Texas: Kevin Harvick preview

KEVIN HARVICK Looking for balance in Texas HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (April 12, 2005) -- During the off-season, the GM Goodwrench team sat down and looked at its strengths and weaknesses. The strengths included a championship caliber driver...

Looking for balance in Texas

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (April 12, 2005) -- During the off-season, the GM Goodwrench team sat down and looked at its strengths and weaknesses. The strengths included a championship caliber driver in Kevin Harvick, a cohesive team that had three years experience together and the support of GM Goodwrench. The biggest weakness that stared back at them was their performance at the 1.5-mile quad-ovals, like Texas Motor Speedway.

"We spent a lot of time in the off-season going over our notes from Texas," said Harvick. "We knew we needed to come up with a completely different package for that style of track. I think we have that now. We ran the new package at Atlanta (Ga.) a few weeks back and the car turned way too good and was very loose. But I think a lot of that was from the chassis (No. 139) we chose to run. We are bringing back our California and Las Vegas (Nev.) car (No. 134). I think it will be more balanced."

The GM Goodwrench team will be without crew chief Todd Berrier for the final time. Berrier is serving the fourth of his four race suspension for a rules violation at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. And this might be the toughest track for Berrier to miss. He has two career poles and one win at the track in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

"I can't say enough of the job that Scott Miller has done in Todd's absence," Harvick commented. "This track was one of the ones Todd circled on the calendar. He really felt like he had a setup and package that could get the job done. I know all the guys in the shop have worked really hard to make up ground at the 1.5-mile tracks. Hopefully we can continue to show progress and run in the top-10 like we have all year.

"We had one of the fastest cars at Martinsville and when the clutch broke, we lost everything we had gained by winning at Bristol," Harvick said. "That's how close the competition is in this series. You can't afford to have a bad race. We lost seven spots in points because of a parts failure. Every race counts and this one could be the key to the entire season."

Points ofInterest...

* Todd's not here...Sunday's Samsung/Radio Shack 500 is the final race for the GM Goodwrench team without crew chief Todd Berrier. Berrier will finish serving his four race NASCAR suspension this weekend and then return to the pit box at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway next week. Scott Miller will again serve as interim crew chief.

* Former Texas winner...While the GM Goodwrench team has failed to win at TMS, the same can not be said for their driver. Harvick won the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series event at Texas in the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet. He went on to capture the Busch Series championship and the Cup Series Rookie-of-the-Year in that emotional season.

* Million Dollar Baby...Harvick joined eight other drivers by going over the $1,000,000 mark in 2005 earnings. Harvick is ninth on the money list with $1,024,684. He has earned $20,458,555 in his five year NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career.

* The Lone Ranger...Richard Childress is scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers game in Arlington, Texas on Thursday, April 14.

* What Ya' Haulin'...The GM Goodwrench transporter will unload chassis No. 134 at Texas Motor Speedway. It is the same car that Harvick raced at California Speedway (seventh) and Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (fifth) earlier this year. It is brand new for 2005.

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Texas Motor Speedway...

You lost seven spots in the points standings following the clutch failure at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. How important is it to have a good run this weekend in Texas?

"I think it is important every week to run good. The series is too tough to pick and chose your races. This week's race pays the same amount of points as Daytona (Fla.), Bristol (Tenn.) and Martinsville. We have to be good every week."

Why did you decide to bring chassis No. 134 to Texas instead of chassis No. 139, which you raced at Atlanta (Ga.)?

"We just think it is a better balanced car. We actually debated after Las Vegas on which car to bring because of the success we had with No. 134. But we had tested with the other car and felt like, since it was a good test, we should keep to the game plan. That car turned way to good and we couldn't keep the rear of the car in the track. It was very loose. I think the car we are bringing to Texas will be a lot better."

You won at Texas Motor Speedway in the Busch Series. What is the key to winning on Sunday?

"You just have to do everything right. The races are longer, so there are more chances to have something go wrong. The car needs to be fast off the corner. That's where you can make up ground. If you can get back in the throttle sooner than the next guy, you can win. Pit stops are always important as well. It's a fast track that takes the total package."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick