Sunday, September 2, 2012

Harvick happy to have crew chief back

   Kevin Harvick finished third in the Sprint Cup Series the past two seasons so it was sort of a surprise when his crew chief, Gil Martin, was replaced in the offseason by Shane Wilson.

   While Harvick has run well enough this season to cement a berth in the Chase, he has yet to reach Victory Lane this season. In recent months, Harvick and Wilson's relationship appeared to deteriorate and two weeks ago Wilson was replaced by - surprise - Martin.

   The move was said to be on an interim basis, but in the two races since Martin's returned Harvick has finished 15th at Bristol, Tenn., and fifth Sunday night at Atlanta. Sunday night, Harvick led laps for the first time since the June race at Dover Del.

   After Sunday night's race, Harvick expressed his appreciation for Martin's return.

   "I just have to thank Gil for coming back with everything we put him through, it wasn't a great situation," Harvick said after the race. "It takes a big man to do what he did and things are going in the right direction.

   "I feel like we hadn't missed a beat. It took a lot of conversations and things to try to convince him to come back and do it. Obviously, for myself I learned a big lesson and it takes a big man to do what he did."