Las Vegas: Kevin Harvick preview

Kevin Harvick Loving Las Vegas HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (February 25, 2003) - Anytime the NASCAR Winston Cup Series circuit heads to the West Coast, GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick gets excited. You see, the Bakersfield, Calif., native grew up...

Kevin Harvick
Loving Las Vegas

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (February 25, 2003) - Anytime the NASCAR Winston Cup Series circuit heads to the West Coast, GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick gets excited. You see, the Bakersfield, Calif., native grew up racing out west and enjoys all it has to offer - beautiful beaches, vast mountains, perfect weather, and the Pacific Ocean.

Now, tell Harvick that the next race on the 2003 schedule is in Las Vegas, Nev., and the 27-year old can't wait to hop on a plane. Happy thoughts ring true in the mind of the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year when someone mentions Sin City. Not only is it a place he spent a lot of time racing, but it also holds some special moments in his life as well.

Most important, his marriage to DeLana Linville on February 28, 2001. Although the two did not get much of a honeymoon, Harvick did get to celebrate his first Winston Cup Series top-10 finish (eighth) two days after they exchanged wedding vows. Growing up, Harvick spent a lot of time at Las Vegas Motor Speedway running in NASCAR's Winston West Series. He vividly remembers capturing his first win in only his second start in the desert.

Harvick hopes to continue his streak of happy moments in Las Vegas with a strong run at the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval. A successful test session in the Busch car early in the year has given him a boost of confidence, and he looks to utilize that throughout the race weekend.

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Las Vegas...

What do you love about Las Vegas?
"There's so much going on in Las Vegas that the place just creates a cool atmosphere. You've got the casinos, the night life, and of course, the racing. It's one of those places where everybody that I grew up with in racing shows up to watch me race."

What's your fondest memory?
"Vegas is always going to be special to me because it's where DeLana and I got married. We get to celebrate our anniversary out there every year. I also have some fond memories of the racetrack. That's where I won my first Winston West race. We always seem to run well there, and I'm looking forward to going back."

Do you remember how you did in your very first race there?
"My very first race there was in the Winston West Series in 1998 and I think I finished eighth or ninth. It was the year all the Winston Cup guys ran that race, so I was pretty happy."

How will the Busch test help the Winston Cup effort?
"We had a great test there in the Busch car. Hopefully, we can take a lot of the stuff that we had on the Busch car and put it on the Winston Cup car and it will work. If it doesn't, then we are going to be behind a little bit. The main thing is that hopefully the shocks and things like that will work for both cars."

Do you enjoy the mile-and-a-half racetracks?
"We always seem to run really good on them. The groove has spread out so much at this place over the years that it's fun to run there. You can race side by side. You can pass. It's wide enough you can race all the way around."

How's the track layout?
"It's really smooth. There's only one bump coming off of turn four. Other than that, all the transitions and everything are very smooth. You don't have a whole lot of a sensation of speed because the racetrack is so smooth. It's a pretty fast racetrack. The only bad thing that happens is that when the sun gets down low, you can't see off of turn four."

Do you plan on doing anything fun while in town?
"We have a whole week of fun things planned. We'll probably head to the Grand Canyon for a day if it doesn't rain. If it does rain, we'll just stay in the room. We'll probably go see a couple shows while we're there. I'm going to teach DeLana how to gamble. It's going to be a lot of fun."

No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Gil Martin on Las Vegas...

How would you describe Las Vegas Motor Speedway?
"It's an intermediate racetrack, but without the heavy banking like Charlotte. You have to find a happy medium for the car's set-up. Soft shocks in the front are usually the best, so the car will turn good through the corners. The track surface is very smooth. The more motor you have the better. Finding a good balance, from the front to rear is very important. The track is a lot like Kansas City or Chicago. Harvick likes those kind of tracks, so we should be pretty good."

What do you rely on most from Kevin during race weekends?
"Communication is the key throughout the race weekend. His feedback on what he needs the racecar to do helps us figure out what we need to do in the garage. Unfortunately, with the new Chevrolet Monte Carlo, we're dealing with a new racecar and trying to find the right balance. We're also still learning what Kevin does and doesn't like. It will take a few weeks, but once we find a basic package or starting point, it won't be as hard the next time."

Points of Interest...

* Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No.88 to Sin City for this weekend's 400-mile event. This chassis was used frequently last season, and gave Harvick his only win at Chicagoland Speedway. It was last run at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.

* Harvick will participate in the Busch race on Saturday in the No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet Monte Carlo for RCR. His best start at Las Vegas in the Busch car was 12th on March 4, 2000, and his best finish was 12th on March 3, 2001.

* Start time for Sunday's Las Vegas 400 is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET. TV coverage of the race on FOX starts at 2:30 p.m., with radio coverage on PRN beginning at 2:30 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

-rcr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick