By admin | July 28, 2009
By Richard Allen
The off weekend between the race in Chicago and the one in Indianapolis was a tumultuous one for Kevin Harvick and his Richard Childress Racing team. For that matter, it has been a tumultuous season for everyone involved with the #29 car.
Harvick began the season on a high note by winning the Budweiser Shootout in Daytona and following that up a week later with a 2nd place in the Daytona 500. There has been little to get excited about since.
As a matter of fact, Harvick had scored only one other top-10, a 4th in Atlanta, coming into the Brickyard 400.
During the off weekend leading into the Indy race Harvick announced that he would be open to the possibility of leaving RCR at the end of the season. His contract with that organization runs through 2010.
Team owner Richard Childress countered by saying that he expected the contracts his company has with Harvick and sponsor Shell/Pennzoil to be honored in full.
Typically, what is supposed to happen after those type of ‘negotiations’ play out in the media is that both sides come to the next race and declare that they have talked things over and all is well. That did not happen on this occasion. Harvick certainly did not give RCR his full measure of support during his stay in Indianapolis.
With their season going as poorly as it has and the turmoil they are going through, it would have seemed an easy prediction that the #29 would have a terrible day in the Brickyard 400.
Instead, that was not the case. Harvick scored his third top-10 of 2009 when he came across the finish line 6th. He and his team actually had a very solid day. This was not a finish they lucked into on fuel mileage or some other type of fluke. The RCR Chevrolet ran in the top third of the field all day.
Harvick and his team put their troubles behind them for a day in Indy. It will remain to be seen whether they can do the same in future races. Perhaps this talk of splitting up lit a fire within the team that might lead to more good runs. Or, perhaps not.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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