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Kevin Harvick challenged in getting momentum in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase

Kevin Harvick struggles after unloading in New Hampshire to start the 2010 NASCAR Chase
Kevin Harvick struggles after unloading in New Hampshire to start the 2010 NASCAR ChaseJanelle Jalbert

Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield) was the first to secure a spot in this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Chase, which is the NASCAR equivalent to the playoffs with his win in Michigan last month. Though leading the points for the bulk of the season, Harvick sits in third place in the standings after the field was reset to start the Chase.

Harvick has dominated Super Speedway racing in the 2010 season with wins at Talladega and Daytona, but he had a solid fifth place finish in the June New Hampshire race. Going into the initial Chase race at Loudon, things remained promising.

Unfortunately, the No. 29 Chevy has struggled since unloading. In the first practice, Harvick’s fastest lap was good only for 19th position. In the subsequent practices, the No. 29 team continued to move down the speed charts with 24th and 27th place fast laps.

During Saturday’s practice, the car was so bad that Harvick climbed out of the car completely as crew Chief Gil Martin worked to explain why the car was behaving poorly and what the team was doing to address the issue.

The qualifying effort equaled the final practice numbers, leaving Harvick to roll of in 27th place. Harvick is not the only Chaser starting towards the back at a track that is known for challenging passing conditions. Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon) starts 25th while Matt Kenseth starts in 33rd.

It appears that the best chances for the No. 29 team to go to the front in Sunday’s Sylvania 300 will depend on pit strategy and staying out of trouble.

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Janelle Jalbert is a fan of a variety of racing formats and equally enjoys the history of the sport. Janelle grew up in an auto mechanic’s family and swears that there is carb spray running through her veins.

You can join the discussion of So Cal Motorsports at the Southern California Motorsports Examiner page on Facebook. Janelle can be reached via email for both comments and story ideas. You can follow Janelle as the Southern California Motorsports Examiner on Twitter as @SoCalMotorsport.

Janelle also serves as the NASCAR Truck Series Examiner. Feel free to join the discussion about the hard racing in the CWTS at the NASCAR Truck Series Examiner fan page on Facebook.

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