It wasn’t the single change that made the difference in Kevin Harvick finally earning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, but it certainly helped.
“It” is the pit crew swap between Harvick’s No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet team and Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet team, which was done prior to the start of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup last year.
Stewart confirmed the news to NASCAR.com’s Holly Cain while in Tampa, making a USO visit with troops and military families at MacDill Air Force Base.
“The pit crew I had that pitted Kevin’s car at the end of the year, we kept that switch permanent for this year,” Stewart said. “We just felt like that chemistry worked really well.”
The crew chief changes to the other two cars in the Stewart-Haas Racing stable, the No. 10 for Danica Patrick and No. 41 for Kurt Busch, have been announced earlier this offseason.
Defending MotoGP series champion Marc Marquez underwent a second surgery Monday after a titanium plate inserted in his fractured right arm sustained damage. The Repsol Honda Team said in a statement that it’ll be two days before the recovery period is determined.
Marquez was injured during a crash in the July 19 season opener. He underwent an initial surgery July 21 in Barcelona, and doctors said there was no nerve damage.
The eight-time champion was cleared to race in the season’s second event Jerez. But Marquez decided to skip the July 26 race after experiencing discomfort while riding the No. 93 bike in a July 25 practice.
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He had planned to race in Sunday’s grand prix at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic in hopes of returning to defend his title. His status for Sunday apparently will be unclear until at least Wednesday.
In a statement Monday, the team said the titanium plate in Marquez’s right arm successfully was replaced after stress accumulation. Marquez will stay in the hospital for two days recovering.
Dr Xavier Mir, who performed the surgery at the Hospital Universitari Dexeus, said in the release that “Marc Marquez underwent surgery 13 days ago and today he returned to the operating room. The first operation was successful, what was not expected was that the plate was insufficient. An accumulation of stress in the operated area has caused the plate to suffer some damage, so today the titanium plate has been removed and replaced by a new fixation.
“The rider has not felt pain during this period. He has always followed the medical advice given and the feeling from his body. Unfortunately, an overstress has caused this issue. Now we have to wait 48 hours to understand the recovery time.”