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A difficult year for Harvick, RCR

by Monte Dutton

For Kevin Harvick, it’s been a rough year. For Harvick’s team, Richard Childress Racing, it’s been a rough year.

Harvick and his teammates — Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Casey Mears — are all trapped outside the Chase for the Sprint Cup, hoping that a victory will earn some attention in a setting where the 12 contenders make everyone else seem irrelevant by comparison.

Notwithstanding a recent runner-up finish at Atlanta, Harvick and his No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet have been significantly off their game. A 32 nd -place finish in New Hampshire left Harvick 22 nd in the Sprint Cup point standings. He’s finished in the top five only three times all year, and his top-10 finishes number only five.

A year ago, all three RCR Chevys (a fourth was added before this season) made the Chase. Harvick, who is from Bakersfield, Calif., finished fourth in the final point standings, but he hasn’t actually won since the 2007 Daytona 500.

“Well, our cars have run fairly well for the last seven, eight weeks,” said Harvick, 33. “We just wind up wrecked or something stupid happening for the last little while. Seems like everything that’s been happening has just kind of piled on.

“You know, any momentum is in a good… in a good direction is a positive thing for us. It lets us know that we do remember how to race, just overcome a lot of things and hopefully keep it going.”

Harvick made those remarks after the second-place finish on Sept. 6 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Since then, he’s finished ninth at Richmond and 32nd at New Hampshire.

Childress, a former driver who enjoyed his greatest success while the late Dale Earnhardt was winning six of his seven championships in his cars, has had to face a cutback in support from General Motors. He said recently that he expects to field four Chevrolets again next year.

“Who knows what will happen? There are a lot of things moving forward, you know.

I look around the garage, and there’s some of the press and some of the other companies that were in here that have made cutbacks, too,” said Childress. “We’ve all just got to adjust for these times, and racing is no different.

“Were in the greatest country in the world, and we will survive this.” Monte Dutton has covered motorsports for The Gaston (NC) Gazette since 1993. He was named writer of the year by the National Motorsports Press Association in 2008. His blog NASCAR This Week (nascar.rbma.com) features all of his reporting on racing, roots music and life on the road. E-mail Monte at nascar_thisweek@yahoo.com.

Copyright 2009 King Features Syndicate

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