Fontana II: Kevin Harvick preview

Harvick Not Counting Chase Chickens Before They Hatch HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 29, 2006) - GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick heads to California Speedway for Sunday's running of the Sony HD 500 in much better shape for making the Chase for the...

Harvick Not Counting Chase Chickens Before They Hatch

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 29, 2006) - GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick heads to California Speedway for Sunday's running of the Sony HD 500 in much better shape for making the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL than he has in the last two years.

The 2001 Cup Series Rookie of the Year ranked 16th in the standings at this point in 2005. However, Harvick knows a lot can happen in the final two Race to the Chase events and is reluctant to think he has secured a spot until it finally happens. Only 129 points separate drivers third (Harvick) through 10th place (Mark Martin) in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings leading into this weekend's event. To put that in perspective and to highlight this tight points battle, a total of 383 points separated drivers third through 10th place heading into the same event in 2005. In 2004, that margin was 308 points.

"It is really stressful because you don't want to have a hiccup and lose a bunch of points in one race," said Harvick. "We escaped Bristol and now head to California, which I feel is our worst track. I felt Michigan was our second-worst track. With the year that we have had, it would be a shame not to be in the Chase, but there is still that possibility that it could happen. But until it happens, we aren't going to count our chickens before they hatch. It is just a lot of pressure on everybody to make it happen."

This weekend at California Speedway comes down to numbers for the drivers in the top 10. The good news for Harvick as he takes to a track this weekend that has not been kind to him in the past, is that he cannot be mathematically eliminated from the Chase contention even if he finishes last. On the flip side, if Harvick finishes third or better this Sunday, he clinches a spot in the Chase. In eight starts at California Speedway, Harvick has two top-10 finishes and one DNF.

"We have run really badly there and we have run really well there," said Harvick about at California Speedway. "It is just that our finishes haven't been that good. We have been kind of hit or miss. It has been the same way at Michigan for us, but we were decent at Michigan both races this year, so we are pretty comfortable with where we are for California. I feel like if we get into the Chase, we will have a chance to do what we need. Once you get in, you can pretty much let it all hang out and go for it. It is a 10- race shootout, and that is the way we are going to treat it."

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver and Bakersfield, Calif. native Kevin Harvick about California Speedway.

How do you treat racing in Fontana near family and friends? "It is nice to go out there, but I don't treat it as time to get to see my family and friends. I treat it as a job and go out like everybody else. We get there the day before everything starts on the track, so I don't spend a lot of time with them. It is cool to have them all there and obviously we are supported well there, but we still have to go out there and make it happen."

About his strong season to date: "Our cars have been really good and everything has been going our way. If we can keep the momentum on our side and get through these next two races and put ourselves in position for the Chase we will be in good shape. The performance of our cars has been really good. It has kept us in the game, so hopefully that will continue."

-credit: rcr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Mark Martin