Kevin Harvick Prepping For His First Daytona 500 Start In Two-Day Test at DIS

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Nov. 12, 2001) -- As the racing off-season nears, Kevin Harvick isn't slowing down yet.

Last weekend, Harvick, who has been pulling double duty in the Busch and Winston Cup Series this year, celebrated his Busch Series championship in the season-ending GNC Live Well 300 and finished seventh in the Pennzoil 400 Winston Cup event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

On Monday at Daytona International Speedway, Harvick was preparing for the season-opening 44th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 17 with a pair of No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolets in a two-day test. Crew chief Kevin Hamlin and the rest of the team were trying to figure out the new superspeedway rules package for Harvick's first Daytona 500 start.

"We haven't had time to use a lot of our tests this year," said Harvick, who'll also win Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. "They changed the rules on the superspeedway cars so we wanted to get a head start. We've already finished our car for the Daytona 500 and decided to come down here and use one of our tests. "

The 26-year-old Harvick, a native of Bakersfield, Calif., tested the car he'll run in next year's Daytona 500 and the car he ran in last October's EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

"Everything is setup with the new rules and what they say they're going to be," Harvick said. "We just want to make sure we've got a general direction before we came back down here to test (in January)."

Also testing at the Speedway on Monday was the True Value/IROC Series and test drivers Dave Marcis and Jim Sauter. Harvick, whose Busch Series title earned him a spot in the exclusive All-Star field, plans on hopping in one of those cars before the end of his testing session.

"That will be cool," Harvick said. "They just asked me today if I wanted to do it. I told them I would do it. I read in a lot of places that I was going to do it. Today was actually the initial conservation, the first time I met the guys over at IROC. It'll cool race against guys from other forms of racing and get to mingle with different drivers."

On Tuesday, True Value/IROC testing will continue with open-wheel drivers expected to arrive, including Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr., Helio Castroneves and Scott Sharp.

Guests can watch both Harvick's test session and True Value/IROC testing free of charge with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA. Tickets for Speedweeks 2002 events, including the Daytona 500 and the True Value/IROC Series, are available online at or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.