Kevin Harvick Rebounding Back HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 10, 2003) - The NASCAR Winston Cup Series heads back to (Loudon) New Hampshire International Speedway this weekend for their second of two stops at the one-mile oval. GM Goodwrench ...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 10, 2003) - The NASCAR Winston Cup Series heads back to (Loudon) New Hampshire International Speedway this weekend for their second of two stops at the one-mile oval. GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick will do his best to rebound back from a disappointing weekend in Richmond, Va., which broke his streak of consecutive top-five finishes at five in a row. He knows that the best way to do that is to go back out and win.
"I think we have a great chance of winning in Loudon on Sunday," says Harvick, who finished a career-best runner-up to Jimmie Johnson in the summer race there. "We definitely had a chance to win last time, but my car was just like it was in the Busch race the day before. It would not get going for four or five laps, and that ended up being the difference at the end. The nice thing is that when you go to a racetrack and feel like you had an opportunity to win there, you have a lot of confidence going back."
If you looked at Harvick's record over his first two seasons at Loudon in the fall, you might not think of him as a contender. In two races, he's finished 26th and 33rd, respectively. This time, however, he's determined to get out of that funk. His three top-10s in five tries at "The Magic Mile" has him thinking there won't be a problem accomplishing that.
One of the hottest drivers on the circuit right now, Harvick comes into the Sylvania 300 third in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver points standings, just 24 points shy of taking over the second position from Dale Earnhardt Jr.
No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Loudon...
What do you think of the racetrack?
"I'm starting to like Loudon a lot more. They've really done a great job this time with the track surface. Last year, they changed it up and made it really difficult to run two lines. If you were the guy on top, you'd go straight up the track. Now, the groove is wider and you can race higher on the racetrack and still keep up and pass cars around the outside."
How does the resurfacing affect the racing?
"Today you can run two grooves up the track pretty easy from what I call the first lane. Passing has always been a battle for the bottom position. If you bank every racetrack, it's not really fair to call yourself the best in the series because you don't race on all different styles of tracks. We need flat-track racing. I enjoy flat tracks and they have done a good job to get the side-by-side racing."
What's the biggest concern going back?
"Probably trying not to wreck when you are running side by side. You just try to hold your line and hope that the guy underneath you doesn't make a mistake. When the racetrack is so tight and you are running so many laps, at some point somebody's going to get a little bit impatient. I know I would. They'll slowly creep up the track and get into you. You really couldn't have done that much last year at Loudon, but I think you can now."
Do you like flat tracks?
"I'm a big fan of flat tracks. It brings diversity into our schedule. From the flat tracks to the road courses to the superspeedways, you always have to be able to adjust. We've always been successful at Indianapolis (Ind.) and that's a flat track. We were successful in the first race at Loudon. We went to Milwaukee (Wis.) this year and really tried to make sure that we had a good grasp on our flat track stuff. I think that has really helped us."
Sylvania is sponsoring the race and they're on your car, any added pressure?
"I don't think there's any added pressure at all. It's nice to have a sponsor that has been with me since 2000 and supported me through everything, get involved in sponsoring a race. That's good for us because that shows us that they are behind us 100% and really involved in the sport."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Loudon...
How close are you to winning in Loudon?
"I think we are really close. Our test at Milwaukee (Wis.) really gave us some great flat track information and that was reflected in how we ran there in July. We've made some slight changes to make the car better, and that should help keep us up front."
Points of Interest...
* Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No.110 up to Loudon, the same chassis they ran two weeks ago in Darlington, S.C. Other racetracks where it saw action include Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in July and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in March.
* Even with the wreck at Richmond International Raceway last Saturday night, Harvick remains one of only two drivers in the top-10 in points to have not recorded a DNF yet this season. The other, the man he's chasing for the championship, Matt Kenseth.
* The 2001 Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year led 22 laps Saturday night in Richmond, putting the number of races led in 2003 at 14, including five of the last six.
* Saturday's 16th place finish in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 was the first time in six races and third in last 11 that Harvick did not finish inside the top-10.
* Start time for the Sylvania 300 is slated for 1:00 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the race on TNT starts at 12:30 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 12:30 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.