Kevin Harvick and the #29 GM Goodwrench racing team took a big hit in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup points standings this past weekend in Phoenix.

Their 34th place finish in the Checker Auto Parts 500, due to an unavoidable accident, has dropped them from third to sixth, but they're not worried.

They've got two races left to regroup before the season comes to a close. That's plenty of time to get themselves back in the top-five.

"It's very realistic," states Harvick. "We may have dropped in the points, but that's already happened to us once this season and everyone saw what we did. There was nothing we could do to change what happened last Sunday.

"You can't control what other people do on the racetrack. All you can do is control what goes on with this team. It was awesome to see how quickly this crew got the car back in racing condition after the wreck. That just shows how strong we are."

Strength is what has gotten Team GM Goodwrench to where they are now. After Sonoma, they went on a 16-race run no other team could match. One win, eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes propelled them from 11th to second in the point's standings. Two accidents out of their control have dropped them to sixth in the past two weeks, but that won't stop this team.

The next race on the Winston Cup Series schedule is this Sunday at Rockingham, North Carolina Speedway. Although Harvick didn't have his best outing [25th] at the 1.017-mile oval in the spring, he knows the silver and black racing machines are in much better shape than they were then. Look for that to be a big factor in how things play out this weekend...

Q:
Kevin [Harvick], what's your aim going back to Rockingham this weekend?

Kevin Harvick:
We were terrible in the spring, but our cars are extremely better than they were then. I think as well as we ran at Darlington, that's a good sign of things to come. We struggled at Darlington at the beginning of the year too with our set-up. Even though it's probably my worst racetrack, I'm looking forward to going back there. I think we'll be up to the challenge.

Q:
How's the racetrack?

KH:
Rockingham's a high downforce, big tyre-wear track. You really have to work on the handling of your car to make it work. The key is keeping the car balanced so it will start off halfway good at the beginning of a run and keep the tyres underneath the car at the end of the run.

Q:
How can you get a grip on the tyres?

KH:
You can't ever predict when you are going to get a bad one (set). The car's going to push or get loose. You adjust your car around the set of tyres that you have on in practice because you only get three sets. It's one of those deals where you have to hope that each set of tyres that you have are good. Sometimes, if they're off, you just throw another set on and everything will be fine. I don't know if you ever get a grip on the tyres, but it seems like we have lately.

Q:
What did the spring test help you with most?

KH:
Things went pretty good in that test. We should be a lot better than we have been in the past. The biggest thing it helped me with was driving around the racetrack because this is probably my worst racetrack. For some reason, I don't have a lot of feel for it, and the test really helped me get some driving techniques worked out that I needed to do a little bit differently.

Q:
Isn't it nice to be racing close to home?

KH:
Oh yeah. Rockingham's a lot like Charlotte because it's close to home and everybody's families and friends are there, so it's kind of like another home track. It's important to us, probably more so now, to come out with a good finish and get back in the top-five in points.

 

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