Rockingham II: Kevin Harvick preview

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (November 4, 2003) - Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team took a big hit in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup points standings this past weekend in Phoenix, Ariz. Their 34th place finish in the Checker Auto Parts...

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (November 4, 2003) - Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team took a big hit in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup points standings this past weekend in Phoenix, Ariz. Their 34th place finish in the Checker Auto Parts 500, due to an unavoidable accident, has dropped them from third to sixth, but they're not worried. They've got two races left to regroup before the season comes to a close. That's plenty of time to get themselves back in the top-five.

"It's very realistic," states Harvick. "We may have dropped in the points, but that's already happened to us once this season and everyone saw what we did. There was nothing we could do to change what happened last Sunday. You can't control what other people do on the racetrack. All you can do is control what goes on with this team. It was awesome to see how quickly this crew got the car back in racing condition after the wreck. That just shows how strong we are."

Strength is what has gotten Team GM Goodwrench to where they are now. After Sonoma, Calif., they went on a 16-race run no other team could match. One win, eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes propelled them from 11th to second in the point's standings. Two accidents out of their control have dropped them to sixth in the past two weeks, but that won't stop this team.

The next race on the Winston Cup Series schedule is this Sunday at (Rockingham) North Carolina Speedway. Although Harvick didn't have his best outing (25th) at the 1.017-mile oval in the spring, he knows the silver and black racing machines are in much better shape than they were then. Look for that to be a big factor in how things play out this weekend.

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on The Rock...

What's your focus going back?

"We were terrible in the spring, but our cars are extremely better than they were then. I think as well as we ran at Darlington (S.C.), that's a good sign of things to come. We struggled at Darlington at the beginning of the year too with our set-up. Even though it's probably my worst racetrack, I'm looking forward to going back there. I think we'll be up to the challenge."

How's the racetrack?

"Rockingham's a high downforce, big tire-wear track. You really have to work on the handling of your car to make it work. The key is keeping the car balanced so it will start off halfway good at the beginning of a run and keep the tires underneath the car at the end of the run."

How can you get a grip on the tires?

"You can't ever predict when you are going to get a bad one (set). The car's going to push or get loose. You adjust your car around the set of tires that you have on in practice because you only get three sets. It's one of those deals where you have to hope that each set of tires that you have are good. Sometimes, if they're off, you just throw another set on and everything will be fine. I don't know if you ever get a grip on the tires, but it seems like we have lately."

What did the spring test help you with most?

"Things went pretty good in that test. We should be a lot better than we have been in the past. The biggest thing it helped me with was driving around the racetrack because this is probably my worst racetrack. For some reason, I don't have a lot of feel for it, and the test really helped me get some driving techniques worked out that I needed to do a little bit differently."

Isn't it nice to be racing close to home?

"Oh yeah. Rockingham's a lot like Charlotte because it's close to home and everybody's families and friends are there, so it's kind of like another home track. It's important to us, probably more so now, to come out with a good finish and get back in the top-five in points."

No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on The Rock...

What's your biggest concern heading back to Rockingham?

"Getting a good qualifying effort. You have to qualify good to get a good pick on pit road so you can stay up front. It's the same every week. Tires are not really a concern because it's a standard deal for Rockingham. It's more about track position, and getting your car ready for the long runs."

Points of Interest...

Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No.110 to Rockingham, N.C., for this weekend's 400-mile event. This chassis, different from what they ran in the spring, has been run 10 times this season including two weeks ago at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway.

Harvick will participate in the Target House 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday in the No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Richard Childress Racing. With a 26th place finish, he can clinch the 2003 Owner's championship for RCR.

Team GM Goodwrench showed their resilience this past weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. After the accident on lap 228, it took only 15 laps for the 15-man crew to put the No. 29 Chevy back together and keep the no-DNF streak at 34 of 34 races.

Start time for Sunday's Pop Secret 400 is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET. TV coverage of the 393-lap 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.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick