HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 30, 2003) - If there's one thing missing from GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick's chances of a successful run at (Kansas City) Kansas Speedway, it's a little bit of luck. In two Winston Cup starts at the one and a...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 30, 2003) - If there's one thing missing from GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick's chances of a successful run at (Kansas City) Kansas Speedway, it's a little bit of luck. In two Winston Cup starts at the one and a half-mile oval, the 2001 Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year was in contention for the win both times when the bad luck bug bit him.
"I've had terrible luck in Kansas," says Harvick, who will attempt to make his 100th NASCAR Winston Cup Series start in Kansas City this weekend. "The last two years in the (Winston) Cup car, I couldn't seem to catch a break. Last year we were leading the race and got caught in the pits under yellow, got down a lap and finished 11th. The year before we were up front, got a flat tire and had to pit early. That put us on the tail end of the lead lap and we finished 16th."
While the Bakersfield, Calif., native struggled in the Sunflower State the last two years, he flourished at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway, a track he views as almost identical to Kansas. Two wins in three tries in the Windy City have him feeling pretty good about his chances as long as he finds the luck in his favor.
For a majority of the second half of 2003, Harvick has found good fortune prevailing on his side. Since the SaveMart 350 in Sonoma, Calif., he's gone from ninth to second in the Winston Cup driver points standings on a wave of five consecutive top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes in the last 14 events.
No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Kansas...
What do you think of the racetrack?
"Kansas is still pretty new. It's very similar to Chicago, just not quite as fast. It's kind of a mix between Chicago and Las Vegas. We seem to run well on any kind of mile and a half racetrack. The fastest groove is still right on the bottom, with the possibility of two grooves coming in during the race. You fight a lot of front-end push up off the corners throughout the entire weekend. This place is definitely a track position and fuel mileage racetrack."
How was your Busch test there?
"When we took our Busch car out there to test, we realized that it's still about keeping your car on the bottom of the racetrack, right against the white line. The car still tends to push badly. They (Goodyear) changed the right side tire and that's something a little bit different from what we've raced there in the past. We'll have to adjust to that and go from there. The track still has a lot of grip and you're still running against the white line."
Has the groove improved in the past two years?
"The groove is still right on the bottom and I don't foresee that changing anytime soon. It might widen out this year a little bit, but I don't think it's going to be as wide as some of the older racetracks we visit. The bottom line will still be the fastest way for us."
Why are you running a Sonic Chevy instead of the PayDay Chevy on Saturday?
"It was just a previous deal that we had put together before the Hershey sponsorship came along and the decision to run the PayDay Chevy for a full season this year. We ran two races last year with Sonic on an RCR Busch car when we put the whole thing together. It worked out so well for them that they wanted to do it again this season."
How do you feel about these cookie-cutter racetracks?
"I guess if you're going to lump mile and a half race tracks together, you're talking about Las Vegas, Kansas, Chicago, and places like that. I can tell you from experience that they may look the same, but they don't really drive the same. We've had a lot of success on the mile and a half tracks. They are extremely nice. A lot of them have their similarities - don't get me wrong - but they all have their own little characteristics."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Kansas...
What do you think of Kansas?
"Kansas is a lot like Chicago. Actually, they're so close that we are taking a similar set-up we ran at Chicago in July with us. Harvick hasn't had the best luck there the past two years, but hopefully that will change. We're taking a car he likes. The same one we won with at Indy earlier this year. It also helps that he tested the Busch car there a few weeks ago to get him some extra seat time ahead of everybody else."
Points of Interest...
Team GM Goodwrench will take back chassis No.88 to the Land of Oz for this weekend's Winston Cup event. This chassis, last run at Michigan International Speedway in August, is the same one Team GM Goodwrench won with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Harvick will be back participating on the NASCAR Busch Series circuit this Saturday in Kansas City, but not in his usual ride. Instead, he'll be piloting the No. 29 Sonic Chevrolet outfitted by Richard Childress Racing Enterprises, Inc.
With Matt Kenseth's early exit from last Sunday's EA Sports 500 in Talladega, Ala., Harvick became the only driver in the top-10 NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver points standings without a DNF this season.
Start time for Sunday's Banquet 400 is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET. TV coverage of the race 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.