Martinsville II: Kevin Harvick preview

Kevin Harvick Major Plans for Martinsville Weekend HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (October 19, 2004) - There will be a lot surrounding GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick as he gets ready for the Subway 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at ...

Kevin Harvick
Major Plans for Martinsville Weekend

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (October 19, 2004) - There will be a lot surrounding GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick as he gets ready for the Subway 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Not only will he be competing in the 32nd event of the inaugural 2004 NEXTEL Cup season on Sunday, but he'll also be on hand to watch his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team compete on Saturday. As if that's not enough, he's also hosting the grand opening of his new 50,000-square foot shop on Friday evening after the garages close at the track.

"It's going to be a busy weekend," states the 2001 Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year. "We'll just be getting back from tests at Phoenix (Ariz.) and Caraway (N.C.), then go straight to Martinsville on Friday morning. Once qualifying is over, we'll head back to Kernersville to open our new shop and announce our plans for 2005. The shop looks awesome and we're really excited about showing it to everyone. Then it's back to Martinsville on Saturday morning for the truck race and Sunday for the Cup race."

Not one who enjoys a ton of attention, Harvick will be happy when Sunday afternoon arrives and he can strap himself into the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet for 500 laps of beatin' and bangin' around Martinsville's paper-clipped shaped oval. He's steadily improved his finishing position in six attempts at the .526-mile speedway, which was resurfaced over the summer months after falling apart during the spring race in April.

"The new surface will make for some interesting racing," adds Harvick, who posted his career-best finish of seventh at Martinsville last year. "The track is small so the racing will still be tight. It's hard to get a good finish without having something happen to you. Our goal is to survive, keep the fenders on it and radiator in it, and be there for the win."

Points of Interest...

* Short-Track Salvation...Out of the nine short track races (one mile and under) run so far this season, Harvick has posted seven finishes inside the top-20, and all have been inside the top-25. The Bakersfield, Calif., native has three top-10 efforts, with his best start at Martinsville (fifth) and best finish at Bristol, Tenn., (third) in both spring races.

* Another DNF Streak?...It's amazing to think that Harvick and Team GM Goodwrench went 58 races without an engine problem and all of a sudden have had three in the last 12 races. In his four years on NASCAR's premier circuit, Harvick had never posted back-to-back DNF's until last Saturday night's early exit in Concord, N.C.

* Did You Know...Crew chief Todd Berrier won his first NASCAR event in a Truck Series race at Martinsville with Jay Sauter on September 26, 1998. It was Berrier's 38th start as crew chief for Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado.

* The New Chase...Now that Harvick has been eliminated from the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, there's a new chase on his horizon. The battle for 11th in the NEXTEL Cup Series standings is on and Harvick is currently in the 13th position, 216 points outside of Jamie McMurray who sits in 11th and 10 ahead of Bobby Labonte who is 14th.

* Off the Truck...Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 120 to the Old Dominion State for this weekend's 500-lap event. This chassis is brand new for the 2004 season and has not yet seen action at a NASCAR event.

* TV and Radio...Start time for Sunday's Subway 500 is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 263-mile event on NBC starts at 12:30 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 12:00 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

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

What have you heard about the track's new surface?

"Only what different guys who have tested there have told me. That the entire racetrack has been resurfaced and smoothed over with new asphalt and concrete. They've also changed the exits of turns two and four by pushing them back to give some more room for passing. It's definitely going to be faster than it's been in the past. We saw that with some of the speeds from testing. Hopefully it will allow for some better racing."

How was your spring race at Martinsville?

"We had a great run taken away from us when Matt (Kenseth) got in the back of me. It was frustrating, but there was not much I could do. We fought a tight condition with that car most of the day. The rubber was really caked on the track and you couldn't get any traction to turn over the rubber patches. Our GM Goodwrench Chevrolet was fast for about 30 laps on new tires, and then it started sliding all over the place. It should be a lot better now that they've repaved it."

What's the toughest part of racing there?

"You really have to make your car turn through the center of the corner and be able to get up off the corner with the gas pedal as close to the floor as you can get it to get that forward bite. It's not easy with so many cars around you, but you just have to wiggle your way into a position where you can do it. The tight racing makes it a little bit harder to pass so you have to back up where you get in to try to get underneath somebody. There's a kind of fine line in making your car turn and getting that grip that you need up off the corner."

How nice is it to race close to home for the second weekend in a row?

"I love racing at Martinsville because it's only about 30 minutes from home and I get to sleep in my own bed. The commute to the racetrack isn't bad at all. It's usually a long, hard day with all the beating and banging so it's nice to be able to get out right after the race and go back to the house without having to worry about flying anywhere."

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

How do you approach a track with a new racing surface?

"Not much different than we approach every other race on the schedule. It's still the same old Martinsville. Track position is everything, and it's very hard to pass. Brakes are something you need to concentrate on conserving. The only thing we'll do different is go in with a little bit more aggressive set-up and adjust the car once we see how it reacts with the tires on the new surface."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kevin Harvick , Jay Sauter , Jamie McMurray
Teams Richard Childress Racing