* Been there, done that: Double-duty/Bristol wins not new to Kevin Harvick DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 21, 2006) -- Experience is nothing short of a good thing. Experience coupled with success could be a perfect combination. Kevin Harvick (No....
* Been there, done that: Double-duty/Bristol wins not new to Kevin Harvick
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 21, 2006) -- Experience is nothing short of a good thing. Experience coupled with success could be a perfect combination.
Kevin Harvick (No. 21 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet), the NASCAR Busch Series points leader and 2001 series champion, is the prime example of that formula heading to Saturday's event at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Harvick is not only the defending race winner, but he's a four-time winner in 12 series races at the high-banked half-mile track. His victories -- the last two in the spring race -- are tied for the most all-time there. He's led the most laps (802), led the most races (nine), has two Busch Poles and has eight top-five finishes to his credit.
He swept the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series events last spring, and this week he'll drive the car that Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton took to Victory Lane at Atlanta last Saturday.
"I grew up on a half-mile, high-banked racetrack," said Harvick, a Bakersfield, Calif., native, of his NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series career at the former Mesa Marin Raceway. "I know Bristol is a lot more banked, but it's kind of the same mindset for me driving around the track. It's short-track beating and banging. I seem to have a lot of success every time I go, so I'm always excited to go back."
In addition to driving, Harvick and his wife, DeLana, have jumped into ownership in the NASCAR Busch Series. Their Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) team is making tremendous headway this season -- the No. 33 Chevrolet, which won the season-opening race at Daytona with Tony Stewart -- is sixth in the owner standings.
KHI also fields the No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet with Raybestos Rookie driver Burney Lamar. Lamar, who finished second behind Stewart at Daytona, is a surprising eighth in the series standings and leads a talented rookie class in that category.
"I think he's progressing a little faster than we thought and it's showing on the track," Harvick said of his protege. "He is way ahead of the goals DeLana and I set for him at the beginning of the season." Harvick the driver sees Lamar as a top contender for the NASCAR Busch Series title this season, along with himself.
"He has proven to me and the rest of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regulars that he can flat-out race", Harvick said. "He has shown week-in and week-out that he can hang with us and race us clean."
Harvick is one of seven drivers attempting to pull "double-duty" this year, running full seasons in both the NASCAR Busch Series and in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. In his 2001 NASCAR Busch Series championship season, he competed in all but one NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race, taking over for the late Dale Earnhardt following Daytona. "I wouldn't say I'm better prepared," Harvick said, "[but] I know what I need to do personally to make sure I am in one piece at the end of the season. It is a lot easier to run both series now that it was in 2001."
Similarly, Harvick doesn't see any advantage as a driver and as an owner in the NASCAR Busch Series. Instead, he sees the opportunity as an honor. "I don't think it's a benefit owning and driving a car in the NASCAR Busch Series," he said. "However, I would say it's a privilege.
"I mean, it's so exciting to be able to drive a car that I own and see first-hand what we're (KHI) putting on the track each week. It's also really cool to drive the No. 21 car that is competitive every week."