NO. 5 LOOKING FOR NO. 1: Ryan Newman will be making his fifth Nationwide Seires start at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway this week when he climbs behind the wheel of the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) Chevrolet. Taking to the track “Too Tough to Tame,” Newman looks for his first win in the series and his first for KHI. In his four previous Darlington starts, Newman has two poles, one top-five and one top-10 finish. He has completed 99.8 percent of laps attempted (587 of 588 laps) and led 37 laps.
PRESENCE KNOWN: Starting the year on a strong note, the No. 33 KHI Chevrolet is proving each week to be a contender for the title of the Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship. The team enters this weekend’s race second in the standings with a stellar list of results. With four different drivers so far this season, the team has started no worse than 13th, a starting spot at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway that resulted in a win for the team and the first for two-time Nationwide Series champion Kevin Harvick in a KHI-owned car. In addition, the team has scored two poles, seven top-five finishes and an 11th-place and 29th-place finish (due to a wreck that forced the team behind the wall for repairs before returning to the track).
JOINING FORCES: KHI partners Rheem Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) joined together at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway to host 100 veterans from Walter Reed Medical Army Center for a hospitality event on Friday, May 1. The soldiers enjoyed an afternoon of appearances by Nationwide Series drivers, including Cale Gale, Eric McClure, Stephen Leicht and Jason Keller, as well as KHI co-owner DeLana Harvick, Richard Childress and Newman.
BEFORE THE RACE: QUOTES WITH DRIVER RYAN NEWMAN:
Coming off such a strong run at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in the No. 33 KHI Chevrolet where you narrowly missed the victory, what are your expectations this weekend heading to Darlington with the No. 33 team?
“We were so close in the KHI Chevrolet at Talladega. We did what we went there to do, which was to help get the No. 33 in the owner’s point lead in the Nationwide Series. But being that close to the win and walking away empty handed isn’t a fun feeling – it’s kind of tough to swallow. I’d like to have a chance at getting the win that eluded us in Talladega this weekend at Darlington. I had a lot of fun working with Ernie Cope and his group at Talladega, and I think we will have just as much fun this weekend. Kevin and DeLana have put together quite a Nationwide Series program, and I am looking forward to seeing what we can do this weekend.”
What makes Darlington such a unique track? Specific to you, what makes the track special considering all the history and excitement associated with it and what is your favorite memory?
“Racing wise, I‘ve always said Darlington is not the perfect race track. To me, it’s my favorite race track to drive – but racing wise – going three and four wide – you’re not going to see it at Darlington. It’s going to be a very important track-position race in the essence that if you’re out front – it’s going to be easier to stay out front because it’s difficult to pass there. It’s always been a give and take race track. It’s the give-and-take race track when it comes to passing.
“It has always been my favorite track because you are always adjusting. You adjust to the tires, the character of the track, the fact that you are running right next to the wall is challenging. It’s the most challenging track that we have and that is why I enjoy it the most. I don’t think it is as much fun since they repaved it, but it is still a great racetrack and I am looking forward to running both the Nationwide and the Sprint Cup races there this weekend.
“The other reason that Darlington is a favorite of mine is because of the rich history that the track has. There are so many great stories about the great races that occurred here and the drivers who were part of it. It’s just an amazing place if you are a history buff about the sport. For me personally, I would have to say that my favorite memory at Darlington was probably back in 2001. I’m not sure which Nationwide race it was there, but I think we won the pole there that weekend by like four-tenths of a second. It was a pretty special memory for me.”
CHASSIS HISTORY: This week the No. 33 team will unload chassis No. 038 from the KHI stables. Chassis No. 038 was last on track at Texas Motor Speedway with Newman’s Sprint Cup Series owner Tony Stewart. In its first appearance in the 2009 season, Stewart drove this chassis to a second-place finish after starting from the eighth position.
PREVIOUS RACE RECAP: Returning to action under the lights at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, team co-owner Kevin Harvick started the Lipton Tea 250 from the eighth position and after fighting a tight-handling car for most of the race, crossed the finish line with a fifth-place finish. The finish marked the seventh top-five finish of the year for the No. 33 team and kept them in hunt for the Nationwide Series Owner’s Points Standings, currently second, 18 points behind the No. 18 car of Joe Gibbs Racing.
May 8, 2009
Darlington (S.C.) Raceway
Diamond Hill Plywood 200
Race length: 147 laps/200.8 miles
Banking: 25-degrees in turns 1 and 2, 23-degrees in turns 3 and 4, 3-degrees on the frontstretch, 2-degrees on the backstretch
Track layout: 1.366-miles
Final Practice: 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., ET
Qualifying: 3:10 p.m., ET
TV: The Diamond Hill Plywood 200 can be seen live on ESPN2 at 7:00 p.m., ET.
Radio: The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will broadcast the race live at 7:00 p.m., ET.
No. 33 Chevrolet Impala Specs: