Daytona: Kevin Harvick preview

Kevin Harvick Takes His Last First Steps 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Attempts His First 500 He's won the NASCAR Busch Series rookie title (2000). He's won the Busch Series Championship and the NASCAR Winston Cup rookie title ...

Kevin Harvick Takes His Last First Steps 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Attempts His First 500

He's won the NASCAR Busch Series rookie title (2000). He's won the Busch Series Championship and the NASCAR Winston Cup rookie title (2001). You'd think all that was left on the agenda of "firsts" is a NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championship. Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo, still has a couple of things left on that list: making his first Daytona 500 start and entering this year's Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway's Speedweeks as a team owner (NASCAR Truck Series, driver Rick Carelli).

Harvick won't be going it alone though. With the team of Richard Childress Racing (RCR), Harvick has nothing but qualified and proven experience to lean on when it comes to the Daytona regimen of qualifying and qualifying races. RCR has arguably been the fiercest competitor in the Gatorade Twin 125's during the last decade. And, as Harvick learned during the rigorous 2001 NASCAR season, help is only a fingertip's length away.

Harvick's Take on the 2002 Daytona 500 Speedweeks:

Hard-chargers do not change with time off.
"The very least I can say is that I'm excited. It'll be my first time for all of this: the first round qualifying, the Twin's, IROC (International Race of Champions), all of that. It doesn't make me nervous really, I just want to get out there and do it. We've got those two practices before qualifying on Saturday (Feb. 9), but I say let's just go in there and qualify. I want to get at it."

Know-how is the best weapon.
"Being with Richard Childress Racing, we've got experience behind us. They're a dominant force in the Twin's, they always have been. That experience is what got us through last year. And Richard (Childress) with all of his experience in different situations and atmospheres, on the racetrack and off the racetrack, he's the reason why we had most of the success last year.

"My first 125's and my first 500 and IROC races, you name it, all of firsts for me this week, it'll be nice to have a team that's been there. They're already filling me in on how we need to be acting- when and where. Obviously, we have a very experienced team with an inexperienced driver, it'll be an interesting mix."

Perspectives do not always change with new experiences.
"I'm a team owner now in the Truck Series with Rick Carelli as my driver. Even though I know the cost of things and know -I've always known- the work it takes, that doesn't mean I'll stop doing burn-outs and tearing up cars after wins.

"If you're not having fun, you might as well not race. That's the truth, that's what I say and that's what Richard says. We dedicate too much of ourselves to do this every week not to. It's hard to win in the Series (Cup)- in any of the NASCAR Series- and you don't get to do it very often. You might as well enjoy it when you can. Let loose and have at it."

Rules change.
"NASCAR has changed the cars since we were here last. The Cup race will be a lot like the Busch race, I think. You'll have to have two or three cars behind you to do what you need to do. The back of the pack is not where you want to be, which is fine with me. That goes with my philosophy that there's no place anyone should ever want to be except in the front- restrictor plate or not. If you stay in the front the whole time, you've got a whole lot less to worry yourself with."

-rcr-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Rick Carelli
Teams Richard Childress Racing