This Week’s South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet at Phoenix International Raceway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 99 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series stable, a former racer from the Kevin Harvick Inc. organization that was completely refurbished in the RCR Nationwide Series shop during the off season.
Phoenix Tidbits ... Harvick has competed in 18 Nationwide Series events at the Avondale, Ariz., facility and boasts one win (April 2006) 14 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. He has completed 98.3 percent (3,541 of 3,604) of the contested laps at PIR, led 216 of those laps and holds an impressive average finish position of 7.1.
Loopy in Phoenix ... Since the inception of NASCAR’s loop data statistics in 2006, Harvick has competed in 14 Nationwide Series races at PIR and has posted some pretty impressive figures during this time: second in fastest driver early in a run, second in laps run in the top 15 (2,500 of 2,818), third in fastest laps run (166), fourth in fastest driver on restarts, fourth in green-flag speed, fourth in average running position (5.258), fifth in fastest driver late in a run, sixth in most laps led (156), sixth best Driver Rating (116.6) and eighth in green-flag passes with 245.
Double Down ... In addition to competing in this weekend’s Basha’s Supermarkets 200, Harvick will participate in Sunday’s Fresh Fit 500 race, driving RCR’s No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet. The second race on the 2012 Sprint Cup Series schedule will air live on FOX, beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and will also be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
2012 Schedule ...In addition to competing for the 2012 Sprint Cup Series championship, Harvick is slated to compete in 14 Nationwide Series races this season, driving RCR’s No. 33 Chevrolet with crew chief Ernie Cope. Tracks on Harvick’s schedule include Bristol Motor Speedway in both March and August, Texas Motor Speedway in both April and November, Richmond International Raceway in both April and September, Talladega Superspeedway in May, Charlotte Motor Speedway in both May and October, Kentucky Speedway in June, Daytona International Speedway in July, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July, Atlanta Motor Speedway in September and Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. The Cope-led team is competing fulltime in NASCAR’s junior division, vying for the 2012 Nationwide Series owner’s title.
Meet the Press ... Harvick will field questions from the gathered media inside the infield media center on Friday, March 2 from 10:15 - 10:30 a.m. local time.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTES:
Now that you had a chance to compete on the old surface, how is it different from the old configuration?
“The entrance into Turn 1 reminded me of the old configuration. The center and the exit were a lot different just because of the banking. The back straightaway was the biggest difference just for the fact that it had a lot of banking and a pretty sharp turn going into Turn 3. As the weekend went on, I think everybody got braver with using the apron but Turns 3 and 4 reminded me of the old race track the most.”
What will you expect in the Nationwide race based on your experience in last season’s Sprint Cup Series race?
“The first couple of laps were a little hairy getting through the dogleg because there was stuff on the tires and everybody was loose going through there. So, if everyone gives a little extra room, getting through there won’t be that bad. It does beat the cars up pretty bad and knocks the splitter up and bends the side skirts. As a driver, you don’t really see that stuff until after the race so we’ll need to take care of the car and race smart so we can be up front at the end.”