BUSCH: Harvick Fontana preview

KEVIN HARVICK ON CALIFORNIA-"California is a big, wide, fast racetrack, that we didn't run very well at last year. So we feel like it owes us one. I want to run well there especially because it's close to home (Bakersfield, Calif.). We want to...

KEVIN HARVICK ON CALIFORNIA-"California is a big, wide, fast racetrack, that we didn't run very well at last year. So we feel like it owes us one. I want to run well there especially because it's close to home (Bakersfield, Calif.). We want to improve this year and be able to run for the win."

LAST YEAR AT CALIFORNIA-Harvick qualified 38th for last year's race and took the second provisional. The ACDelco team battled a tight condition that plagued most teams. Only 29 laps into the race, PJ Jones spun eight cars in front of Harvick. He slowed to avoid Jones, but Hut Stricklin did not and hit Harvick from behind. Harvick spun in turn four, hit the wall and the rear end of the car suffered significant damage. Harvick managed to keep the car on the lead lap despite pitting several times for repairs. Late in the race, Harvick lost one lap but still managed to finish 14th.

LEARNING FROM LAST YEAR-"If we've learned anything from last year," Harvick said, "it's we need to get the chassis as close to perfect as we can. To be able to compete with the Fords which have a lot more downforce we're going to have to have the car handling all day long."

"I really want to run well this year because I've got a lot of friends and family coming down from Bakersfield for the race. It's always nice to do well in front of the hometown crowd. I'll have a little extra motivation."

* Harvick grew up racing on the short tracks of Bakersfield, about 90 miles north of Los Angeles in the go-kart divisions.

* Ran countless laps at Bakersfield's Mesa Marin Raceway in Late Models, Winston West and NASCAR Trucks.

* Local angle - Harvick won the Winston West championship while running for Spears Manufacturing out of Sylmar, CA which is near Santa Clarita. The Spears family also owned his NASCAR Truck team that competed in the 1997 and '98 seasons.

CALIFORNIA ACCORDING TO THE CREW CHIEF-The ACDelco team's crew chief, Todd Berrier, is as determined as Harvick is to improve upon the team's finish last year.

DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM LAST YEAR? "The car seemed to run better in overcast conditions," Berrier said. "We were really tight off the corners and we worked at trying to get the car freed up, but we couldn't seem to do it. Unfortunately for us, the Chevrolets don't have the front downforce that the Fords and Pontiacs have. It makes it really tough for us to get the nose planted and get the car to turn. We're going to try some things with springs and shocks to see if we can try to overcome the downforce problem."

* Berrier and several members of the ACDelco crew tested Jeff Green and the No. 30 car at California earlier this month.

DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM THE CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY TEST WITH JEFF GREEEN IN THE NO. 30 CUP CAR? "I think we did figure out some chassis stuff," Berrier said, "and we have some ideas that might help us in the Busch car. Its amazing how similar Jeff Green's driving style is to Harvick's. They seem to like the same things in a car. I just don't know how much the Winston Cup information will translate with the wider nose on the Cup cars, but we're going to try it and see."

HARVICK's California Car- Harvick will be driving RCR chassis #10 at California. It is the same car that he drove in Homestead in the season finale last season.

2001 POINTS CHASE- Harvick slipped to second in points following his 40th place run at Talladega last weekend. He trails Greg Biffle by just three points. It is the second time Harvick has surrendered the lead. He grabbed it for the first time after his second place run at Rockingham. He captured it for the second time after a seventh place run at Bristol.

<pre> Harvick's Busch Series California Record Date Start Finish Laps Laps Led Status Money Points 4/29/01 38th 14th 149/200 0 Running $21,375 121

Harvick's NASCAR Trucks California Record Date Start Finish Laps Laps Led Status Money Points 10/30/99 18th 15th 100/100 0 Running $8,490 118 7/18/98 6th 30th 64/100 1 Running $7,075 73 10/18/97 28th 20th 99/100 0 Running $6,425 103

WINSTON WEST WIN-Harvick won his third of five races in July of 1998 at California Speedway on his way to the Winston West Championship. He started from the Pole and earned $18,156 for winning the 100-lap race. His four other victories of that year were at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Altamont Raceway Park, Pikes Peak International Raceway and Sears Point Raceway.

-TKL

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Greg Biffle , Jeff Green , Hut Stricklin