Las Vegas: Kevin Harvick preview

Kevin Harvick Completing Team GM Goodwrench HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (March 2, 2004) - Everyone knows one of the most important ingredients to any competitive NASCAR team is its foundation. It's been three years in the making since team owner...

Kevin Harvick
Completing Team GM Goodwrench

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (March 2, 2004) - Everyone knows one of the most important ingredients to any competitive NASCAR team is its foundation. It's been three years in the making since team owner Richard Childress started putting his No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team together. A team swap in 2002, a new crew chief last season and everything seemed to be coming together nicely.

One of the final touches to Team GM Goodwrench was made over the off-weekend in Welcome, N.C. In search of a permanent engine tuner to fill the position vacated by John Dennison in January, Danny Lawrence, Trackside Engine Manager for Richard Childress Racing Enterprises, Inc. (RCR), hired John Goodwin. A 36-year old Houston, Texas native, Goodwin came from Bill Davis Racing's No. 22 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series racing team.

"John fits perfectly into our system," says Lawrence. "He's got plenty of engine experience and we felt he was the best man for the job. He fits the RCR mold and mentality. We've been looking at him since before Daytona (Fla.), but it took a while because we wanted to make sure we got the right person. He's a team player who wants to win races."

Harvick is anticipating finally having his team set for the remainder of the 2004 season. Not a big part of the hiring process, he utilized his off-weekend by spending time with wife DeLana celebrating their third anniversary. This is the first time since their marriage in 2001 that they didn't celebrate an anniversary in Las Vegas, N.V.

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

What do you think of the new hire?

"It's good to know we've finally got the team solidified. This is the only real change we've made for 2004 and that's nice to hear. It's the first year that we've come back with the same crew chief, the same pit crew, the same people, and all the small things that add up to the big thing - especially in communications. This is the first year we've come back with that whole structure in place. That, to me, is the most important thing."

How was the Cup test in Vegas over the off-season?

"The test last January was quick. It was one day and we didn't get to work on a ton of things, just a basic shakedown of everything. It may not seem like much, but the off-season makes everybody a little lethargic. This test was a chance to go out and get everybody tuned up for the year. With the new rules changes, we wanted to work all the winter bugs out and get the team reacquainted with working on the road. It also gave us a chance to test the new tires on the 1.5-mile racetrack and see how it reacts. We're pretty happy with everything right now."

Do you like the track conditions?

"Vegas is 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 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. We always seem to run really good at these mile-and-a-half racetracks."

How much do you like racing in 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. Plus, it's always going to be special to me because it's where DeLana and I got married. 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."

What's it like to spend anniversaries in Sin City?

"It's just something you get used to doing. We try to put aside a night when we are there to have some time to ourselves, go to dinner, a show, or just stay in, but you know how hard that can be. And I can think of worse places to celebrate our anniversary. There's so much to do in Vegas with shows and restaurants. As far as going anywhere, we'll usually wait until an off-weekend to try and go somewhere special or do something a little different and make that our anniversary celebration."

No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Las Vegas...

How would you describe Las Vegas Motor Speedway?

"It's an intermediate racetrack, but without the heavy banking like Charlotte (N.C.). 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 (Kan.) or Chicago (Ill.). Harvick likes those kinds of tracks, so we should be pretty good."

Points of Interest...

* Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No.107 to Sin City for this weekend's 267-lap event. Different from what they took to the test, this chassis was used two Sunday's ago in Rockingham, N.C. It was also on track three times last season - Texas Motor Speedway (started 8th, finished 15th), California Speedway (started 37th, finished 29th) and the spring race at Michigan Speedway (started 10th, finished 18th).

* Harvick is coming off his best finish ever in Rockingham two weeks ago. A 13th place effort gave him his highest position in the NNCS driver point's standings this early in the season since he started in 2001.

* The 2001 Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year received a nice anniversary surprise on Friday of last week. On their way down to Florida for the off-weekend, Harvick's wife DeLana surprised him with a trip to the Bahamas for a few days.

* Start time for Sunday's UAW-Daimler 400 is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET. TV coverage of the 400-mile 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
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Bill Davis Racing