Bristol: Kevin Harvick preview

KEVIN HARVICK The High Banked Drifter HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (March 30, 2005) -- Kevin Harvick loves Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. In fact, he loves any half-mile track that reminds him of Mesa Marin Raceway in his hometown of...

KEVIN HARVICK
The High Banked Drifter

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (March 30, 2005) -- Kevin Harvick loves Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. In fact, he loves any half-mile track that reminds him of Mesa Marin Raceway in his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. But it seems that Bristol has become his favorite playground.

In fact, Harvick has the best average finish, ninth, of any active NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver with at least eight starts at Bristol. "Happy" has three Busch Series wins at the track (2000, '01, and '03) and has captured several Busch poles. But what is missing is a win in the Cup series.

"The competition at the Cup level, especially at a track like Bristol is pretty tough," said Harvick. "The Cup race is twice as long, which at Bristol means twice as many chances for something to happen. We have come real close to winning in the past, but just haven't had the extra little bit to win."

This year the GM Goodwrench team has come out of the starting blocks strong and sit just six points out of the top-10. But for the second week, they are without crew chief Todd Berrier. Berrier was suspended by NASCAR for a qualifying rules violation at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 11. Richard Childress Racing appealed the length of the suspension as well as the 25 points taken from the team, but that appeal was denied by NASCAR. Berrier won't return to the track until April 23 at Phoenix International Raceway

Scott Miller will continue to handle crew chief duties for the GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo. The former PPI Motorsports crew chief is no stranger to victory lane. He won with driver Ricky Craven at Darlington Raceway in 2003. While the team is very comfortable with Miller at the helm, Berrier has worked with Harvick for nearly five years. That kind of chemistry will certainly be missed.

"We have been preparing for Bristol knowing that Todd (Berrier) wouldn't be there," Harvick said. "We had hoped that NASCAR would adjust the suspension, but they didn't and that's that. This team has put in too much hard work to even worry about it, to be honest. I have a ton of confidence in (Scott) Miller. Todd is still at the shop preparing cars, so its business as usual."

Points of Interest...

* Un-Appealing...Richard Childress Racing lost their appeal to NASCAR's commission on Tuesday. GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier will continue to serve his four race suspension until the race in Phoenix, Ariz., on April 23.

* New York, New York...Harvick spent this first half of this week in "The Big Apple" making the talk show rounds. "Happy" began the week on Monday talking about the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet on ESPN's Cold Pizza, followed by Go-Kart racing on The Tony Danza Show. In the afternoon, KH praised his No. 29 Goodwrench team on Dayside Live with Linda Vester on Fox News Channel. He ended the day with an interview for ESPN News. On Tuesday, Harvick coached Matt Lauer and Ann Curry in the art of the pit stop on The Today Show. The trip to NYC was part of a national promotion launch for RCR's NASCAR Busch Series sponsor, Reese's.

* What Ya' Haulin'...The GM Goodwrench transporter will unload chassis No. 120 at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was a new car in the fall of 2004. Harvick tested the car at the "World's Fastest Half-Mile" last week. The chassis raced at Martinsville (19th), Loudon (10th) and Phoenix (4th) last year.

* TV and Radio...Start time for Sunday's Food City 500 is 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX. Radio coverage this weekend is MRN Radio. Green flag is 1:15 p.m. ET. Remember times and dates can change, so check your local listings.

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Bristol Motor Speedway...

Why is Bristol one of your better tracks on the NEXTEL Cup circuit?

"Bristol is special to me because it brings back a lot of memories. I grew up on a half-mile, high-banked racetrack in Bakersfield. I know Bristol is a lot more banked, but it's kind of the same mindset for me driving around the racetrack. Its short-track beating and banging, a lot of fun and what I really like to do. I seem to have a lot of success every time I go there so I'm always looking forward to going back."

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 lose focus."

Bristol has been known to be a payback track. Are you expecting any payback from Daytona or any of the previous four races?

"What is strange is, yes, Bristol can be a payback track. But at the speeds we run there now and how tight the competition is, I'm not sure it is worth even trying to payback someone unless you are having a miserable day. There is just too much of a chance to wreck your car in the process. The "Chase" has changed a lot of that "revenge" thinking.

"The Daytona deal has been put to rest."

-rcr-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Ricky Craven
Teams Richard Childress Racing