CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Happy Harvick has lived up to his nickname this season, and hopes the good times with new team Stewart-Haas Racing roll on at Charlotte.
Kevin Harvick heads into the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night coming off a win and three top-10s in the last four races. He was in position to win last week's All-Star race until a slow final pit stop caused him to finish second at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Now he goes into the Coca-Cola 600 looking for his third win in four years at NASCAR's longest race of the season. Harvick won the 600-miler in 2011 and 2013, and feels he's got another shot with his new No. 4 Chevrolet.
"The first minute that I was in that car, I haven't quit smiling," Harvick said. "It's been so refreshing and so much fun to be part of that every day."
Harvick, who won 23 races in 13 seasons driving for Richard Childress Racing, said there's something different and special about his new Rodney Childers-led crew. He praised Stewart-Haas, too.
"The bottom line is the organization from a whole has given us every resource that we have asked for," Harvick said. "You never talk about money. It's just what do you need and how do we get it for you."
Harvick broke through early to dominate at Phoenix for his first win with his new team, then went through some growing pains with four finishes of 36th or worse in his next five events. Things turned around at Darlington last month when Harvick outran Hendrick Motorsports stars Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson for the victory, and he hasn't slowed down since.
Harvick credits much of the success to Childers, recruited by Stewart-Haas after two years as a crew chief at Michael Waltrip Racing. Childers and Harvick have connected over their desire to win, not just on race day, but during every practice session, tire test or pit stop.
"They all want to win and race for championships," Harvick said, "and when you put (those) kind of people together with that determination, everybody pushes everybody else."
Five things to watch during Sunday's race:
EYES ON KURT: Fans won't be the only ones watching Kurt Busch's try at the grueling, 1,100-mile double of the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600. Busch's colleagues in NASCAR will be following very closely. Clint Bowyer said he can't wait to get up Sunday and watch the Indy 500 to see how Busch is doing. "Fans are paying attention to that and we're paying attention, everybody in this room and everybody in this garage area is paying attention to it," Bowyer said. "That's a big story for us."
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