KEVIN HARVICK Improving at the Home Improvement Track HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (October 11, 2005) -- GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick heads into this weekend's UAW-GM Quality 500 looking to improve the No. 29 team's performance on ...
Improving at the Home Improvement Track
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (October 11, 2005) -- GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick heads into this weekend's UAW-GM Quality 500 looking to improve the No. 29 team's performance on mile-and-a-half tracks and especially the 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS). At the same time, Harvick clings to a one point lead over Jamie McMurray for 11th place in points and the final spot at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series banquet.
Harvick last scored a top-10 finish on one of the quad oval "cookie cutter" tracks back in the fall of 2003 at LMS. During the off season, Harvick and his crew chief Todd Berrier pointed at the 1.5-milers as the biggest area of improvement for the team. And so far in 2005, the GM Goodwrench team has seen some progress. Harvick finished 13th at Texas earlier this year and scored a 14th place finish at Lowe's in May's Coca-Cola 600. While those runs were promising, Harvick and Berrier are still not where they want to be.
"We really need to be winning and running consistently in the top-five on tracks like Charlotte (Lowe's), Atlanta and Texas," said Berrier. "When you look at how the Chase finishes up, you race at one of those three tracks in three of the final six events. It is pretty obvious if you want to win a championship, you have to be strong at those types of tracks. I think we have made some progress, but it will remain one of our main focus points until we find that consistency."
One of the things that all the drivers will be adjusting to this weekend is the new "fully levigated" surface at LMS. During the Coca-Cola 600 only the corners had been diamond cut, prompting several drivers to complain that the track had lost grip and become a single groove track. This time around the entire track has been levigated, which speedway official's hope will bring tighter, more exciting racing. However, during a recent test at LMS, several top team's destroyed cars preparing for Saturday night's event. The GM Goodwrench team did not test and Harvick thinks they didn't lose out on any key testing data.
"The track was so green from not having any rubber on it, that the cars didn't stick like they should have and some equipment got torn up," said Harvick. "Since that test, they have dragged tires to get some rubber into the surface. The track has changed since that test, so everyone will be starting from scratch."
Points of Interest...
* Chase for the Banquet...Harvick remains 11th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point's standings. He leads Jamie McMurray by just one point heading into this weekend's UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS). The driver who finishes 11th in the final standings, receives a seat at the banquet in New York City, as well as a $1,000,000 bonus.
* What Ya' Haulin'... The GM Goodwrench transporter will unload chassis No. 154 this weekend at LMS. It is a brand new car and has not been on-track this year. This is the second straight week the team has debuted a new chassis.
* Last Year's UAW-GM 500... Engine Failure on lap 222 of the 2004 UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway forced the specially decaled RCR 35th Anniversary Chevrolet to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garage early and brought the team a 36th place finish. It was their worst finish of 2004.
* TV and Radio... Start time for Sunday's UAW-GM 500 is 7:10 p.m. EDT. Television coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. on NBC. PRN Radio and XM Radio 144 will begin their coverage at 7:00 p.m. Remember time and date may change, so check your local listings.