Michigan II: Kevin Harvick preview

Kevin Harvick Harvick Riding Momentum Wave into Michigan HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 17, 2004) - The last two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races have been major momentum builders for Kevin Harvick and his No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team. ...

Kevin Harvick
Harvick Riding Momentum Wave into Michigan

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 17, 2004) - The last two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races have been major momentum builders for Kevin Harvick and his No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team. An eighth place finish at Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway two weeks ago followed by a sixth place finish last Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International has breathed new life into Team GM Goodwrench as the circuit closes in on the final 10 races that make up the Chase of the Championship.

"It seems like we always gain momentum about this time of the year," comments the 2001 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year. "In Indy we overcame the car and wound up with a good finish. Last week in Watkins Glen the car overcame me. Luckily we had a good enough car to overcome the driver making some mistakes. We've got four more to go and this definitely gives us some cushion, but we're not out of the woods yet. Hopefully we'll have our stuff together and we'll be in that Chase."

This weekend the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series returns to Brooklyn, Mich., for its second of two events at Michigan International Speedway. Harvick has been stellar at the two-mile oval in August in recent years, capturing two top-three finishes in three starts including a runner-up effort in the GFS Marketplace 400 last year.

"For whatever reason, Michigan is one of those places that fit my driving style," adds Harvick. "You can drive into the turns down on the bottom in the flat, or in the middle, or right around the wall. Depending on handling, you can move up or down to make your car work. It's a lot of fun to race on and usually boils down to some sort of fuel mileage. It's one of those racetracks where we've always, always been competitive."

Points of Interest...

* Leading at Michigan...The last two August races in Michigan have been exciting ones for the 2000 NASCAR Busch Series champion. Harvick led his first laps at the two-mile oval, 42 to be exact, in August of 2002, and then led another 46 laps in this event last year.

* Happy Homecoming...Team GM Goodwrench will once again make their annual trip up to GMSPO headquarters in Grand Blanc, Mich., Thursday morning before heading to Michigan International Speedway. Once there, they will spend time with employees, tour some of the facilities, and enjoy lunch with some of the special guests that will be attending the NEXTEL Cup race weekend.

* Summer Run...This time last year is when things really started to heat up for Harvick and Team GM Goodwrench. Starting with their Brickyard win last August, they went on a tear collecting five top-five finishes in a row and three runner-up finishes in a row, propelling them from seventh to third in the driver point's standings.

* The Chase...With four races to go until the Chase for the Championship, Harvick sits eighth in the standings with 2,717 points. He's three markers ahead of Bobby Labonte who sits 9th, and 37 behind Kurt Busch who sits seventh.

* Off the Truck...Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 125 to the Wolverine State for this weekend's 400-mile event. This chassis is brand new for 2004 and has been run only once this season in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway. The silver and black racing machine started 17th and finished 10th in that event.

* TV and Radio...Start time for Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 200-lap event on TNT starts at 1:30 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 1:30 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

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

How was your spring race at Michigan earlier this year?

"It was pretty frustrating because we were running pretty good and then decided to not take tires towards the end. We saw early on that some of the cars on older tires could still compete and even run with the leaders. Unfortunately, we found out on that last run that the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet wasn't one of those. We stumbled on the last run and couldn't really do anything about it. It really stunk because we probably had a top-five, top-10 car that race."

How beneficial is the wide racing surface?

"It really helps the racing. If your car is not working, or it's a little too tight, the banking is a little bit flatter in one and two, and you can kind of de-wedge the car getting into the corner by driving down flat. If it's a little loose, you can run all the way up against the wall, or in the middle, or wherever you want to run that's comfortable."

How much fun is it to be in GM Goodwrench territory?

"Michigan is almost like a second home for us. Every year we go up to visit their headquarters and meet with employees. It's a great opportunity for us to say thanks to them individually for their support. GM Goodwrench has been with RCR for a long time and it's important for us to recognize that loyalty. We usually run really well in front of them and never have had a bad run, just bad luck. Being that it is GM's backyard, I don't know if it just works itself out that way, or if it's just a racetrack where RCR cars always run good."

How does NASCAR attract such a broad spectrum of fans?

"I like to look at it this way. When you go to a baseball game you can't be around the players and the team. The best you can do is the grand stands. With NASCAR, the people are right in front of you. They're in the garage as well as in the grand stands. They feel like they're more a part of the sport than they are in baseball or other sports."

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

What do you have to watch out for in Michigan?

"You have to be careful of long green flag runs and stretching your fuel mileage as much as you can. It's crucial that we get 50 laps out of our fuel tank. You also have to keep an eye on the tires. We tried something the last race after watching all those guys run good lap times on old tires. It didn't work out for us at the end so we'll keep that in mind going back. Kevin and RCR have always run really well at Michigan. The engine combinations fit well there."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch