HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina -- If this were the seventh week of the season, Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service team would be heading to their sponsor’s home turf at (Brooklyn) Michigan International Speedway (MIS) second in the NASCAR Winston Cup Point Standings. In the last six starts, Harvick ranks behind only rookie Ryan Newman by a mere 20-point spread.
Overcoming an engine change and cut tire, Harvick, who going into Watkins Glen (N.Y.) ranked first in the last six NASCAR Winston Cup starts, reclaimed what could have been a vile day and transformed it into another top-15 finish. In fact, Harvick has not finished outside the top-15 following his last visit to MIS.
This time around, the GM Goodwrench Service team will be bringing car no. 88 with them. Deemed, “Old Faithful,” it has won not only the Chicagoland event, but scored top-10’s at Pocono (Pa.) and Indianapolis (Ind.). As a back-up, their once day glow-orange stand-by, “Pumpkin,” will ride along as their secondary car.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo, comments on MIS and the team’s rise in the point standings:
Back at MIS “Everything seems to be all about fuel mileage this year. That’s how California was won. That and some good strategy on track position and pitting is how we won Chicagoland (Joliet, Ill.). I don’t think Michigan will be any different if it goes a little more caution-free than it did in June.
“Our finish might not show it, but our car was really good there in June. Once we got the kinks worked out of it, we were running as fast as the leaders. It was only the second weekend with the new guys and we were still getting on the same page. We all expect a lot more this time around.”
A Lap Around MIS “The straightaway at Michigan is curved so you drive around the top of it. There’s a real late apex going into turn one, you drive off in there and roll out of the gas. You barely graze the brake, let it roll a little ways and roll back into it halfway through the corner and down the back straightaway. The same thing going into turn three. Just roll out, barely touch the brake and right back in it. The car tends to get really tight up off of four. You tend to run out of racetrack so you have to be conscience of it every lap.”
Raising the Standard “The No. 29 team has been on a tear, I’m not going to deny that. We’ve gelled – not that it’s taken a lot of time. Sonoma is where it showed in our results.
“It’s been our goal since that first weekend in Pocono (Pa.) just to see how far we can get up in the points. We have the goal of top-10 (NASCAR Winston Cup Owners Point Standings). A lot of people think we’re crazy, but look how far we’ve come. We’ve jumped ten places since the last time we were at Michigan. Some thought we couldn’t do that, but here we are moving right along.
“We’re excited to be going back to Michigan – Goodwrench’s home track – and have these accomplishments under our belt. The last time we were here we – as a team – were just starting together. We didn’t have the pole or the win or the top-10’s. This time we do.”
Gil Martin, crew chief of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo, comments on “Old Faithful”: “We’re bringing the same car we won in at Chicago and did so well in at Indy and Pocono. She’s our ‘Old Faithful.’ We plan on running her until the magic runs out. The car just always responds to what we throw at it. With the new kick-outs it may react differently, but I think we’re going to be all good. As a back-up we’re bringing Pumpkin. That’s an awesome car too. But car no. 88 (Old Faithful) is comfortable for all of us, Kevin included. And that’s half the battle – being comfortable with what you’re bringing.”