KEVIN HARVICK Bakersfield's Harvick ready for road course racing at Infineon HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., (June 21, 2005) -- Bakersfield, Calif., native Kevin Harvick returns to his home state this week for the running of the Save Mart 350 at Infineon...
Bakersfield's Harvick ready for road course racing at Infineon
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., (June 21, 2005) -- Bakersfield, Calif., native Kevin Harvick returns to his home state this week for the running of the Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, north of San Francisco, Calif. It marks the first of two road course events for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. But, it is not the first time in 2005 that Harvick has turned both left and right on a road course.
Harvick was one of seven NASCAR Cup Series drivers to race in the NASCAR Busch Series event in Mexico City, Mexico on March, 6, 2005. The GM Goodwrench Chevrolet driver wheeled his No. 21 RCR Monte Carlo to a second place finish at the 2.518-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.
"I really enjoy road course racing," said Harvick. "Infineon Raceway is such an incredible road course. It has really good elevation changes and a nice combination of tight course and high speed sections. It is one of the most challenging tracks I've raced on. We had a really good test at (Virginia International Raceway), so I am very confident in our chances this weekend."
Points of Interest...
* Chase for the Championship...The GM Goodwrench Chevrolet continues to hold on to its spot in the top-10 in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points. Harvick dropped from seventh to 10th after finishing 25th at Michigan International Speedway last week. He trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 370 markers.
* We have a winner...Harvick has two wins at Infineon Raceway. Harvick's first victory in Sonoma came in 1998 on his way to his only NASCAR Winston West Series championship. Starting from the third position, he led only the last lap and won by .154-seconds. His last victory at Infineon came two years ago in the NASCAR Southwest Series race the Saturday prior to the Save Mart 350. Starting from the fourth position, the 1995 Southwest Series Rookie-of-the-Year took the lead on the first lap and cruised to a 3.938-second win over road course racing standout Boris Said.
* Last Year at Infineon Raceway... The No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team showed their ability to bounce back after an early pit road miscue in Sunday's Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Infineon Raceway. He picked up 24 spots over the final 70 laps to salvage a 12th place finish, his fourth consecutive top-15 finish at the two-mile course located in northern California.
* The Street of Bakersfield...Harvick will spend Thursday night in his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif., to say goodbye to Mesa Marin Raceway. Mesa Marin is Harvick's home track where he cut his teeth on his way to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The track is ending operation at the end of the year. The track will be demolished and replaced with a sub division.
* Walking in the Twin Cities...On June 24-26, DeLana Harvick will be participating in the Twin Cities 2005 Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk, a 60-mile journey through Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., benefiting the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Breast cancer awareness is a cause that DeLana holds close to her heart. "My Mom lost her sister to breast cancer," DeLana said. "In some small way, participating in this walk is my way of giving back." Kim Labonte introduced the concept to Harvick last year. Shana Mayfield will also participate with Harvick and Labonte.
* What Ya' Haulin'...The GM Goodwrench transporter will unload chassis No. 154 at Infineon Raceway. The car is new to the RCR fleet. Harvick tested the chassis at VIR on June 13 and 14.
No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Infineon Raceway...
What's the key to racing at Infineon Raceway?
"The biggest thing there is not tearing your car up. You have to take care of your transmission, take care of the rear-end gear, and don't wheel hop it. The main thing is to finish. It's hard to keep from getting your car torn up because the racetrack has turns and hills and it's hard to pass. It's hard to keep the fenders on your racecar. It's like going to a short track race. They usually tear as much up at Sonoma as they do at Bristol (Motor Speedway) or anywhere else. It's hard to run by yourself, let alone with 43 cars on it."
How's the mindset different between ovals and road courses?
"There's a lot more to do. You have to shift, stop, shift, gas it and slide. The hardest handling characteristic is to get your car to get forward bite up off the corner because you are coming off a low gear and there are a lot of hills and off-camber corners. You have to try and hook your car up the best you can. You have to concentrate on getting the car into gear; just taking care of your stuff is the main thing. It's kind of like trying to find a balance between taking care of your stuff and driving the heck out of it. It's definitely different from our weekly routine."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Infineon Raceway...
How do you deal with road courses?
"The most important part of road course racing is track position. You want to pit the least amount of times as possible and get out of the pit sequence so you can run out on open road. Sonoma is very demanding on the car. You have to be mindful of the transmission, suspension, and brakes because they tend to burn up fast. The set-up of the car is totally different from the rest of the places we go. There's no off-set with the tires and the car is balanced on both sides so you can get through all the left and right hand turns."