There's really only one way to level the playing field when it comes to NASCAR Winston Cup racing. When so many teams have opportunities to test different venues, it always seems like someone can get a leg up on the competition heading into a race weekend. But that's not the case for NASCAR's final events at the recently renovated Homestead Miami Speedway.

Since the racetrack was reconfigured to add banking in the corners earlier this year, the sanctioning body decided to give all the teams one day before the races this weekend to test their cars and feel out the track's new surface. Not only has the 1.5-mile oval been totally resurfaced, but the banking in the corners has gone from a measly 6-degrees to an enormous 20-degrees.

One way Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team plan to get ahead of the game is by having Harvick run the NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday. That guarantees him an extra test day this week and extra practice time throughout the weekend. A valuable commodity when it comes to getting a grip on the racetrack.

The 2001 Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year's first two attempts at Homestead in a Winston Cup car were promising. He led 47 laps and finished seventh his first time out in 2001. Last year, he would have bettered that effort if the motor wouldn't have lost a cylinder with less than 70 laps to go. With a chance to break into the top-five in points still within reach, look for Harvick and Team GM Goodwrench to do everything they can to make that happen...

Q:
Kevin [Harvick], what do you remember about the racetrack?

Kevin Harvick:
Homestead hasn't been one of my favourite tracks. I've always run well there, and last year we blew up a motor when we were running in the top-10. I didn't really like the racetrack layout, but always did well there. It was flat and hard to make the car work through the corners. Now, from what I've heard, there's 20-degrees of banking in the corners which will make it totally different.

Q:
What have you heard about its reconfigured layout?

KH:
Just that it is going to be super-fast with the progressive banking in the corners. I think it's really going to be a crapshoot for everybody. We're running both the Busch and Winston Cup Series cars down there so that will help to learn the racetrack. We get to have a day to go down there and practice before we go race so we have somewhat of an idea. Other than that, it's going to be a roll-the-dice type of race.

Q:
Do you think it was a good idea?

KH:
I don't know if it needed to be changed. I like the flatter type racetracks, but they're kind of hard to pass on. We'll just have to see how the progressive banking and all that stuff work's itself out during the race. It's probably going to be a lot like Loudon (N.H.) with the layout, just with more banking in the corners and longer straight-aways to pick up speed.

Q:
How important is it to run the NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday?

KH:
Probably more important this weekend than it has been all year. First of all, since we are running the Busch race, we get to come in early and test the car ahead of everybody else. That will give me a leg up on most of the Winston Cup guys because I'll get to spend about twice as much time on the racetrack. I'll get to make a bunch of laps around it and really feel it out. Plus, I'll get to see what it's like in race condition on Saturday to get me ready for Sunday.

Q:
What do you think about this teams chances next year?

KH:
The No. 29 GM Goodwrench racing team is going to be one to reckon with. We showed throughout the middle part of the season what we could do. It's only a matter of consistency, and I think we are getting closer and closer every year. I'm proud of what we were able to accomplish this season. We've come a long way and I think that will give us an edge next year.

 

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