Long Pond: Kevin Harvick preview

A weekend of compromise. HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 3, 2002) - The Poconos: cabins, the great outdoors, and heart-shaped tubs. To almost everyone over the age of 21, Pocono conjures up images of marriages and honeymoons. That is unless you're ...

A weekend of compromise.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 3, 2002) - The Poconos: cabins, the great outdoors, and heart-shaped tubs. To almost everyone over the age of 21, Pocono conjures up images of marriages and honeymoons. That is unless you're a member of the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit. And for you, all it means is racing.

Kevin Harvick, the 2001 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year, and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service team head to the 2.5-mile "roval" (the mix of a road course and an oval) of the Pocono Raceway (Long Pond, Pa.), hidden in the heaping foliage of the Pocono Mountains.

Traditionally it is a racetrack known for the wear and tear on motors and gears, but the track also represents something that marriages are based on: compromise. The triangle shape and unmatched banking of the turns, connected by three dissimilar straightaways, makes a combination of the perfect car a demanding quest. To get around the "roval," a driver needs a vehicle that not only carries a practical gear, but one that has good handling through each of its different turns. But if the team discovers the happy medium, most likely they'll find Victory Lane.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo, comments on the Pocono Raceway:

"You need a set-up that can do just about anything. On one straightaway your car needs to have something that it doesn't need, in let's say, the third. And setting a car up for three different turns is almost impossible. You have to find the best way to get your car around all three. It'll never be perfect, but if it is you're golden. And that's what you have to strive for.

"Then you also have to find your perfect gear ratio. Your set-up of the gear ratio determines how many times you shift. You shift here a lot more than anything that resembles an oval track. It's like a road course, kinda. Nothing is symmetrical and you shift a lot more.

"There's a lot of passing to be done on the front stretch, and you gotta take your opportunities when and where you can. So, we'll probably see the most action there - more than the other straightaways. You've got to watch going into turn one. That's the highest banked turn and you use a lot of brake. We'll see some close calls there.

"But really, just on a set-up basis, the most important thing is compromise. You have to give up this for that, and hope you chose the right one."

Kevin Harvick is now 30th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Point Standings, a three-place jump from last week.

-rcr-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick