Kevin Harvick Making the Most of a Trip to Talladega HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 28, 2004) - GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick is all about returning to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for this weekend's EA Sports 500 NASCAR NEXTEL...
Making the Most of a Trip to Talladega
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 28, 2004) - GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick is all about returning to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for this weekend's EA Sports 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. This racetrack has been extremely good to the Bakersfield, Calif., native in the past year and a half. He's been more successful there than anywhere else, posting three top-10 finishes in his last three outings. He knows this might be his best opportunity to score a pole and a win, two things he yet do accomplish this season.
"This weekend's race will probably be one of our best chances to get a pole and a win," says the Bakersfield, Calif., native. "This GM Goodwrench racing team has been successful on the superspeedways recently and our finishes have shown that. I'd really like to get a pole and a win before the season's over to ensure us a spot in the Bud Shootout and All-Star race in Charlotte. We're putting a lot of effort into Sunday's race to hopefully obtain at least one of those goals."
A win on Sunday could make a race out of the 11th position in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings. Right now Jamie McMurray holds a 101-point advantage over Harvick, who took over 12th with his 21st top-20 finish of the season at Dover (Del.) International Speedway last weekend. He knows that in order to take over that crucial spot, he's got to keep an eye on McMurray and do everything he can to beat him.
"I think a win would really help us get back some momentum on Jamie (McMurray)," adds Harvick. "That's who we're most worried about right now. We've been moving up in the points, but he's been building a bigger and bigger lead on us with every race. Talladega could give us a chance to slim that margin and eventually take it from him."
Points of Interest...
* Movin' on Up... Team GM Goodwrench is going after that 11th and final spot in the NEXTEL Cup championship with all that they've got. They were 14th when the final 10 races got underway in Loudon, N.H., two weeks ago, and have picked up two positions with eight races still to go.
* Superspeedway Success...The 2001 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year has been more successful on the superspeedways than any other surface over the past year and a half. He has posted four top-five and six top-10 finishes in seven races, including a runner-up effort at Talladega in April of 2003.
* Did You Know...Kevin Harvick scored his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series pole position on July 6, 2002, in preparation for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. In his sophomore year on the circuit, it was his third visit to Daytona in a Cup car and 51st NEXTEL Cup Series start.
* The New Chase...Now that Harvick has been eliminated from the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, there's a new chase he's become a part of. The battle for 11th in the NEXTEL Cup Series standings is on and Harvick is currently in the 12th position, 101 points outside of Jamie McMurray who sits in 11th and seven ahead of Bobby Labonte who is 13th.
* Off the Truck...Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 81 to the Yellowhammer State for this weekend's 500-mile event. This chassis, used religiously by the No. 29 crew in restrictor-plate races since 2003, has two top-four and three top-15 finishes in three superspeedway events this year.
* TV and Radio...Start time for Sunday's EA Sports 500 is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 188-lap event on NBC starts at 1:30 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 1:30 p.m. as well. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.
No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Talladega...
What are your thoughts on the April race that ended under caution?
"It definitely wasn't what we wanted because we were in the hunt those last couple of laps and I had the right people behind me. The No. 31 and the No. 41 cars worked well with us that day. I was just proud of the whole RCR organization. Everyone at RCR always works extra hard on the speedway stuff and they take a lot of pride in it. I'm hoping one of these times I'm going to be in the right spot coming to the checkered. We've run so well the last two years on the restrictor-plate tracks. Sooner or later, we're going to get a win."
Can you prepare for the fuel mileage game?
"That all comes from the shop. You prepare as good a fuel cell as you can. With the smaller fuel cells, you have to make a lot of pit stops. We'll try our best not to get caught in the pits out of cycle like we have in past restrictor-plate races. That's really frustrating because we were running so well and had a chance to go for the win."
What's the best way to avoid the big wreck?
"Be out in front. But even then you are vulnerable, though. We saw that in a Busch race a couple of years ago when Johnny (Sauter) sat on the pole. He was leading and got caught up in a huge mess on the backstretch. Hopefully our cars are a little bit better than they were last time and we can get that last push we need to be out front. We didn't wreck it or anything, so we were able to fine tune it and bring it back."
How is Talladega different from Daytona? "Talladega is a lot wider. There's no handling involved, it's just pretty much pedal to the metal and go. You try to trim the car around as much as you can to try and make it go as fast as it can. It's so wide you can run three and four-wide pretty easily. That could create a problem if the racing is as boring as it's been the past couple of restrictor-plate races."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Talladega...
What's your impression of Talladega Superspeedway?
"Talladega is all about pure speed. You don't have to worry about the handling much at all, just stick on the body you got. It's more about the horsepower and that will make the biggest difference. Harvick's been there at the end the last couple of times; we just can't get out in front when we need to. We're taking the same car that we ran at Daytona and Talladega earlier this year because we know its potential."