JOLIET, Ill. - Kevin Harvick is the man to watch at the 1.5-mile speedway in Joliet, Illinois this Sunday. Harvick garnered his last win at this track a year ago, and won the inaugural race here in 2001. "From the first time we unloaded, it's...
JOLIET, Ill. - Kevin Harvick is the man to watch at the 1.5-mile speedway in Joliet, Illinois this Sunday. Harvick garnered his last win at this track a year ago, and won the inaugural race here in 2001.
"From the first time we unloaded, it's just been one of those places that fits my driving style," said Harvick. "The first year that the track opened, Jeff Green and Todd (Berrier) went up there and had a really good test. Luckily everything transferred over into everything that I like in a race car. We went back this year and tried all the stuff that we've had for the last two years and it was still relatively good.
"By the end of the test, everything on the car was completely different than it had been the last two years. We'll probably attribute most of that to the new body styles of the Chevrolets and hopefully we can go back and at least get a solid top five out of the weekend and hopefully have a chance to defend out last two wins."
After a sophomore slump that lingered well over a season, Harvick has been on fire lately. If not for fuel mileage, the No. 29 RCR Chevy was in contention for a top-three finish at Daytona last weekend (he winded up ninth), and he has scored six top ten finishes this season.
"We pretty much go into the weekend thinking we'll have a great qualifying effort and that we'll have a chance of winning the race," said Harvick. "That's just the mindset you have going to a place where you've had so much success. It's the same mindset we had going into Daytona.
"We expected to have a chance to sit on the pole and have a chance to win the race. There are a lot of circumstances that can come into play. Last year we had a fast car and the circumstances worked in our favor. When we get there, we expect to unload off the trailer and set a good lap right off the bat. That's a good feeling going into a weekend that you expect to go out and have success."
As Harvick looks to score his first win of the 2003 season, and defend his streak of two victories at Chicagoland Speedway, he remains optimistic of his championship chances.
"Last year, I think we out-scored everybody during the summer months by about 200 points," Harvick commented. "Matt Kenseth (leader) is pretty far out there at this point. But I think the Roush teams have been in this position before of winning championship but then pretty much blown it."
"I don't want to wish any bad luck on anybody, but if we can make up some points here in the next few weeks our ultimate goal is to win a Winston Cup championship. But when you're going week to week through the season you just have to race the people around you and try to overcome the points.
"If you go out and lead laps and win races, you don't have to worry about who's around you. I don't think we can really focus on trying to win a championship; we just have to make sure we finish races and turn bad days into something better. But right now, we're worried about trying to win a race."
Currently, Harvick and the No. 29 RCR team sit eighth in series rankings, 502 points behind leader Matt Kenseth.