Harvick Going for Two in a Row
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on April 21, 2017 | 9:00 A.M. EST
"I enjoy the short tracks because we don’t get to go to quite as many as I think we’d all like." (Photo: Getty Images)
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver took the checkered flag in last summer’s annual night race at the .533-mile track. It was Harvick’s second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bristol win and he’s hoping number three comes Sunday afternoon in a repeat performance.
Like many drivers in NASCAR’s top tier, Harvick has an affinity for short track racing since that’s how his career began.
“I think we’ve had success on short tracks in the past,” he said. “It’s really just a matter putting a weekend together. It’s really no different than any other racetrack. This business is hard to be successful at and sometimes you go through years where short tracks are good and some years not so good. Some years longer tracks are good and some are not so good.
“It’s really just about putting together a whole weekend. It all starts with practice on Friday and trying to qualify well. I enjoy the short tracks because we don’t get to go to quite as many as I think we’d all like.”
Bristol’s unique high-banked concrete surface layout brings another challenge this weekend in the form of a substance applied last year that provides additional grip. The VHT substance was applied in hopes of creating another groove and option for driver to create better competition.
Harvick appreciates the effort.
“This is just a classic example of collaboration between SMI, NASCAR and the driver council and seeing the outcome of it was pretty exciting, just because of the fact it does open up options,” Harvick said. “I think it definitely has opened everybody’s eyes to saying, all right, that worked pretty darned good because the last few years we’d been there, you get on the bottom of the racetrack and you are three or four tenths slower.
“Now you could hold your ground and get past lapped cars. It gave everybody an option to do something different, and as a driver, that’s what you want. You want options.”
Harvick is still searching for his first win of the 2017 season and is hoping his past Bristol success will help him find Victory Lane. He believes last August’s experience will be beneficial come Sunday afternoon.
“For me, I was excited that you were able to use the bottom of the racetrack, and the lap cars had an option,” he explained. “You just didn’t get pinned up high. Really just want to applaud the racetrack for the effort that they made to really get that bottom groove working so that we had multiple grooves of racing, and I think as a driver you had a lot of options to make your car work and maneuver through traffic and make up positions. We started 24th and pretty much drove through the field because of that.”