One thing you can bet on with GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick, when he's in the racecar he's having fun. No matter what type of event or when it takes place, if he's strapped in and pulling on the wheel, there's no other place he'd rather be. It comes as no surprise then, that Harvick will compete in three of the four events this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

"Racing's my life," says Harvick, currently third in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series standings. "I'm more comfortable inside the car than I am anywhere else. For some reason, the busier I am at the track, the better I tend to race. I think it's because I don't have to deal with all the distractions outside the car that can get me in trouble at times."

Harvick's fun-filled weekend will start with the Silverado 150 NASCAR Truck Series race on Friday in which he'll run his #6 Kevin Harvick, Inc., Chevrolet Silverado adorned with a Looney Toones paint scheme. Next, he'll compete in the NASCAR Busch Series Bashas' 200 with the #21 PayDay Chevrolet and continue his run for the 2003 Owners championship. He will then cap the weekend with the Checker Auto Parts 500 Winston Cup Series event on Sunday.

His Winston Cup record at the one-mile oval has been consistent. In two tries, he's finished in the same position twice, 17th. A two-day Busch Series test two weeks ago and warm-up races Friday and Saturday should have the 2001 Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year primed for a good run come Sunday, and here he talks some more about Phoenix...

Q:
Kevin [Harvick], what's the racetrack like at Phoenix?

Kevin Harvick:
I have a lot of laps around Phoenix. It's a unique racetrack with turns one and two really tight, three and four really sweeping. You have to get your car to work in one end as well as the other so you can go through both ends reasonably well. It's kind of a compromise in the handling package, but a lot of fun for me to race on because I've raced there so much.

Q:
Why test the Busch car?

KH:
Well, we ran out of tests for the Winston Cup car back in May, and with all the racing that I'll be doing that weekend, we thought it would be a smart place to go. We got some of the new racetrack characteristics figured out with some of the little things we tried. Phoenix is a one-of-akind track. All our other tracks are pretty similar, you know, mile and half ovals. Phoenix is an old track. The asphalt is worn so you can race on top, in the middle, or on the bottom.

Q:
How's the layout changed?

KH:
They moved back the wall off the exit of Turn 2 and pretty much enclosed the racetrack. That created a lot more room and should allow for more side by side racing. They've also put in a tunnel off of turn four so there's some new asphalt down and it's added more grip coming to the line. I can tell you right now it's going to be faster, for sure, probably by a couple of tenths.

Q:
How important is qualifying these days?

KH:
We all try to qualify as good as we can. It's an important part of our weekend. Usually when you qualify good, you're going to have a good weekend. I know that's usually the case for us because notoriously we haven't been very good qualifiers. So we spend all day Friday worrying about qualifying and trying to make sure we get all we can out of it. If you can qualify on the pole or in the front, you have a better chance of getting five points for leading a lap or leading the most laps.

Q:
Why run your truck?

KH:
Well, it's a lot of fun for me to run the truck because I don't really have to worry about anything but racing. There's no points, no pressure, no nothing. To run at Phoenix, itself is cool for me because I've raced so much there. It takes me back to my Winston West days.

 

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