Harvick Chasing First Cup Series Title, Second Busch Series Championship HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 10, 2006) -- Entering this weekend's events at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS), GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick not only finds himself in fourth...
Harvick Chasing First Cup Series Title, Second Busch Series Championship
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 10, 2006) -- Entering this weekend's events at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS), GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick not only finds himself in fourth place in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings, but is also one race away from capturing his second NASCAR Busch Series title and completing the #29 Goodwrench Expertise Challenge.
All but three of the Chase competitors switched positions in the point standings following last Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway. Coming into Saturday's Bank of America 500, only 51 points separate the top five Chase drivers, the closest such margin after four Chase races in the three years the championship-deciding format has been in existence. Harvick is only 33 points behind leader and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) teammate Jeff Burton. A win on Saturday would not only help Harvick continue his climb to the top of the standings, but it would complete the #29 Goodwrench Expertise Challenge, in which a total of 29 lucky fans will receive an all-new 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche if Harvick wins 2 of 12 selected NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races.
Four events remain in the Expertise Challenge, and with one Expertise Challenge win in the record books, Harvick only needs one more to complete the Challenge. The remaining Expertise Challenge races are the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway and the season finale Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
But advancing in the Chase and completing the Expertise Challenge aren't Harvick's only goals this weekend. The 2001 NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) champion could wrap up his second NBS title at the conclusion of Friday night's race. Harvick currently leads second-place Carl Edwards by 729 points and will clinch the series title if he gains 32 points on Edwards following Friday night's Dollar General 300.
"It is exciting just to have the opportunity to race for both championships," said Harvick. "Obviously, the Busch title is in good hands, but the Cup championship changes week in and week out with all of us in the Chase having a little bit of bad luck, it seems. It should be exciting the next six weeks. Just to be in position to meet our goals of wanting to run for both championships is really exciting for everybody at RCR, GM Goodwrench and the Coast Guard."
Given Harvick's fourth-place standing in the Chase, he also has a great shot at becoming the first driver in NASCAR history to win the Busch and Cup Series titles in the same season.
"We ran really well at Lowe's earlier this year," adds Harvick. "Unfortunately, we had a tailpipe break and burned the transmission up, but we ran in the top 10 and then the top five pretty much most of the first half of the race. We feel really good going in to Charlotte. Hopefully, we can do the same thing we did last time."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick about Lowe's Motor Speedway and the Chase...
Talk a little bit about your Busch Series success. Are you surprised to be in the position you are in?
"It has been a good year. Everything has gone right over there. We have been really fortunate to have fast race cars and be able to capitalize on the days when we didn't have the fastest race car. It has just been one of those years where everything has gone really good."
What happened earlier in the year at Lowe's? How was the new surface?
"I think any time you change a racetrack, it takes some time for the track to mature. Oviously, we had to have some really hard tires there last time, but hard tires are better than blown tires. We had a really fast car there last time, but had the tailpipe break, which burned the transmission, so we had to stop and change the transmission. Still, I feel really good about going to Charlotte."
Can your team's success be traced back to RCR's improvement in the mile-and-a-half program?
"I think our cars are just better everywhere, really. I don't think it was just the mile-and-a-half program. Obviously, the mile-and-a-half stuff was not where it needed to be, but in general,I just think we are better everywhere."
Points of Interest...
Track Stat...In 11 Cup Series starts at LMS, Harvick has one top-five and three top-10 finishes. He started 35th and finished 28th in this race a year ago and 34th in May. Harvick has led in two of his 11 appearances at LMS with one DNF.
Avg. Start/Avg. Finish...Harvick's average starting position at LMS is 18.6, with his best start of sixth coming in 2001. His average finishing position is 20.4, which is ninth among Chase drivers. His best finish of second came in 2001.
Chase for the NEXTEL Cup...Harvick finished sixth at Talladega to climb one spot in the standings. He has ranked among the top 10 in the last 24 events, since Texas in April. Harvick has 12 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes in 2006.
Did you know...Harvick, who primarily drives RCR's No. 21 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet in the Busch Series, will drive his Kevin Harvick, Inc. owned No. 33 Dollar General Chevrolet this week. Harvick has led the NBS standings for all but one of the 30 weeks thus far. He was fifth following the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway.
#29 Goodwrench Expertise Challenge...Four events remain in the Expertise Challenge, in which a total of 29 lucky fans will receive an all-new 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche if Harvick wins 2 of 12 selected NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. With one win in the record books, Harvick only needs one more to complete the Expertise Challenge. GM Goodwrench also will establish a $200,000 scholarship fund to encourage young men and women to pursue careers as automotive technicians following the two victories. Fans can join the challenge by visiting a Chevrolet dealership or a Chevy display at select NASCAR events to get a ticket with an official promotion code. They can also visit goodwrench.com/expert to get a promotion code and complete the registration process. The next Expertise Challenge race will be at Texas Motor Speedway on November 5th.
We Have A Winner...As part of the #29 Goodwrench Expertise Challenge promotion, Chris Heikkuri of Holly, Mich. received an all-new 2007 Chevy Avalanche thanks to Kevin Harvick's victory in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 on Sept. 9th. Heikkuri was on hand on Friday, Sept. 29th at Al Serra Chevrolet in Grand Blanc, Mich. to accept the keys to his new 2007 Chevy Avalanche.