Texas: Kevin Harvick preview

Kevin Harvick Test key to Texas success HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (March 25, 2003) - One of the most important parts of any NASCAR Winston Cup Series team's operations is when they take time to test. Visiting a racetrack early to work on set-ups, shake...

Kevin Harvick
Test key to Texas success

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (March 25, 2003) - One of the most important parts of any NASCAR Winston Cup Series team's operations is when they take time to test. Visiting a racetrack early to work on set-ups, shake down a new body, and allow extra seat time for a driver, will give them a leg-up on the competition when they head back to race.

Teams, excluding those with rookie drivers, are allowed seven test sessions throughout the season on active Winston Cup Series racetracks. For the most part, they can choose where to go based on when the track is open and where it happens to fall during the season. Since Team GM Goodwrench has not been all that happy with their body package on the 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, they decided Texas Motor Speedway would be the best spot to fix it.

For three days last week, the first nothing but rain, GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick took to the 1.5-mile speedway located just north of Fort Worth, Texas. Led by new crew chief Todd Berrier and team manager Gil Martin, they worked on a number of different adjustments, mostly handling and aerodynamics, to get the silver and black racing machine primed for the 500-mile endurance race on Sunday.

This weekend, Harvick will take time off from NASCAR Busch Series racing and focus his attention solely on the Winston Cup effort. That, combined with the success of last week's test session, should have him all set to take the checkered flag for the first time this season.

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Texas...

How did everything go at the test last week?
"It went well. That was our first time with both Todd (Berrier) and Gil (Martin) in their new positions. We tried a lot of things we've been wanting to try for a long time. We're hoping to make our aero-package a little bit better and we think we had a pretty good test. Hopefully, when we go back everything is the same and we'll run good."

You mentioned the test was one of the best Winston Cup tests you've had. Why and what did you focus on?
"Probably because everything went good. We made a lot of positive changes. Usually when you test, you find out more what not to do than what to do. We did more good than bad, which showed we are in the right direction. Our focus was the handling of the car. We went out and ran a bunch of laps in race trim, made some changes, and went back out again. We made some qualifying runs as well. We worked on the shocks, the handling; just tweaking it here and there."

What is your overall impression of the racetrack?
"A fast racetrack, very fast. Aside from Dover (Del.), it's probably the biggest sensation of speed other than a qualifying lap at Atlanta (Ga.). The support people give it there in Texas is awesome. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that's pretty much true when it comes to the crowd, purse and everything like that. It's a very nice facility and we enjoy going there."

What can you take from your Busch Series victory in 2001?
"Not much. The race is not near as long, and you are going way faster down the straightaway in a Winston Cup car than you are in the Busch car. They are two totally different beasts."

Is that why you decided not to run it this weekend?
"No, this was just a race that Johnny (Sauter, teammate) wanted to run. You have to remember Texas is so fast, you just do what you have to do to hold your breath the entire race. That's hard to do back-to-back, with all the G-force's you pull through the long corners. It takes a toll on the body, and is a lot to have to go through two days in a row."

Speeds are extremely fast at Texas. Do you have to be cautious at all?
"You really can't be cautious. You have to go as fast as you can every lap, just for the fact that you spend more time on the throttle through the corners than you do off. If you are off a little bit, you are going to be lapped in a hurry."

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

How valuable was the test session in Texas?
"We had a great test in Texas, despite all the rain. We made some qualifying runs, but spent a majority of our time in race trim. Obviously, we want to run good and the test gives us a good baseline going into the weekend. We worked a little on the body, a little on the chassis, shocks, everything, hoping to stumble onto something new. I think we're headed in the right direction."

Points of Interest...

* Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 112 to the Lone Start State for this weekend's Winston Cup race. This brand new chassis saw its first action on a racetrack last week during the three-day test session at the 1.5-mile speedway.

* Harvick started his march to the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series championship with his first win of 2001 at Texas on March 31, 2001. Starting from the seventh position, he led 114 of 200 laps on his way to the checkered flag.

* With his seventh place finish last Sunday, Harvick jumped up to 11th in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver points standings with 684 points. He trails 10th place driver Jeff Gordon by 10 points, and is 65 points outside the top-five.

* Start time for Sunday's Samsung/Radio Shack 500 is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET. TV coverage of the race on FOX starts at 12:30 p.m., with radio coverage on PRN beginning at 12:30 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

-rcr-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick