AUSTIN DILLON SET TO MAKE KHI DEBUT: Driver Austin Dillon will make his Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) debut this weekend in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. Dillon, a full-time driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Richard Childress Racing (RCR), will pilot the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet Impala in what will also be his first Nationwide Series start of the 2011 season. The young driver is scheduled to compete four times this year with the KHI team.
NEW TO NATIONWIDE AT NASHVILLE: While Dillon has no previous series starts at the 1.333–mile concrete Tennessee track, he has two Truck Series events under his belt. The driver competed in both Truck Series races last season with a best finish of second.
Dillon made his Nationwide Series debut in 2008 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in September. He has seven career starts with one top-five and one top-ten finish.
KHI GOING FOR ANOTHER GIBSON: With KHI co-owner Kevin Harvick behind the wheel the No. 33 team captured the win at Nashville Superspeedway last spring, the second of three victories for the team during the 2010 season. After starting from the outside pole, Harvick led 52 of the 225 laps en route to collecting the infamous Gibson guitar trophy. The win was the two-time series champion’s second in four starts, but first win in his own equipment at the facility.
CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 33 Rheem team, led by crew chief David Hyder, will unload chassis No. 069 this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway. Kevin Harvick was in the driver’s seat the last time this chassis saw competition at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in February. Harvick started the race from the fourth position but was relegated to a 28th-place finish after sustaining damage in a late-race incident.
PREVIOUS RACE RECAP: Clint Bowyer piloted the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet Impala last weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Bowyer, in the same chassis the team finished second with in the season-opening event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, qualified on the outside pole for the start of the event, but fell victim to the notorious “big one” at the 2.66-mile track. The Rheem team ultimately brought home a 22nd-place finish.
THOUGHTS FROM THE DRIVER: AUSTIN DILLON
What are your thoughts heading into the NASCAR Nationwide Series race since you haven’t run in that particular series at Nashville?
“It’s going to be a learning experience for sure. I went to Gresham Motorsports Park with the No. 33 team and tested in order to prepare for this race, but it will no doubt be different when I’m in the car under race conditions. The good thing is that I can lean on Kevin Harvick and Elliott Sadler. Both have always been very willing to help me, and I plan to use their input a lot throughout the weekend.”
What does it mean to race for KHI in the NASCAR Nationwide Series?
“[Kevin] Harvick has always been one of my heroes, so it means a lot to me to be able to race for him. He’s always been able to get it done in a race car. I admired him growing up, and I think I can learn a lot from him. Kevin Harvick Inc. has really good equipment, so I’m just excited to go to Nashville and be able to drive the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet.”
Are you a country music fan?
“Oh yeah, I love country music. It would be awesome to get the Gibson guitar. I like old country, new country, a little bit of everything. I listen to classic country with my grandfather.”