The Frontstretch: Potts' Shots: Practice Makes Perfect For Harvick by John Potts -- Thursday April 29, 2010

Go to site navigation Go to article

Potts' Shots: Practice Makes Perfect For Harvick

John Potts · Thursday April 29, 2010


A couple of words in S.D. Grady’s weekly commentary, Sitting In The Stands – A Fan’s View got my attention this week.

As a foreword, I always read her commentary because I love that perspective. My position as a race official, most often as a flagman, was somewhere between the fan’s view and that of a competitor, and I always identified with what the fans were seeing.

With that being said, the two words that caught my attention were “learned move” in describing Kevin Harvick’s slingshot off the fourth turn and through the tri-oval at Talladega, used to nip Jamie McMurray by less than the length of his hood at the start/finish line. The fact that it came on the third and final GWC attempt is immaterial (although it seems that requiring three of those things, just daring it to happen, is another matter for discussion).

Kevin Harvick’s winning move Sunday was reminiscent of some late-race maneuvers he made on the short tracks while learning his craft.

Her statement reminded me of Harvick’s two wins in the Kroger 200 Nationwide Series race at O’Reilly Raceway Park.

I’m beginning to realize that Kevin Harvick is one of the more astute drivers out there today, and he seems to use his practice time to particular advantage. In a post-race interview at Talladega, he admitted that he had practiced that move and worked on the timing. All of that apparently came in pretty handy at the finish.

I can recall my son, while still in his teens when I first went to what was then-IRP in 1985, commenting on the action on that .686-mile oval. The accepted fast groove was up high, and Matt said, “Y’know, Dad, if you could get one to handle down on the inside here, you’d blow everybody away.”

I believe it was 2001, after I had officially left the employ of NHRA but was helping for the big events, when in the 200-lap (then) Busch Series race, Harvick went to the bottom side in the latter stages of the event, worked his way to the front, and won going away.

After the race, I got to give Richard Childress, Kevin, and DeLana a ride up to the helicopter landing zone in my golf cart. While waiting for Kevin to have just one more photo taken, I mentioned it to Richard. He just grinned, and didn’t say anything.

We talked about it, and I made mention of it in the results story I sent out, but apparently nobody was paying attention. Except Richard and Kevin, maybe, and they already knew about it.

Five years later, I was watching that race on television from my present domicile in Kentucky and history repeated itself. Harvick took the low road and, as the only car down there, picked up his second checkered flag in the event. As a matter of fact, with about 25 laps to go I got a phone call from my son, asking if I was watching him do it again.

This time, somebody asked him in the post-race interview about finding that low groove, and he admitted to having practiced it.

I think he said something to the effect that everybody else seemed to be wondering why he was working the low side in practice and figured he couldn’t get the car to handle. Like I said, apparently nobody was paying attention in 2001.

As a matter of fact, he alluded to the previous victory, saying, “We did the same thing here when I won this race in 2001.”

What does all this prove?

Well, first that Kevin is pretty sharp, and second, that practice isn’t just for getting your car as fast as it will go.

It’s also about figuring out a way to win.

Contact John Potts

The Frontstretch Newsletter, back in 2014 gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up now. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!

Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


©2000 - 2008 John Potts and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

04/29/2010 09:55 AM

Harvick is one of the few real racers left in NASCAR . One of the few drivers who can’t think of anything he’d rather do than race . Who isn’t interested in a career after racing because he can’t picture himself ever not racing . Not in a hurry to get back to his New York apartment after the race , spends every waking hour concentrating on racing in one form or another . Tony Stewart would be another . And of course Ken Schrader .
Drivers like Harvick are becoming rare , but they sure make racing fun to watch .

04/29/2010 11:28 AM

The one thing that pisses me about Harvick and wife is they never place their hand over their heart when the National Anthem is played. This shows no respect for our country. There are a few others that do this but if I were Childress it would be required or he would be repremanded severely. Is Harvick trying to be like Obama? If so he needs to reside in another country.

04/29/2010 11:37 AM

The hand over the heart thing has kind of gone away . I see many people who stand with their hands folded in front of them , or holding their hat . Having respect for the Flag has nothing to do with holding your hand over your heart , no more than not displaying the Flag in front of your house means you don’t respect America . I do get a little irritated when people continue walking , or talking , or whatever when the National Anthem is playing .
If Harvick and his wife are trying to be like the President , Great! That’s a pretty good goal to work toward .

04/29/2010 12:36 PM

“Is Harvick trying to be like Obama? If so he needs to reside in another country.”

Are you saying Obama needs to reside in another country? I would certainly agree with that! :) Anything to get him away from our country is fine by me…

This was an interesting article. Harvick has never been among my favorite drivers. I don’t really dislike him, but I don’t like him either. He has that mixture of good and bad qualities that leaves him somewhere in between. But I wonder, if he’s really so good at practicing the winning move in practice…why was this his first (point paying) win in over 3 years?

04/29/2010 01:38 PM

Rachel how does having your hand over your heart make you more patriotic or have more respect for your country?

That just an ignorant statement and really make no sense. Obviously you hate Harvick and President Obama, maybe you are the one who should follow a different race series and reside in a different country?

I’m not sure you have you hand over your heart, sounds more like you have them over your eyes. Blindly following the GOP!

04/29/2010 02:45 PM

I find this discussion about people placing their hand over their heart interesting. Personally, I envy the respect Americans have for your anthem and the love of your flag. I love our (Canada’s) anthem, and I love our flag. Unfortunately, here in Canada, too many Canadians hate our anthem and our flag. Years ago, I lived in an apartment, and I proudly flew a Canadian flag off my balcony. Some jack-a** on the floor below me demanded I take the flag down. We had a major fight over it that involved the landlord. The fight ended when I threatened to charge the jerk with treason! As for our anthem, there is always some self-interest group, usually “foreigh based”, that is trying to get it changed. I have to agree with what Rachel said about going somewhere else. I say that all the time! And yes, I get into trouble for saying it! As I said, I envy your patriotism! And we could take a lesson from you!

04/29/2010 03:52 PM

I thought the issue was that Delana didn’t take her hat off during the national anthem.