Harvick Brings Lead To Daytona

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Kevin Harvick sits on top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings as the circuit makes its traditional Fourth of July weekend visit to Daytona International Speedway for Saturday night's Coke Zero 400.

Despite having a stellar track record of late at the 2.5-mile superspeedway including one win (the 2007 Daytona 500), one pole, four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 18 career starts, Harvick knows this weekend's race will be much different given the Sprint Cup car will have a bigger restrictor plate and use the rear spoiler for the first time at the Daytona.

"With the bigger plate and with the spoiler on the car, the cars are going to pull up faster than they did before, that's for sure," Harvick said. "I think, you know, with the Nationwide cars being down there and testing those several weeks ago, I think that will give us a big indication of what we are going to have with the Cup car, and they pulled up really fast.

"You have to let off the throttle. And it's going to be a lot different to be honest because of the pull-up racing. We saw it was a lot faster at the Daytona 500, and now we have a bigger plate yet. It will be exciting and you will see a lot of cars passing and moving and going and doing what they did at the Daytona 500, just a little faster."

The winner of the last two Bud Shootouts at Daytona, Havrick is comfortable that the repairs made to last February's controversial pot hole that developed during the Daytona 500 will allow for competitive racing Saturday night.

"You know, I feel pretty confident with everything that everybody said from the racetrack that the repairs are good and have tested the Nationwide car there, you know, with the new patch in the corner," he said. "Couldn't even tell it was there. So did a good job with that."

But Daytona will have a new surface when it's repaved in time for next February's Speedweeks, something Harvick isn't exactly happy about.

"Well, honestly, I wasn't real pleased at all to hear that the racetrack was going to have to be repaved, but you know, the time has just taken its toll on the racetrack and some things you just have to do," Harvick said. "I don't think anybody would repave the racetrack if it just didn't absolutely have to be done.

"You just have to -- you know, we'll go back and it will be a lot like Talladega, a whole lot narrower racetrack and you'll have the big chess match that you have to play at Talladega and it will come into effect at Daytona too. The handling will go out the window and it will be all-out speed."

With nine races left before the Chase begins in September, Harvick is comfortably in the playoff field on top of the point standings. Despite the fact he has only one win so far and would start the Chase behind the likes of Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin in the seedings, which are based on victories, Harvick isn't upset with his situation or championship aspirations.

"Not really. When you follow the year that we have had compared to what we had last year, you learn not to get greedy. I've been around this deal long enough to know that we keep running like we are, we'll win our share of races," he said.

"So last I checked, the points system in the last ten races is the same points system that we are under now, and so far, everything has gone pretty good. So unless somebody has changed the points system, winning races is good, but you have to be consistent, as well."

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