KEVIN HARVICK Bakersfield's Harvick ready to race at California Speedway HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (February 22, 2005) -- After being "beat-up" in two separate crashes at Daytona International Speedway last week, GM Goodwrench driver Kevin ...
Bakersfield's Harvick ready to race at California Speedway
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (February 22, 2005) -- After being "beat-up" in two separate crashes at Daytona International Speedway last week, GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick enjoyed a week of rest and is ready to race at the 2.0-mile California Speedway.
"I was sore last week, but I am amazed at how much better I feel now," said Harvick. "I spend a lot of time doing Pilates, stretching and working out and I think the results from exercising paid off last week. I know that I am much stronger this year than in year's past. I made a commitment to really focus on my diet and exercise and I think that will pay off this year. I know it did in the two hard wrecks at Daytona."
The Bakersfield, Calif., driver is looking forward to returning to his hometown track for the Auto Club 500. The GM Goodwrench Chevrolet team tested at California Speedway back in early February and despite high winds, Harvick was very pleased with the test. "I thought the tests went very well. The car we have for this race is the best I have ever had for this type of track," Harvick said. "It was fast and had really good balance. Hopefully it will unload as fast as it was when we left the test."
California Speedway was a point of emphasis for the GM Goodwrench team in the off season. Harvick had been in the top-10 in points all season long in 2004, until the fall race where he finished 28th and dropped to 14th in points and out of the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.
"This was a very disappointing track for us last year. We were in the Chase until this race. I feel like this race cost us that chance at the championship," said Harvick. "After that race, we tried some things and they just didn't work. I think that is where people look and say we had a terrible season. We had some bad races after missing the Chase, but this Goodwrench team bounced back and we finished strong. But up until California, we were a top-10 car in points every week. That is what we are taking from last year. The rest is over and we choose to look forward not back."
Points of Interest...
* New Rules, Just Right...NASCAR will debut two new rules at California Speedway. The first is the new post-qualifying impound procedure. This will eliminate "happy hour" and save wear and tear on the crew members. The second is the new spoiler rule, as NASCAR has cut one-inch off the spoilers from last year, down to 4.5-inches in height. The spoiler change is designed to help the cars pass by eliminating or reducing the "aero push" created when catching another car's air wake. (See quotes on page two for Harvick reaction)
* What Ya' Haulin'...The GM Goodwrench transporter will unload chassis No. 134 at California Speedway. It is a brand new car that has never been raced. The car did test at the 2.0-mile track back on February 2nd and also at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Jan. 31.
* TV and Radio...Start time for Sunday's Auto Club 500 is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. EST. TV coverage of the 500-mile event on FOX starts at 2:00 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 2:30 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.
No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on California Speedway...
How was your test at California Speedway three weeks ago? "We didn't hit it right off the truck like we did at Las Vegas. It took us a little more time to dial the car in. But once we did it was very fast. It reacted to changes like we expected it to. Both our A and B cars were fast and that shows we are on the right track. We took the data back to RCR and the engineers fine tuned some things. I am very pleased with how we tested. We were better in every area. That's encouraging."
What were your impressions of the new spoiler rule when you tested?
"I really felt like this (the new spoiler rule) was going to make the cars very loose and unstable, especially in traffic. I thought the balance on our car was good and I didn't have any issues when I passed another car. We were more concerned at the test with the new Goodyear tire. The tire is great and it felt good, but the fall off was more than what a lot of us thought it would be. That's not a bad thing, because it puts it back in the driver's hands. The real test will be when you get around 43 cars. But from my seat, I think it might work out fine."
Do you think there will be any payback from the Duel at Daytona incident this weekend?
"I don't see why there would be. I know everything is good between me and Jimmie and hopefully once everybody got a chance to see the tape and calm down, that they know it was a racing deal and not intentional. I spoke with Mark (Martin) before the Daytona 500 and I know we are cool, so I think everything is fine in the garage. California Speedway isn't a payback track, so there wouldn't have been anything this week anyway. If anyone truly believes I did that on purpose, we'll know it at (Bristol Motor Speedway) in April."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on California Speedway...
What can you take from the test at California Speedway back in early February?
"We learned quite a lot, but the wind was blowing so hard that I don't think the times were what we will see when we go back. I was pleased in the feedback the data gave us. It matched what Kevin felt. We were able to tweak the car a little based off what we learned, so I think we will be better this time than in year's past. We put a lot of time into working on this type of track and we will continue to do so during the year."
Will the new impound procedure rule help your crew?
"I can't hurt. These guys go seven days a week and give the GM Goodwrench car 100%. If they can get some time to relax and do what they like to do away from the track, then it will. We have a great group of guys on our team, so I think they will use it to relax. It's the travel that really wears us out. Until they do something with the schedule, it will still be hard on these guys. But it is a step in the right direction."