KEVIN HARVICK Teamwork crucial but speed key to winning at Talladega HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (April 26, 2005) -- Richard Childress Racing will have a stacked deck working for them at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway this weekend. At a track...
Teamwork crucial but speed key to winning at Talladega
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (April 26, 2005) -- Richard Childress Racing will have a stacked deck working for them at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway this weekend. At a track where teamwork helps get you up front, RCR has four cars entered and the game plan is to hook-up and produce a winner.
While a lot of emphasis is placed on having a drafting partner and working together at restrictor plate tracks, at Talladega the key ingredient is speed. And according to RCR engine guru Danny Lawrence, the cars from Welcome, N.C., will have plenty of horsepower.
"We have been working very hard in the engine shop at RCR to increase our horsepower across the board at all the tracks," said Lawrence. "But there has always been a pride in having the best motors at Daytona (Fla.) and Talladega. It was important to Richard (Childress) and Dale (Earnhardt) to win at the two most prestigious tracks in their day."
The other factor needed for success at Talladega is an ultra aerodynamic body. Once again, RCR is one of the leaders in making a superspeedway car that has very little drag. GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier says that is where a lot of the team's focus will be this weekend.
"Everybody has massaged their cars and made them better from Daytona," said Berrier. "Our car was rebuilt after the crash in the 500, so it has a new body that the engineers seem to think is better than what we had. I don't get too concerned with wind tunnel numbers. Some people do, but I have seen a lot of cars that blew great tunnel numbers but couldn't back them up on the track."
Berrier also says that while both engine and body are what makes a car fast at Talladega, the driver is more important than people think.
"I always hear drivers say they just turn the wheel at Talladega and the car does all the work," Berrier said. "But that's not true at all. It might be in qualifying, but once the race starts, Harvick is my biggest advantage. He knows where to go, who to work with and how to avoid a bad situation. Not every driver knows what to do and how to work the pack.
"Every now and then, somebody wins at Talladega and it is a surprise," added Berrier. "But when I read the list of winners...Earnhardt, (Jeff) Gordon, (Dale) Jarrett, (Mark) Martin, these are hall of fame drivers. Say what you want, but the driver plays a huge role at Talladega."
* Last Four Races at Talladega...Harvick has four consecutive top-10's at Talladega Superspeedway, including two runner-up finishes. In his last two starts in the spring event, Harvick has an average finish of 2nd.
* Goodwrench Superspeedway...No other sponsor has dominated Talladega like GM Goodwrench. From 1988 to present, the black and silver RCR Chevrolet has eight wins, three poles and 22 top-10 finishes at the 2.66-mile track.
* What Ya' Haulin'...The GM Goodwrench transporter will unload chassis No. 087. It is the same car that Harvick raced in the Daytona 500. Harvick crashed in that event, but managed to finish the race in 28th. Since that race, the chassis has received an extreme makeover, including a new body. The car was a backup for all four restrictor plate races in 2004, but it was the primary superspeedway car in 2003.
No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Talladega Superspeedway...
You have had a shot at the win in your last four races at Talladega. What has kept you out of victory lane? "We've always raced really well at the restrictor plate tracks. If we keep putting ourselves in that position we'll win eventually. I don't think we've necessarily done anything wrong."
NASCAR has tried to change things (smaller fuel cells, etc.) to spread out the field at Talladega and Daytona. Will we see anything different on Sunday or will it be another case of run up front and miss the "big one"?
"That's the motto that we always try to use. You have a lot greater chance of missing the big one if you're running up front."
Do you like restrictor plate racing? Is it more mental than physical?
"I have always really liked the bigger tracks. It's way more mental than physical. You're worn out by the end of the race. You spend a lot of time looking in the mirrors anticipating the other guys next move."
No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Talladega Superspeedway...
Chassis No. 087 is the same car that was crashed in the Daytona 500. What was repaired on the car to have it ready for Talladega?
"It has a completely new body. It also needed a front and rear clip and a new right side frame rail. For the most part, it is a completely new car."