BUSCH: Harvick IRP preview

Racing IRP: "I think IRP is one of the toughest tracks we race at all year," Harvick said. "You have to race next to the fence. The track is not set up for easy passing, so qualifying up front will be our focus. Timing will be the other...

Racing IRP: "I think IRP is one of the toughest tracks we race at all year," Harvick said. "You have to race next to the fence. The track is not set up for easy passing, so qualifying up front will be our focus. Timing will be the other important factor."

The car: The car that carried Harvick to his first Busch Series victory, and serves as the primary car for Harvick Friday at IRP, has had a busy traveling schedule. Following post-race inspection at St. Louis, the winning car was loaded onto the No. 21 hauler and transported back to Richard Childress Racing in Welcome, N.C. The car was given a facelift at the RCR shop before it was sent to Detroit, MI for a wind tunnel test and a two-day test session at Michigan International Speedway. Thursday the car will head to Indianapolis Raceway Park for it's ninth showing of the season. The car, referred to as #8 by the ACDelco crew, has an average finish of sixth, has completed 2018 of 2020 laps and is credited with the team's first win and four top-five finishes.

Returning Favors: Harvick heads to IRP a day early to lend a hand to fellow Bakersfield, CA native, Jason Small, who will pilot the No. 45 Chevrolet in Thursday evening's Power Stroke 200. "I met Jason way back during my go-kart days," said Harvick. "Jason's dad, Ken Small, is a close friend of my family and he was always around helping me race. I am just returning a favor to a couple of people who have supported my 19 years of racing. It's the least I can do. IRP is a tough little track, so I hope the advice from the few races I have run will help out." Donnie Hubble, crew chief for Small, and Rick Metz, tire specialist, are also longtime friends of Harvick's. Small ran the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event in Bakersfield, CA earlier this season.

Winning his first Busch Series race: Kevin's humble personality seldomly allows for the outburst of joy that was revealed in St. Louis' victory lane. The 24-year-old rookie leader could not hold back a single ounce of exhilaration - neither could the ACDelco crew members.

"I have never been more excited in my life!" Harvick gleamed. "I've won races in other divisions, but to win my first Busch Series win was overwhelming. It was important to me that the race fans and the media understood and supported Richard Childress' decision to put a 12th-place Truck Series driver, from the West Coast, in his Busch car. Now that burden has been lifted, and ACDelco made it back into victory lane. I knew the crew would be bouncing off the walls, but not until I saw their faces in victory lane, did I realize how proud they were and how proud I was to be their driver. It was like a big mosh pit in victory lane. It was packed with both RCR teams and every person had their arms over their head. It was a sight I'll never forget." Championship Point Standings: While car owner Richard Childress has taken over the third spot in owner's points, Kevin Harvick trails third-place driver, Todd Bodine, by 20 points in the driver standings. Harvick is 58 points out of second. Point leader Jeff Green leads Harvick by 605 points.

"Sure, Jeff (Green) has a stout point lead and it may be impossible to catch him, but he has made me a better driver and the 2 team a better team," stated Harvick. "He has voiced his frustration about my aggressive driving style, but we have to be aggressive. The first reason, is to get as close to him in points as we can, and the second is that we come to the racetrack every week to be first, lead the most laps, and gain the most points. I don't ever want to be considered a driver content to run second or third."

Rookie Points: Harvick stretched his Rookie of the Year lead from five points to 11 points over Ron Hornaday after his victory last Saturday.

<pre> Driver - Kevin Harvick Crew Chief - Todd Berrier Owner - Richard Childress

Looking back through the 2000 season: Starts - 20 Top-5 starts - 6 Top-5 finishes - 6 Rookie Points - 1st (249) Top-10 starts - 12 Top-10 finishes - 10 Championship Points - 4th (2717) Poles - 1 (Dover) Wins - 1 (St. Louis)

Harvick's Indianapolis Raceway Park Profile Year Series Start Finish Notes of Interest 1999 NCTS 22 4 Led 22 laps before "screen cam" got stuck in grill of truck and forced to pit 1998 NCTS 9 11 Finished on lead lap 1997 NCTS 19 23 Rookie entry

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Drivers Todd Bodine , Kevin Harvick , Jeff Green , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jason Small