Michigan: Kevin Harvick preview

Testing makes perfect in Michigan HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 10, 2003) - The old adage "practice makes perfect" was taken to a whole new level last week when Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Racing team went to Michigan International ...

Testing makes perfect in Michigan

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 10, 2003) - The old adage "practice makes perfect" was taken to a whole new level last week when Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Racing team went to Michigan International Speedway to test for Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series Sirius Satellite Radio 400. They went to find the perfect set-up that will help them conquer the two-mile oval, but found rain instead. Still, Harvick feels that the track time they did get helped them obtain valuable information for this weekend's race.

"We had a good test once it stopped raining," says the 2001 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year. "We unloaded with a good baseline. The first day we made over 200 laps, which is basically a whole race. We didn't get to make any qualifying runs because it rained the second day. We made full fuel runs until the car ran out of gas, trying to figure out how to make our car last as long at it could. That was pretty much our main focus."

Harvick had his best run at Michigan in the silver and black racing machine in the fall event last year when he qualified on the outside pole and finished in the third position. He led 47 of the first 52 laps, and was a contender from the green to the checkered flag. In his four career starts, he has qualified outside the top-25 only once and finished in the top-10 twice.

A win at Michigan would be just what primary sponsor GM Goodwrench would love to see with NASCAR visiting their backyard. Based less than two hours from the racetrack in Grand Blanc, there will be plenty of employees attending the races over the three-day weekend, all to cheer Harvick and Team GM Goodwrench to Victory Lane.

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

Why did you decide to test at Michigan?

"Originally, it was supposed to be a motor test, but it didn't turn out that way. Instead, we used it to go through a lot of little things that we hadn't been able to do like air pressure and fuel mileage stuff. There were a bunch of little things that we really didn't get to finish because of the rain the first morning and the next day. We got a lot accomplished, though, and feel it was worthwhile."

What's your impression of the speedway?

"For whatever reason, Michigan is one of those places that fit my driving style. 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."

How nice will it be to race on a wide racetrack?

"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."

How happy are you to be racing in your primary sponsor's backyard?

"It's always nice to go to Michigan because there are so many people from GM to support us. We usually run really well in front of them and never have had a bad run, just bad luck with some motors. 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."

What's your take on all the rain we're having?

"It's killed a lot of practices, which we desperately need. We, for some reason, have struggled the last three weeks. That's frustrating, but we're still in the top-10 in points. The weather doesn't help when you are dealing with a new body. We've got some of those issues worked out, but the characteristics of the handling are just a little bit different than they were last year. The set-ups are close, but we're not where we need to be and the practice would help."

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

What did you work on at the Michigan test?

"We worked on long runs, and we're pretty happy with the numbers we got back. Unfortunately, we only got to run half a day because it rained the whole time. A lot of work was done on gas mileage, trying different set-ups with the car, engine, and carburetor to see what worked best. We checked how much the car would pick up as far as fuel burned under caution, a pace lap, and all different kinds of things. It usually comes down to fuel mileage there and long runs, so we thought this would be the best way to get ready for it."

Points of Interest...

Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 112 to Michigan, the same one they used in the two-day test session last Tuesday and Wednesday. This is the same car that ran at California Speedway where Harvick started 37th and finished one lap down in the 29th position. The car, new for 2003, saw it's first action at Texas Motor Speedway in March.

Happy Father's Day wishes go out from all of the 19 Team GM Goodwrench crewmembers working this race weekend. There are five dads on the team who will be spending their Sunday in Michigan, and two with their first children on the way.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick