Phoenix: Kevin Harvick preview

Kevin Harvick Three Times the Fun HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (October 29, 2003) - One thing you can bet on with GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick, when he's in the racecar he's having fun. No matter what type of event or when it takes place, if he's ...

Kevin Harvick
Three Times the Fun

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (October 29, 2003) - One thing you can bet on with GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick, when he's in the racecar he's having fun. No matter what type of event or when it takes place, if he's strapped in and pulling on the wheel, there's no other place he'd rather be. It comes as no surprise then, that Harvick will compete in three of the four events this weekend at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway.

"Racing's my life," says Harvick, currently third in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series standings. "I'm more comfortable inside the car than I am anywhere else. For some reason, the busier I am at the track, the better I tend to race. I think it's because I don't have to deal with all the distractions outside the car that can get me in trouble at times."

Harvick's fun-filled weekend will start with the Silverado 150 NASCAR Truck Series race on Friday in which he'll run his No. 6 Kevin Harvick, Inc., Chevrolet Silverado adorned with a Looney Toones paint scheme. Next, he'll compete in the NASCAR Busch Series Bashas' 200 with the No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet and continue his run for the 2003 Owners championship.

The Bakersfield, Calif., native will cap the weekend with the Checker Auto Parts 500 Winston Cup Series event on Sunday. His Winston Cup record at the one-mile oval has been consistent. In two tries, he's finished in the same position twice, 17th. A two-day Busch Series test two weeks ago and warm-up races Friday and Saturday should have the 2001 Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year primed for a good run come Sunday.

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

What's the racetrack like?

"I have a lot of laps around Phoenix. It's a unique racetrack with turns one and two really tight, three and four really sweeping. You have to get your car to work in one end as well as the other so you can go through both ends reasonably well. It's kind of a compromise in the handling package, but a lot of fun for me to race on because I've raced there so much."

Why test the Busch car?

"Well, we ran out of tests for the Winston Cup car back in May, and with all the racing that I'll be doing that weekend, we thought it would be a smart place to go. We got some of the new racetrack characteristics figured out with some of the little things we tried. Phoenix is a one-of-a-kind track. All our other tracks are pretty similar, you know, mile and half ovals. Phoenix is an old track. The asphalt is worn so you can race on top, in the middle, or on the bottom."

How's the layout changed?

"They moved back the wall off the exit of Turn 2 and pretty much enclosed the racetrack. That created a lot more room and should allow for more side by side racing. They've also put in a tunnel off of turn four so there's some new asphalt down and it's added more grip coming to the line. I can tell you right now it's going to be faster, for sure, probably by a couple of tenths."

How important is qualifying these days?

"We all try to qualify as good as we can. It's an important part of our weekend. Usually when you qualify good, you're going to have a good weekend. I know that's usually the case for us because notoriously we haven't been very good qualifiers. So we spend all day Friday worrying about qualifying and trying to make sure we get all we can out of it. If you can qualify on the pole or in the front, you have a better chance of getting five points for leading a lap or leading the most laps."

Why run your truck?

"Well, it's a lot of fun for me to run the truck because I don't really have to worry about anything but racing. There's no points, no pressure, no nothing. To run at Phoenix, itself is cool for me because I've raced so much there. It takes me back to my Winston West days."

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

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

"The racetrack is almost set-up like a short-track, but the corners are more sweeping and you don't use as much brake. Kevin told us after he tested the Busch car that the track is a lot better than it used to be. They fixed the wall on the backstretch, which will give him more of an opportunity to pass. He won't be as confined to stay in line because there's no threat of hitting the wall. Phoenix is a lot of fun once you get there, but the travel part sucks."

Points of Interest...

* Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No.111 to Phoeinx for this weekend's 312-lap event. This chassis, last run at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway two weeks ago, was also the same one Harvick raced in the fall at Loudon, N.H., and Richmond, Va.

* Last Monday's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 in Hampton, Ga., was only the second time since the Sirius 400 at Michigan Speedway in June that Harvick did not finish on the lead lap. It was also the first time since that same race that he did not finish inside the top-20.

* With three races to go in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, Harvick remains the only driver in the top-10 Winston Cup driver points standings not to record a DNF.

* Harvick won his first NASCAR Truck Series race in Phoenix one year ago in his own No. 6 Kevin Harvick, Inc./Looney Toones Chevrolet Silverado. He will try to repeat that feat on Halloween this Friday.

* Start time for Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET. TV coverage of the race on NBC starts at 3:00 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 3:00 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick