Coming off his first win at Sonoma driving the Mobil 1 Ford Fusion Kevin Harvick hosted his weekly radio show Happy Hours on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. I had the privilege of being the first caller this week and got to ask Kevin what’s the biggest difference from a drivers perspective on going from a road course in Sonoma to a Super Speedway in Daytona.
“The biggest difference is the steering. You’ll go from the fastest steering box you’ll run all year so the car will turn in both directions really fast and really quick and then Daytona will be the slowest steering box that you have all year so the car is a lot slower to maneuver. You’re used to your hands being really twitchy and short with the movements to the steering wheel and at Daytona, you have to turn the wheel further than you have to any other week. That would probably be the biggest adjustment for me, but it’s like anything else you have to just go out and run some laps and get in that rhythm, but the steering is always the hardest thing for me to get used to going from a road course to a super Speedway back-to-back.” Harvick also mentioned how much of a logistical nightmare it is to go from California to Daytona on a short week and get the cars ready to race and shuttle back and forth on Saturday night.
Looking ahead to the Coke Zero 400 under the lights this Saturday night, the driver of the No. 4 car is one of my favorites this week at Daytona as well. After all, Harvick led the most laps in February at the track and has been locked in over the last few weeks culminating in the win at his home track last Sunday. The Bakersfield, California native came out on top after an action packed road course race ended in a long green flag run. Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Clint Bowyer was the runner-up on Sunday as well giving SHR a great one-two finish as they get in stride just before summer heat really cranks up.
Harvick has always been one of the top drivers I root for on race days because of the person he is. All class, all respect and a truly genuine guy. If you’ve listened to an interview from him or just a few minutes of his radio show you would come away with the same opinion of him as well. That couldn’t have been more apparent than what happened on Saturday after Harvick took home the checkered flag in the K&N Pro Series race at Sonoma.
Harvick held off 22-year-old William Rogers for the victory at his home track in what was an exciting finish for spectators in attendance. Harvick, tracing back to his roots and how hard it was for him to compete in motor sports at the highest level, did something that Rodgers will never forget. Harvick invited Rodgers to be his guest on Sunday and was on his pot box behind crew chief Rodney Childress giving the youngster a once in a lifetime experience being up close and personal to a Monster Energy Cup Series Race and exposing him to many in the sport looking for the next great young driver.
Harvick had Rodgers as a guest on his show this week as they shared their experiences from the weekend in Sonoma and looked forward into the future. “This is a kid that needs an opportunity and has showed he has the talents and the ability. Hopefully this will be the moment for Will that will lead to more opportunities for him in the future.” Rodgers called it an overwhelming experience and thanked Harvick for all he did to help him with recognition for the efforts and progress he and his team have made on the racetrack. “Being able to be there and race a Cup Series champion toe-to-toe then be a part of his win on Sunday was an awesome experience I will never forget.” Harvick signed off the interview saying he hopes Rodgers can use all of the momentum from this weekend to be one of the big breaks of his racing career.
I am looking forward to this Saturday night’s race at Daytona and if I were a gambling man I’d bet that Harvick rattles off his second consecutive win in one of the premier races on the schedule of the season. “Our car will be fast, Our car will be in contention. All the Fords will be in contention since they have been so fast. It’s been a huge game-changer since we switched over the Ford just due to the fact our Super Speedway program immediately improved and we were contenders. It’s been a lot of fun since the cars are so fast, you can push with them, you can be in control with them, and you can be on offense. And that’s what I love to do, be on offense.”
It’s Daytona week again, buckle up and enjoy the ride.
You can listen to my question to Kevin Harvick below and his full answer from Happy Hours on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
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