Keeping consistent HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 22, 2003) - We are one race deep into the second half of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season which means it's time for Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team to take a look...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 22, 2003) - We are one race deep into the second half of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season which means it's time for Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team to take a look back at the ups and downs of the year. It's been a roller coaster ride for Team Goodwrench thus far, but one in which they've been able to mold into championship caliber. The one thing everyone feels is crucial right now...consistency.
"At the beginning of the year we really struggled with our (new) bodies and we've got all that turned around now," says Harvick, who tied a season-best high with a second place finish in Loudon, N.H., last Sunday. "We need to lead laps and run in the top-10 like last weekend and hopefully finish in the top-five and have a chance to win the race. You're always going to have a weakness at certain racetracks, but it's how you overcome those things that make you succeed."
Consistency is the one thing that can keep the silver and black racing machine in the hunt for its second NASCAR Top-10 Winston Cup Series season finish in three seasons. There have been some unfortunate circumstances that have plagued the team through the first half, but they've picked it up in recent weeks with two top-five and three top-10 finishes in the last four races.
"We're just now showing signs of consistency," says veteran crew chief Todd Berrier. "We've had a car with the potential of winning the race over the past couple of weeks. But you play your cards and when it's all said and done you can look back and see how you should have done it if you don't win. It's just one of those deals. As long as we give it all we've got, we can't expect much more than that."
As they set out on their return trip to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, the one goal they'll look to achieve is to better their efforts from the first race in June. This is one racetrack where they have struggled in the past, but they can turn things around if they can repeat or better Harvick's sixth place finish in this event last year. That would surely keep the consistency going.
No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Pocono...
What happened at Pocono in June?
"I don't know. Our car just wouldn't go for some reason. We know we can run in the top-five there because we did it last year, so we need to work on getting the car right as far as the set-up before we head into the race weekend. Not having any practice on Saturday to get ready for the race probably hurt us. That and our pit strategy didn't work out. I think we lost 15-seconds or so over the course of the race. That's something we need to rework before we go back."
Is one corner tougher than the rest?
"The hardest turn is probably the tunnel turn just for the fact you kind of slide through there and you're down-shifting going in. It's a pretty fast corner, and it's pretty narrow, but the most important is turn three. That's because the straightaway is three-quarters of a mile long or something like that. It's where I had my troubles when we came here earlier in the year. If you screw that corner up, that's a long distance and a lot of time you give up off the corner."
What's the perfect set-up for this place?
"I'm not really sure. There are too many different kinds of corners. It's more of finding a happy medium. There are a lot of bumps in turn one that you have to get through. Then, the tunnel turn is flat and fast. The last corner is pretty flat and the exit opens up and the car rolls over a lot. Turn one has a little more banking than the other two corners. The other two are pretty flat."
How far away is this team from a Winston Cup championship this season?
"If we can make up some points here in the next few weeks, our ultimate goal is to win a Winston Cup championship. But when you're going week to week through the season you just have to race the people around you and try to overcome the points. If you go out and lead laps and win races, you don't have to worry about who's around you. I don't think we can really focus on trying to win a championship; we just have to make sure we finish races and turn bad days into something better. But right now, we're worried about trying to win a race."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Pocono...
What was missing from the set-up in June?
"You know I really don't know. For some reason, we couldn't get the car to handle right for Kevin pretty much the whole weekend. Every change we made either made the car loose or tight. We're going to take the same racecar back and try a different set-up to get off the corners better, especially turn three before the long straightaway where you get a lot of speed and your lap times really decrease."
Points of Interest...
Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 110 back to Pocono, the same car they finished 17th with at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway a little over two weeks ago. This car was also run at Martinsville Speedway (finished 16th) earlier in the year.
Harvick's second place run in last Sunday's New England 300 helped him rack up $165,033 to put him over the $10,000,000 mark for career earnings with $10,080,522. He compiled that in two and a half seasons of work, not bad for a West Coast kid from Bakersfield, Calif.
Start time for the Pennsylvania 500 is slated for 1:00 p.m. ET. TV coverage of the race on TNT starts at 12:30 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 12:30 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.