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Kevin Harvick brings good vibes, beer to Pensacola practice day

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Author: Matt Weaver

Date: June 28, 2024

After spending six hours turning his first laps in a Super Late Model, Kevin Harvick sent a cooler of Busch Light around the Five Flags Speedway infield for anyone who wanted to partake and then spent almost an hour shooting the breeze with anyone who packed up early.

The 2014 Cup Series champion is doing more than simply entering the ASA Southern Super Series race at Five Flags Speedway on Friday, he is actively contributing it to it.

In addition to the sponsorship on the Kevin Harvick Inc. No. 62, this race is also titled Busch Light Night at the Races. It was clear, before the race even begins on Friday night, that Harvick really wanted to take in the Blizzard Series in his first real week off of the season.

And that also means acclimating to a completely different car from anything he has ever driven.

“It’s a lot to take in that, that’s for sure,” Harvick said. “But I think coming down here, we knew that we were going to be out-experienced. And that’s rare for me. Usually, I’m heavy on the experience side but this is a very fun, technical race track.

“The hardest thing for me to get used to is trying to get as close as I can to that wall and stay on the yellow line. But I’m still learning about the cars and how they ride and handle and trying to learn the racetrack was a lot to take in over one day.”

Harvick ran 80 laps trying to learn the platform before a race day setting on Friday because these are nothing like the Late Models he raced in California or even a Late Model Stock that he has now raced for CARS Tour competition.

“I’m having to rewire everything,” Harvick said. “Like the rack and pinion on a Cup car, it was quick, but not as responsive as this. Having a car that is this throttle responsive, Cup cars go, but it’s not like this, right?

“So the acceleration in the throttle and the quickness of the steering and the horsepower and everything that comes with the Super Late Model is exactly why I’m here. I want to race the car because it’s fun to drive (and) it’s challenging. It’s fast. It’ll blow the back tires off of it when you put the throttle down.

“And we figured we’d just start here because if you’re going to run some of the biggest races, you have to start a Pensacola. And so, we’re jumping in with both feet but we will learn and go forward.”

Joining Harvick in Pensacola on Thursday and Friday is Chase Elliott, a two-time Snowball Derby winner and a driver who spent half a decade of his formative years racing at Five Flags Speedway 8-10 times a year.

“Harvick came down here and I said, ‘are you lost,’ Elliott joked.

“But, you know, really cool to, to have him here and nice to see him having fun. Man, he put the time on the Cup side and it’s a grind to do it. And, and he did it for what, 20 some odd years and I know we are fortunate to do what we do but there are days that are tough and he withstood that for a long, long time.

“I have a lot of respect for that and just glad to see him out enjoying himself and looking forward to seeing how he does.”

Bubba Pollard, one of the all-time greats, wants to have a beer with him before the weekend end.

“That guy could be doing anything right now and he has the CARS Tour and his NASCAR TV so I really respect that he wants to come down here and race with us,” Pollard said. “He’s doing a lot of great things for the CARS Tour and he’s bringing some of that excitement down here.

Read the full article on Short Track Scene HERE.