BUSCH: Darlington: Kevin Harvick preview

EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Diamond Hill Plywood Co. 200; Time and Date: 1 p.m. EST, Saturday, March 20; Site: Darlington Raceway, Darlington, S.C. Live Coverage: FX (television) at 1 p.m. EST and MRN (radio) at 12:30 p.m. EST;...

EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Diamond Hill Plywood Co. 200; Time and Date: 1 p.m. EST, Saturday, March 20; Site: Darlington Raceway, Darlington, S.C. Live Coverage: FX (television) at 1 p.m. EST and MRN (radio) at 12:30 p.m. EST; Qualifying: 1:30 p.m. EST, Fri. March 19, Live on SPEED (television); Happy Hour: Friday, March 19, following Nextel Cup qualifying.

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS - For the first time in NASCAR Busch Series history, the Owners' Championship and the Drivers' Championship were split. The No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet team won the Owners' Championship in commanding fashion, clinching the title at Rockingham with one race remaining in the season. The team finished 261 points ahead of the No. 5 team of Brian Vickers, who claimed the Drivers' Championship. In 2004, the No. 21 Chevrolet carries the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups colors as the team attempts to defend its title. Harvick will compete in 20 of the 34 Busch Series events this season, and rookie driver Clint Bowyer will drive the No. 21 Reese's Chevy in the 14 other events on the schedule.

HARVICK WINS BIG IN VEGAS - Kevin Harvick pulled off a "Vegas Style" win two weeks ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With good work in the pits, a little luck on the track and a terrific heads-up call from spotter Danny Culler to get the Reese's Chevrolet through a wreck, Harvick held off Kasey Kahne for his first win of the season. The win was also the first for Harvick and his new team, which serviced Ron Hornaday's No. 2 AC Delco Chevrolet last year.

NEW TIRES-Goodyear has reconstructed the Eagle Racing tires that the teams will use this season. The tire is considerably softer and still unproven in competition. The tire has seen Busch Series action at Rockingham and Las Vegas. There is still much to be learned, but the Reese's team will use its data and setup from Rockingham this weekend.

TOO TOUGH TO TAME?-The last time the Busch Series was at Darlington Raceway, Harvick tamed the "Lady in Black" on his qualifying run, as he captured his fourth of five poles in 2003. Harvick has not won a pole thus far in 2004, but this weekend's event at Darlington will provide another great chance for Harvick to capture his first pole award of the year.

DARLINGTON 2003-Darlington Raceway was good to the No. 21 team in 2003. Johnny Sauter started third and finished fifth in the spring event, while Harvick posted another fifth-place finish in the fall after starting on the pole.

THE RCR OFF WEEK - The No. 21 Reese's team traveled to Texas Motor Speedway for a test session with Bowyer following the race weekend at Las Vegas. Hornaday also made the trip to give instruction to the rookie. The test went well, and Bowyer is excited about his first Busch Series start at Texas in two weeks.

THE CAR-This week, crew chief Ricky Viers will load chassis No. 022 onto the Reese's transporter. This is the car that Harvick drove to a third-place finish at Rockingham earlier this year. The team was happy with its performance and is optimistic about the trip to Darlington.

QUICK QUOTES AND NOTES:

Crew chief Ricky Viers on the SAFER WALLS at Darlington-"The new wall is going to change the racing groove dramatically. The wall sticks out now well over half the width of the racecar. It should be interesting to see where the groove reappears."

On the new tires-"We've learned a lot so far about the tires. I don't think any of the teams had the chance to test at Darlington due to the new wall installations, so everybody should be in the same boat there. We've just got to make sure that we keep up with the tires and continue to learn."

* Harvick's win at Las Vegas, was his 12th career Busch Series win.

* Harvick's win was the 113th victory for Richard Childress as a car owner in NASCAR's three top divisions. It was the 17th win for the RCR Busch Series program, which is in its fifth season of competition.

* Harvick will compete in both Busch Series events at Darlington Raceway this season.

* This weekend marks the fourth of five straight weekends in which Harvick will compete in both the Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series events.

* Harvick's Reese's Racing teammate Clint Bowyer will attend every Busch Series event he is not driving in to learn from Harvick and the team.

* Bowyer tested the No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway last week. Texas will be the site of his first Busch Series start.

-rcr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Johnny Sauter , Kasey Kahne , Brian Vickers , Clint Bowyer