Daytona II: Kevin Harvick preview

Kevin Harvick Sights Set on Superspeedway Win HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 29, 2004) - If you had to pick one racing surface where Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team are most determined to obtain a checkered flag, it...

Kevin Harvick
Sights Set on Superspeedway Win

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 29, 2004) - If you had to pick one racing surface where Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team are most determined to obtain a checkered flag, it would have to be a superspeedway. From the time the checkered flag flies in Homestead, Fla., to signal the end of a season, Team GM Goodwrench is hard at work getting ready for the superspeedway events that transpire over the course of a year.

"Those are the ones we're all shooting for," says Harvick, whose No. 29 Chevy will be sporting a new Coca-Cola C2 paint scheme for Saturday night's Pepsi 400. "They're what everyone at RCR puts the most effort into each and every year. Being in the right place at the right time will be the key. We've had really good racecars for the last two years. Last year, we had a chance to win every superspeedway race and fell off a little bit at Talladega (Ala.) when they changed the rules package. But I think we've closed that gap this year and two top-fives justify that. We just have to take that next little step."

That next little step is well within reach of Team GM Goodwrench. Over the course of the last six restrictor-plate races, Harvick has been just as dominate if not more than the Dale Earnhardt, Inc., stable, despite all their trophies. The 2001 Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year has scored four top-five and six top-10 finishes since last year's Daytona 500, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. amassed four top-five and five top-10 finishes, and Michael Waltrip accumulated two top-five and two top-10 finishes. Harvick trails only 2004 Daytona 500 champion Earnhardt Jr. in points earned (335) and average finish (3.5) on superspeedways this season.

One thing Harvick might have in his favor heading back to the home state of NASCAR is that he's running the Winn-Dixie 250 NASCAR Busch Series race on Friday night, the first time he'll run companion events at Daytona during the summer. His average finish jumps from ninth to fourth when competing in multiple events at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Daytona...

What comes to mind when racing at Daytona?

"That we have had a chance to win, especially these last couple of races. Anytime you set foot at Daytona you want to put your name in the record books with everybody who's won races and done well there. The key is to dodge the big wreck and you should have a chance to win or at least have a good finish. Winning at Daytona is probably the most prestigious thing you can do in NASCAR, so that's obviously a goal of mine and everyone at RCR."

What can you take from the first two superspeedway events of 2004? "The best thing that I can say is that we have shown our strength when it comes to restrictor-plate racing. If we wouldn't have made a mistake getting on pit road in the (Daytona) 500 at the beginning of the year, we probably would have been able to put ourselves in a better position to win. In Talladega, our car couldn't have been much better and we were right there battling for the win before the final caution came out. We've run so well the last couple of years on these restrictor-plate tracks. Sooner or later, we're going to get a win."

What are your thoughts on restrictor-plate racing in general?

"I don't like restrictor-plate racing as much as I do unrestricted, but it's a necessary part of our sport that NASCAR has to make rules to where the cars don't run too fast. I don't have a better solution, so until somebody comes up with a better solution, there's really no reason to complain. Your car may suck and it ticks you off that you can't go as fast as everybody else, but that's just the way it is. Until a better idea comes up, I'm not going to complain about it."

How confusing does superspeedway racing get with the yellow line rule and freezing the field?

"On the yellow line rule, I treat it as a wall. I can't control what happens with everybody else and the balls and strikes calls just happen the way that they see it. We'll just have to play our own game and see how it shakes out. I don't know how they're going to score 43 cars that are three-wide and decide who's in front of whom. We'll just have to play it by ear and hope this new system they have in place works."

Talk about getting your first pole at Daytona in July of 2002. "I feel it was more the team that deserves all the credit, not me, because I got the pole at a superspeedway. I just get in the car and do the same thing each qualifying lap on these racetracks. I actually wish I had a little more to do with it, like at Atlanta (Ga.) or Charlotte (N.C.), some place where the driver has a little more part in it. It was a pretty special pole for all of us. Not only was it my first Cup pole, but it was our first pole together as a team."

No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Daytona...

How close are you to a superspeedway win?

"I would say pretty close from our finishes the last couple of races. We're just missing being in the right place at the right time. Harvick's been there at the end. We just can't get out in front of those DEI guys. We're taking the same car that we ran at Daytona and Talladega earlier this year and hopefully we can be up front when it counts this time around."

Points of Interest...

* Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 81 to the Sunshine State for this weekend's 400-mile event. This is the same one they posted top-five finishes with at Daytona International Speedway (4th) and Talladega Superspeedway (3rd) earlier this year, and is on a streak of six consecutive top-10 finishes dating back to February of 2003.

* Daytona's high-banked, two-and-a-half-mile tri-oval was the site of GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick's first NASCAR Winston Cup Series Bud Pole Award. It came on July 6, 2002, in preparation for his second Pepsi 400.

* The no DNF streak continues for Harvick. His 12th place finish in Sonoma, Calif., puts his streak at 55 consecutive races, or one DNF every 17.4 events. That's the best ratio of all the drivers in the NEXTEL Cup Series garage.

* Start time for Saturday night's Pepsi 400 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 160-lap event on FOX starts at 7:00 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 7:00 p.m. as well. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick