BUSCH: Harvick Daytona preview

2000 Rookie of the Year for the NASCAR Busch Series, Kevin Harvick, and crew chief, Todd Berrier are very comfortable with the team's superspeedway program going into Daytona and they know what to expect. "I don't think there are going to be any...

2000 Rookie of the Year for the NASCAR Busch Series, Kevin Harvick, and crew chief, Todd Berrier are very comfortable with the team's superspeedway program going into Daytona and they know what to expect.

"I don't think there are going to be any surprises this year," Berrier said. "We have more power this year, but with the smaller (restrictor) plate opening, we're going to have just about as much power as last year. NASCAR has given us more rear spring so the rear end will be higher in the air and they added five degrees to the spoiler. Those two changes will slow the cars down some. We're not going to face anything too different from what we did last year. Our goals are to run in the top-five the entire race and give ourselves a good shot at winning the race in the closing laps."

Harvick's Goals for Daytona:
"I really would love to win at Daytona. It's probably the most prestigious event on our schedule. But I'm more concerned with getting off to a good start this year, and getting ourselves in the thick of the points race from the very beginning."

Last Year's NAPA 300 at Daytona
Oh So Close in 2000: Kevin Harvick surprised quite a few people last year in his inaugural race for Richard Childress Racing on the Busch Series when he ran up front with Busch and even Winston Cup veterans in the race.

Harvick ran in the top five for a large part of the race and took a commanding lead from laps 88-102. He surrendered the lead to pit for four fresh tires and came back out in ninth place. He was able to pick off four more spots before the drop of the green flag on lap 200.

"It was a good learning experience for us," Harvick said. "We were a brand new team and even though we had a bunch of experienced guys, we were new to the Busch Series and I was new to Daytona, so we were facing a big learning curve. Todd (Berrier, Harvick's crew chief) and the guys got the car running great and it allowed me to qualify well (7th) and run in the top five most of the day."

"We pitted for four tires late in the race and worked our way back into the top five. We really felt there for a while that we had a car that could have won the race. We just needed a couple of things to go differently."


Daytona Racecar 2001 Harvick will be driving, chassis #16 at Daytona. It is a brand new car out of the RCR stable. Other than testing at Talladega in January, it has not seen the track.


Goals for 2001: Harvick is focused on two things this year. The first is trying to win each and every race that he enters. He and Berrier have the same philosophy, which means they are going for the win every time there is an opportunity. The second is to compete for the championship. Even though Harvick is not going to alter his aggressive driving style that helped him capture the Rookie of the Year award and the third spot in the championship points in 2000, he isn't going to lose sight of the ultimate goal-winning the NASCAR Busch Series championship.

"We've set our goals pretty high for this season," Harvick said. "Following the lead of an ACDelco champion (Dale Earnhardt Jr.), puts us in one of those situations where we're going to have to perform to an even higher level. We had a good 2000 season, but now we have to step up and challenge for the title."

"Richard (Childress) has always emphasized winning races, that's obvious by looking at his track record. But he also knows the importance of getting the best possible finish that you can with the championship in mind. He's instilled that sort of mindset in me since I started with him about a year and a half ago."

Testing the Superspeedways: While most of the Busch Series competitors participated in tests at Daytona in the month of January, the No. 2 ACDelco team decided to test the circuit's other restrictor plate track, Talladega Superspeedway. With a fifth place finish last year at Daytona and RCR's proven superspeedway programs, Harvick and company decided to go to Alabama to test to try out ideas for Daytona and to help improve on their 16th place finish at the 2.66-mile track a year ago

"I feel very confident going into Daytona," Harvick said. "Those Ford's and Pontiac's are going to be tough, but RCR has some of the best restrictor plate stuff in the business. We ran well there last year and we're going to be ready."

Harvick's Daytona NASCAR Busch Series Statistics Year Start Finish Laps Laps Lead Status Money Pts/Pos. 2000 7th 5th 120/120 15 Running $37,025 160/4th

-Kirk Lowry

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Kevin Harvick
Teams Richard Childress Racing