Fontana: Kevin Harvick preview

* This Week's Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot chassis No. 288 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet first raced at Auto Club Speedway...

* This Week's Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot chassis No. 288 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet first raced at Auto Club Speedway last season, posting its first top-10 finish. Harvick piloted this No. 29 Chevy in three other races last fall finishing 18th at Charlotte Motor Speedway, fifth at Texas Motor Speedway and third in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

* Career Stats ...The Auto Club 500 marks Harvick's 324th career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

o In 15 starts at the two-mile oval, Harvick has claimed one top-five and five top-10 finishes. In addition, the Shell-Pennzoil driver has completed 98.1 percent (3,684 of 3,755) total laps and has led for a total of 32 laps.

* Homecoming ... Harvick is one of five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers competing in this weekend's Sprint Cup Series race that hail from the state of California (Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Robby Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Scott Speed). Harvick's hometown of Bakersfield, Calif., is less than a three hour drive to Auto Club Speedway.

* Kevin's Krew ... As part of a continued outreach program with Shell Oil Company, Harvick will visit with a group of at-risk children called "Kevin's Krew" just before Sunday's race at Auto Club Speedway. The children will take part in various activities including meeting their favorite driver near the Victory Lane area prior to driver introductions and before watching the Auto Club 500 from the stands. This is the third year that Shell, Harvick and RCR have been involved with the effort that was born in the vicinity of Auto Club Speedway and spearheaded by local police officer Todd Smith of the Colton County Police Department. Since 2008, Officer Smith, Shell, Harvick and RCR have hosted hundreds of kids as part of the program that grew from one event at Auto Club Speedway to seven events around the nation last year. In 2010, there will be eight "Kevin's Krew" events during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season - including two stops at Auto Club Speedway.

* IROC and Roll ... Harvick visited Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway in 2002 in the International Race of Champions (IROC) en route to claiming the series point championship that season.

* Double Down in Cali ... In addition to his driving duties with the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, Harvick, a 34-time race winner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will drive Kevin Harvick Incorporated's No. 33 Chevrolet in the Feb. 20 Stater Bros. 300. The race will air live on ESPN2 beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The race will also be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.

KEVIN HARVICK:

The Shell-Pennzoil team had a good run going at Auto Club Speedway last February but the results didn't reflect it. What happened?

"The oil filter fell off. That was definitely the best car we had in our fleet, and that had been our money maker car from the year before. We ran in the latter part of the top 10 all day and we had a good car. I drove into turn one and the oil filter fell off, and we destroyed it. But, it's been a good race track for us and our cars have been pretty solid there. You just can't control all of the circumstances. It's the only time in my career that has ever happened."

You've been good in the Nationwide Series at Auto Club Speedway but in the Cup series it's been kind of tough, why is that?

"Well, the year we won the 500 (Daytona), we were going to win the race, and had a flat tire under the red flag, so its been a good race track for us, but we just don't have the results on paper that we should. Its just one of those places, like Atlanta, where it's been good for us, performance-wise, but just haven't had the finishes."

With a lot of 1.5 mile tracks, will California be an early indication of just how strong RCR is as a team, overall?

"I think that we're going to be okay at the first four or five races. I think it's just a matter of how we adapt to the spoiler, and the engineering department and the aero department are going to be under a lot of pressure to make sure that the cars are balanced like they need to be. And, that's where you're really going to be able to tell, probably seven or eight races in, you know, with three or four races of them running with the spoiler. It throws a new kink in that we're not used to. So, you have a plan for the first few races, and you have a plan for the rest of the races."

What are your thoughts on "Kevin's Krew," the group of special needs students who will be attending the race?

"I think it's a really cool thing Shell has put together. We've done this same thing for a few years at Auto Club Speedway, and the excitement I see on the kids' faces is priceless. A lot of these students may never have watched a race on TV, much less seen one from the grandstands or down in the infield. They seem pretty overwhelmed, in a good way, when you meet them. It just reminds you that we're very blessed to be in the position we're in, and to be able to race for a living. I always enjoy meeting the groups, and I hope we can give these students something to cheer about this time around."

-source: rcr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Scott Speed , Todd Smith
Teams Richard Childress Racing