BUSCH: Rockingham: Kevin Harvick preview

Kevin Harvick / Reese's Racing Goody's Headache Powder 200 Pre-Race Notes EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Goody's Headache Powder 200; Time and Date: 1 p.m. EST, Saturday, Feb. 21; Site: North Carolina Speedway, Rockingham, N.C.

Kevin Harvick / Reese's Racing
Goody's Headache Powder 200 Pre-Race Notes

EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Goody's Headache Powder 200; Time and Date: 1 p.m. EST, Saturday, Feb. 21; Site: North Carolina Speedway, Rockingham, N.C. Live Coverage: FX (television) and MRN (radio) at 12:30 p.m. EST; Qualifying: 1:30 p.m. EST, Fri. Feb. 20, Live on Speed (television); Happy Hour: Friday, Feb. 13, 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.

"WELCOME REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS" - Hershey Foods Corp. welcomes its flagship brand, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, to the No. 21 team. After a successful campaign in 2003 with its PayDay brand, Hershey has handed over the reigns to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and is full of excitement for the 2004 Busch Series season. Be sure to check out this great paint scheme, as its on-track debut will be this weekend at the North Carolina Speedway

NEW TIRES, NEW SPOILER-Goodyear has reconstructed the Eagle Racing tires that the teams will use this season. The tire is considerably softer and still very unproven in competition. The teams have tested with the tires at Las Vegas and Rockingham, but this weekend will serve as a barometer of what is to come with tire wear in 2004. Rockingham has always been known as track that is tough on tires.

Another rule change implemented by NASCAR this year regards the rear spoiler height. The spoiler height has been cut from 6 inches to 5.75 inches.

"A CHAMPIONSHIP LOCATION"-Both of RCR's and Kevin Harvick's Busch Series crowns were clinched at Rockingham. Harvick clinched his 2001 Busch Series title there with a fifth-place finish, and he helped clinch the 2003 Owner's Championship with a 14th-place finish there last fall. The North Carolina Speedway is definitely a "championship location" for RCR.

"ROCK AND ROLLING INTO 2004"-With the momentum gained from the Hershey's Kisses 300, the RCR Busch Series teams are expecting a bright future in 2004. With both cars finishing solidly inside the top 10 at Daytona, (Harvick, fourth; Ron Hornaday, seventh), and a good test at Rockingham in January, the teams are looking for another great effort this weekend.

"THE ROCK" 2000 - The February 2000 event at Rockingham was a critical moment in Harvick's Busch Series career. Harvick failed to qualify the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet. Lacking a provisional starting position, the RCR-fielded entry was forced to go home. That weekend left Harvick pondering his career.

Harvick regrouped after that race and went on to win the 2000 Busch Series Rookie-of-the-Year title. One year later, he returned to Rockingham and finished second in the Busch Series event. The next day, Harvick made his Winston Cup debut, eventually capturing Rookie-of-the-Year honors in that series.

THE CAR-This week, crew chief Ricky Viers will load chassis No. 022 onto the Reese's transporter. Hornaday drove the car to a 17th-place finish at Texas, then finished 10th at California in the same car. The team also used the car in its Rockingham test in January.

QUICK QUOTES AND NOTES:

Crew chief Ricky Viers on the Rockingham test-"The test went really well for us. Kevin [Harvick] considers Rockingham to be one of his worst tracks. He was happy with the car there, and I'm really looking forward to getting there. The car we're taking is a good car that we know is fast, it should be a good weekend for us."

On the new tire compound-"We tested the new tire at Rockingham, and the times fall off dramatically. We basically worked on long runs to see how the car was going to respond to the new tire compound. I think we've got a grasp on it, but we'll continue learning throughout the weekend."

* Harvick's fourth-place finish last Saturday was his 19th top-10 finish in his last 20 Busch Series starts.

* The No. 21 team tested at North Carolina Speedway in January.

* This weekend marks the second 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.

* Hershey Foods became champions in its first season as a primary sponsor with its PayDay brand.

-rcr-

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