Homestead: Kevin Harvick preview

KEVIN HARVICK History Still Could Be Made in Miami ...

KEVIN HARVICK
History Still Could Be Made in Miami

#29 Goodwrench Expertise Challenge Comes to a Close

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 14, 2006) -- GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick enters this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway fresh off his fifth win of the year to keep his Chase dreams alive. Harvick, who is third in the NEXTEL Cup standings and trails series leader Jimmie Johnson by 90 points, already clinched the NASCAR Busch Series title last month at Lowe's Motor Speedway and could become the first driver ever to win two national titles in one season.

"We're excited just to be a part of it, to tell you the truth," says Harvick. "We've had a great year. We have had our ups and downs, but for the most part, it's been really good. So we're just having fun and racing as hard as we can and doing the things that we've done week in and week out all year. There's really not a lot of pressure, to tell you the truth. It's just go out and go as fast as you can and everybody knows that everybody's going to do everything they can do. It falls how it falls, and that's just kind of how we've looked at it since the season started."

Johnson has the championship advantage, but four other Chase competitors, including Harvick, have the chance to overtake him on Sunday. Any driver within 156 points of Johnson is still eligible for this year's crown. Harvick and rookie Denny Hamlin each trail Johnson by 90 points, but Harvick holds the tiebreaker with more 2006 wins (five compared to Hamlin's two).

"I know we have lost a hundred and some (points) in one race before," says Harvick. "It can happen, and if it were to happen, we'd have to be on top of our game to make sure we capitalize on it."

Not only did last week's win in Phoenix give Harvick a boost in the standings, but it also completed the #29 Goodwrench Expertise Challenge promotion in which a total of 29 2007 Chevrolet Avalanches will soon be awarded. As part of the Expertise Challenge, GM Goodwrench will also establish a $200,000 scholarship fund to encourage young men and women to pursue careers as automotive technicians.

"We did everything we could do in Phoenix, and it all worked out," said Harvick. "I'm really proud of the fact that we get to give away 29 Chevy Avalanches and $200,000 for our GM Goodwrench Expertise Challenge. That's pretty cool that we won all those races, and it's awesome that our fans can join in the celebration."

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick about the Chase and Homestead Miami Speedway...

Why is Homestead one of your favorite tracks?

"Miami is one of those places where you don't ever know when it is going to stop aging. Every time we go there, it seems like it loses a little more grip, which is a good thing. It has become one of my favorite racetracks since they have redone it just for the fact that you can move around, and it is kind of hard to get a hold of. There are a lot of different places to make your car work, and for me, it has been a lot of fun to race on. It is a unique racetrack and I'm looking forward to going down there."

Is this team poised to be even better next year?

"We all know that we have to take the same steps next year that we took this year to keep up with everybody, and everybody's hard at work on the Car of Tomorrow and trying to make these cars better and the engines better. We're all trying to get better, so you have to keep progressing with the sport. Our sport progresses very fast, and you have to keep up with that to be competitive. We all know that, and we're just going to try to keep making it better."

Talk about the team chemistry that has been built over the last several years. Will the team pretty much remain the same?

"Our team is the same as it's been for four years, for the most part. It's the same bunch that we've had, and we all know each other really well and get along. When somebody says something that they shouldn't say, everybody doesn't carry it on their shoulders, they just brush it off and it's done with. So I think our team is good, and it's just a matter of having it all put together. I think absolutely, we can get better, but just having the experience that we've had this year is going to help us continue to succeed."

Points of Interest...

* #29 Goodwrench Expertise Challenge...Harvick's win in Phoenix last weekend, coupled with his thrilling victory at Richmond International Raceway in September, completed the #29 Goodwrench Expertise Challenge, in which a total of 29 lucky fans will receive an all-new 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche. GM Goodwrench also will establish a $200,000 scholarship fund to encourage young men and women to pursue careers as automotive technicians following the two victories.

* Track Stat...In five Cup Series starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Harvick has one top-five and four top-10 finishes. He finished second in 2004, making it a career-best Homestead finish. A year ago he started 14th and finished eighth in this race. Harvick has led in three of his five events at Homestead for a total of 59 laps.

* Avg. Start/Avg. Finish...Harvick's average starting position at Homestead is 15.6, with his best start of sixth coming in 2003. His average finishing position is 9.4, which is first among Chase drivers. His best finish of second came in 2003 as well where he went on to finish second after leading 11 laps.

* Former Winner...Although Harvick is searching for his first Cup Series win at Homestead, he has been no stranger to Victory Lane at the track. In 2004, he drove Richard Childress Racing's (RCR) No. 29 ESGR Busch entry to victory after starting 12th and leading 108 laps.

* Chase for the NEXTEL Cup...Harvick finished first at Phoenix, his fifth victory this year, to jump two spots in the standings. Harvick has ranked among the top 10 through the last 29 races, since Phoenix in April. He is tied with No. 4 Denny Hamlin for third in the Chase, but his victories top Hamlin's stats, which include a sweep at Pocono. Harvick has 19 top-10 finishes this season.

-credit: rcr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Denny Hamlin
Teams Richard Childress Racing