KEVIN HARVICK Eliminating Mistakes the Key for Harvick's Chase for the Cup HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (May 10, 2005) -- When you sit down and evaluate what makes a successful season, the easiest thing to do is to look at the NASCAR statistical...
Eliminating Mistakes the Key for Harvick's Chase for the Cup
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (May 10, 2005) -- When you sit down and evaluate what makes a successful season, the easiest thing to do is to look at the NASCAR statistical update and note the wins, top-fives and current point standings. But when you're just 10 races into a season you sometimes need to look deeper into the total body of work. For GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick, the start to 2005 has been a mixed bag of mistakes which have kept the Bakersfield, Calif., native from reaching his full potential.
There have been plenty of things to be excited about in the No. 29 camp. Harvick's GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo has unloaded as one of the fastest cars week in and week out. With the exception of Atlanta Motor Speedway, when the team was trying to regroup following crew chief Todd Berrier's suspension and pending NASCAR appeal, Harvick has been a top-10 car. Yet, the RCR owned team has failed to close out races with just three top-10 finishes.
"Last year we just weren't that good," said Harvick. "We struggled to find speed and balance. But Todd (Berrier) and the guys went to work and built all new cars for this year. They opened their eyes to new setups and engineering ideas. They pushed for more horsepower and in the end we got what we needed. We can always get better, but the cars are fast and that's a great first step.
"We now need to finish what we started. I have passed more cars this year than I have in my whole career. And that isn't a good thing. We have run up-front at nearly every race. But in half of them, we have made some kind of mistake which put us back in the pack. When you run in the back, you tear up good race cars. That's what happened to us last week at Darlington (S.C.). We have to eliminate the mistakes," Harvick said.
Case in point is the current point's leader Jimmie Johnson. While Harvick has been just as fast as Johnson, the Lowe's team has minimized their mistakes and when they have had one, they have been able to rally from it. That is what championship caliber teams do. And according to Harvick, the GM Goodwrench team is close to putting it all together.
"You have to be consistent in this sport," added Harvick. "If you have a fast car and you run in the top-five all night, you have to finish there. You can't take winning cars and finish 30th with them. Mistakes happen, but we have had more than our share. It's time to finish this deal off. Our cars are too good to be finishing outside the top-10 like we have been the last few weeks."
* One week in, one week out...The GM Goodwrench Chevy has bounced around the top-10 in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points all year. Last week, Harvick was eighth. But a 14th place finish at Darlington Raceway dropped him three spots to 11th, just one point out of 10th. Currently, 15 drivers are within the required 400 points of the leader to make the year ending Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.
* Rock n' Roll...Harvick will unveil his No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet for September's Chevy Rock n' Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) on Friday afternoon. The press conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in the infield media center.
* What Ya' Haulin'...The GM Goodwrench transporter will unload chassis No. 120 at Richmond International Raceway. It is the same chassis that Harvick drove to victory at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 3rd. Harvick also ran the car at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway this year finishing 19th after running out of gas on the last lap, while running seventh. In 2004, the chassis raced at Martinsville (19th) and Loudon (10th).
No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Richmond International Raceway...
How do you approach RIR? Is it a short track or a speedway? "It really is a little of both. But I think you have to go in with the short track mindset. There is more contact at Richmond than you have at a bigger track. I think sometimes drivers use the short track as an excuse to beat and bang, but as tight as the racing is there, it's hard to not to have incidental contact."
Will the new tire compound or spoiler rule be much of issue?
"The aero rules haven't made much of a difference so far for our team. My cars actually drive better. That may be the rules or it may be just better bodies on our part, but I don't see it being an issue.
"The tire is a little softer, so you will probably see the times fall off more than in the past. We'll probably work with the air pressure to find what it likes best, but I don't see things being much different."
How much does the extra track time in the NASCAR Busch Series car help you on an impound weekend?
"It helps with little things like air pressure or learning how much the tire falls off. The rules are so different. You can be much more aggressive with the Busch cars. I think anytime you are turning laps you are learning something, so it is an advantage. But setup wise, it doesn't mean much."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Richmond International Raceway...
Do you think the impound rules will affect your approach at RIR?
"No. We typically spend most of our time on race setup at Richmond. We may make one run with the car taped off in qualifying trim. I really like the impound rule. You can almost out think yourself when you have a lot of time. This way, you unload and you have a couple hours to fine tune and you race. I wish they would impound everywhere."