After he won the E-Z-Go 200 in Atlanta two weeks ago, Kevin Harvick’s post-race interview just about set the tone for what the 2010 Camping World Truck Series is going to look like.
“Well, a lot of the reason we race trucks is just to make sure Kyle [Busch] doesn’t win all those races. That's the honest to God truth,” Harvick revealed.
In winning the seventh race of his Truck Series career, Harvick did so by holding off Kyle Busch, who the last few years has won in everything he’s sat in. When thinking of the CWTS and the contenders that are bound to show up each week, it’s drivers like Ron Hornaday, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick—when the two are entered in the event.
While Busch has won many of the battles in terms of race wins, Hornaday has won the war in capturing four championships. That means Harvick has won the war as well, since he’s the owner of Hornaday’s truck.
Coming into 2010, it used to be Billy Ballew Motorsports, AKA Kyle Busch against Kevin Harvick, Incorporated, AKA Ron Hornaday and Kevin Harvick. In 2009, the three drivers combined to win 16 of the 25 scheduled events, but Busch always seemed to be the driver that was the one to beat in all three series; the trucks were no different as he made it his own personal playground.
Toyota loved their young driver and all the wins—65 since entering the series in 2004 with 16 coming from Busch, including seven in 2009. That was in comparison to Chevy’s 48 series victories in that same time period.
Chevrolet has obviously not been as happy as Toyota, who has taken home the last four straight manufacturer's championships. Chevy has six titles to their name, but they haven’t seen one since 2005. It’s been all Toyota and Kyle Busch since then.
Because of that, a new battle has formed—Kevin Harvick, Inc vs. Kyle Busch Motorsports—as Harvick has taken it upon himself and his organization to change the tides.
“Sometimes you gotta protect your turf,” he says. “Because [Busch] was the only one racing a lot of the truck races and it was important for our company and Chevrolet to score as many bonus points for manufacturers points and things like that.”
What that means as mentioned, is that this battle will most likely take the forefront of this new season.
Sure, there will also be Matt Crafton in the thick of things as he tries to improve his second-place point position from last season. Timothy Peters is showing that young guns can compete with the veterans after winning his first race last season and coming back and capturing the biggest race of the year: Daytona.
And of course you can never leave out "The Onion" Todd Bodine or "The Gunslinger" Mike Skinner, both of whom will get their share of race wins this season. They’ll also be favorites in the championship battle that Hornaday is ready to defend.
But for right now Harvick isn’t worried about anyone else but Busch and making sure that he has tough competition each weekend. Neither driver runs the full season, but the races they do compete in has mixed results.
For instance, Hornaday runs the full schedule and in 2009 he won six times, whereas Busch won seven times. Harvick only won three. Except, Busch typically competes in more events than Harvick and has a greater opportunity to take home the checkered flag.
Busch ran 15 of 25 events in 2009—Harvick only six. Which is why this season will be different.
Kevin Harvick fans will see more of him on Fridays and Saturdays. “That’s the reason we started running more truck races, to protect him from winning seven or eight races a year […] I went from one or two [races] to seven or eight.”
After two races in 2010, it’s Harvick, 1, and Busch, 0.
Says Harvick, “It’s gone well so far and hopefully we can keep doing that, but he’s going to win his fair share still because he’s a good driver.”
A good driver that will be seeing more of Kevin Harvick and Ron Hornaday in 2010 as the battle for manufacturer’s bragging rights—Chevrolet vs. Toyota—is just getting started.
There’s a reason why the Camping World Truck Series puts on some of the best racing of the weekend and that will continue this year.
Nothing is better than two drivers that love to win as much as they love to see the other guy lose.