Watkins Glen: Kevin Harvick preview

KEVIN HARVICK Harvick "happy" about Watkins Glen HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 9, 2005) -- Every year a debate goes on as to whether or not road courses belong on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. While there is little argument that...

Harvick "happy" about Watkins Glen

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 9, 2005) -- Every year a debate goes on as to whether or not road courses belong on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. While there is little argument that oval track racing made the sport what it is, road courses are seen as an important factor in determining a championship driver in the world's most competitive form of auto racing.

GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick has proved to be one of the best in the sport when it comes to racing on the twisting circuits and Watkins Glen International raceway has been good to the Bakersfield, Calif., native. In his four starts at The Glen, Harvick averaged a top-10 in both starting and finishing positions. His sixth place finish last year, proved he is one of the drivers to watch in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

"I have always enjoyed racing at Watkins Glen," said Harvick, who has completed every lap in his four Cup starts. "It is a very fast road course and one of the few where most of your corners turn to the right. You don't shift as much as you do at Infineon Raceway, but it is just as mentally and physically challenging."

In nine starts dating back to his first full NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season in 1997, Harvick has posted three top-five, six top-10, and seven top-15 finishes at the 2.45-mile course. He has started inside the top-11 in every race at the 2.45-mile oval since 1998. And when it comes to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, Harvick has finished outside the top-10 only once, and that was a respectable 14th place finish in 2002.

Points of Interest...

* Chase for the Championship...The GM Goodwrench Chevrolet battled a tight condition all day long in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard last Sunday, finishing 19th. Harvick remains in 13th position, 518 markers out of first place. The Chase for the Championship continues to be a tight race as the No. 29 Monte Carlo is a mere 82 points out of 10th with five races to go.

* Last Year at Watkins Glen...Pit strategy was the key to the Sirius at the Glen and Team GM Goodwrench took full advantage of it. Two pit stops and a gas-n-go timed perfectly allowed Kevin Harvick to run in the top-10 almost the entire race and then nab a sixth place finish. It was his third top-10 finish in four tries at the 2.45-mile road course.

* Goodwrench.com Vote...GM Goodwrench, a division of General Motors Service and Parts Operations (GMSPO), are giving fans the chance to vote for the standard paint scheme for the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. NASCAR fans began logging onto Goodwrench.com on July 15 to vote between the current "flame" design and the "20th Anniversary" scheme that Harvick raced in the 2005 Daytona 500. With over 50,000 votes currently counted, the contest is too close to call with only 22 days before the August 31 deadline. The winning car will be announced via the GM Goodwrench fan newsletter in October.

* What Ya' Haulin'...The GM Goodwrench transporter will unload chassis No. 154 at Watkins Glen. It is the same car that Harvick drove to a 35th place finish at Infineon Raceway after losing a cylinder in the middle stage of the race. The car is new to RCR for 2005 and was tested at Virginia International Raceway back on June 13 and 14. Harvick participated in a test at Watkins Glen a few weeks back as well.

* TV and Radio...Harvick will join the NBC announcing team in the booth for Saturday's running of the Zippo 200 NASCAR Busch Series race. Start time for Saturday's race is 2:00 p.m. EDT. Sunday's Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen begins at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Television coverage begins on NBC at 1:00 p.m., with MRN Radio and XM Radio 144 beginning their broadcasts at 1:00 p.m. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

No. 29 GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick on Watkins Glen...

Are brakes the most important part of the car?

"Brakes are a huge part of it, along with getting your car to turn and getting up off the corners. The brakes are tortured because you are carrying so much speed down off the straight-aways into the corners. Going into Turn 1, it's like a 90-degree corner and you are hauling the mail. Down the back straight-away, you go into the inter-loop and pretty much have to stop right there."

What's the difference between ovals and road courses?

"There's a lot more to do on road courses. 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. 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 Watkins Glen...

What's your take on Watkins Glen?

"Watkins Glen is a rhythm racetrack. You can't make mistakes at Watkins Glen because there's no room for error with all the gravel pits. Track position is everything and it takes discipline to hit your marks every lap."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick