Kevin Harvick Chicagoland preview

Good... Pretty great... The best. HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 8, 2002) - Coming off an uplifting weekend is a good way to head into the next weekend. Coming off an uplifting weekend and heading into a race that you won last year is a pretty great...

Good... Pretty great... The best.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 8, 2002) - Coming off an uplifting weekend is a good way to head into the next weekend. Coming off an uplifting weekend and heading into a race that you won last year is a pretty great way to head into the weekend. Coming off an uplifting weekend, heading into a race that you won, and being the only driver to have won a race at that track is the best way to head into a weekend.

The 2001 NASCAR Busch Series Champion and Winston Cup Rookie of the Year gets to do all of the above and much more. Harvick, driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet, moves into action this week as the winner of the inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup at Chicagoland Speedway (Joliet, Ill.), as an IROC (International Race of Champions) Championship contender, and as an ESPY Award double-nominee.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo, comments on one of his busiest weeks this season. Chicago, IROC, and ESPY's:

Chicagoland Speedway
Harvick was the media favorite for the 2001 Busch Series event and was well on his way to winning it until his transmission broke, relegating him to a 27th place finish. Harvick showed his prowess in the following day's Winston Cup event, leading 108 of the race's 267 laps. When the event restarted for the ninth time on lap 234, Harvick started sixth and ended up first in a matter of only five laps.

"The ninth restart was probably the toughest part. I thought (Jimmy) Spencer (running fifth) was the car to beat. And I knew he was going to be hard to pass. I saw an opportunity to make it three-wide and drive in on the bottom to get past, but with everyone else I was able to take some time and drive by them. But I knew Spencer was going to be a task.

"Last season I had tested a whole bunch there. I expected to do well, but even when you expect to do well, a win is something that just blows you away. Like most 1.5-milers, everything came down to fuel mileage.

"Coming off of the Daytona weekend, I'm just really pumped. I was pumped all weekend. I was pumped about our 11th place finish. We overcame a hole in the front bumper, it probably got there from debris. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but at Daytona where it's all aero, it's a huge deal. But the Goodwrench team came through, patched it until the patch worked, and we came out where we did. That kind of camaraderie gets you excited to come back every week. We're all in it together.

* Harvick scored his second NASCAR Winston Cup win of 2001 at Chicagoland Speedway.

* Harvick participated in the Goodyear Tire and Rubber test at Chicagoland in May.

IROC True Value Series
"Winning an IROC race is right up there for me with getting that Daytona 500 win or winning a Cup race at Bristol or Indy. Putting the fenders to these open wheel guys and racing with the elite of NASCAR is pretty cool alone in itself, and then to win a race against all of them, you know?. I'm just glad we have an opportunity like this to race on level ground with all sorts of these drivers.

"Winning in California (Speedway; Fontana, Calif.) couldn't be better. This is my first win at California, and getting it in an IROC car ranks pretty high. IROC and the Signores do a good job of keeping the playing ground fair and getting the guys who don't drive stock cars enough track time to get used to driving with fenders.

"It's just that I grew up idolizing the stock car greats like Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt, but being from Bakersfield (Calif.) I also had the influence of open wheel guys. Another one of my heroes has always been Rick Mears. I followed him a lot and to be in a competitive series where I can race with those in his ranks is special.

"Things haven't gone quite as we had planned this year, but they're looking up. Things like this give us and help us build momentum. Just being in the Championship points race with Tony (Stewart) is exiting. You have to take the good when you get it and you can bet I'm after that Championship. Coming back to Chicago where I got my second win last year will help keep me going. It's going to do nothing but help me in the IROC race and help me in the Cup race. Any extra time you can get on a track, regardless of what you're driving is always a benefit."

* Harvick is three points behind IROC points leader Tony Stewart, and is two points ahead of third-place Bobby Labonte.

* Harvick will be joining the IROC dignitaries after Thursday's first practice and conducting the drawing of cars for himself and the other IROC participants.

ESPY's
Harvick is nominated in two categories at Wednesday's ESPY Awards: Best Breakthrough Athlete and Best Driver.

In regards to his nominations, Harvick said, "Don't ask, you'll jinx it."

10-4.

- The 10th Annual ESPY Awards air Wednesday July 10 at 9 p.m. EST. The program will be aired live from the event's new home, the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood and will be preceded by a one-hour Live From the Red Carpet: The 2002 ESPY Awards at 8 p.m. on E! Entertainment Television.

-rcr-

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About this article
Series IROC , NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Kevin Harvick