Loudon: Kevin Harvick preview

KEVIN HARVICK Climbing back into the Top-10 HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., (July 12, 2005) -- Four weeks ago the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet sat seventh in points, poised as a real contender for NASCAR's season ending Chase for the Championship. But ...


Climbing back into the Top-10

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., (July 12, 2005) -- Four weeks ago the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet sat seventh in points, poised as a real contender for NASCAR's season ending Chase for the Championship. But since loading up at Pocono (Penn.) Raceway on June 12, things haven't gone as scripted for Kevin Harvick. Now on the outside looking in, Harvick knows if they are going to right the ship, it has to start at New Hampshire International Raceway (NHIS) this weekend.

"We have no luck at all," said Harvick. "Our finishes have not shown how strong this team really is. To have another top-five run go down the drain last weekend in Chicago (Ill.) just frustrates me. I'm not sure what we need to do to finish a race off, but hopefully our luck will change. It has to if we have any hope of making the Chase."

Harvick is referring to the late race gremlins that have plagued the GM Goodwrench team over the last few weeks. In nearly every case, the No. 29 Monte Carlo was a top-10 car when something went wrong. At Sonoma, Calif., it was the motor losing a cylinder with just 25 laps to go. The very next week in Daytona Beach, Fla., Harvick saw a top-five finish end with a wrecked race car after being turned around by Carl Edwards in the final 30 laps. And then the most frustrating of them all last Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway when Harvick experienced a tire vibration while running fourth with just 35 laps to go. The GM Goodwrench Chevy made a green flag pit stop to change right side tires and Harvick finished 19th.

"For whatever reason, we just can't finish off a race," added Harvick. "We have been no worse than a top-10 car over the last few races, yet we have finished mid-pack. It's really getting frustrating. I'd rather have no luck right now than either good luck or bad luck. At least then we would finish where we are running."

Points of Interest...

Chase for the Championship...The GM Goodwrench Chevrolet continued their trend of running up front, but finishing mid-pack at Chicagoland Speedway. Harvick developed a tire vibration while running fourth and was forced to make a green flag stop. He finished 19th and lost more ground in the Chase for the Championship. Harvick is in 14th position, 496 markers out of first. He trails 10th place Kurt Busch by 120 points.

Last Year in New Hampshire...Two consecutive sub-par pit stops over the course of 35 laps dropped the silver and black racing machine from seventh to 20th. Heavy traffic and tight racing conditions kept Harvick from picking up more than seven spots over the last 100 laps and he finished 13th. It's his fifth top-15 finish in seven tries at The Magic Mile.

Busch Whacking... Harvick will try to make it two for two in the NASCAR Busch Series. The 2001 Busch Series Champion won last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in the No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet. Harvick has 15 wins in just 122 NBS starts.

What Ya' Haulin'...The GM Goodwrench transporter will unload chassis No. 148 in New Hampshire. It is the same car that Harvick drove to a 25th place finish at Michigan International Speedway on June 19, 2005. The chassis is one of the newest in GM Goodwrench shop.

TV and Radio... Start time for Sunday's Siemens 300 is 2:10 p.m. EDT. Television coverage begins on TNT at 1:30 p.m. MRN Radio and XM Radio 144 will begin their broadcast at 2:00 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on NHIS...

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 Chase right now?

"Right now, I more concerned about finishing a race where we should. Until we find away to do that, the points don't matter. We have had a race team capable of winning races week in and week out. It has been things out of our control that have bit us. We just had a very bad June and July hasn't been much better. We have raced well at New Hampshire and I feel very confident about the Brickyard 400 (Indianapolis, Ind.), so there is still time to get back on track. But that time is now."

No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on NHIS...

What's your mindset for Sunday's race?

"It's 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. Even with the second groove, it's hard to pass. You have to set someone up, almost like at a road course. When the racing is that tight, it makes qualifying even more important."

What can you do as a crew chief to try to end the recent bad luck?

"There really isn't much you can do. We have had fast cars. That's not the problem. When the motor breaks, I go to the engine department and let them know this can't happen. But at the same time, I'm asking for more horsepower. It's a recipe for disaster sometimes, but that's how competitive this series is. The tire deal last week didn't just get us, but it caused a lot of good teams to have a bad day. Once again, that's really out of our control. We hadn't had an issue all day, and then late in the race it gets us. We know we have a great team and a great driver. For whatever reason, it just isn't our month. But we are all staying positive. We are just 96 points out of the Chase, so there is plenty of time to get back in the hunt."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Carl Edwards