Texas: Texas Motor Speedway news 2008-03-31

FORT WORTH, Texas (March 31, 2008) -- Winning races in the Nationwide Series at Texas Motor Speedway is nothing new to Kevin Harvick, but a victory in Saturday's O'Reilly 300 would mark a first for both the speedway as well as Kevin Harvick, ...

FORT WORTH, Texas (March 31, 2008) -- Winning races in the Nationwide Series at Texas Motor Speedway is nothing new to Kevin Harvick, but a victory in Saturday's O'Reilly 300 would mark a first for both the speedway as well as Kevin Harvick, Inc.

Harvick, a two-time Nationwide Series champion, is looking to become the first driver to amass five career victories at Texas Motor Speedway in any one series or combined wins in different series. He currently is tied with Brendan Gaughan (four wins in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) and Mark Martin (three Nationwide wins and one Sprint Cup victory).

All of Harvick's wins have come in the Nationwide Series, having captured the O'Reilly 300 in 2001 and the O'Reilly Challenge in all three years of its existence (2005-07). All four have come driving for Richard Childress Racing so Harvick could also make a little history of his own for KHI. Harvick, who will drive KHI's No. 33 Road Loans Chevrolet, is still seeking his first victory behind the wheel of a KHI Nationwide Series entry.The No. 33 Nationwide Series entry for KHI does have three career wins, with victories by Tony Stewart in 2005 and '06, and Bobby Labonte last season.

"Any time you win a race it is always exciting, but going for a fifth win at the same track means a lot," said Harvick, who also is the career Nationwide Series leader for laps led (404) at Texas Motor Speedway."To get my first win for KHI and my fifth Nationwide Series win at TMS on the same weekend would be tremendous."

Harvick enters the O'Reilly 300 seventh in points, but is still chasing his first win of the season. He said, considering his success at Texas Motor Speedway, his first victory as a driver/owner could come this weekend.

"It is one of those places that really fits with what we do at KHI,"Harvick said."I am looking forward to returning and bringing another win home and my first win at KHI. I think it would be a great accomplishment for not only me, but the entire organization."

Harvick understands that in order to maintain success at "The Great American Speedway!" that it will require a strong effort by him and the team. He said his fifth win will only come if the team has successful pit stops and can provide him with a good handling car.

"They say everything is bigger in Texas and that's pretty much true with everything that Texas Motor Speedway has to offer," he said.

Close Calls

Close finishes have become the norm for the O'Reilly 300. The last three finishes in the O'Reilly 300 currently rank among the five closest Nationwide Series finishes in Texas Motor Speedway history.

Last year's race claimed the top spot as the closest when Matt Kenseth edged out a hard-charging Denny Hamlin by 0.128 of a second to win his second Nationwide Series race at "The Great American Speedway!"Kenseth led just nine laps en route to his victory.

In 2006 Kurt Busch picked up his first Nationwide Series win by holding off Greg Biffle by 0.265 of a second for the fourth-closest finish. Biffle also was denied a victory in 2005 when Kasey Kahne grabbed the win by 0.304 of a second for the fifth-closest in history.

No Texting Zone

With too much to do and too little time, motorists are increasingly taking this "get it all done" attitude to the roads and committing DWD -- Driving While Distracted. Nationwide Insurance has teamed up with NASCAR drivers Kenny Wallace and Brad Coleman to raise awareness among teens in North Texas about the dangers of driving while distracted and what they can do to stay safe on the road.

Wallace and Coleman will speak to local teens and the community about the dangers of driving while distracted Wednesday at Southlake Carroll Senior High in Southlake.This event, which begins at 4 p.m. CT on the west side parking lot, is open to the public and includes a NASCAR simulator and a contest to see how well the NASCAR drivers perform while texting behind the wheel.There will also be a grand prize drawing with the winner receiving a VIP race experience at Texas Motor Speedway. In the case of inclement weather, the event will be moved into the fieldhouse.

Back In The (Texas) Saddle

The O'Reilly 300 will be more than another Nationwide Series race for Texan Brad Coleman.The Houston native returns to his home track and to an area where the 20- year-old started his promising racing career.

For Coleman, who grew up racing go-karts in nearby Denton, racing at his home speedway offers a sense of comfort that no other track provides.The support of family and friends in the grandstands during the race is something he is only able to experience when he returns to "The Great American Speedway!"

"It's a lot of fun racing in the great state of Texas," Coleman said. "Our family has a lot of deep Texas roots and there are a lot of people here pulling for me."

Coleman, who ran a partial Nationwide Series schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing last year, now has the opportunity to gain valuable track time with a full-season schedule with Baker Curb Racing. He said running selected races last year was more pressure packed than running full-time because the focus was placed on just a few races.

"It's just no fun skipping races," Coleman said."It's really nice when you can go out there every week and know that you're going to do something.You just don't get bored."

The opportunity to race full-time in the Nationwide Series with Sprint Cup regulars pulling double duty has helped him mature. He said the learning experience he continues to undergo this year will help him develop as a driver.

"You've got to be tough to race against these guys," he said."You've got to rub them back. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there."

Coleman looks to improve on his 16th-place finish at last year's O'Reilly 300 and chase the ultimate goal of becoming just the second Texan to win at "The Great American Speedway!" He has gone so far as to promise Texas Governor Rick Perry a win at Texas Motor Speedway and now looks to deliver.

The second-year driver said there would be nothing better than visiting Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway.

"A win at Texas would mean the world," said Coleman, who is looking to join fellow Texan Terry Labonte with a NASCAR win at TMS."Any win in NASCAR would be a great step in my career at this point, but a win in Texas would be an accomplishment of one of my very personal goals."

-credit: tms

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Drivers Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Kenny Wallace , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Kasey Kahne , Brendan Gaughan , Brad Coleman , Denny Hamlin , Mark Martin
Teams Richard Childress Racing