HOMESTEAD, Fllorida — Fresh off his Truck Series victory at Phoenix International Raceway Nov. 13th, Kevin Harvick looked to repeat his win in the season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. With a dominating truck, Harvick started the Ford 200 behind the wheel of the Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) No. 4 Georgia Boot Chevy Silverado from the third position and after leading 108 laps, claimed his third victory of the 2009 season. In addition to winning the race, Harvick also became a two-time Truck Series championship owner as the No. 33 Truck team with Ron Hornaday claimed the 2009 Driver and Owner’s Championship.
“I just have to thank everybody at KHI,” said Harvick following the win. “We knew we needed to go out and beat Kyle (Busch). We knew (Ron) Hornaday needed to race safe and do what he needed to do to win the owner’s championship. Obviously, he won the driver’s championship last week. Our goal was to go out and lead the most laps and win the race. Ernie Cope (crew chief) and the team built me a great truck and gave me everything I needed to go out and win the race. The crew was flawless in the pits. This is just the result of a lot of hard work from all the guys at the shop and everyone on this team. Like I said, I have to thank everybody on this program from Georgia Boot, to Chevrolet, to Rheem, Copart, VFW, Longhorn, and all the people who make this program go around.”
With a dominating truck, Harvick quickly took the lead on lap six of the scheduled 134-lap event. By lap 20 with over a two-second lead, Harvick radioed crew chief Ernie Cope that the truck drove perfect and after a few laps was pretty neutral. Continuing to lead the field, Harvick pulled away to over a six-second lead when the first caution of the race waved on lap 31. Needing the truck to be a “touch tighter,” Cope brought Harvick to pit road on lap 33 for four tires with an air-pressure adjustment and on the next lap for fuel. Following the fast stop by the Georgia Boot crew, Harvick restarted the race on lap 36 from the lead followed by Kyle Busch, Mike Skinner, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter.
The race was quickly halted again on lap 39 for another caution. The team opted for Harvick to stay on track to restart the race on lap 41 from the first position. Harvick continued to lead the field when the third caution came on lap 58. Cope called Harvick to pit road on lap 59 for four tires with an air-pressure adjustment to tighten the truck and on lap 60 for fuel. With teams opting for varying pit strategies of fuel-only or tire-only stops, Harvick restarted the race on lap 62 in the sixth position.
Back under green-flag conditions, Harvick wasted no time taking back over his position as the leader passing Busch on lap 69. Continuing to be the fastest truck on the track, Harvick again pulled away from the field to stretch out a five-second lead by lap 105.
As the race moved in on a long green-flag run, Harvick made a scheduled green-flap pit stop on lap 114 for fuel only. Once the field cycled through pit stops, Harvick was again the race leader on lap 124. Five laps later the caution flag waved and Cope made the call to bring Harvick to pit road for four fresh tires with an air-pressure adjustment. With the race extended to a green-white-checker finish, Harvick restarted the race on lap 134 from the second position and quickly overtook the number one spot to cross the finish line on lap 136 as the race winner. With his dominating run, Harvick earned a perfect driver rating score of 150 for the race, the first time in his Truck Series career that he has earned a perfect driver rating score.
Harvick was followed by Crafton, Colin Braun, Timothy Peters and Todd Bodine. KHI teammate Hornaday finished eighth to clinch the 2009 Driver and Owner’s championship for Kevin and DeLana Harvick.
The win marked the first time in Harvick’s career that he has earned back-to-back Truck Series wins and his first Truck Series win on a 1.5-mile track. It was also the first back-to-back win for crew chief Ernie Cope in his NASCAR career.
November 20, 2009
Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway
Race: 25 of 25
Driver: Kevin Harvick
Race length: 134 Laps/ 201 Miles
Banking: 20-degrees in turns
4-degrees on straight-a-ways
Track layout: 1.5-mile
Laps Led: Four Times for 108 laps
Number of Race Cautions: 4 for 15 Laps