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TALLADEGA, Ala. -- The odds against a repeat of last fall's photo finish here -- so close it had to be confirmed by computers -- might seem long.
Teammates Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick could fight it out again within Richard Childress Racing in Sunday's Aaron's 499.
"It definitely could happen again," said Harvick, who led at the white flag last Halloween day but wound up second to Bowyer by the blink of an eye when a caution froze the field just into the final lap.
Power plants from the Earnhardt-Childress Racing engine cooperative have won the last three races at Talladega Superspeedway. Jamie McMurray won for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in the fall of 2009 and Harvick last spring. Bowyer was pushed past Harvick to the win last fall by Earnhardt-Ganassi's Juan Pablo Montoya.
And, "the boys down at ECR work hard to keep it that way," Bowyer said, pointing out that "it was pretty well a photo finish with my teammate Jeff Burton in one of the Duel races at Daytona [this past February, with Burton winning], and that's one thing about having an engine like that under the hood.
"You share that common ground with your teammates, so it's not a surprise that they're the ones you're racing for a win."
"We all work well together, and we do all the things that we need to do to run up front, and they bring the cars to run up front," Harvick said. "It's just a matter of surviving until the end. That's the main goal."
Bowyer figures that now, with the two-car drafting, they'll have more control over whether they're around at the end.
"I think with this new 'pairing,' so to speak, the two-car breakaways, it enables you to kind of control your own destiny a little bit more," Bowyer said. "You're not bunched up doing four-wide. You can get out, you can stay out front, stay out of trouble and if you don't like your situation you can radio to your teammate or your [drafting] partner and say, 'Let's get the hell out of here. They're fixin' to wreck.'
"That's the neat part of it," Bowyer continued. "You try to be aware of your situation, and put yourself in the right situation not to be in the wreck [the 'big one' drivers have come to consider almost inevitable here] and then in the right situation to, hopefully, have a win."
"At this place, you go through spells of having good days and bad days," Harvick said, "but our cars will be fast again, and you've just got to have the luck to go along with it."
So as for the odds of a repeat computer-blink finish, "who knows?" Harvick said.
"I hope," Bowyer said, "they're really, really, really, really, really good."