Daytona 500: Kevin Harvick preview

Kevin Harvick Team GM Goodwrench on a Mission DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (February 10, 2004) - There is a common idea running throughout the shop of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team as the 2004 season gets underway - win the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup...

Kevin Harvick
Team GM Goodwrench on a Mission

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (February 10, 2004) - There is a common idea running throughout the shop of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team as the 2004 season gets underway - win the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship. For the first time in three years, this team has stayed virtually the same and that's crucial when it comes to making that championship run. They know that as good as they were at the end of last season, things can only get better.

"This is the first year that we've come back with the same crew chief, the same pit crew, the same people, and all the small things that add up to the big thing - especially in communications," says the driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick. "This is the first year we've come back with that whole structure in place. That, to me, is the most important thing."

When it came to restrictor-plate racing last year, Harvick was the best in the business. His average finish in those four races was fifth, earning more points than any other driver. In some ways, the team feels cheated that they had a chance to win the Daytona 500 and rain washed it away. This time, hopefully the weather will stay away so they can bring back to RCR the biggest trophy NASCAR has to offer.

The mission for Team GM Goodwrench this season is simple. Follow the consistency they showed over the second half of 2003 and keep themselves in contention to be one of the few competing to hoist the new trophy NEXTEL's providing.

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Daytona...

How beneficial was running the Bud Shootout Saturday night?

"The best thing about running the shootout was that it let us get all the bugs out and try some things on our car before you even start on your Daytona 500 stuff. We put ourselves in position all night and I was really calm in the car. All you can do is ask yourself to be in position and have a chance to win with the way the racing is at these places. I had a lot of fun and we had a really good race car. I know we've got a lot better race car for the 500 on Sunday."

Did you do anything special to prepare for the upcoming season?

"The most important thing was to just try to keep yourself mentally focused during the off-season and try not to veer away from anything you were doing. That's hard at times, but you have to remember where you left off. If you've got momentum, like we had at the end of last year, you definitely try to hold on to what you had. You've just got to make sure you get all you can during the off-season. You keep your team in good spirits because they work pretty much every day of the week."

What do you think about all the changes coming into 2004?

"We have so much change with NEXTEL coming in, Sunoco coming in, a tightening of the rules, Brain (France) coming in to steer the ship, it's hard to keep up with everything. It seems like everything is going smooth right now. Sunoco has got all their signage and seems happy with their part in the sport. NEXTEL's obviously really excited with what they are doing and we're really excited with what they're doing. The competition side of it we'll just have to wait and see how it all shakes out."

What do you think of the Twin 125s?

"I think I'm a little bit spoiled at RCR just for the fact that our GM Goodwrench car has always been really good and we always have a good qualifying speed. The twins have always been something where you just get yourself a starting position, put yourself in a good spot to start the big race."

How big would a Daytona 500 win be for you and this team?

"I think it would be a lot like our emotions at the Brickyard. It brings a lot of memories back for Richard just for the fact Dale and he won the Brickyard and then we won it. We have a lot of goals and know that people see that car as Dale Earnhardt's car, but I think we all know that he took us to where we are in this sport. It feels good to get out of the car and know that all those guys are my guys and that's becoming a big piece of my career."

No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Daytona...

How much did running the shootout help last weekend?

"It's always good running the shootout. For one thing, it gave us a chance to see how close we were on our set-up after all our superspeedway testing. With how we have things on our 500 car, it's nice to know that we're pretty close. It also gave us a chance to check tire wear on the race track and go through a full race sequence to get everybody back into the swing of things."

Points of Interest...

* Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No.81 down to the 2.5-mile superspeedway for this weekend's Daytona 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event. This chassis, used last year as a superspeedway back-up, is the same one Harvick finished ninth with in the 2003 Bud Shootout.

* New crew members to the No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team for 2004 include: Chris Chase - comes from No. 21 RCR Busch squad as shock specialist; Josh Mick - comes from No. 2 RCR Busch squad as front-tire carrier; and Brian Englehart moves to head engine tuner temporarily until a permanent replacement is found.

* Wedding bells are ringing in the GM Goodwrench garage. Both crew chief Todd Berrier and shock specialist Chris Chase were married over the off-season. Berrier in Cancun in January and Chase on New Year's Eve in North Carolina.

* Start time for the Daytona 500 is slated for 1:30 p.m. ET. TV coverage of the race on NBC starts at 1:00 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 1:00 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

-rcr-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Kevin Harvick