Chicagoland: Kevin Harvick preview

This Week's Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet at Chicagoland Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 301 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2010, this Chevrolet was tested at Charlotte Motor Speedway...

This Week's Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet at Chicagoland Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 301 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2010, this Chevrolet was tested at Charlotte Motor Speedway in April. Harvick finished seventh with this car at Texas Motor Speedway in April and finished 11th in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May.

Follow the Leader ... Fresh off his win last weekend at Daytona International Speedway, Harvick remains the leader in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. Harvick stretched his lead to 212 points, and has two wins, eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in the season's first 18 races. At the same time, Harvick has finished 13th or better in 16 of the season's first 18 events.

Remarkable Turnaround ... At this point last season through 18 races, Harvick was 26th in points and had accumulated 1,683 points. In 2010, the point leader has amassed 2,684 points, an astounding 1,001 more points than last year.

Race to the Chase ... With just eight events remaining before the 2010 NSCS Chase field is set, Harvick enjoys a 553-point lead over 13th. The Bakersfield, Calif., driver leads all competitors with 13 top-10 finishes. Additionally, he has finished on the lead lap in every event but one, with the lone exception being Martinsville. At the paper-clip shaped facility, Harvick led 57 of the first 58 laps, but suffered a brake failure that forced the team to go behind the wall for repairs.

Double Duty at Chicagoland ... In addition to his driving duties with the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, Harvick will race Kevin Harvick Incorporated's No. 33 Chevrolet in the July 9th Dollar General 300 Nationwide Series event.

KEVIN HARVICK:

You have had some pretty impressive runs at Chicagoland, including two wins. Why do you think you've been so successful there?

"For whatever reason, from the first day we put our cars on the race track, they've been really fast. Every time we go back there, it seems like it just fits our program, my driving style, and everything that we do. It's fun to go to a race track knowing that in the different kinds of cars that we've been a part of, everything's been competitive so, hopefully, it's the same way this year. With our current situation in the points, we are going to do all we can to give ourselves an opportunity to win each week."

Every track has something unusual about it. What quirk does Chicagoland have that makes it unique?

"The little quirk that it has is the crooked back straightaway. The back straightaway is round. You're used to going down the back straightaway and just kind of hang it against the wall, and if you do that at Chicagoland, usually you're going to hit the wall right after you get about three-quarters of the way down as it curves back in. That's probably the biggest difference it has compared to every other race track."

After winning last weekend in Daytona, you're still in the points lead. How confident are you that you can unseat Jimmie Johnson this year?

"Well, I think until somebody beats him, he's still the champion, and he's still the guy to beat. For us, we have to keep working hard. We're in a fortunate position with the start to our season. We have a plan to keep working on our cars and keep trying to make things better. Hopefully, when the stress starts with 10 weeks to go, we'll be as ready as we've ever been from the 29 and an RCR standpoint to make a strong run at it. But, you never know what's going to happen until you get in there. You have to be on your hot streak. You have to do everything right. You have to minimize the DNFs, you have to win a race or two, and finish in the top five. Everything that we have done up to this point has been great, and we have to keep doing that in the Chase. You have to make it happen at the right time."

All of the RCR cars were running up front last week in Daytona, and it looked like you and the 33 car (Bowyer) were going to finish first and second. What were you thinking when the caution came out just before the 33 was able to take the white flag?

"Obviously, it was a good night. It was the same old Daytona, with cars moving around and bouncing around. Handling came into play, and you saw a lot of passing and shuffling. There at the end, there was that big wreck and we were fortunate to be in front of it. And, really, coming to the white flag, I thought it was going to be the 33 first, and us, second. Then, the caution came out, and we could see the white flag. I was content about that. I knew those guys needed a good day, and I knew that you never know what's going to happen on the last lap. But, on the final restart, once the 24 pulled out and slowed down those outside two lines, that was pretty much the end of it."

-source: penske racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson
Teams Richard Childress Racing