Las Vegas: Kevin Harvick preview

Happy's Happy Place Huntersville, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2002)- The NASCAR Winston Cup Series returns to the 1.5-mile oval, Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (LVMS). Las Vegas, an eagerly awaited destination on the circuit, holds many charms for the ...

Happy's Happy Place

Huntersville, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2002)- The NASCAR Winston Cup Series returns to the 1.5-mile oval, Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (LVMS). Las Vegas, an eagerly awaited destination on the circuit, holds many charms for the driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo driver, Kevin Harvick.

Harvick cut his teeth on the 12-degree banks of LVMS while racing in the NASCAR Southwest Tour and Winston West Series. It's a place where he expects to do well, and nothing has proved that expectation invalid. Having won there in the past, Harvick has never finished outside of the top-15 in either the NASCAR Busch Series or Winston Cup Series events he has partaken in. It is also the place Harvick acquired his first NASCAR Winston Cup Top-10.

Aside from collecting the warm and fuzzies from good, solid runs at the city's premier motorsports venue, Harvick tied the proverbial knot in Las Vegas nearly one year ago (2-28-01).

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo, gives the low-down on one of his favorite tracks:

Take us around a lap at LVMS.
"Vegas is really round and flat, and hopefully you turn left. It's in the desert too.

"Joking aside, Vegas is really smooth. The corners are pretty flat. You need a good handling racecar over anything there. You can get really tight otherwise. Last year, well every year, it seems like the groove gets higher and higher, so we'll just have to see what the racetrack is like. It still has two pretty good grooves, they're just moving closer together I guess. That might really shake some things up this week.

"The biggest thing to look for is there's this big bump coming out of turn four. It kinda throws you up in and against the wall. Sometimes it'll get hairy and it acts like a launching pad. But that's probably where we'll see the most trouble.

"The track used to have a lot of grip, which lets you take more chances during the race and qualifying. You can go into a turn and push it really hard with less of a chance of slipping up the wall. Since it's getting older, it's losing that. Tracks lose grip when they get older. Kind of like men losing hair. But overall, it's a nice smooth ride. Aside from the good handling racecar, it's all about keeping your rhythm."

You scored your first NASCAR Winston Cup Top-10 at LVMS last year. Does that hold any special significance for you?
"Anytime you reach a milestone in your career it holds a special significance. But Vegas has always been good to me. It's a track that I just get, you know? I've won races there and have run there a lot in both the Southwest Tour and Winston West Series. So, connecting the top 10 with Vegas is cool, but when I think about the speedway, it's not the first thing to pop in my head. The wins are."

Let's talk about the city of Las Vegas. Are you looking forward to going as much as the rest of the circuit?
"You bet. We're going out a little early to film a commercial. When that's all said and done, DeLana (wife) and I are going to go out and have some fun. We'll be celebrating our first anniversary this year- in the city where we got married. I guess unless the schedule changes a lot in the coming years, we'll celebrate in Vegas for quite some time- which is definitely not a bad thing."

-dei-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick