For NASCAR Winston Cup rookie Kevin Harvick, a lack of testing at the Dover Downs International Raceway (Dover, Del.) seemed to have a positive effect on his performance. As a Busch Series rookie in 2000, Harvick nabbed the pole and a sixth place...
For NASCAR Winston Cup rookie Kevin Harvick, a lack of testing at the Dover Downs International Raceway (Dover, Del.) seemed to have a positive effect on his performance. As a Busch Series rookie in 2000, Harvick nabbed the pole and a sixth place finish his first time rounding the banks of the one-mile oval. The GM Goodwrench Service Plus team is hoping for a repeat... with a happier ending.
Harvick comments on Dover Downs International Speedway: "Last year at this time, I had never been to Dover. I spent a lot of time racing the speedway on one of my computer games though. It doesn't really sound like practice, but it's a whole lot better than nothing. The day before our first practice, we had a team dinner. We were talking about how I hadn't been to Dover and how I also hadn't been to the Glen (Watkins Glen; Watkins Glen, N.Y.) yet. I joked that if we didn't blow up or if I didn't put the car in the wall, we'd see exactly how good the game was. We got the pole and sixth place, so I'd say it's pretty good."
"Dover is just a big Bristol (Bristol Motor Speedway; Bristol, Tenn.)- where our records (Harvick and the Goodwrench team's records) are really good. That second place at Charlotte (Lowe's Motor Speedway; Harrisburg, N.C.) has revved us up. We're expecting to be a large factor this weekend in both the Busch Series and Winston Cup."
The GM Goodwrench Service Plus team has not won an event at Dover Downs in seven NASCAR Winston Cup seasons, but has gone home with seven top-10's in thirteen starts. The No. 29 team attributes their success with a strong and stable engine program.
Danny Lawrence, head engine builder at Richard Childress Racing (RCR), comments on Dover's wear and tear on motors: "You've got to have something that is going to endure some tough conditions. Those cars are going around a small oval, but they're also going up and down. It's like a roller coaster. You've got to run just the right gear- something that's going to make you fast, but something that isn't going to give out. It seems simple, but it's really not. In a way you're in deep if you do, and you're in deep if you don't. If you find the perfect engine set-up, then you have to make sure that the rest of your car- like the chassis and the body- are good enough to support it. It doesn't do a whole lot of good to have an awesome motor dragging around a body that couldn't beat anything in the wind tunnel."
Skippy Johnson, tire specialist for the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Monte Carlo, comments on the importance of a lasting tire package: "Dover is a place where when Goodyear tells you not to go down to a certain pressure, you don't. If you mess too much with the pressure on that right front, you're asking for trouble. At Dover, you want the tire package to last in case the race comes down to who can stay out the longest. This year the tires are good and hard and can last, so I think the team with the strongest engine with the best fuel mileage will make it to victory lane."