Kevin Harvick Harvick Hungry for Homestead Finale HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (November 17, 2004) - The inaugural 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season comes to an end this weekend with the Miami 400 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway on Sunday,...
Harvick Hungry for Homestead Finale
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (November 17, 2004) - The inaugural 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season comes to an end this weekend with the Miami 400 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway on Sunday, November 21, 2004. GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick is anticipating it for numerous reasons. First and foremost, he's eager to avenge his disappointing run last Sunday in Darlington, S.C., and knows the revamped 1.5-mile speedway is the perfect place to do it. He would know. The Bakersfield, Calif., native's second place finish in last year's season finale vaulted him into the top-five in points for the first time in his NEXTEL Cup career.
"That was a pretty memorable race," says Harvick looking back to last year. "Not only did we finish second for like the sixth time that year, but it also pushed us into the top-five in the final point's standings. That day the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet was on rails. I could pass on the left or right, anywhere I wanted. It'd be great to finish off the season that way again. We've really had a roller-coaster year and it'd be nice to end it on a high note to give us some momentum going into next season."
If his second place run isn't enough motivation for the 2001 Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year, then another reason Harvick is excited about hitting Miami's high-banks is because he was very happy with a one-day test session that he participated in with his Richard Childress Racing (RCR) NASCAR Busch Series team last week. Even though the NEXTEL Cup team decided not to go, Harvick still feels like the practice time he got will be an advantage all around when competition gets underway on Friday.
A final reason Harvick is happy there's one final race on the 2004 schedule is because that means there's still one last chance to grab a pole position and/or win a race. This season is the first time in his four years on the NEXTEL Cup Series circuit that he has not yet won a race and first time in three seasons that he hasn't sat in the top spot to start a race.
Points of Interest...
* Memorable 2003 Finale...Team GM Goodwrench's second place finish in Homestead last November was their best effort at the 1.5-mile speedway in three attempts. It vaulted Harvick from sixth to fifth in the final points standings, the first time he and the team finished the season in the top-five in points.
* Homestead Testing...Harvick spent one day testing at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway last week in preparation for the final race of the inaugural NEXTEL Cup Series season. With his NEXTEL Cup team opting not to go, Harvick spent the day with his RCR NASCAR Busch Series team.
* Did You Know...Homestead is one of four tracks on NASCAR's premier circuit where Harvick has finished on the lead lap every time he's raced there?
* New Busch Ride...The 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion will run the Miami 300 this weekend in Miami, but not in his usual colors. Instead, he'll be the final driver in the No. 29 ESGR Chevrolet outfitted by Richard Childress Racing. It's been run four times already in 2004 with an all-star cast of drivers including Tony Stewart.
* Off the Truck...Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 127 to sunny Florida for this weekend's 267-lap event. This chassis, the latest No. 29 Chevrolet out of the RCR stables, has yet to see on-track action.
* TV and Radio...Start time for Sunday's Miami 400 is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST. TV coverage of the 400-mile event 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.
No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Homestead...
What do you like about the revamped Homestead-Miami Speedway? "Pretty much everything. The track is super-fast with the progressive banking in the corners. The cars seem to really stick in the corners, probably because the track has got a lot of grip. You can race side-by-side almost around the entire racing surface so it makes it a lot more fun for the drivers and the fans, too."
How was your NASCAR Busch Series test there last week?
"Well, I wasn't there very long. We flew over in the morning and I left that night. I really just wanted to get some seat time around the racetrack and help shake the car down for the race on Saturday. The car was fast and pretty much all our time was spent in race trim to get a better feel for the racing surface and see how much it changed, if any. It hasn't changed that much from what I could see. But that could all change pretty quickly."
How cool will it be to drive the ESGR car for the season finale?
"It's going to be a lot of fun driving the ESGR car in Miami. The folks with ESGR have been great to work with and I think they've brought a lot of attention to what they're trying to accomplish through their Busch sponsorship. There have been a lot of great drivers in this car this year and I'm honored to get the chance to try and take it to Victory Lane. Everyone at RCR, including myself, is honored to be able to give something back to the men and women who are fighting to keep this country safe. It's something we'll all remember."
Are you ready for some time off?
"I'm probably more ready than ever for the season to end. It just seems like it's lasted a lot longer than it has in the past. I don't know if it's all the racing I've done this year or what. This GM Goodwrench racing team has had a pretty up and down season. We've run some good at some tracks and also had some unfortunate circumstances come our way. I still don't think our team will change that much next year. We've been consistent, from pit stops to set-up; we just couldn't seem to put up anything in the win column. It seemed like there was always something preventing us from reaching our bigger goals."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Homestead...
What can you take from Kevin's Busch Series test in Homestead last week?
"The best thing we can take out of that will be extra seat-time for Harvick. We got a pretty good handle on Homestead last year when we finished second, but that can all change pretty quickly. What we needed was for him to get some extra time around the racetrack to feel how much it's changed since we were there last."