This Week's Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet at Watkins Glen International ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 321 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This is a completely brand new chassis, and its first laps on the...
This Week's Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet at Watkins Glen International ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 321 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This is a completely brand new chassis, and its first laps on the track will be opening practice on Friday.
Follow the Leader ... After last week's fourth-place finish at Pocono Raceway, Harvick remains the leader in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. Harvick extended his lead to 189 points over second, and he is 550 points ahead of 13th. For the season, he has two wins, 10 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in the season's first 21 races. At the same time, Harvick has finished 13th or better in 18 of the season's first 21 events.
Race to the Chase ... With just five events remaining before the 2010 NSCS Chase field is set, Harvick enjoys a 550-point lead over 13th. The Bakersfield, Calif., driver leads all competitors with 15 top-10 finishes, and is tied with Jeff Gordon for most top-five finishes (10). Additionally, the 13-time NSCS winner has finished on the lead lap in every event but two, with the lone exceptions being Martinsville and Chicagoland. At the paper-clip shaped facility, Harvick led 57 of the first 58 laps, but suffered a brake failure that forced the team to go behind the wall for repairs. At Chicagoland, the team battled a fuel pressure issue and finished 34th.
Pennsylvania 500 Recap ... In last weekend's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, the No. 29 team finished fourth and scored its fifth top-five finish in its last six starts. Harvick spent 197 of 200 laps inside the top 15.
Double duty at The Glen ... In addition to his driving duties with the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, Harvick will race Kevin Harvick Incorporated's No. 33 Chevrolet in the August 7th Zippo 200 Nationwide Series event.
It seems like there has been some aggressive driving at the road courses in recent years. Has that been the case?
"The road courses have become more like short tracks, but, I don't think Watkins Glen will be like Sonoma in that regard. There is more room to race at Watkins Glen, and it's obviously a lot faster. But there will definitely be some bent doors and bumpers just because of the nature of how close the competition has become at the road courses. The bent sheet metal is also a product of the double-file restarts, because those usually cause most of the contact."
When you are leading the points but come up short of a win like you did at Indy and at Pocono, is it almost frustrating?
"Obviously, to finish like we have lately, I'm really happy. That shows how far we've come from last year, but having the year last year, you don't get too wound up or disappointed for finishing second or in the top five because a lot of places last year, we couldn't run 22nd. So, you take it and you move on, and you hope that you have the same opportunity again. We've capitalized a couple times this year on winning races like that and a couple of them we've lost. So, it's just part of the sport and what racing is all about."
What has been the biggest turnaround from last year to this year for your team?
"Really, everything (laughs). I think the only thing that's been constantly good from last year to this year is the engine department. Last year, at Indy we brought out all new cars and that's where we started. And, that starts with chassis, bodies, components in the steering, and so we got the race cars headed in the right direction and those have evolved into what they are today. And then just (team owner) Richard (Childress) just making the commitment financially to spend the money to turn all those products around. Usually you budget for a set amount of cars per team per year and you don't usually budget for all new cars for all four teams last year.
"So that part was good. I think moving Scott Miller to competition director has helped take some decision-making off of Richard from the competition side and let him kind of overview it and give his opinion to Scott and really just let him run with things. Scott, being the engineering-minded person that he is, has helped the engineering department just have some direction and work on things. Those two things, along with some other little management structural changes with the teams and things like that have helped point us in the right direction."