Event: Las Vegar
Fresh off a fourth-place run at Phoenix International Raceway, Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team will travel to Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400.
Harvick will race chassis No. 325 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend at LVMS. Built new in 2010, he drove this car to a third-place finish in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.
Harvick will pull double duty this weekend at LVMS as he competes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race as well, driving the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI). The two-time NNS champion and team co-owner is the defending NNS race winner at LVMS. All together, he holds two wins, six top fives and seven top-10 finishes in NNS competition at the 1.5-mile speedway.
This week in Budweiser Racing history: In 13 NSCS races at LVMS, four drivers have raced the Budweiser-sponsored car at the 1.5-mile speedway. Combined, Ricky Craven, Wally Dallenbach Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne earned one top five and four top-10 finishes, and led 146 laps at LVMS during their reign as the Budweiser driver.
Kevin Harvick discusses racing in Las Vegas, the keys to success there and the 10th anniversary of KHI:
What's your reaction when you see the Las Vegas Strip? "Well I grew up on the West Coast, about four hours from Vegas. It's crazy to see how much it's grown since I remember going there the first time. You can find anything you want to do in Vegas. It's a fun town to go celebrate our championship in."
I think of race car drivers as calculated gamblers. You sit there and think whether you're 100 percent sure you can make a pass or not. Do you look at yourself as a calculated gambler? "I think you have to be to a certain extent. I also think there's an 'I may not make it this time' type of move that you have to try to accomplish every once and a while to try and win a race, or put yourself in position to win a race. I think on a week-to-week basis, it's a good description of who we are."
You had a pretty strong run at Vegas last February and finished second. Can you talk a little bit about last year? "Yeah, last year didn't start off too well for us. I got a little anxious during practice and got the car in the wall, and they had to fix it. I didn't get to practice the whole first session. The car was really good during the race. We were able to make our way to the front of the field, and put ourselves in contention at the end. We just ran out of laps at the end. I'm excited to go back there. We won the Nationwide race and finished second in the Cup race. It should be a good weekend for us again this year."
What does it take to be successful at Vegas? "When they redid the race track, it's just a really fast race track. (There are) several bumps in the track and you have to make sure you are pointed in the right direction to go over it straight. It's a really fast race track and you've just got to have a lot of grip in the car to keep the pedal on the floor."
It's KHI's 10th anniversary in additional to your 10th wedding anniversary with DeLana. Which one was harder to get to? "Definitely KHI I'd say because it just requires a lot more effort. (On the Cup side) I've got a lot of people who have been around me for a long time and I can concentrate on driving the car and giving feedback, and after that they handle everything from there. It's definitely a lot harder to build something, especially at this level. To put the right people and the right equipment, sponsors and everything together it takes a long time. You can't do it in one year. We've been fortunate over the 10 years to put together some good people and make it through a lot of good times and a lot of bad times. It's been fun."