Talladega: Kevin Harvick preview

Kevin Harvick The road to Talladega. HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (April 1, 2003) - Usually, after a normal race weekend, GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick boards his plane and heads home to Kernersville, N.C., for a few days of rest before departing for...

Kevin Harvick
The road to Talladega.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (April 1, 2003) - Usually, after a normal race weekend, GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick boards his plane and heads home to Kernersville, N.C., for a few days of rest before departing for the next weekend's event. This past Sunday, however, was a little different. Instead of heading home, Harvick traveled to Columbus, Ga., to take part in a four-day turkey hunting excursion on behalf of Realtree.

"I'm actually a little nervous," stated the Bakersfield, Calif., native, who will be traveling with owner Richard Childress and teammate Jeff Green on the trip. "This is actually my first real hunting trip, and I'm not sure what to do. I heard the last time they took someone new on a trip like this, they played a few tricks on him. For some reason, I see that happening to me. I don't know a whole lot about hunting, and that definitely won't play into my favor."

From Columbus, Harvick will head to Andretti Speed Lab in Atlanta on Thursday where he'll spend the afternoon at an appearance for PayDay, his primary sponsor in the NASCAR Busch Series. Then, he'll fly to Talladega late in the evening to get ready for the second superspeedway event on the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule.

Harvick finally gets his first chance to relax, if that's possible, on Friday with Winston Cup qualifying. He'll participate in his second International Race of Champions (IROC) Series race of the year on Saturday. The long week will conclude with the Aaron's 499 on Sunday.

Right now, Harvick's biggest worry is braving the elements, and his cohorts, in the woods. After accumulating a cold over the weekend, he's not really worried about killing anything on the trip. He's more concerned about just surviving it.

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin HarvickM on Talladega...

How is Talladega different from Daytona?

"Talladega is a lot wider. There's no handling involved, it's just pretty much pedal to the medal 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."

What's the best way to avoid the big wreck?

"Be out in front. But even then you are vulnerable, though. We saw that last year in the Busch race when Johnny sat on the pole. He was up front 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. We didn't wreck it or anything, so we were able to fine tune it and bring it back."

How do 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 like we have the last two weeks in a row. That's really frustrating because we were running so well in both of those races."

How are the team changes working out?

"We're excited. Everything's going good. We're getting our new racecars done and staying out of the messes. The balance on the cars seems to be getting better. Texas was a pretty good place to judge that, and it seems to feel pretty good. That's a good sign to know that our speedway package is coming along. We were struggling a little bit at the beginning, but things appear to be getting better week by week."

Are you excited about your first IROC event at Talladega?

"Of course. It will be a lot like Daytona, but closer. Handling of the cars will not come into play as much as Daytona, if at all. It will be all aero. Hopefully I'll be in the right spot when we come to the checkered. The last race I was leading with seven to go, then back to 12th with five to go. You have to make sure you are in the right spot, but it's hard to know when and when not to make the move. There is so much shuffling around that goes on, just like Daytona, but probably even more at Talladega."

No. 29 GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier on Talladega...

Can you be as good at Talladega as you were in Daytona?

"We ought to be. 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. We're just getting to a point back at RCR with the new phase of bodies. The cars are beginning to have better balance, which makes it easier to keep them consistent. And consistency is the key. Still, at least at Talladega, good engines will make the biggest difference."

Points of Interest...

* Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No.81 to Talladega for this weekend's Winston Cup race. This same chassis, used throughout the 2002 season, is the same one they used at the season opening Daytona 500 where Harvick started 31st and finished fourth.

* Harvick finished sixth in his first IROC race of 2003 in Daytona, leading the middle portion of the 40-lap shootout before loosing the draft late. Based on IROC rules, the field will start in reverse order of the 2003 points standings, putting Harvick sixth in the 12-car field.

* Start time for Sunday's Aaron's 499 is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET. TV coverage of the race on FOX starts at 12:00 p.m., with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 12:00 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Jeff Green