This Week's Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet at Phoenix International Raceway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 322 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2010, this Chevrolet made its debut at New...
This Week's Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet at Phoenix International Raceway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 322 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2010, this Chevrolet made its debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September, where Harvick finished fifth. Additionally, Harvick piloted this chassis at Martinsville three weeks ago, where he led six times for 97 laps and scored his career-first Martinsville top five and finished third.
Mr. Consistent ... The RCR driver leads all NSCS drivers in top-10 finishes with 24, and is tied for the lead in top-five finishes with 15. For the season, Harvick owns three points-paying wins (Talladega, Daytona in July and Michigan in August), a second straight Budweiser Shootout victory at Daytona in February, and 30 top-15 finishes in the season's 34 races.
You finished 13th last time around at Phoenix, but you have run well at PIR. What will it take to improve on that 13th-place finish?
"Jeff (Burton) ran really well there at the beginning of the year, so we should have good solid notes, and see why we were a little off. If we just go back there and do things like we've done in the past, we'll be in good shape. That's the nice thing about having cars that run well. When one of us is having a bad day, usually all three of us aren't having a bad day. I feel good about it. Phoenix has obviously been a good track for us in the past with winning races and running well. Flat tracks have been good for us at Richmond, Loudon and Martinsville, so, hopefully we can build on that."
Can you be perfect with your set-up for Phoenix? When you won your races there, were you giving up something in some places to make things better in other places?
"I don't think so. You can be good on both ends. I guess it's all relative to how well everyone else is doing in certain spots. I don't think we're ever satisfied. It's a unique race track because you have turns three and four with a long sweeping corner that you lose a lot of grip and the cars become really loose coming up off the corner. You have to be able to have your car turn in the middle of the corner on both ends."
Looking at how the Chase is going, you look at how Jimmie (Johnson) and Denny (Hamlin) have done at Phoenix, this could be a real dogfight because you all have been successful there.
"Yeah, you look back at Martinsville and we spent half the race racing each other. I don't think top-10 finishes are going to cut it. I think it's going to come down to putting yourself in victory lane and capitalizing on the most bonus points in the next two weeks."
Is the sun a little bit of an issue at Phoenix this time of year?
"The sun is definitely an issue when we come down the front straightaway. You have to make sure you're prepared, whether that be a tinted shield or tape on the windshield, or whatever the case may be. The last resort is your hand."
Have you had to use your hand before?
"Oh yeah, absolutely, you use your hand going down the front straightaway to get some sort of visual to see where you're going into turn one. Usually, what happens is, you pick a mark on the wall and you go in there blind and just turn down the race track."
So when you're using your hand no driver thinks you're saluting or anything?
"No, you're just using your left hand as a shield."