Pocono: Kevin Harvick preview

KEVIN HARVICK Harvick hopes to begin summer sizzle in Pocono HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 8, 2005) -- After what happened last year at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, its almost surprising that GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick is excited to be ...

Harvick hopes to begin summer sizzle in Pocono

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 8, 2005) -- After what happened last year at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, its almost surprising that GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick is excited to be heading back to The Keystone State. The No. 29 Monte Carlo posted finishes of 20th and 32nd in the two events at the 2.5-mile triangle shaped track.

"We had good cars last year at Pocono," said Harvick. "We should have had two top-10 finishes. But should haves don't win championships. Hopefully, we can avoid trouble, both on the track and under the hood, and finally finish what we start."

The GM Goodwrench team is known for hitting a hot streak in the summer months. So the month of June is critical for Harvick's championship run. "We always run well in July and August," Harvick said. "I'm not sure if it is because of the tracks we go to or what, but we always have a strong summer. But we struggle in June for some reason. We didn't get off to a good start this month after last week's race at Dover (Del.), but I am confident that we can get a good finish this weekend and be right back on track."

One thing that will be different this time around at Pocono is NASCAR's new gear rule. By mandating the gear ratio, most drivers feel shifting will be eliminated. But Harvick said whether they shift or not won't be a huge factor. "It will be the same for everybody. I'm sure it will put a premium on having a good motor, so we'll definitely see what everyone's got under the hood."

Points of Interest...

* Chase for the Championship...Harvick remained in the top-10 for the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup despite a disappointing afternoon in Dover, Del. The GM Goodwrench driver lost three spots in the points standings following his 25th place finish at the 'Monster Mile'. The Bakersfield, Calif., native sits 339 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson, just 33 markers out of fifth.

* Last June in Pocono...Last years Pocono 500 looked to be promising for the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet. But a late run in with Matt Kenseth ended any chances for a good day. Harvick was running 10th with two laps to go when Kenseth spun the No. 29 after previous contact between the two. NASCAR later penalized both drivers sending Harvick from 10th back to 20th.

* Dirt Tracker...Harvick will make his dirt debut at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, on Wednesday, June 8. Harvick will join Eldora track owner and fellow NASCAR driver Tony Stewart in a special celebrity Dirt Late Model event.

* What Ya' Haulin'...The GM Goodwrench transporter will unload chassis No. 137 in The Keystone State. It is the same chassis that Harvick raced at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600. He finished 14th in the series longest event. The car recently received a new Monte Carlo body as well as a new front clip after an 11th place finish at Darlington Raceway, in which Harvick slammed the wall coming to the checkered flag.

* Television and Radio...TV coverage of the Pocono 500 on FX starts at 12:30 p.m. EDT, with radio coverage of the 500-mile event on MRN Radio and XM NASCAR 144. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on the Pocono 500...

What's your take on Pocono?

"Pocono's hard to figure out. You have three totally different corners. It will be interesting to see how not shifting changes how you approach the track. I think the focus may turn to corner three. The key is making sure you get back in the gas to set up for the long front stretch. The shock package is also important with all the bumps."

What's the best way to set-up the car?

"There are too many different kinds of corners to have any unique set-up. 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. You just hope you find a common ground and make it all work."

What's the toughest corner?

"The hardest turn is probably the tunnel turn just for the fact you kind of slide through there and its single file. It's a pretty fast corner, and it's pretty narrow. The most important is turn three. That's because the straightaway is three-quarters of a mile long or something like that. If you screw that corner up, that's a long distance and a lot of time you give up off the corner."

No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Pocono Raceway...

What are some of the keys to Pocono?

"I think the biggest thing for us is to have a mistake free day. Last year we had good top-10 cars at both Pocono events, but we just had some problems. We got spun out in the June event by Kenseth and then lost a motor in the July race. If we can just stay out of trouble, I think we will be fine."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson