BUSCH: Richmond: Kevin Harvick preview

EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Funai 250; Time and Date: 8 p.m. EDT, Friday, May 14; Site: Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, Va. Live Coverage: FX (television) at 7:30 p.m. EDT and MRN (radio) at 7:15 p.m. EDT; Qualifying:...

EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Funai 250; Time and Date: 8 p.m. EDT, Friday, May 14; Site: Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, Va. Live Coverage: FX (television) at 7:30 p.m. EDT and MRN (radio) at 7:15 p.m. EDT; Qualifying: 4 p.m. EDT, Thurs. May 13, Live on SPEED (television); Happy Hour: Thurs., May 13, following Busch Series 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 RETURNS - Harvick returns to the No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet after a one-week hiatus. Harvick took a vacation during the off-weekend and will be well-rested for the rigorous summer racing schedule. Short tracks are Harvick's favorite type of track, making the .75-mile Richmond International Raceway the perfect setting for Harvick to claim his second victory of the season.

DEFENDING RACE WINNER-Harvick is the defending winner of this weekend's race. Harvick captured his second three wins of the2003 season, in dramatic fashion after hitting the turn four wall with just a handful of laps remaining.

UNDER THE LIGHTS-Friday night's Funai 250 will the second race of the season ran held the lights. The first night race was last weekend's event at Gateway International Raceway. Short-track racing under the lights always brings door-to-door racing and flaring tempers. The Busch Series competitors put on an exciting show the last time they visited Richmond, with Johnny Sauter capturing the victory and Harvick surviving the melee to finish second in the PayDay Chevrolet.

THE CAR-This week, crew chief Ricky Viers will load chassis No. 028 onto the Reese's transporter. Harvick drove the car to a second-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway in March. Ron Hornaday drove the car twice in 2003 (Richmond and Kansas).

NEW SURFACE - Raceway officials installed a new drainage system under the track. All the unique characteristics that make Richmond a fan and driver favorite remained intact. The .75-mile D-shaped track has 14 degrees of banking in the turns, eight degrees of banking on the frontstretch and two degrees of banking on the backstretch. Those are just the ingredients for an exciting Friday night showdown.


Crew chief Ricky Viers on Richmond-"Kevin had two great runs there last season: a win and a second-place finish. Kevin had his Cup car there a few weeks ago for the Goodyear tire test and was able to learn some things about the new tire and the new surface. We'll take his notes from that and apply it to the setup for this weekend. If that doesn't work, we've got the setups from last year in our back pockets.

On the upcoming schedule-"I'm looking forward to months of May and June. We're going to rotate the drivers in and out quite a bit, but each track that they go to is a good fit for their driving styles. We're testing Dover with Kevin and Kentucky with Clint. Throw in those two tests, what we've already done, and their experience, and there's a lot to be very optimistic about in the upcoming races."

Kevin Harvick on Richmond - "It's what some call the "perfect short track." It's a flat, three-quarter mile race track that's a lot of fun to race, and plenty of banging around with the other drivers."

* Harvick will drive the No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet in both Busch Series events at RIR this season.
* Harvick has completed 1,496 of 1,500 possible laps in his six Busch Series starts at Richmond.
* Harvick tested the No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Monday.
* Bowyer tested Harvick's No. 29 KHI Chevrolet Busch Series entry at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Monday as well. Tony Stewart will drive that car with a Kid Rock paint scheme in the May 29 race at LMS.
* Harvick is yet to win a Busch Pole this season. He started from the pole in the fall race at RIR last year, but the field was started by points as qualifying was cancelled by rain.
* Bowyer and Hornaday tested their Chevrolets at Nazareth Speedway last week. The two then joined Martin Truex Jr. at the Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia to throw out the first pitch(s) before the Phillies took on the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday night.


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Drivers Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Johnny Sauter , Martin Truex Jr. , Brian Vickers , Clint Bowyer