Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NEWSMAKER: KEVIN HARVICK; the Defending Daytona 500 Champion Has a Lot on His Plate in 2008

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NEWSMAKER: KEVIN HARVICK; the Defending Daytona 500 Champion Has a Lot on His Plate in 2008

Article excerpt

When Kevin Harvick beat Mark Martin by 12 inches last year to win the Daytona 500, his racing career changed forever. He will make his return to the Daytona International Speedway next month to defend his 500 victory, as well as his win in the Nationwide Series race. During a recent test session at Daytona, Harvick talked about last year's win, his disappointing performance in the Chase for the Championship and his role as a car owner in the Craftsman Truck and Nationwide series Here are excerpts of that interview:

After you won the Daytona 500, you were on top of the racing world. But your team seemed to fade during the playoffs. What happened?

Well, I think our cars were strong. Every time we had a good day, something went wrong, and every time we had a bad day, it got worse. In the end, I think it shows the maturity of the team. I don't look at last year as really any different circumstances that we were put through than 2002, and the results at the end of the year were better.

You won the truck championship last year with Ron Hornaday Jr. as a car owner. Did you learn anything that can help you as a driver in the Sprint Cup Series this year?

I think his attitude. Ron has a great attitude with his people. I've tried to, over the offseason, ... come in with a better attitude and tried to apply that to my team.

Would the Daytona 500 be better served at the end of the racing season?

Our sport is a little bit different: It doesn't come down to two teams. With all the different teams, I don't think there's any other way you can build any more hype because everybody has kind of put some spring back in their step, I guess, with their team, and everybody has got new cars and a new attitude toward everything that's going on. So the winter gives you a chance to kind of revitalize, I guess you could say, everything that was wrong and try to make it right, and whether you did that or not, you don't know that until after the Daytona 500 starts.

How has the Car of Tomorrow progressed?

I think there at the beginning of the COT races last year, we used the same car for a while. …

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