Daytona Shootout: Kevin Harvick preview

Budweiser Racing Team Notes of Interest

* Kevin Harvick will kick off the 2011 season in Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway clad in the new black and red colors of his new sponsor, Budweiser.

* As Budweiser enters its 29th season as a sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the iconic brand will be represented on track by a predominantly black paint scheme for the first time in the company's involvement in the sport.

* After scoring back-to-back Budweiser Shootout victories in 2009 and 2010, Harvick will attempt to become the first driver to win three consecutive Shootouts in the pre-season event's history (1979 -- Present) this Saturday. Other drivers who've scored back-to-back Budweiser Shootout wins include Neil Bonnet, Ken Schrader and Tony Stewart.

* Harvick has competed in six previous Budweiser Shootouts. He has two wins, four top fives and five top-10 finishes to his credit.

* The Budweiser Shootout Draw Party airs at 8:30 p.m. ET Friday on SPEED and Harvick will be a part of the first group of drivers to find out their starting positions for Saturday's race.

* Budweiser's newest commercial "Vrooom" will make its debut during the Daytona Speedweeks. The spot, put together by Budweiser's agency Anomaly, was filmed at the Richard Childress Racing facility in Welcome, N.C., in January. The film crew spent four days at the shop shooting various members of the team working on the car, in the Earnhardt Childress Racing engine shop's chassis dyno, going through pit stop practice, etc. The final commercial spot features several members of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team, including Harvick and team owner Richard Childress.

* This week in Budweiser Racing history: Saturday marks the 33rd running of the Budweiser Shootout. Since Budweiser became a primary NASCAR Sprint Cup Series sponsor in 1983, the brand's drivers have scored two victories in the event. In 1984, Neil Bonnet took home the trophy at the wheel of the No. 12 Budweiser Chevrolet and in 2003 Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored the win in the season opener while driving the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet..

Kevin Harvick discusses his new Budweiser sponsorship, the new pavement at Daytona, the Budweiser Shootout and his goals for the 2011 season:

You're starting off the new season with a new sponsor. Talk about the adjustment to working with the people at Budweiser: "I think the transition has been easy. Obviously our sponsor, Budweiser, has been in the sport for a very long time. It's an iconic brand worldwide. Everything that's happened has been a lot of fun to say the least. It's fun representing a brand that you enjoy representing, so that makes life a lot easier. It's one of those things that when you look back at the drivers and the people that have been in the Budweiser car, it's just part of NASCAR.

"I think the biggest thing for the team is everybody is just excited. Everybody has enjoyed the way that Budweiser came in from a team standpoint and had the announcement at the shop and involved everybody in everything that we've done. Even in our commercial that we shot, the team is involved. It was shot at the (RCR shop). Everybody feels like they're a part of it, and that's just something that sometimes sponsors forget -- that it's not just about the driver, it's about the team. Those are the guys that make the thing happen. And they feel like they're a part of the program, so that's something that's pretty cool."

Last year you stood in Victory Lane after the Budweiser Shootout. How cool would it be for you to do that again this year?: "Yeah. It's kind of like winning the home game with the Budweiser Shootout and Budweiser being on the car, so it's going to be fun to see all those guys down there and hopefully kick off the season right. You never know when you get to these speedway races as to whether it's going to be right or wrong. The speedway races were very productive for us last year. I feel like the effort that we're putting in this year is as good as it's ever been. So, you just go down there and you play the game. You play the chess game and you see how it all shakes out in the end. The Shootout's been good to us the last couple of years, so hopefully we'll make it three."

Talk about the new surface at Daytona and what you discovered during the test last month: "Obviously the surface is going to be pretty exciting for everybody just for the fact that it's really smooth, it's got a lot of grip. They did a great job paving the racetrack. It's going to be a little bit narrower than Talladega, so the chess match will still be the same. It should be the same exciting racing; you just don't have to worry about the handling aspect of it for a while. Just put the speed in your car and play the game."

You won races last year, you led the regular season points and you came close to winning the championship. You must have some pretty high goals for this season? "I think when you look at everything and where we are, racing for the championship is really what it's all about. We want to win a championship trophy. Coming so close last year, I think we learned a lot as to the mind set and the expectation level that you need to set for yourself and the preparation that goes into everything for those last 10 weeks. It's very important to be able to maintain that level of competitiveness throughout those last 10 weeks. We know what that feels like now, and we did that better than we ever have before. We just have to keep doing the things that we're doing."

You attended the Super Bowl last weekend in Arlington, Texas, as a guest of Budweiser. What was that experience like? "We had a lot of fun. It was great to just be a part of the people and take in the game. Obviously it was a good game, but just the experience was a lot of fun.

"It's great to see an event that's the magnitude of the Super Bowl. You don't get to take a lot of those situations in as a driver or competitor at our events. It reminds me a lot of what we do on a weekly basis, but you get to see it from a different perspective. It's always good to see it from both sides of the fence.

"There's one thing I've learned about Budweiser, everything that is done is first class and they make sure it's done right. We had great seats and just had a great time during the two days we were here for the game."

-source: budweiser

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Ken Schrader , Kevin Harvick