12 March 2004
One of the biggest moments of Kevin Harvick's care
One of the biggest moments of Kevin Harvick's career was revisited this week in Indianapolis on Tuesday when the 2001 Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year was presented with his Brickyard 400 ring by Tony George, president and CEO of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in a ceremony at the Indiana State Museum IMAX Theatre.
"Getting this ring is ultra-special to me because I grew up an open-wheel fan with the whole Mears family, racing against Clint and Casey and watching Rick win four Indianapolis 500's," says Harvick. "Obviously to anyone who wins the Brickyard 400 this means a lot, so they didn't have to ask me twice to go and get it so I could relive those memories again. It's a great day for me to get this, and it will be something I'll cherish forever."
Another great memory for Harvick occurred on March 11, 2001, at Atlanta Motor Speedway where the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series returns this weekend.
In just his third start for Richard Childress Racing, the 28-year old took the chequered flag in memorable fashion for his first Cup class win. He'd like to relive that moment again on Sunday after the Golden Corral 500 and knows the way his cars are running, he's perfectly capable of doing just that…
Q: Did you find out any more details about what happened in Las Vegas?
Kevin Harvick: "I talked with Richard (Childress) early in the week and I didn't know this but I guess we spilled a bunch of gas out of the fuel knick under the yellows and lost probably a gallon of gas. Our gas mileage was definitely down a little bit, but they are on it and we'll make sure that doesn't happen again. Unfortunately, you have those things happen and it's how you recover. We recovered well from our test out there and came back and built a new car and ran good. Now, we just have to recover from one little mishap. The way the team is performing is the main thing. We can overcome things like that if we keep performing like we are."
Q: What do you like about Atlanta?
Kevin Harvick: "Atlanta is fast, very fast. It's always going to be a special place to me because it's where I won my first Winston Cup race. You can't go back and do that again anywhere else. The track is very abrasive, and you can race all over the place, from the white line to the wall, and still be competitive. I always seem to run good there, even though our finishes haven't showed that in the past few years. You have to have the complete package to contend for the win there, and horsepower is always important. It's a lot of fun to race on and very fast."
Q: Does winning there bring some added confidence?
Kevin Harvick: "It's always good to know you're going to a place where you've won a race. It brings back good memories, and you feel like you have a little bit more of an advantage than everyone else when you return a winner. Right now, I'm feeling great behind the wheel and can carry a lot more than I have been in the past. This team's got a lot of confidence, despite what happened last weekend, and that's probably the most important thing to all of us."
Q: How do you feel your cars are reacting to all the new changes to the body and tyres?
Kevin Harvick: "To be honest we struggled with it a little bit in our Las Vegas test so we went home to make adjustments and built a new racecar. Downforce-wise I felt we made a lot of gains and came back and knew what we wanted to do with the chassis and it wound up being the right direction. We were probably the best we've ever been at Rockingham, so I'd say so far, so good. The thing is now that when you come into the pits you have to change four tires, no matter if you've run five laps or 50. I think that's a good thing because you won't see people just taking gas to get up to the front. If you're up front, you've earned it."
Q: No Busch car to race this weekend. Will that be good or bad?
Kevin Harvick: "I'd be lying if I told you running the Busch car at some of these racetracks didn't help. That's why I decided to do it in the first place. It's because I need some extra seat time to get a little more comfortable. It also helps to keep me fresh, ready to go. The tough thing is that now I've got a truck team to worry about while I'm not in that car, so I'll be constantly wondering what's going on over there."
Q: What's the best way to rebound from last weekend's race?
Crew chief Todd Berrier: "The tough thing about last Sunday is that we never really figured out why we couldn't make it and everyone else did. We knew we'd be five laps short, but didn't think we'd be the only ones to have to come in. It's frustrating. This team is too good to let it bother us for long. We've got a long season ahead and what happened in Las Vegas is in the past. All we can do now is look towards Atlanta."
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