Thursday, August 16, 2007
Harvick reels in Ingram on all-time wins list; Martin next?
By Rupen Fofaria
Special to ESPN.com
Jack Ingram. Mark Martin. For years, they were the benchmark in the NASCAR Busch Series. Now, Kevin Harvick adds his name to the list. Harvick is tied with Ingram for second on the all-time series wins list.
"To be next to those guys in the record books, to be tied with Jack Ingram and behind Mark Martin, it's something that's really special for me," said Harvick, who has 31 Busch Series victories.
In order to pass Ingram, Harvick will try to put his name alongside Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Martin and Todd Bodine. That's the list of two-time winners in Busch Series races at Michigan International Speedway. Harvick, who won at the 2-mile oval in 2003, incidentally would win his third race in a row if he's able to accomplish this.
Harvick considers himself a student of the sport, which makes his pursuit of Martin's 47 wins all the sweeter.
"You don't get to race with those guys, so all you have is the history," Harvick said. "I get to do what I like to do and get paid to do it. When you go back to when the Busch Series started in 1982, you had Sam Ard and Jack Ingram, and all the [history] that paved the way for all of us. And I just don't know that a lot of the younger guys understand that they wouldn't ever be here [without] those guys who worked during the week and raced on the weekends because that's what they liked to do."
Only six drivers have ever won three races in a row in the Busch Series. Harvick has a lot going for him in his attempt to become No. 7. He has two top-5s at the track, has averaged a running position of around eighth over the past two seasons and is bringing a winning car -- his Chicagoland-winning car, in fact.
Michigan suits Martin
Mark Martin will attempt his fourth Busch Series race of the season this weekend, hoping to extend his all-time wins lead as Harvick lurks in the rearview. Martin has nine Busch Series starts at Michigan, posting seven top-5s.
"Michigan is a great racetrack and it really suits my style," Martin said. "It's big and wide and there is a lot of room to pass. If you can get your car to really work in the corners, you can do a lot of passing and that can be a lot of fun for a race car driver."
Sam Hornish Jr. will attempt his sixth Busch start of the season this weekend at Michigan. The 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner is fifth in the IndyCar Series points standings. Michigan is site of his first stock-car pole, which came in an ARCA event in June. Hornish finished second in that event. His high finish in a Busch race is 15th.
"With the track so close to home, my home track, having the opportunity to run at MIS three times this year is a real treat," said Hornish, whose Defiance, Ohio, home is only an hour from the track. "We didn't do so well in the IndyCar race, but considering how well we ran in the ARCA race, I'm looking forward to the Busch event. Running the ARCA race allowed me to get a better feel for the track in a stock car. I'm confident that we'll have a good weekend."
Wallace steady, not flashy
Mike Wallace has been climbing steadily in the points standings, even though his finishes haven't been stellar. Ten races ago, Wallace was 16th. Now, he's ninth. This, despite the fact that he hasn't posted a single top-10 in that span. If his team can continue on its steady improvement and start displacing some of the full-time Cup drivers for top-10 finishes, watch out.
Rupen Fofaria has covered NASCAR for ESPN.com since 2002. He can be reached at email@example.com.