BUSCH: Bristol: Kevin Harvick preview

Harvick and E.T. dial-in to Bristol. Huntersville, N.C. (March 18, 2002)-- The NASCAR Busch and Winston Cup Series return to the tight-quarter racing, paint-trading banks of the .533-mile Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Kevin Harvick, driver of...

Harvick and E.T. dial-in to Bristol.

Huntersville, N.C. (March 18, 2002)-- The NASCAR Busch and Winston Cup Series return to the tight-quarter racing, paint-trading banks of the .533-mile Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo, covets the racetrack like none other on either series' roster.

Accompanied by Steven Spielberg's E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial. Universal Studios, 1982) on both Chevrolet Monte Carlos Harvick will run in the Busch and Cup events, the GM Goodwrench Service team awaits another romping weekend after a successful run at Darlington.

Few have had better success at Bristol Motor Speedway in such a short span of time as Kevin Harvick. Reminded of the high-banks of the Mesa Marin Speedway (Bakersfield, Calif.) where Harvick cut his racing teeth, he lets little get in the way of his efforts at the speedway he always touts as his favorite track. Harvick has won two Busch Series events there, and has come agonizingly close to collecting a Winston Cup win there as well.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet, Comments on Bristol Motor Speedway:

Some drivers love it, some drivers hate it. You not only immediately loved it, but immediately performed well at Bristol Motor Speedway. What is it about Bristol?

"Bristol. I love it. Period. I grew up racing high banked half miles at home in Calif. Racing late models and that's where I like to race, places like Mesa Marin. Everyone thinks I'm crazy when I say this, but racing at Bristol is like racing at Mesa Marin, people don't see the comparison. I know the speeds are a little bit higher at Bristol, but it's still the same basic technique for both ½ mile high banked tracks."

You've experienced two Bristol wins in the Busch Series. What will it mean to you and your team when you get that initial Bristol win in a Cup car?

"Bristol is probably the place I want to win the most at in the Winston Cup car. I mean, it's my favorite racetrack, and when you go to your favorite racetrack - you want to win there. That'll mean as much to me as winning say a Daytona 500 or at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and places like that for me."

The August Busch race was a special night for the ACDelco team as you came from two laps down to win your second consecutive summer Bristol Busch Series event. The crowd was behind you and just about to tear the fences down. Can you feel that when you're driving?

"When you're in a racecar at a place like Bristol - where it's so loud just from the cars - it's hard to even hear your team on the radio. I couldn't hear the crowd personally, but I knew the place was rockin' from the way the guys on my team were pumped up and how they were just on top of their game. It really pushes the pit crews and I owe part of my success at Bristol to the crowd for pumping up my guys. Coming from two laps down and doing something that out-of-the-ordinary is pretty cool.

"After the race, looking up into the grandstands, now that was just amazing. I've never had so many people jazzed up like that before. It's things like that which make this the best job in the world."

At Bristol a lot of luck, patience, and persistence come into play.

"A lot of everything at Bristol has to do with luck. There are so many things that can happen. Being in the right place at the right time is the best kind of luck you can get. At any given moment someone can wreck you or you can get caught up in a bunch of stuff you had nothing to do with. Out of nowhere three, four, 10 cars can pile up and you get caught in the middle of them. Half the time, it isn't your fault - it probably isn't their fault, but that's where you'll find yourself.

"A lot of it also has to do with not putting yourself in a situation you can't get out of. I still believe that 9 times out of 10 it's better to be the aggressor. To be the hard-charger, that's the way you make things happen the way you want them to. The aggressor is the one that comes out on top."

Talk about the physicality that goes with racing at Bristol.

"It's a harder race than to get through than most. There's so much banking and you never really have time to breathe, except under cautions. And under the cautions, your body ends up hanging to the left because you contort yourself so much hanging to the right and pulling the car to the right. There's just always something leaning on you. And, it's a short track so it's a little hotter than say a 1.5-mile."

You'll now have a pedestrian tunnel to walk through as opposed to being "trapped" in the Bristol infield. Any comments?

"If you wreck, you can leave early. That's nice, right? Hopefully we won't get too much use out of the tunnel for that purpose.

"No, I mean, it's going to be great for those drivers only doing the Cup or only doing the Busch, they won't have to worry about getting there before cars go on the track- more freedom. That's not a bad thing. But, running both the Busch and the Cup events this time around - I won't get to use that opportunity."

-The No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service team will pit both Harvick for both the NASCAR Busch and Cup Series events.


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Drivers Kevin Harvick