Michigan: Kevin Harvick preview

KEVIN HARVICK GM Goodwrench team confident at Michigan HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 14, 2005) -- The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rolls into the Irish Hills of Michigan this weekend for the Batman Begins 400. GM Goodwrench driver Kevin...

KEVIN HARVICK
GM Goodwrench team confident at Michigan

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 14, 2005) -- The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rolls into the Irish Hills of Michigan this weekend for the Batman Begins 400. GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick has had success at the 2.0-mile high banked Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in the past, and says this time around he is looking for more.

"We have always run well at Michigan and it is one of those places we always look forward to," said Harvick. "It's the home of GM Goodwrench and Chevrolet, so it is an important track for us as a company and for me as a driver. And fortunately we have been fast here in the past and when something doesn't bite us, we always finish well."

In eight races at MIS, Harvick has scored six top-20 finishes, which include two top-fives and three top-10s. What's missing is a win, but the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet has to be one of the favorites this weekend. "We have been in a position to win many times at MIS and so this team knows what it takes," said crew chief Todd Berrier. "It always seems to come down to fuel mileage or pit strategy. And I expect we'll see the same thing on Sunday."

Harvick will have a little extra track time at MIS this weekend as he gets behind the wheel of the No. 92 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado for the NASCAR Truck Series event. "It's fun when I get a chance to race the truck," Harvick said. "My schedule has been really full this year, but we finally found a weekend to go mix it up. I have been so proud of the job that Ron Hornaday has done. That team has set the bar. Hopefully one of us can bring home the trophy."

Points of Interest...

* Chase for the Championship...Harvick advanced two positions in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points following his eighth place finish at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway last Sunday. Harvick now sits eighth in points, 343 markers behind leader Jimmie Johnson. The race for the Chase is tight from third on back, as the GM Goodwrench driver is a mere 66 points out of third.

* Last June in Michigan... A new set of Goodyear Eagle tires was all that kept Kevin Harvick and his No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team from their seventh top-10 finish of the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. Their gamble to stay out for track position with 25 laps to go in last year's DHL 400 at Michigan International Speedway proved costly, as the silver and black racing machine could not compete with fresher tires. The end result was a disappointing 17th place finish for Harvick, which dropped him from ninth to 10th in the NEXTEL Cup Series driver point's standings.

* Truckin' It...Harvick will make his 2005 NASCAR Truck Series debut at MIS. Harvick will pilot the No. 92 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet out of the Kevin Harvick, Inc. stable. It is chassis No. 001, the first truck built by KHI. The Bakersfield, Calif., native will be a teammate to Ron Hornaday, who drives Harvick's No. 6 GM Goodwrench Silverado. The two have 29 NCTS wins between them.

* What Ya' Haulin'...The GM Goodwrench transporter will unload chassis No. 148 at MIS. It is a brand new chassis that has never seen a race track. The car was specifically built for the 2.0-mile and larger tracks.

* Television and Radio...TV coverage of the Michigan 400 on FOX starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT, with radio coverage of the 400-mile event on MRN Radio and XM NASCAR 144. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on the Michigan 400...

How important is hitting the setup, since this track tends to have long green flag runs?

"The fact of the matter is that if you are off just a little bit, it's not like Busch racing where you can get it back. The racing is so competitive that somebody is going to hit it. Somebody is going to be really good at the beginning of the run. If you are off, you stand a pretty good chance of getting lapped because of all the green flag laps."

There have been far more cautions this year than last. Do you expect many yellow flags this weekend?

"I will be real surprised if we have a record number of yellows. The track is so wide and it is really forgiving because you have so much room. You can race about anywhere in the corners. So, I don't expect many cautions. I think this will be a typical Michigan race, where you need to be fast in the early and middle stages and then think about saving fuel on the final run."

Do you feel good about where your team is right now, since we are halfway to the Chase for the Championship?

"I feel better this year than last year, but we are in about the same situation. We should be a lot higher in the points based on how we have run this year. I know a lot of teams can say the same thing, but we have made a ton of mistakes. The top-10 is really tight. The good news is we are in the top-10 after 14 races. But we have another 12 to go and a lot can happen."

No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on MIS...

Is Michigan a track where the new spoiler rules drastically change how you set up your car?

"We have an entirely new package that we have been running this year, so it will be different to begin with. Michigan is so wide that I'm not sure it will be much of a factor at all. I think most of the teams know what the car is going to do with the spoiler package regardless of track and so it shouldn't be an issue."

-rcr-

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Series NASCAR-CUP