Chicagoland: Kevin Harvick preview

KEVIN HARVICK Harvick looks to get back on track in Chicago HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., (July 6, 2005) -- For much of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench team looked like they had finally gotten...

Harvick looks to get back on track in Chicago

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., (July 6, 2005) -- For much of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench team looked like they had finally gotten everything to click and had become a realistic threat for the Cup Series championship. But three straight finishes outside the top-20 have the Bakersfield, Calif., native on the outside looking in for the season ending Chase for the Championship.

Fortunately for Harvick and company this week's race is at Chicagoland Speedway, arguably the team's best track. Harvick scored the inaugural victory at the 1.5-mile facility just southwest of the "Windy City" and then backed it up by winning again in year two. In fact, in four races at Chicagoland, Harvick has two wins and an average finish of seventh. That makes the No. 29 one of the favorites for this Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400.

"Chicagoland Speedway has definitely been good to us," said Harvick. "It just fits everything we do at RCR and it really fits my driving style. It is one of those races we look forward to and it couldn't come at a better time for this team. We have struggled putting an entire race together lately. We broke a motor at Sonoma, Calif., (Infineon Raceway) and then we got wrecked at Daytona (Fla.). It's been frustrating because we have had fast cars. We just can't seem to get them to the finish line without some sort of problem."

The GM Goodwrench team will bring Harvick's favorite car to Chicagoland Speedway in an attempt to turn things around. Harvick has lost seven positions in the point's standings over the last three races. "We need to get things turned around here this weekend," Harvick said. "We can't worry about the Chase. We need to worry about running up front and getting back to the top-five. I know its cliche, but if we do what we are capable of doing, the points will take care of themselves."

Points of Interest...

* Chase for the Championship...The GM Goodwrench Chevrolet lost their grip of the season ending Chase for the Championship after a 24th place finish at Daytona International Speedway. Harvick now sits in 14th position, 432 markers behind leader Jimmie Johnson. Harvick has dropped seven positions in points over his last three races.

* Last Year in Joliet, Ill.... The No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team proved in Sunday's Tropicana 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race that you can't keep a good team down. Put a lap down early because of a bad set of tires, Team GM Goodwrench battled back to get on the lead lap and then took advantage of a late four-tire stop to post their seventh top-10 of the season. The team's 10th place finish at Chicagoland Speedway moved Harvick up two spots to eighth in the NEXTEL Cup Series point's standings, 491 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.

* Busch Whacking... Harvick will be driving the No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday. Last year, he started fifth, but finished 42nd due to a vibration. Harvick has been splitting his time in the No. 21 with Brandon Miller.

* What Ya' Haulin'...The GM Goodwrench transporter will unload chassis No. 137 in the Land of Lincoln. It is the same chassis that Harvick raced to an eighth place finish at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway on June 12, 2005. Harvick also ran the car at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600. He finished 14th in the series longest event. The chassis recently received a new Monte Carlo body as well as a new front clip after an 11th place finish at Darlington Raceway, in which Harvick slammed the wall coming to the checkered flag.

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Chicagoland Speedway...

What's unique about the racetrack?

"Probably that you go through the corners pretty much wide open. You let off sooner than you do at most places, and you drive it all the way through the corners under power. That's not extremely different from other tracks, but there is a lot more throttle there than at most places. You get back in it (the gas) a lot quicker than you do at most places."

Do you think you've got it figured out better than anyone else has?

"I think everybody has got the driving part figured out. Right now, it's more about the little things, like shock package. Shocks are probably the biggest part of it. It's really more about picking apart your racecar and coming up with that unique set-up. We had it the first two years we went to Chicago and were pretty close last year as well."

Is this a track where the new spoiler and tire combination might play havoc with the setups and how you drive?

"I think it could be. For the most part we haven't seen a whole lot of difference from the spoiler. It has been more the change in the tire. This is barely a two groove track and you are in the gas through the corners, so it might make us a little more free than we have been in the past. I know our team has realized how to compensate for the new rules, so we'll just have to wait and see."

No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Chicagoland Speedway...

What's your mindset for Sunday's race?

"The biggest thing is that we know we've got a chance to win because we've done it before in the past. That automatically gives the guys on this team a boost and I know it does the same for Kevin. We're taking a car that Kevin really likes. We have run it on just about every type of track out there and it just responds to whatever we throw at it."


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Brandon Miller