This Week's Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 297 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2010, Harvick started 35th and finished sixth at...
This Week's Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 297 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2010, Harvick started 35th and finished sixth at Darlington Raceway in May.
Clincher ... Harvick and the No. 29 team clinched a berth in the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup last weekend in Michigan. Harvick scored his third points-paying win of the year, and currently has 30 bonus points once the Chase field is set. Additionally, the 14-time NSCS winner has finished on the lead lap in every event but two, with the lone exceptions being Martinsville and Chicagoland. At the paper-clip shaped facility, Harvick led 57 of the first 58 laps, but suffered a brake failure that forced the team to go behind the wall for repairs. At Chicagoland, the team battled a fuel-pressure issue and finished 34th.
Follow the Leader ... After last week's win at Michigan International Speedway, Harvick remains the leader in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. Harvick enjoys a lead of 293 points over second. For the season, he has earned three wins, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. At the same time, Harvick has finished 13th or better in 20 of the season's first 23 events.
You're leading points and you're in the Chase, so the pressure is off for that. What are your top priorities now?
"I think our top priorities are to try and win every week up to the Chase. I really think that over the last several weeks we've developed a sense that we should race this way every week, because that's really what you're going to have to do in the Chase. We've put ourselves in a position to at least have a chance to win for the last several races, and we got a win last weekend in Michigan. Everything is going well and we just have to continue to do that over the last 10 weeks of the season."
How important is it to get all three RCR teams in the Chase like they did three years ago?
"I think it's important for the company because they have all run well enough to be in the Chase, and really, if Clint (Bowyer) didn't have some silly things go wrong earlier in the year, then he's solidly there as well. The performance of his car, and all of our cars, has been really good."
What's it like to be able to go to Bristol and not have to worry about the points and the Chase?
"Well, Bristol is a lot like Watkins Glen. You never know what's going to happen. You could get caught up in someone else's mess before you even know what happened. I'm glad we're not in that position. You can go there and be really aggressive, and take chances that you wouldn't normal take if you were in Clint's (Bowyer) position. You have to race hard, but you have to race with one eye over your shoulder to see what's going on around you, and behind you, and try not to make any mistakes. For us, you can just go there and if you tear something up, you tear something up. You put it in the trailer and go to the house."
With the new layout, do things still happen fast at Bristol?
"Things still happen fast, but you can race all over the race track now. There's a lot less cautions. There's a lot less beating and banging, because the corners are so sweeping that you need to have the fenders on the car now, or you become just like any other race track, and the dreaded areo-push takes over. You have to take care of your car in order to be up front."
What do you think of the night atmosphere at Bristol?
"The night atmosphere is great. It always seems to bring a little more enthusiasm to the driver, the fans, and everybody around. It's a cool place to race."