Weekend at Dover illustrates NASCAR's "developmental system" DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 29, 2002)-- Kevin Harvick didn't just wake up one morning and discover he had world-class auto racing skills. His talents have been honed via his ...
Weekend at Dover illustrates NASCAR's "developmental system"
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 29, 2002)-- Kevin Harvick didn't just wake up one morning and discover he had world-class auto racing skills. His talents have been honed via his progression through NASCAR's"developmental system" which consists of the sanctioning body's three major national series.
From the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series...to the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division...to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series-- that has been the approach by Harvick, an approach that obviously has paid off.
"I worked on my career, although it seemed slow at times," Harvick said last year after winning the NASCAR Busch championship."I guess you could say my stint in the truck series wasn't all that spectacular. So that made the vision of driving Busch cars that much sweeter."
Harvick (No. 29 Goodwrench Chevrolet), who will race in Sunday's MBNA Platinum 400-- the 13th race of the NASCAR Winston Cup season-- personifies the"system's" potential benefits. He's not alone. Stacy Compton (No. 14 Conseco Pontiac) is well versed in all three series, as are drivers such as Ron Hornaday Jr. and Mike Wallace.
All components of the developmental system will be on display this weekend at Dover International Speedway. A NASCAR Craftsman Truck race Friday (MBNA America 200) and a NASCAR Busch race Saturday (MBNA Platinum 200) will preface Sunday's big show.
Many of the drivers in the weekend's first two events have an eye toward one day competing in NASCAR Winston Cup. Their anxiousness to move up is eased by the knowledge being accumulated.
"I think the drivers who come up through the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series learn some valuable lessons," said Harvick's car owner Richard Childress."The trucks are basically the same chassis and weight as the NASCAR Winston Cup cars."
Compton jumped from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 2000. This year he has been double-dipping, competing in the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Winston Cup, the latter for car owner A.J. Foyt.
Hornaday and Wallace have evolved into NASCAR Winston Cup"super subs", capable of stepping in for injured drivers-- or replacing struggling ones. Hornaday has been with two NASCAR Busch teams this season. Last week in the Coca-Cola Racing Family 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, he tried to boost BAM Racing's NASCAR Winston Cup program, relieving Shawna Robinson at the wheel of the No. 49 Chevrolet.
Tony Raines, a NASCAR Busch Series regular since 1999, will try to follow the lead of the aforementioned drivers this weekend. He'll try to qualify for his first NASCAR Winston Cup event, in the No. 73 BACE Motorsports Chevrolet.
"This is exciting and I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to run a [NASCAR] Winston Cup event at a place where we've had a fair degree of success in the [NASCAR] Busch Series," Raines said. "[Car owners] Bill and Brian Baumgardner have really pulled out the stops in their effort to make a transition to the [NASCAR] Winston Cup Series."
Prior to joining the NASCAR Busch Series, Raines raced two seasons in NASCAR Craftsman Trucks.
Which means that if the Raines transition works, the NASCAR development system will likewise have worked-- again.