HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 16, 2002) - After coming off an exciting win at Chicagoland Speedway (Joliet, Ill.), Kevin Harvick, 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year, has momentum by his side. Not only is he last week's race winner and the IROC...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 16, 2002) - After coming off an exciting win at Chicagoland Speedway (Joliet, Ill.), Kevin Harvick, 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year, has momentum by his side. Not only is he last week's race winner and the IROC (International Race of Champions) points leader, but his team (as the No. 31) won last year's November event at (Loudon) New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS).
Martin was crew chief of the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Busch Series car in 2001 and acted as crew chief of the No. 31 Winston Cup entry during the latter half of the same season. It was his car and set-up that won the season-ending event at NHIS in November. Late-race strategy played into Martin's hand as the car had run well all day, much the same way it had last weekend at Chicagoland.
Some say luck is the name of the game, but for the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service team and driver Kevin Harvick, luck has been short this year. So where do you turn? Strategy and momentum.
Driver Kevin Harvick and crew chief Gil Martin talk Loudon, strategy and momentum:
"When we swapped out teams, Robby (Gordon) kept the car we won with in November in Loudon. It was a good racecar, maybe one of the best I've ever had. For Kevin, we built a replica of it for this week's race. It's got the same stuff underneath it and a little bit of extra things we've been working on. But all-in-all, the car is near to same as the original."
"You know, I've never been to Loudon in a Cup car under normal circumstances. When we were there last summer, I had St. Louis to do in the Busch car. And then when we were here in the winter, we were at the racetrack for all of one day. I'm running the truck race this time around and that's as normal as it's ever gotten for me."
"Momentum is like a snowball, if you can keep it going it just builds and builds and builds.
"Winning Chicagoland was a good push for it, but we need to concentrate on not only winning but also becoming consistent. If we can't win we need to come away with a top-10 or five. Continuing to get those kind of finishes is the only way to ensure you're doing things right. No one wants to get a win and come back to the track the next week and come in 24th or something like that.
"Did this do a lot for the confidence of the team, both the No. 29 and RCR as an organization? Yes. But it's not only the win that did that. All three of the RCR cars were in the top-12. That shows that our organization is headed the right way."
"Anything that gives your team confidence is a good thing. There's nothing like being the race winner, nothing. It's hard to explain. But the thing is when you get to the track or back to the shop - it's a new week. It's a new racetrack. And simply it's a new race week. Any one of the given 42 other cars can win on a Sunday afternoon. While the win is great and nothing compares to how awesome it is, you need to take it for that, enjoy it, but get back to business as soon as you start making sure that the car for the next race is set-up properly."
"Strategy is finally playing into our hands a little. Whether it is reactionary or planned, I can't say enough about how the team has handled themselves in the past week. From holes in the valence in Daytona to being caught under caution at Chicagoland, this team has figured out a way to recover. And for that I have to commend them."
"Part of strategy is not giving away what you have or don't have. Whether it's to your driver or it's to the pit reporter, you can't show your hand. There are too many people listening."