Indianapolis: Kevin Harvick preview

Kevin Harvick Indy Ideal Treatment for Defending Champions   HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 3, 2004) - This Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway could not come at a better time for Kevin Harvick and...

Kevin Harvick
Indy Ideal Treatment for Defending Champions   HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 3, 2004) - This Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway could not come at a better time for Kevin Harvick and his No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team.  Fresh off of their first DNF (did not finish) in 58 consecutive races last weekend in Lond Pond, Pa., this event is the perfect way to get what happened behind them and allow the defending champions to focus on a second victory at one of the most hallowed grounds in the sport of racing.   "As far as we're concerned, what happened last weekend is well behind us," says Harvick.  "All we can do now is try and win at Indy for the second time in a row and start a new streak.  We've always run really well at the Brickyard. I think the worst we've finished has been 11th in the three years that we've been there. It's a good race for us, especially at this stage in the point's race, and it's exciting for us to go back knowing that we've won there before."   Last year's win at the two-and-a-half mile oval capped one of the best season's the Bakersfield, Calif., native had in his first three years on NASCAR's premier circuit.  He grabbed his second pole, also at Indy, picked up more top-five (11) and top-10 (18) finishes than any other year, and finished in the top-five (fifth) in the final point's standings for the first time.   Harvick currently sits 10th in the NEXTEL Cup Series points standings, but knows his chances of moving up after this weekend are pretty good.  In three tries at Indy, he has not finished worse than 11th and has led on two separate occasions. "The confidence is definitely there," adds Harvick.  "Just knowing we've done well every time we've been there and knowing the sensation of winning at the Brickyard.  It's definitely exciting to go back and I'm looking forward to getting our weekend started."   Points of Interest...   Returning Champion...Harvick's record when returning to racetracks after a win is pretty impressive.  Of his first three wins, he went back to Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway and Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway, posted a win, two top-five and three top-20 finishes. 

Logging Laps...Indy is one of four tracks on the NASCAR circuit in which Harvick has finished on the lead lap every time he's raced there.  The other three are Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway, Infineon (Sonoma, Calif.) Raceway and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

Snapping the Streak...The no-DNF streak that came to an end for Harvick and Team GM Goodwrench at Pocono Raceway last Sunday with engine failure on lap 141 dated back to Atlanta in October of 2002, and is the longest of any NEXTEL Cup Series driver in the modern era.   

From the Owner's Box...With the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competing this week at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Harvick will get a chance to watch his truck team led by Matt Crafton perform for the first time since the truck series ran in conjunction with the NEXTEL Cup cars in Dover, Del.

The Chase...With six races to go until the Chase for the Championship, Harvick sits 10th in the standings with 2,420 points.  He's 40 markers ahead of Jeremy Mayfield who sits 11th, and 46 behind Bobby Labonte who sits ninth. 

Off the Truck...Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 127 to the Hoosier State for this weekend's 400-mile event.  This chassis is new for the 2004 season and has not yet seen on-track competition.

TV and Radio...Start time for Sunday's Brickyard 400 is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. EDT.  TV coverage of the 160-lap event on NBC starts at 2:00 p.m., with radio coverage on IMS beginning at 1:45 p.m. as well.  Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

  No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Indy...   What is the most important aspect of last year's Brickyard 400 win?

"It's the biggest thing I've done in my career. Obviously you can't win your first race twice. That's a big moment. To do what we did last year and know the aspirations I had as a kid and to grow up and actually go to Indianapolis and win at the Brickyard - not in an Indy car but in a stock car - is probably almost unrealistic when you think about it.  When you grow up and you want to do something, nine times out of 10 you don't get to go it that way.  I'm pretty lucky to be able to do what I do and to bring back a lot of thoughts and dreams and things.  To actually get to do it at Indy is really cool for me."   What's the key to winning at Indy?

"Track position.  You obviously have to have a good car, but you have to play your pit strategy right and put yourself in position for that last run.  Every year that I've been there that's how it's worked out.  It's one of those things where you need four tires on your car, but you also have to put yourself in the front of the pack so you don't get stuck in a big glob."   How are the corners set-up?

"Turns one and three are a lot alike.  You carry a lot of speed off into the corners and need to be careful.  As you come into turns two and four, they're virtually identical.  You want to set yourself up good into those corners so you don't have to let up very much getting through those corners.  That will help you get off the corner better and back down the longer straight-aways.  It's kind of a balance between getting down the straight-aways really fast and also getting through the corners good."   Ever thought about hopping in an open-wheel car?

"I've thought about it.  It'd be fun to try it a couple of times, but I don't have the desire to race it full-time.  I spent a lot of time growing up racing go-karts in an open-wheel car, but my dad spent most of his time on stock cars so it was logical for me to get involved in that.  I'd like to possibly try running the Indy 500 once, or maybe twice. I don't know.  It's just something where we have to pay a lot of attention to what we've got going on. There is a lot of time and effort into what we've got going on here to screw it up in one weekend.  Besides, I'm extremely happy with what I've accomplished here, and the potential that's still out there."   No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Indy...   How important is Sunday's Brickyard 400 for this team?

"We're all looking forward to going back to Indy, especially after what happened in Pocono last Sunday.  That was just one of those unfortunate circumstances and there wasn't much we could do about it.  The nice thing about Indy is that we all know we can win there because we did it last year.  The toughest part will be figuring out how to get the car off the corners and down the straight-aways because that's where you are going to gain and loose the most ground."

-rcr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeremy Mayfield , Kevin Harvick , Matt Crafton