Kevin Harvick Taking Advantage of a Loudon Look-Alike HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 20, 2004) - NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams love to test. It gives them an opportunity to shake down a racecar and get a look at a racetrack before most...
Taking Advantage of a Loudon Look-Alike
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 20, 2004) - NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams love to test. It gives them an opportunity to shake down a racecar and get a look at a racetrack before most teams arrive for a race weekend. With limited test dates and time constraints, the best way to test and not have it count against them is to find a venue that's similar to one coming up on the circuit. With (Loudon) New Hampshire International Speedway up next on the docket, a logical look-alike is The Milwaukee Mile located in West Allis, Wis.
"Milwaukee is about the closest you can get to Loudon," says Harvick, who spent the beginning of last week testing at Milwaukee with Team GM Goodwrench. "We went because we felt like we've been missing something off the corners. I've said to the guys a lot that I can't seem to get the same kind of power some of the other cars are getting when they get back in the gas. What we tried last week was several different combinations using motor, gear and shock packages to see if we could help that at all. I really think we all felt like we made some strides by the time we left on Tuesday."
A strong run at New Hampshire will help to solidify Harvick in the top-10 in points as the Chase for the Championship begins when the series heads back to Loudon in September. Currently, the Bakersfield, Calif., native sits eighth in the standings, his highest mark since the series visited Richmond, Va., back in May.
"We're right where we need to be in the points chase," adds Harvick, who recorded his seventh top-10 finish at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway two weeks ago. "We've made a few mistakes here and there that we probably shouldn't have done, but that's what makes a team stronger is to comeback and do what you have to do to continue on. Getting out of that 10th spot after Chicago was big for us because that's a nerve-racking place to be in with this new format. I'd like to be fifth, sixth, or seventh when we finish at Richmond, but I can't guarantee that. We'll just have to keep racing and see what happens."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Loudon...
What's unique about the racetrack?
"It's just one of those places where you have to get through the center of the corner and get up off the corner wide open. That makes it really hard to get through the center of the corner, turn good like you need to, and get up off the corner under full power without getting loose. Passing is harder there than at most places because it's so hard to make your car work getting up off the corner. That makes track position probably the most important thing."
How concerned are you about the tight racing?
"The biggest thing is 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."
Are you happy with the new green-white-checkered rule they implemented last week?
"I think the fans deserve it. We've had a good number of races not finish the way they should recently and I think that really hurts the fans more than anyone else. It's going to be different from the Truck Series because we only get one chance where as they go until it ends that way. It's definitely going to add some excitement so I'm all for it. My style of racing is a little bit different and I think this suits me pretty good. It's going to be intense and that's the way I like it."
What's your take on what happened to Dale Earnhardt Jr., this past weekend?
"Things like that happen and it was just unfortunate circumstances surrounding how it went down. I'm just glad he's going to be alright. I like to race a lot of stuff myself because I have a good time and I like to race. For me, the important thing is knowing my equipment and the situation I'm getting into. We tend to spend a lot of money at KHI making sure everything I get into is going to be safe. It's easy to see how big a difference that can make."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Loudon...
What's your mindset for Sunday's race?
"Probably getting the car to turn. Loudon is like any other flat track we go to. The most important thing is getting the car to turn through the corners. It's hard to pass, and there's a lot of single-file racing. The Milwaukee test should help because it's a good place for flat track stuff. We worked on getting the car to turn in center and getting back in the gas hard off the corner. We're taking the same car we tested with so we're excited to see how things work out."
Points of Interest...
* A G-W-C Winner...The first of Harvick's two wins on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series circuit came in green-white-checkered finish fashion. It happened at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in November of 2002 in his No. 6 Kevin Harvick, Inc., owned and sponsored Chevrolet Silverado.
* New Leader...The no DNF streak continues for Harvick. His 10th place finish in Joliet, Ill., puts his streak at 57 consecutive races, the longest streak of any NEXTEL Cup Series driver in the modern era.
* Stellar N.H. Run...Harvick picked up his career-best NEXTEL Cup finish at the 1.058-mile oval in the spring race last year. Starting from the seventh position, he led 51 laps on his way to taking the runner-up spot.
* Busch Leaguer...The 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion will make his 100th Busch Series start in the Siemens 200 on Saturday, his 12th race of the season in the No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet outfitted by Richard Childress Racing.
* The Chase...With eight races to go until the Chase for the Championship, Harvick sits 8th in the standings with 2,229 points. He's 18 markers ahead of Kurt Busch who sits ninth, and 23 behind Elliot Sadler who sits seventh.
* Off the Truck...Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 111 north to New Hampshire for this weekend's 317.5-mile event. This chassis, the same one Harvick finished second with in Loudon at this event last year, has been run three times already this season in Bristol, Tenn., Martinsville, Va., and Dover, Del.
* TV and Radio...Start time for Sunday's Siemens 300 is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 300-lap event on TNT starts at 1:30 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 1:30 p.m. as well. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.