Unexpected Expectations Huntersville, N.C. (March 4, 2002)- Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo, won the Cracker Barrel 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) (Hampton, Ga.) straight from a script that even ...
Huntersville, N.C. (March 4, 2002)- Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo, won the Cracker Barrel 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) (Hampton, Ga.) straight from a script that even Stephen Spielberg would crave to direct.
Harvick had seized the first place finish in the same manor Dale Earnhardt had the year before, taking the No. 18 of Bobby Labonte on the outside, while sprinting down the front straight-away. This time, with a year's worth of perspective, he returns to the track where he captured his first win.
Hollywood script aside, Harvick shows true grit as a racecar driver, and few places rank as good as a showcase for that as Atlanta. Consistency on the track has not been a problem. He demonstrated that point by taking a provisional in the fall race of 2001, still managing to come back with a third place finish.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet, Comments on AMS:
"I can't really recall the last few laps of the race last year. There were five drivers that were shuffling around each other in the top five. I remember coming off of (turn) three into (turn) four and when we took the lead for the last time. I remember winning by inches- but it's still a win in the books.
"We really can't wait to go again and start that race again. Atlanta has always been really good to us. We finished third here in the fall, so together we have an average finish of second."
Where the Heart Is
"You really couldn't write a script any better than the way things had happened especially under the circumstances. You can't get any further down on the 'circumstances list' like we were at RCR (Richard Childress Racing) with everything that had happened. And nobody really knew where their place was supposed to be or what we were supposed to be doing.
"'Was it right to be at the racetrack?' I mean, you don't really know what's right or wrong. So, then we go out and win the race in such a dramatic fashion, and really, it just kinda lifted everybody's spirits up- at least off the ground a little bit, because they were all pretty low at that point. It just brought a lot of light back to everybody.
"It wasn't just me though, it was the whole team. I had told Richard (Childress, team owner) that I would do whatever it took. Whatever he thought was right- that's what I wanted to do. I'm an RCR team player, and that's where my heart's at. And, that's what I wanted to do for him because that's what he had done for me. So, whatever they needed was what I was going to do. And whatever they wanted me to do, I was going to do. I still feel the same way today."
Lap around AMS:
"In Atlanta going into turn one, there's this little washboard bump that makes the car feel loose getting in. But you just have to drive through it and get right back on the gas. You can run in the race-anywhere from the wall down to the white line.
"When you go down the back straight-away into turns three and four you just breathe and fall out a little bit. And get right back in the gas. But what happens in three and four will usually determine who gets across the finish line first."