Harvick Happy With Testing

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Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo hit the track for the first time in 2005 during a four-day "test in the west."

Harvick, who skipped NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series restrictor plate testing at Daytona International Speedway earlier in the year, returned to the seat of his Richard Childress Racing Chevy, along with crew chief Todd Berrier and the rest of team GM Goodwrench.

When reports surfaced that the Goodwrench Chevy struggled in Daytona practice, many in the garage area, including several drivers, pointed fingers at Harvick for not helping the team. But that was not the case according to Harvick.

"We were never planning on testing at Daytona," said Harvick. "I was hunting in Arkansas with GM Goodwrench and Real Tree as part of a promotion from last year's Bristol race. When the No. 29 went to the test, our cars were sitting in the shop, painted, and ready for the Daytona 500. A lot of people probably don't understand. I didn't go. Todd (Berrier) didn't go. It was more of an R&D car for the motor shop. People can point fingers if they like, but I know for a
fact that both No. 29 cars were sitting in the shop, painted and never even went to the test."

There was no confusion regarding the GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo's at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Monday, January 31. Both Harvick and Berrier were there along with the entire Goodwrench road crew. The goal of the test according to Berrier was to work on a new speedway package to help the team on the tracks where they had struggled last year.

"We couldn't seem to find the right combination last year at tracks like (Las Vegas) and California," said Berrier. "Those were the tracks that hurt us. The 1.5-mile to 2-mile tracks cost us being in the (Chase for the NEXTEL Cup) and we made a point in the off-season to work on those tracks."

The results of the work back in the shop showed at both tracks during the week. While no official times were submitted by NASCAR, un-official results showed Harvick as being one of the 10 fastest cars of the 43 that arrived for the test. It was a big improvement over previous trips to the desert. However, Harvick was quick to say that it was just a test.

"The one thing about a test is you never know what everyone is working on," said Harvick. "We weren't trying to set the fastest time of the day. We were more interested in working on the balance of the car with the new rules for 2005. But it is good to know that we were better than we had even hoped to be."

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