Daytona Twins: Kevin Harvick preview

KEVIN HARVICK Strong qualifying effort makes Harvick "Happy" for Duels Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 14, 2005) -- The nickname stuck, but many in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garage last year wondered just how "happy" Kevin Harvick was.

KEVIN HARVICK
Strong qualifying effort makes Harvick "Happy" for Duels

Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 14, 2005) -- The nickname stuck, but many in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garage last year wondered just how "happy" Kevin Harvick was. Harvick finished 14th in the 2004 points standings and missed the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup in the final two lead-in events. But what was clear during the off-season at Richard Childress Racing was last year was just that -- over and done. Gone are almost all the chassis from year's past- replaced by brand new cars across the board. "We got rid of nearly everything," said GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier. "We felt like it was time to just rebuild from the ground up."

What remained at RCR were the restrictor plate cars that helped the Bakersfield, Calif., native post the best average finish at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway in 2004. As they say, "if it's not broke- don't fix it." Harvick rolled into Daytona Beach, Fla., with the same chassis No. 081 that raced every "plate" event last year. The only change to the car for the 2005 Daytona 500 is a new 20th Anniversary paint scheme celebrating GM Goodwrench and RCR's 20 years of sponsorship.

The result of Sunday's qualifying run shows that Harvick has the muscle when it comes to Daytona International Speedway. Harvick qualified fourth fastest in Bud Pole qualifying after logging just 4 laps of practice during January testing and Saturday's practice.

"We knew we had a fast car for Daytona," said Harvick. "The way the motor rules are now, the less time you put on the engine usually is better. We felt good about our practice run and we were able to back that speed up in qualifying. It's good start to Speedweeks. But now our focus turns to Thursday. That will tell us how good we really are."

Harvick will start on the outside of the front row for Thursday's second Gatorade Duel at Daytona. A spot that he says is more important this year than in years past. "I think with the change in rules for making a race, the Duels are going to be crazy," Harvick said. "The guys in the back have to race their way in more than ever before. Even though you can get shuffled back from the front, I don't want to be any part of the beating that will take place in the rear of the field."

Points of Interest...

* 20 Years of GM Goodwrench and Richard Childress Racing...In 1985, GM Goodwrench signed as the associate sponsor of the RCR No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt. Two years later, the black and silver Goodwrench colors took over and the rest was history. This year, GM Goodwrench and RCR will celebrate their 20 year partnership with four special paint schemes honoring the longest active car sponsorship in NASCAR. Kicking off the program is the Daytona 500 Anniversary car which blends the many looks that the Goodwrench Chevy has had over the years.

* What ya' Haulin'...Team GM Goodwrench will race chassis No. 081 in Thursday's Gatorade Duel at Daytona. It is the same car that Harvick raced in every restrictor plate race in 2004.

* He's Worth A Deuce...Harvick will participate in his fourth Daytona 500 qualifying race. All of his previous starts have been in race No. 2. On Thursday, Harvick will take the green flag in -- race No. 2.

-rcr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Kevin Harvick
Teams Richard Childress Racing