Delaying Dover HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 16, 2003) - Ever heard of a hurricane postponing a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race? It could happen this weekend as the series heads back to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for the MBNA America...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 16, 2003) - Ever heard of a hurricane postponing a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race? It could happen this weekend as the series heads back to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for the MBNA America 400. Potentially right in the path of Hurricane Isabel, it could be another soggy weekend for Winston Cup crews.
"I'm not sure what's going to happen," states GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick. "Dover is right on the East Coast and from everything we hear, the eye of the storm is predicted to go right over it Friday and Saturday.
"If it does rain, there isn't a lot that's going to get done I can tell you that right now. The folks from NASCAR are telling us that they'll delay things depending on what the weather does. We might show up on Saturday, practice both cars a little bit, line up on points, race the Busch that afternoon and Cup on Sunday. You can't predict the weather, though. We just have to keep our fingers crossed that if we do go up there, the rain will pass quickly and we can get back to racing."
The 2001 Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year is anxious to return to the track nicknamed the monster mile for a little Dover redemption. In the last three events at the one-mile oval, he has not finished better than 25th. In five races, his best finish was sixth in his second try.
The biggest question heading into the weekend will be based on whether Mother Nature wants to cooperate. When it comes to rain, the record for the 2003 Winston Cup Series season is not good. They've witnessed wet weather 11 times through 27 events and had two races shortened. Let's hope this weekend that the odds are a little bit better.
No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Dover...
What would you do if the race weekend were postponed all together?
"I'm not sure. We really don't want that because there isn't a place we can put it between now and the end of the season. We'd have to come back after Miami like we did last year with New Hampshire. It's going to be winter up here at that time, which could make for some pretty interesting racing. DeLana and I are also supposed to go down to Florida all next week to move into our new house. This weather could really mix things up with what we end up doing."
What's the key to conquering Dover?
"The biggest thing is just getting into a rhythm and getting comfortable in the car. It's probably one of the top-two places that you feel the speed of the racetrack in the seat because it crams you down in it so much. You have to unload pretty close and have a good first few laps, then go from there."
What makes it so fast?
"Well, it's just a big Bristol, really. You carry so much speed through the corners, and the exits off the corners are really narrow. That's usually how you can screw up there. You come off the corner and hit the right side of the car against the wall because as you come out of the corner, you're going uphill. The momentum throws you out of the corner towards the wall."
What's difficult about the track's surface?
"Nothing really. It's just like racing down the sidewalk. When you first get there, it feels like you are driving down the sidewalk. The rubber fills up the cracks eventually, but it's not much fun those first couple of laps. The track's got a different feel. You are up on top of the racetrack more than you feel like you are when you are on the pavement. It's a different type of feel. I don't really know how to explain it."
How close do you come to smacking the wall?
"Every lap you come close because you are coming up out of a hole and the straightaway is up on a hill, so it just kind of throws you up into the wall. The track is so fast that if you miss your mark coming up off the corner you are going to hit the wall. There is not enough room for error. It's one of those places where you have to get up off the corner right every time, and if you miss your mark even a little bit, you are going to have a flat right side."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Dover...
What's the difference between running on concrete vs. pavement?
"The way it changes with the weather is probably the biggest difference. Pavement tends to change more as the weather changes, where concrete will stay more consistent. They are both hard on tires, but you can still get good grip from concrete just like the pavement."
Points of Interest...
Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 110 up to Dover, the same silver and black racing machine that Harvick finished 13th in last Sunday in New Hampshire. Other racetracks where it saw action include Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
This past weekend's race in Loudon, N.H., was the sixth time in the last seven races and 15th this season that the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo led at least one lap.
Harvick will be back in the No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the 13th time this season on Saturday to run the NASCAR Busch Series Stacker2 200.
Start time for the MBNA America 400 is slated for 1:00 p.m. ET. TV coverage of the race on NBC starts at 12:30 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 12:30 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.