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Vegas Notes: Harvick’s Wall Woes

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 26 2010
Kevin Harvick appeared to be running down Jimmie Johnson late last Sunday be a slap of the wall ended the chase. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick appeared to be running down Jimmie Johnson late last Sunday be a slap of the wall ended the chase. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Las Vegas, Nev. – Kevin Harvick’s No. 29 Chevrolet wound up in the same position Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that it was with just over two laps remaining on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. – in the wall.

After closing onto the rear bumper of eventual race-winner Jimmie Johnson by running the high line around the 2-mile oval in last weekend’s Auto Club 500, Harvick had to settle for second in the closing laps after his Impala scrubbed the Turn 4 wall.

The Bakersfield, Calif. native met a similar fate on Friday during opening practice for Sunday’s Shelby American Sprint Cup event when his Chevy tagged the wall at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Harvick, who’s most-recent points win came in the 2007 Daytona 500, reflected on Sunday’s near miss in his home state:

“Nobody lost it but me,” said Harvick, the current Sprint Cup points leader. “We had a chance to win and that is really what you want. (But we) didn’t capitalize in that particular moment like we needed to.

“Usually that is one of our strong suits, when we get in to that position. Usually we make that happen more times than not.

“We have always been really good at closing the deal. But those guys (Johnson and his team) are really good. And when they have luck on their side, it makes them even harder to beat.”

Danicamania has hit Sin City: The popular Indy Car star making the transition to NASCAR will make her third Nationwide Series start in Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 in Las Vegas.

Patrick is still trying to forget Saturday’s 31st-place finish in Fontana, Calif.

“At times, like last weekend when you have day you don’t want anyone to have seen it. But unfortunately, you saw it,” said Patrick, when asked about the massive media attention she is generating.

“On the other side of it, you also have that feeling when nobody is around you’re like ‘did I do something wrong? Why isn’t anyone here anymore?’

“You really just have to stay true to what makes you happy and what you need and what’s going to really satisfy you. And that’s driving a race car.

“I’m grateful for it now. It’s great for the sport, it’s great for me, it’s great for my sponsors. And I am having fun while I’m doing it.”

Patrick will move back to Indy Cars following this weekend’s event. Her next scheduled start in the Nationwide Series will occur in Loudon, N.H. in June.

Blick’s back: A week after being relieved of his duties as Matt Kenseth’s Sprint Cup crew chief, Drew Blickensderfer showed up at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday as the new pit boss on Carl Edwards’ Nationwide team.

He replaces Mike Kelly, who has been moved into a director of competition role for Roush Fenway Racing.

Blickensderfer said it didn’t take much arm-twisting by team owner Jack Roush for him to agree to accept the job.

“A week-and-a-half ago they made a change on the No. 17 and, with that, Jack told me there was an opportunity probably elsewhere and to keep my head up and don’t get too comfortable in the R&D seat that he put me in, and probably three or four days later I got a call from Carl and Jack saying there was an opportunity on the 60 Nationwide car and they wanted to know if I was interested,” Blickensderfer said.

“Of course, I jumped up and down for it.  I had a lot of fun with Carl a year ago – 13 or 14 months ago – racing the Nationwide Series. We had success and I really enjoyed it.

I’d probably rank this in the top five jobs in all three series of what I’d like to have and what I’d like to do, so when the opportunity arose, I jumped to come back.”

Racing to riches: There was little fanfare when Greg Biffle finished second to Jamie McMurray two weeks ago in the Daytona 500.

But the result boosted Biffle past $40 million in career earnings.

Biffle, who made his Sprint Cup debut in 2002 and has 14 career wins in NASCAR’s top division, wishes he had squirreled away more of his winnings.

“That’s pretty incredible,” Biffle said. “I wish that I had a little piggy bank that I’d been putting it in over there in the corner, or been able to horde more of it.

“But that is pretty incredible and I’m very thankful for all the opportunities I’ve gotten so far and all the races I’ve won, including a couple runs at the title.

“Hopefully, I’m not done yet. We’ll make a strong effort at it this year, make the chase and try to win that championship.

Pops Edwards: Carl Edwards’ wife Kate delivered the couple’s first child on Wednesday in Columbia, Mo. Edwards said on Friday he didn’t feel guilty leaving his wife and daughter to prepare for this weekend’s NASCAR doubleheader at Las Vegas.

Edwards said he’s in a better position than most when it comes to being away from the family.

“We all have jobs and everybody has to go do their job, and, to put it in perspective, one of Kate’s best friends has a baby and her husband is serving over in Afghanistan and he didn’t see their baby until she was three months old and he was only home for two weeks and had to leave again for six months.

“So I’ve got a great situation relative to a lot of folks who are out there doing very important jobs.”

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 26 2010
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