DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 18, 2008) – Kevin Harvick has made three straight trips to Gatorade Victory Lane in the Camping World 300 presented by Chevy NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway – twice as an owner and once as a driver.
In last year’s Camping World 300 presented by Chevy NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Kevin Harvick, driving for Richard Childress Racing, captured his first win as a driver at Daytona International Speedway. The following day, he became the first driver to sweep both the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series events at DIS since Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2004 when he edged Mark Martin by .020 seconds to win “The Great American Race.”
In 2005 and 2006, Harvick won as an owner when Tony Stewart captured the Camping World 300 presented by Chevy in the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet.
This year, Harvick isn’t driving for Richard Childress Racing in the Camping World 300 presented by Chevy, but instead wheeling the No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet for his own team.
“To unload and speed-wise, I think everybody is pretty happy with the way everybody unloaded,” Harvick said at lunch. “We pretty much started from scratch with all the cars and just kind of started over. Everybody did a great job putting it together. Now we’ve got to see how they drive and go from there. I’m looking forward to the challenge of running my own cars and creating a different challenge from all aspects of it.”
Harvick won’t compete in any Nationwide Series races this year for Richard Childress Racing, which fields the No. 29 Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet for him in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The Bakersfield, Calif., driver will instead race only his No. 33 Chevrolet in 22races as he continues to grow and strengthen his Kevin Harvick Inc. operation.
“We basically started over,” Harvick said. “We bought all new downforce cars from the chassis up. We did a lot more development work this year with the current cars. Last year when we unloaded, we were dead last with these particular cars when we came to Daytona and tested. There were a second and half off. I feel like the drag numbers are better, I feel like the horsepower is better, I feel like the cars are well prepared.
“I’ve been so fortunate to have run the 21 and 2 (at RCR) and be able to win a lot of races but it was time to do something different for myself and to kind of meet that challenge.”
Fastest of the day: Johnny Sauter in the No. 1 Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing was the fastest in the morning session on Friday with a speed of 179.076 mph. Rounding out the top five were Mike McLaughlin (178.958), Kevin Harvick (178.873), Brad Keselowski (178.809) and Tim McCreadie (178.781).
In the afternoon session, Kyle Busch in a Toyota was fastest at 182.556 mph followed by Dario Franchitti (182.293), Robert Richardson (182.282) and Johnny Sauter (182.017).
Wallace: Mike Wallace, who was 27th and 28th fastest in the Friday morning session, is always a driver to keep an eye on at Daytona International Speedway. He has victories at DIS in ARCA RE/MAX Series, the Nationwide Series and the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event.
For this weekend’s testing sessions, he is driving a Toyota for the first time with Germain Racing.
“Daytona is Daytona so the race track is basically the same as it’s always has been,” Wallace said. “We’re not setting the field on fire at the moment but we’re here to test and we’re learning a lot. We’ve got two cars. We’ve narrowed in on one car to do the reminder of (Friday) with non-drafting runs. We’ll go through our whole list. We’ve got 33 items that we need to go through that they want information and data. Overall, everything is going good.”
Busch keeps going and going: Kyle Busch has been a testing machine this January at Daytona International Speedway. He shook down his new Toyota ride for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series three-day testing session, the hopped behind the wheel of the No. 51 Ballew Motorsports Toyota in the Craftsman Truck Series three-day testing and this weekend is testing the No. 18 Toyota that he’ll race in the Camping World 300 presented by Chevy.
First on track: Harvick was the first to hit the high banks Friday morning as the first wave of NASCAR Nationwide Series testing at DIS got underway. Harvick, who won last year’s Camping World 300 presented by Chevy at DIS, was also the first to hit the track during his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series testing for the 50th running of the Daytona 500.
Quick hits: Besides Kyle Busch, other NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers participating in this weekend’s first wave of Nationwide Series testing include Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Dario Franchitti and Carl Edwards … Misting conditions delayed the start of Nationwide Series testing on Friday and the teams cut a half a hour off the noon lunch break … The late Dale Earnhardt owns the most Camping World 300 presented by Chevy victories with seven … Cale Gale, who will share the driving duties on the No. 77 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet with Ron Hornaday, won’t start testing at DIS until Sunday, but is serving as a spotter to his owner Kevin Harvick during the first wave of testing.
The auction started Monday, Jan. 7 and will run through Sunday, Jan. 20 at 5 p.m. Available to bid on are many autograph items from drivers and stars such as Nicolas Cage, Kelly Clarkson, Big and Rich, Jeff Gordon, Michael Waltrip, Buddy Baker, Pete Hamilton and Jimmie Johnson.
NASCAR Nationwide Series Preseason Thunder Fan Fest: NASCAR Nationwide Series teams will continue testing through Tuesday in preparation for the season-opening Camping World 300 presented by Chevy. The finalNASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19 with the NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers. Sprint FANZONE opens at 9 a.m. and the fan forums are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Tickets to the event are $10.
Tickets: Race tickets for all DIRECTV Speedweeks 2008 events at Daytona International Speedway are available online at www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Morning speeds from NASCAR Nationwide Series testing in preparation for the Camping World 300 presented by Chevy:
1. 1A, Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet 50.258, 179.076
2. 20A, Mike McLaughlin, Toyota, 50.291, 178.958
3. 33A, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 50.315, 178.873
4. 88B, Brad Keselowski, Chevrolet, 50.333, 178.809
5. 21A, Tim McCreadie, Chevrolet, 50.341, 178.781
6. 2A, Brandon Miller, Chevrolet, 50.377, 178.653
7. 41A, Bryan Clauson, Dodge, 50.414, 178.522
8. 5B, David Green, Chevrolet, 50.463, 178.348
9. 88A, Brad Keselowski, Chevrolet, 50.488, 178.260
10. 5A, David Green, Chevrolet, 50.600, 177.866
11. 21B, Tim McCreadie, Chevrolet, 50.614, 177.816
12. 27A, Brad Coleman, Ford, 50.617, 177.806
13. 60B, Carl Edwards, Ford, 50.698, 177.522
14. 18B, Kyle Busch, Toyota, 50.713, 177.469
15. 33B, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 50.741, 177.371
16. 40A, Dario Franchitti, Dodge, 50.763, 177.294
17. 20B, Mike McLaughlin, Toyota, 50.791, 177.197
18. 16A, Erik Darnell, Ford, 50.846, 177.005
19. 30A, Stanton Barrett, Chevrolet, 50.873, 176.911
20. 27B, Brad Coleman, Ford, 50.879, 176.890
21. 41B, Bryan Clauson, Dodge, 50.961, 176.606
22. 37A, Stanton Barrett, Ford, 51.056, 176.277
23. 37B, Stanton Barrett, Ford, 51.094, 176.146
24. 60A, Carl Edwards, Ford, 51.129, 176.025
25. 24A, Eric McClure, Chevrolet, 51.237, 175.654
26. 28A, Brian Keselowski, Chevrolet, 51.276, 175.521
27. 7B, Mike Wallace, Toyota, 51.352, 175.261
28. 7A, Mike Wallace Toyota, 51.383, 175.155
29. 56A, Danny O’Quinn, Chevrolet, 51.392, 175.125
30. 16B, Erik Darnell, Ford, 51.451, 174.924
31. 4A, Robert Richardson, Chevrolet, 51.985, 173.127
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Afternoon speeds from NASCAR Nationwide Series testing in preparation for the Camping World 300 presented by Chevy:
1. 18B, Kyle Busch, Toyota, 49.300, 182.556
2. 40A, Dario, Franchitti, Dodge, 49.371, 182.293
3. 4A, Robert Richardson, Chevrolet, 49.374, 182.282,
5. 1A, Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, 49.446, 182.017
6. 33B, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 49.539, 181.675
7. 20A, Mike McLaughlin, Toyota, 49.587, 181.499
8. 21A, Tim McCreadie, Chevrolet, 49.868, 180.476
9. 2B, Brandon Miller, Chv, 50.010, 179.964
10. 33A, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 50.085, 179.695
11. 88B, Brad Keselowski, Chevrolet, 50.086, 179.691
12. 88A, Brad Keselowski, Chevrolet, 50.304, 178.912
13. 5B, David Green, Chevrolet, 50.328, 178.827
14. 2A, Brandon Miller, Chevrolet, 50.346, 178.763
15. 7A, Mike Wallace, Toyota, 50.370, 178.678
16. 5A, David Green, Chevrolet, 50.373, 178.667
17. 18A, Kyle Busch, Toyota, 50.434, 178.451
18. 16A, Erik Darnell, Ford, 50.441, 178.426
19. 27B, Brad Coleman, Ford, 50.445, 178.412
20. 20B, Mike McLaughlin, Toyota, 50.475, 178.306
21. 21B, Tim McCreadie, Chevrolet, 50.505, 178.200
22. 60B, Carl Edwards, Ford, 50.525, 178.130
23. 1B, Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, 50.744, 177.361
25. 30A, Stanton Barrett, Chevrolet, 50.814, 177.117
26. 37A, Stanton Barrett, Ford, 50.957, 176.620
27. 37B, Stanton Barrett, Ford, 50.990, 176.505
28. 24A, Eric McClure, Chevrolet, 51.079, 176.198
29. 56A, Danny O’Quinn, Chevrolet, 51.161, 175.915
30. 60A, Carl Edwards, Ford, 51.219, 175.716
31. 16B, Erik Darnell, Ford, 51.344, 175.288