Harvick keeping open mind in season of uncertainty

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Harvick keeping open mind in season of uncertainty

NASCAR

Harvick keeping open mind in season of uncertainty

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Kevin Harvick isn’t worried about having to knock any rust off when he gets back behind the wheel. But the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion does believe there will be things to decide and questions to answer before that happens.

Wednesday, Harvick and co-host Matt Yocum relaunched “Happy Hours” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The show will air every week until cars are back on track as a way for Harvick to stay occupied and engage with fans.

Before going off the air, Harvick touched on a few different topics in the final segment. He started by reflecting on the first four races of the season.

“We’ve got the season started, we’ve gone to a bunch of different styles of racetracks and Phoenix was obviously the last one,” he said. “I think with the softer tire and the low downforce and the PJ1 on the racetrack, that race was drastically improved from what we saw last with the package, and I think that makes a lot of people excited.

“And for me, I was excited that we ran well at Phoenix, obviously because the championship race is going to be there this year.

“We’ve been Daytona. We obviously saw Ryan Newman’s horrific wreck. I think everyone knows there needs to be changes when we got to Talladega – we don’t exactly know what those changes should be other than the cars probably need to be slowed down a fair down, and some little things here and there. Then you’ve got the mile-and-a-half stuff that’s probably the most similar to what we’ve had in previous years.”

Not a whole lot is happening in the NASCAR community now that everything has been halted because of COVID-19. That includes testing the Next Gen car, which was scheduled to be on track the week after the Atlanta race as well as after races at Bristol and Dover. However, all three of those races are among the seven that have been postponed.

Given that, Harvick said he thinks the rollout of the car, slated for 2021, should be shelved for a year.

“Just to take the load off of the teams that we’re currently going to have when we go back racing,” said Harvick.

NASCAR has not yet announced an updated season schedule other than to say they intend to run all 36 points-paying races and the All-Star Race. It leaves teams knowing that races will be slotted in wherever they can fit, and that might mean racing more than once a week. Atlanta and Homestead-Miami were the first two postponed, followed by Texas, Bristol, Richmond, Talladega, and Dover.

The uncertainty leaves teams trying to prepare as best they can without knowing when they will need what type of car. Harvick expects to see mid-week races.

“So, I think the beginning of the year got started, but as you go through this break now, you have a whole bunch of questions,” said Harvick. “As far as knocking the rust off, I don’t think that’ll be an issue now that we know what to expect with where the cars are and the things that have happened on the different styles of racetracks, I think we’ll be in good shape there.

“The questions will be how much are we going to race? How many times are we going to race? What’s the style and the format going to be once we get to the racetrack? Is it going to be one day, two-day, three day? Are we going to qualify? Are we not going to qualify? Are we going to practice? Are we not going to practice? So, there’s going to be a lot to navigate as we fire this whole thing back up.”

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