CONCRETE BOUND: This week the Nationwide Series returns to Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway for race number six of the season. Following a win at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and a strong second-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway, the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) team will see a new face behind the wheel this week at Nashville. Twenty-four-year-old Mauston, Wisc. native Kelly Bires will make his first Nationwide Series start for KHI, looking to continue the success of the No. 33 team this season.
In three previous starts at the concrete track of Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, Bires has one top-five and two top-10 finishes. He has led one lap and completed 674 of 675 laps (99.9%).
DASH 4 CASH: This is the first of four race events in the 2009 season where Nationwide Insurance has an additional $25,000 on the line for the race winner. Eligible drivers are all Nationwide Series regulars and up-and-comers plus Sprint Cup drivers who are running the full Nationwide Series season. At the end of the race, Nationwide will reward an additional $25,000 to the winner and at the end of the four-race dash, Nationwide will pay out $50,000 to the Nationwide Series driver who has accumulated the most points. The four stand-alone events with the Dash 4 Cash program are Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway (April 11), Kentucky Speedway (June 13), Iowa Speedway (August 1) and Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park (October 24). The bonus for the Nationwide Series drivers should add to the action and make for exciting finishes as the series regulars dash to the finish.
BEFORE THE RACE: QUOTES WITH DRIVER KELLY BIRES: This weekend’s race marks your first start in a KHI-owned Chevrolet. This season, the No. 33 team has proven to be one of the top cars to contend for wins. How much pressure is on you? “It’s not so much pressure. I’ve been given a great opportunity to work with a proven organization. I know the team is capable and I expect to go out and run up front all-day and walk away with a top-five finish. I finished in the top 10 at both events last year at Nashville and hope to continue that this year.
“I’ve had success and run well on the concrete tracks like Nashville and Dover. Nashville is in between a mile and a mile-and-a-half track, having characteristics of both types of tracks. We’re going to aim to have a good balance on the race car, qualify well and have a good car in race trim. If we do that, we’ll have a good race in the No. 33 KHI Chevrolet.
“I have to thank Kevin and DeLana (Harvick) for this great opportunity and to Ernie Cope, who I’ve known for several years, for putting me in equipment that is proven. I look forward to working with the No. 33 team and hopefully getting another top-five finish.”
NEW LOOK: In addition to the new face behind the wheel, there’s a new look to the No. 33 this weekend in Nashville. Charter Communications will expand their relationship with KHI, serving as the primary sponsor on the No. 33 KHI Chevrolet. Charter Communications can be seen as an associate sponsor on the car weekly and earlier this season was the primary sponsor on the No. 2 KHI Silverado in the Truck Series piloted by KHI co-owner Kevin Harvick at Atlanta Motor Speedway where the team scored a second-place finish.
CHASSIS HISTORY: When the No. 33 team arrives at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway this week, they will unload chassis No. 036 for the first time in the 2009 season. This chassis was on track for two events in 2008, both times will Cale Gale behind the wheel. At Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Gale started from the 16th position, ran most of the night in the top 20, but was relegated to a 30th-place finish following a puncture to the oil tank with 17 scheduled laps remaining in the event. Gale returned to the chassis at Kentucky Speedway where he started the race 12th and finished 18th.
PREVIOUS RACE RECAP: The NASCAR Nationwide Series was last on track in the Lone Star state at Texas Motor Speedway. Tony Stewart, a two-time winner in the Nationwide Series for KHI, returned to the driver’s seat following a year hiatus. Piloting the No. 33 KHI Chevrolet, Stewart started the O’Reilly 300 from the eighth position and quickly moved into the top-five. An early decision on pit road under caution to take fuel only while other teams took on four fresh tires gave Stewart the lead on the restart, but after the fresh tires proved to be more dominate, Stewart was shuffled back to 11th. Continuing to make adjustments throughout the race and slowly moving back to the front, the early decision by Stewart and the crew proved to be a good call when the caution flag waved on lap 188. Making the decision to pit when the five lead cars stayed out, Stewart was able to take on four fresh tires and restarted on lap 193 in the seventh position. Picking off one car at a time, Stewart was able to cross the finish-line in the second position.
April 11, 2009 Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway Pepsi 300
Race length: 225 laps/300 miles
Banking: 14-degrees in the turns, 9-degrees on the frontstretch, 6-degrees on the backstretch
Track layout: 1.333 miles
Shape: D-shaped Oval
Practice: 3:30-5:00 p.m., ET
Final Practice: 5:30-6:30 p.m., ET
Qualifying: 10:05 a.m., ET
TV: The Pepsi 300 can be seen live on ESPN at 3:00 p.m., ET.
Radio: The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will broadcast the race live at 3:30 p.m., ET.
No. 33 Chevrolet Impala Specs:
Nationwide Stats at Nashville
Year No. Team Start Finish
2008 47 JTG 20 8
2008 47 JTG 5 5
2007 47 JTG 20 15
*JTG: JTG Daugherty Racing
About Charter Communications, Inc.:
Charter Communications, Inc. is a leading broadband communications company and the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States. Charter provides a full range of advanced broadband services, including Charter Digital Cable® video entertainment programming, Charter High-Speed® Internet access, and Charter Telephone®. Charter Business™ similarly provides scalable, tailored, and cost-effective broadband communications solutions to business organizations, such as business-to-business Internet access, data networking, video and music entertainment services, and business telephone. Charter’s advertising sales and production services are sold under the Charter Media® brand. More information about Charter can be found at www.charter.com.
About Kevin Harvick Inc.
Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI), established in 2001, is a 70,000 sq. ft. facility located in Kernersville, N.C. KHI houses two full-time Truck Series teams, including the 2007 series champions, the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado driven by three-time Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday and the No. 4 KHI All-Stars Chevrolet Silverado driven by Ricky Carmichael and a variety of NASCAR Sprint Cup stars. KHI is also home to the No. 33 Chevrolet Impala competing full-time in the Nationwide Series, with drivers Kevin Harvick (a two-time Nationwide Series champion), Hornaday and Cale Gale. The 2009 season marks KHI’s sixth year of full-time competition in NASCAR’s elite divisions.