Edwards) and Brad (Keselowski) were, and he thought he ought to get his dog in the fight," he commented.
Despite these comments, Harvick did say that he’d love to have Earnhardt Jr. drive one of his trucks down the road.
On Wednesday at the Charlotte test, Earnhardt Jr. displayed his thoughts.
“I don’t have any interest,” he told David Newton. “I want to drive a truck before I retire to see what they feel like and Kevin Harvick said I could drive his anytime I wanted. Hopefully that offer will be around for quite a while, because I don’t plan on doing it anytime soon.”
Ron Hornaday Looks to Rebound
Hornaday lost 2009 crew chief Rick Ren to Kyle Busch Motorsports sending the season into questions from the start. After finding a crew chief, Hornaday went into Daytona and finished 27th after getting into a wreck; plus, something not feeling good in communication resulted in another crew chief change.
He then went to California and didn’t fare much better as he finished 33rd after cutting a tire, though communication looked better there.
Hornaday championship chances remain in question and to keep him a possible contender with the competitiveness of the truck series, he needs to score a good finish at Martinsville.
“The biggest thing is getting back on track,” Hornaday said in the pre-race report. “We haven’t had the greatest start to the season so it’s just really important for us to get out there do the best we can and gain the maximum amount of points.
"Martinsville is one track that I have yet to get a win at so I would really like to get to victory lane there. A win would help our point’s situation a lot but Martinsville is also one of the ‘upset’ tracks. You really never know what is going to happen so survival is the goal.”
He has been good at the short tracks overall in the truck series as out of his 45 career wins, 20 of them have come on short tracks, though none at Martinsville. Despite that, he has faired well at Martinsville in the past as since he began running for Kevin Harvick, he has only finished outside of the top 15 once. That non-top 15 finish came in 2008 after he ran out of gas with less than three laps to go.
Kevin Harvick Goes for Four in a Row
In the last three races he has ran with his team, he has won them. He closed out the 2009 season with wins at Phoenix and Homestead, and followed that with a win at Atlanta in 2010. Harvick’s chances look good for this year as his team is still strong and he has two wins at Martinsville (2010 truck, 2006 Nationwide).
“Martinsville has been a good track for us,” Harvick said in the pre-race report. “We ran really well there last spring, obviously, winning the race. We had a little trouble in the fall race with a flat tire, but we were able to make up a couple laps and come back with a solid top five. Based upon our most recent success in the Truck Series, confidence is very high.”
Harvick also looks to do well as he’ll be reunited with 2003 Nationwide crew chief Butch Hylton. In 2003 in the Nationwide Series, Harvick and Hylton combined to win three races and eight poles and in combination with Johnny Sauter driving some of the races, they won the owner’s championship for Richard Childress.
Hylton also has experience with Kevin Harvick Incorperated as he’s served as Tony Stewart’s crew chief in the Nationwide Series, winning two races for KHI (2005 and 2010).
“I’m excited about that,” Harvick said in the pre-race report in regards to working with Hylton again.
“We’ve talked about getting the No. 2 truck back to where we needed to be, and we’ve won a lot of races in the past, so hopefully we can continue that same success. Obviously he and Tony had success at Daytona a couple times, including this year. Hopefully we can rekindle the winning tradition we had in the past with our Nationwide program at RCR.”
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