On The Right Track

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Kevin Harvick won last season's Busch Series title and seems to be on the right path to follow that accomplishment with a NEXTEL Cup crown.

Harvick's wins in the Daytona 500 and the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge have him following in the footsetps of Jimmie Johnson's championship season of a year ago.

Johnson added another crown jewel win later in the year when he sped to a Brickyard 400 victory at Indianapolis, then capped off the memorable season with his first Cup title.

It's a blueprint Harvick is hoping to copy.

The all-star win helped Harvick rebound from an early season slump that had plagued him since his Daytona win to start the year.

"We've only had two races where we've been out to lunch," Harvick said. "After Daytona, we just didn't have the breaks go our way, but we were strong enough not to have disasters and to still be in seventh or eighth in the points. I think that shows the strength of our team, knowing we've had trouble but we still haven't had disaster when we've had a bad day."

So with the Charlotte sprint win already in his back pocket, Harvick sets his sights on winning Sunday's grueling Coca-Cola 600.

"You’re programmed to go 500 miles," he said. "So that last 100 miles is always a little bit different than what we normally do. We will probably lose a little more water weight than normal. However, all in all, it’s really not that big of a deal."

In fact, Harvick plans on adding to his holiday weekend mileage by running Saturday's Carquest 300 Busch Series race at Charlotte.

"It’s something that we’ve gotten pretty used to during the season," Harvick said. "A couple of years ago we had to run it on the same day. That was a workout. All in all, it’s good for me. It keeps me sharp."

Harvick hopes he can stay that way for the remainder of the season and earn his first career NEXTEL Cup title.







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