Kevin Harvick Advances St. Louis

The first of your 47 career NASCAR Xfinity Series wins came at Gateway on July 29, 2000. You beat Jeff Purvis by 1.338 seconds. What do you remember from this victory?

“What I remember most is that week Richard (Childress, team owner) brought me into his office and told me we had to stop crashing cars and that we had to figure out how to finish the races. I think it was the 12th or 13th race of the season and he was tired of tearing it all up. And then we go out and win this week and I remember what a relief it was to finally eliminate that first one. We built a team and had our good times and our bad times – we missed a race at Rockingham, NC. So we had been through a lot at the start of this season and, to finally get that first winning was really the momentum that ultimately kickstarted everything that happened after that.Gateway has always been a great track for me from that point on and we had a lot of success there.

You made a total of five Xfinity Series starts at Gateway, winning two of them. What does it take to be good there?

“Well, those are two radically different ends of the racetrack. I know, for us, the thing that we always focus on is trying to get your car to turn very well into and through the center of the corner at both ends, and being able to do that is hard at Gateway because the two ends of the tracks are so different, and you probably end up downshifting on turns one and two. is a different pavement than I ran on a long time ago – it will be interesting to see if they put resin or PJ1 to make that top groove work But, for the most part, you want to be fair next to those curbs and carry as much gear as you can into the center of the corner, and as much partial throttle until you can turn the car wide enough to be wide open, but you have to go through the center of the corner there- down .

Does Gateway apply to other flat ovals like New Hampshire or Phoenix, or is it a separate entity?

“I think you can apply a lot of things there that you do at those racetracks, but it kind of has its own nuances that are different from those two. But I think the same general things will apply.

When you last raced at Gateway in 2010, the only drivers currently racing in the Cup who entered that Xfinity Series race were Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Brad Keselowski. Martin Truex Jr., also raced there during his Xfinity Series era, and there were other drivers like Bubba Wallace and Cole Custer who competed and won there in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Does this story give you a leg up at Gateway, or is it so long ago that it doesn’t really matter anymore?

“A lot of trends are always the same. I think that really never changed because of the unique layout of the track. Those same basic features will still be there, and the things you need to do will still be very similar. I think just adapting this to the new car will be the most important thing and what will make it work.

You’ve represented Anheuser-Busch since 2011, which means you’ve made many trips to St. Louis over the years. What are some of your experiences in this city and what are some of your favorite parts of this city?

“I’m going to watch the Cardinals World Series game with them. I can’t remember what game it was but it was probably one of the best experiences I’ve had at a sporting event just because of the atmosphere and the way they support their team there. It was pretty awesome.

You are also a two-time Busch Series champion. Do these titles date back to when Busch was the series sponsor (before Xfinity) sent you to St. Louis for a promotional activity?

“I remember going to the brewery and going down to the basement where they started a lot of post-prohibition deliveries, and just going full circle around the set was pretty cool.”

Are you proud to be racing in St. Louis again knowing your history with this track and with Anheuser-Busch?

“I know it’s an important place for AB, obviously, being their home. But for me, personally, it’s a cool place because of the history it has with my first win in the Xfinity Series and everything that goes with it. So, yeah, I’m excited to go there for a number of different reasons.


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