This Week's Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 288 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable, which just recently received a brand new body. Earlier in the...
This Week's Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 288 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable, which just recently received a brand new body. Earlier in the year, this Chevrolet scored a runner-up finish at Auto Club Speedway, finished ninth at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and finished seventh at Dover International Speedway. Additionally, Harvick raced this chassis three times in the latter part of the 2009 season, finishing 18th at Charlotte Motor Speedway, fifth at Texas Motor Speedway and third at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Follow the Leader ... After last week's disappointing finish at Chicagoland Speedway, Harvick remains the leader in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. Harvick's lead is 103 points over second and 474 points ahead of 13th. For the season, he has two wins, eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in the season's first 19 races. At the same time, Harvick has finished 13th or better in 16 of the season's first 19 events.
Remarkable Turnaround ... At this point last season through 19 races, Harvick was 25th in points and had accumulated 1,789 points. In 2010, the point leader has amassed 2,745 points, an astounding 956 more points than last year.
Race to the Chase ... With just seven events remaining before the 2010 NSCS Chase field is set, Harvick enjoys a 474-point lead over 13th. The Bakersfield, Calif., driver leads all competitors with 13 top-10 finishes. Additionally, the 13-time NSCS winner has finished on the lead lap in every event but two, with the lone exceptions being Martinsville and Chicagoland. At the paper-clip shaped facility, Harvick led 57 of the first 58 laps, but suffered a brake failure that forced the team to go behind the wall for repairs. Last week at Chicagoland, the team battled a fuel pressure issue and finished 34th.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Grocery Carts... The No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil crew will be participating in the Shell-Kroger Grocery Bagging Challenge at the Kroger located at 5718 Crawfordsville Road in Indianapolis on July 22 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. local time. The competition will pit the crew against the fans to see who can bag groceries the fastest. Fans who fill their bags faster than the crew will win a $50 Shell Gift Card, and the runner-up receives a Kroger Gift Card in thanks for their participation. Additionally, the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet will run the Kroger logo on its deck lid and rocker panel during the July 25 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear Indy?
"When I think about Indy, I think about a lot of tradition. Indy is one of those places where everybody wants to win. Next to Daytona, it is kind of the second place where you check it off as one you want to win. We've been fortunate to win there, and we know what that feels like. I grew up as a fan of Indy cars, and I really wanted to race open wheel cars, so to be able to win there and just to compete there, is pretty cool."
What does it take to be fast there and stay up front?
"Track position is pretty big at Indy. You need to have a fast car. Usually, Indy is a place where everybody brings new stuff out to try to take that next step on performance. I know we have a plan to do that. Your car has to turn, but you have to be able to lay the throttle down and still maintain grip up off the corner."
Is there a part of you that wishes the Chase was starting right now?
"I definitely think we have a few things we need to work on. We've got some new stuff in the pipeline that, hopefully, is better, like we think it is, and we can start trying that stuff over the next couple of weeks. Right now, there is no risk for us as far as the next several weeks go. Obviously, you don't want to have complete disasters, but you can take a lot more chances on R & D parts and pieces and cars and things like that, than you could in the first part of the season."
Now that RCR as a whole is performing as well as anyone, how does that change what you can do or don't do on the track?
"Well, I think from a confidence level, you race knowing that you have a chance to win with your equipment every week. Obviously, last year, we were in a little bit of a slump and we really tried to figure out the direction that we needed to go to make the cars better. But everyone at RCR has won. We all know how to win. It's just a matter of getting the stuff right, putting it on the racetrack so it's competitive enough to be in contention to win, and that's what we have done this year. The mindset is just so different. It's not even comparable, just because you know that every time you go on the racetrack, you have a shot."