Kevin Harvick Bristol Big Chance to Cushion Place in Chase HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 24, 2004) - There are three races to go until the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup begins and GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick is doing all he can...
Bristol Big Chance to Cushion Place in Chase
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 24, 2004) - There are three races to go until the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup begins and GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick is doing all he can to be a part of it. Sitting eighth in the driver points standings with 2,832 points, 40 markers ahead of the 10th and likely final position, he would like some cushion to provide much needed breathing room and assurance that he will secure a spot in the championship chase. Enter Saturday night's Sharpie 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
One of Harvick's favorite stops on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series circuit, Bristol has been one of those racetracks where the Bakersfield, Calif., native has dominated in recent years. Dating back to his first two years in the NASCAR Busch Series when he captured two victories in four starts and continuing into his stint on NASCAR's premier circuit where he's racked up six top-10 finishes in seven starts, the half-mile seems to fit Harvick's driving style perfectly.
"Bristol is special to me because it brings back a lot of memories," says the 2001 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year. "I grew up on a half-mile, high-banked racetrack in Bakersfield. Bristol is one of those places where we've had a lot of success. I've won Busch races and finished second a couple of times in a Cup car. We always seem to end the race running really good there and that's a big plus heading into this weekend. I think we've got a good chance of bringing home a solid finish Saturday night and further positioning ourselves in the point's race."
For the second consecutive year, Harvick will participate in all three NASCAR-sanctioned events this week in Bristol. He'll begin by running his own No. 92 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado in Wednesday night's O'Reilly 200. Next, he'll strap into the No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet for his 13th Busch race of the season in Friday night's Food City 250. The 28-year old will cap the weekend by running a No. 29 Team Realtree/GM Goodwrench special paint scheme in Saturday night's Sharpie 500.
Points of Interest...
* Going Camo...The No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo will look a little different this weekend as it trades in its normal silver and black colors for orange and white as part of a one-race Team Realtree and GM Goodwrench promotion put together by Richard Childress Racing.
* Logging Laps...Harvick has run 3,499 out of a possible 3,500 laps at the world's fastest half-mile oval in seven NEXTEL Cup starts dating back to 2001. The 99.9% completion rating is one of the best of all active drivers.
* A Proven Winner...Bristol's Victory Lane is all too familiar to the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion. He's visited it three times in nine Busch Series starts over the last three and a half years, or once every three starts.
* The Chase...With three races to go until the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, Harvick sits eighth in the standings with 2,832 points. He's 33 markers ahead of Bobby Labonte who sits ninth, and 32 behind Elliott Sadler who sits seventh.
* Off the Truck...Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 110 to the "Bullring" for this weekend's 266.5-mile event. This chassis, different from what they ran at Bristol in the spring, has been run two other times this season at Texas Motor Speedway and Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
* TV and Radio...Start time for Saturday night's Sharpie 500 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 500-lap event on TNT starts at 7:00 p.m., with radio coverage on PRN beginning at 6:45 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.
No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Bristol...
How was your spring race at Bristol earlier this year?
"We had a very up and down day. The car started off really tight and we had to make some really big adjustments to get it going. We stayed on the lead lap and barely avoided trouble a couple of times and just kept ourselves in the race. We finally hit it late with the tires and thought we were in the right spot to go for the win and just got tangled up with the No. 40 car, but that's Bristol. We worked on our car and did everything we could to get up to where we needed to be."
How is the concrete surface different from the typical pavement?
"When you are out on the racetrack, it's almost like you are riding your bicycle on the sidewalk with the bumps so constant. It usually takes a toll on the body when you have to sit through that for 500 laps. It wears you out. Physically, it's like running 500 qualifying laps, which is hard to do because you have to be up on it (the wheel) the whole time. That's probably the biggest factor, having to concentrate for so long and not loose focus."
What kind of attitude do you have to have to race at Bristol?
"You have to be an aggressive person. Nine out of 10 times, that's usually the guy who's going to get the win there. You have to remember, whether you are leading, last, or in the middle, you are vulnerable at all times to get caught up in a mess. You have to pick and choose when to pass because it's so hard to do without using your front end."
How hard will all the racing be this weekend for you?
"I don't think it will be that hard. Bristol is one of my favorite racetracks and when we looked on the schedule and saw that they were all together again, we decided to do it. The nice thing is that we have a day off between running the Truck and the Busch Series races. It will give me a chance to relax before going full steam into the weekend. Racing both series is something I've become accustomed to now. It really helps me get adjusted and into a rhythm for the races."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Bristol...
What are you thinking about heading back to Bristol?
"Good track position. If you start in the back, you've got a bigger chance of getting caught up in a wreck or something. It's interesting to see, though, that Harvick hasn't qualified all that great, but still he's been able to pull off some great runs. The biggest thing for us right now is just to continue working on the racecars until we get them right for Kevin. That's what we did at Bristol in the spring and he ended up almost willing the thing."