HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina -- Kevin Harvick, the 2002 International Race of Champions Series Champion, won't be sipping wine or eating cheese this weekend as he heads to the wine country of Watkins Glen, New York. Nope, for the second and final road course event on the NASCAR Winston Cup series schedule he'll be taking a breather and concentrating on getting his first Winston Cup road course win.
While most people are thinking Gordon, Stewart, and the other Gordon are hands down, the top picks for race winner, Harvick should be named as he not only has momentum, but cold-hard facts on his side. Though flying under the radar is not a bad strategy and one preferred by the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service team, Harvick's statistics at Watkins Glen should appear as a red, beeping mass on anyone's race-pick radar.
Harvick has culminated a total of three top-10's in three visits to the track while competing in the NASCAR Busch (2000, 2001) and Winston Cup Series (2001). True, Harvick has not scored a top-10 at the series' other road course, Sears Point (Calif.) Raceway (now Infineon Raceway), but he has garnered two top-15's in two starts there, finishing on the lead lap both time.
Harvick, driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo speaks about momentum, a low-key weekend, and The Glen:
Momentum "It's like I said a million times before, it's like snow. You pack it together and make a snowball. Then you get it big enough to roll. You push it on the ground, and if you don't run out of snow, it just gets bigger and bigger. The thing is though, you have to become stronger and stronger to keep pushing it.
"If you've got all the right stuff, momentum gets bigger and more useful. But, you have to make sure you have the right stuff. Basically you have to take it weekend-to-weekend and not get ahead of yourself and forget something or miss something. Momentum breeds momentum, but cracking it isn't hard.
"The best part has been watching us climb up in the points. When we had our first weekend after the swap (Pocono-1) I was in the thirties in the (NASCAR Winston Cup) points. We had a DNF there, so I think in Drivers' (Points) I was 35th and in Owners' (Points) 33rd. We've made up 10 positions on each side. And it's only been since June. It's been an awesome deal to see it, and see how excited the team gets. Everyone is pumped up."
Low Key Weekend "It's a nice weekend to head to The Glen after being at Indianapolis (Ind.). The Glen is low-key and we really get the opportunity to do what we're here to do, which is race. There's always so much going on with sponsors at Indy because it's Indy. The Glen gives us a chance to relax and really focus on the on-track stuff instead of the off-track stuff."
Watkins Glen International "I really like road courses. Growing up racing go-karts, you run a lot of them on road courses. While, usually it's not your goal where we race, I like turning my wheel to the right too. I'm comfortable with it. Some guys aren't, but I like it. I wouldn't say they're my strongest events, but I think we have as good of a chance as anyone at the win.
"Last time around at Sears Point we had a really good chance at a top-10, but someone's bad luck turned our day that way too. We came out okay in the end, but that's the deal with road courses: someone else's bad luck easily has a chance to become your bad luck. Not only does your car have to be awesome in handling and horsepower, but it's got to stay away from the trouble that may happen in front or in back of you."