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Harvick storms to Truck win at Martinsville

April 01, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Kevin Harvick may have relinquished ownership in his Camping World Truck Series team, but he hasn't lost any speed in the process.

Harvick crushed the rest of the field in Saturday's Kroger 250, winning in seemingly effortless fashion by .953 seconds over Richard Childress Racing teammate Ty Dillon.

Kroger 250

Results
Pos.DriverMake
2.Ty DillonChevrolet
3.James BuescherChevrolet
4.Justin LoftonChevrolet
5.Timothy PetersToyota

A caution for David Reutimann's right-front tire on Lap 227 of 250 erased Harvick's 1.4-second lead at that point, but after a restart on Lap 245, Harvick's claim to the trademark grandfather clock trophy was a mere formality.

"Not a bad way to make our first Truck start for RCR," Harvick radioed after he crossed the finish line. Harvick led 248 laps, a series record.

James Buescher finished third, followed by Justin Lofton and Timothy Peters. Nelson Piquet Jr., Ross Chastain, Jason Leffler, John King and Jason White completed the top 10.

From 2008 through 2011, Harvick started 25 Truck Series races, all in his own equipment, and won 11 times. At the end of the 2011 season, however, the desire to start a family took precedence over NASCAR ownership, and Harvick and wife DeLana sold their Truck and Nationwide Series assets.

Some of Harvick's truck equipment went to Eddie Sharp, some to Richard Childress.

Behind the wheel, it didn't matter one bit that Harvick was driving a No. 2 Chevrolet fielded by his Sprint Cup Series owner.

First, Harvick won the pole for his season debut. Then he won the race, notching the 14th CWTS victory of his career and his third at Martinsville.

Harvick was so dominant that, shortly after a restart on lap 165, he asked his spotter to relay a message to Dillon's team. Harvick wanted Dillon to know that he was running at about 80 percent of his truck's potential. "Tell him not to burn his stuff up [trying to catch us]," Harvick said.

"It's been a long time since we've dominated like that and actually won," Harvick said after the race. "We made a lot of changes over the offseason, moving teams to RCR, and this is what we'd hope for -- to make what was a good Truck team a better Truck team."

Harvick chose the outside lane on restarts to help ensure that Dillon, a rookie competing for the series championship, finished second.

"I knew we had a little bit better truck than what they had," Harvick said, "but I didn't want him to get hung on the outside. They're racing for a championship, and it's our job as the No. 2 team to go out there and help them and try to make sure they win the championship and we win races."

King, who lost a lap early and regained it with a free pass, retained the series lead by one point over Peters and Lofton.

Notes-n-Nuggets

• Kevin Harvick won his 14th Truck Series race in his 118th start.
• This is Kevin Harvick's first victory of 2012. His last victory was at Texas in Nov. 2011.
• Kevin Harvick has won five of his past nine Truck Series starts.
• Kevin Harvick won from the pole -- in all four times he started from the pole in a Truck Series race, he went on to win.
• This is Kevin Harvick's third victory at Martinsville in his 14th start. His three Martinsville wins tie Dennis Setzer and Mike Skinner for the most.
• The 248 laps led by Kevin Harvick sets a new Truck Series record for most laps led by a driver. The previous record was 246 by Mike Skinner in March 2007.
• Richard Childress Racing earned its 25th Truck Series victory, third Truck win at Martinsville and this is the first time RCR drivers finished 1-2 in a race.
• Chevrolet scored its first victory of 2012 and its 11th Martinsville victory -- the most of all manufacturers.
• Ty Dillon (second) earned a career-best finish in his fifth start.
• James Buescher (third) scored his best Martinsville finish in his sixth start.
• Justin Lofton (fourth) earned only his sixth top-five finish in his 52nd start. He has top-five finishes in both races this season.
• Timothy Peters (fifth) has top-10 finishes in five of his past six Martinsville finishes. He has top-five finishes in both races this season.
• Nelson Piquet Jr. (sixth) scored his first top-10 finish at Martinsville in his third start.
• John King (ninth) has top-10 finishes in both races this season.
• Jeb Burton (13th) finished 13th in his Truck Series debut.

Jeb Burton, son of former Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, was involved in a multicar wreck on Lap 235 but recovered to finish 13th in his series debut.