The Daytona Debate HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 1, 2002) - Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo return to action this week at NASCAR's sacred ground, the 2.5-mile Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 2001 ...
The Daytona Debate
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 1, 2002) - Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo return to action this week at NASCAR's sacred ground, the 2.5-mile Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 2001 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year took the outside pole at February's event and was strongly favored to win the 500 miler until a late race incident took out the No. 29 and several other leaders.
Now, the summer's 400-mile event brings the Winston Cup garage back to racing at night, which raises everything up a notch. Old feelings of Saturday night racing at the local track flood the senses, along with the exhilaration of running one of NASCAR's fastest tracks.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo, comments on restricter plates, the last time around, night racing, and reaching half-way:
The Great Debate
"The speeds we run at Daytona and Talladega are the highest on the circuit. The restrictor plate may not be the answer we (drivers) all like, but it's the one we've been given. And no one has come up with something better, so how can we complain? The cars would run way too fast. I won't complain because I haven't got a solution. NASCAR is trying to keep the drivers safe. They're also trying to keep the fans safe. If we were to have an accident at the speeds we'd run without the plates, there's no telling how many people - drivers, crew, and fans - would get hurt."
A Lap Around
"Gas pedal. Floor. Turn left."
"Daytona isn't really about your path around the track. It's all about the mental side of it. Is this guy going to draft with me? Is this guy going to hang me out to dry? If I run this line can I beat that guy while he's on that line? It wears you out.
"In Daytona in February, we had a car that could move through the lines. It was a really good car. Then we got bumped and got into a big pile up. The car was junked. In Talladega, our car was good on the outside line, but couldn't run really well on the bottom. As long as I had some help behind me up top, we were contenders. But that one got wrecked too, past the half way mark, just like Daytona. We really thought we could have won both of those races."
Last Time Around
"Taking the outside pole in what was my first Daytona 500 attempt this year was special. When you grow up racing stock cars and being around them all your life, Daytona is the biggest racetrack there is. It's the first place that comes to mind when you talk about 'NASCAR.'
"I have always been a firm believer that whatever is going to happen is going to happen. All we can do is go in and do the best we can and race as hard as we can and hopefully that's good enough. And I think it is definitely getting there."
"The funny thing about this series is so many people act like and think like the season is over at a third of the way, let alone half. We've got a lot more racing to do, it's not near over. Things will shake up pretty soon. Someone will get on a roll. And like a snowball going down a hill, it'll just get bigger and bigger."