Commentary

Harvick on road from Bronx to the Glen

Childress veteran threw out first pitch at Yanks game before heading to upstate race

Updated: August 12, 2011, 10:05 AM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Kevin Harvick grew up in California. But he should feel right at home in upstate New York this weekend, where he'll face off against the rest of the Sprint Cup field on the road course at Watkins Glen.

Harvick grew up racing Go-Karts in California, so he says he's comfortable turning right on a road track.

"All we ever did was race on the road courses and for me, it's one of those things that I enjoy," Harvick said Wednesday afternoon. "It's a lot of fun; I like shifting gears and turning right."

[+] EnlargeKevin Harvick
AP Photo/Kathy KmonicekKevin Harvick threw out the first pitch before the Yankees' 9-3 victory over the Angels on Wednesday.

Before he made the trip to the Watkins Glen track, Harvick spent time on the warning track at Yankee Stadium.

The 2007 Daytona 500 winner was in the Bronx on Wednesday to visit New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi and trainer Gene Monahan. Harvick met Monahan, an avid NASCAR fan, at the Bud Shootout in 2001 and has since gotten to know Girardi.

He chatted with Monahan and Girardi before Wednesday's Yankees-Angels game and threw out the first pitch.

"For me, it's really about getting to see Gene and getting some time to talk to Joe," Harvick said. "We keep in touch through the weeks throughout the year. It's fun to check out everything on the field. It's more enjoyable to just hang out with those guys."

Harvick will be looking for his fourth win of the season on Sunday at Watkins-Glen, where he won in 2006.

"It's just a really fast racetrack. It's one of those racetracks where you can be really aggressive and run over the curbs and you've got to get in the corners hard," he said. "From a driver's standpoint, you get to do some things that you don't usually get to do with overdriving the car and being aggressive with the car. So in that respect it's a lot of fun."

Harvick will enter Sunday's race in fifth place in the points race, 20 points behind leader Carl Edwards and firmly in place to qualify for the Chase.

Harvick had his best year in 2010, with career highs in top-10s (26) and top-5s (16). He dominated the regular season, but finished 41 points out of the title in third place.

He hopes to have a different result come late November.

"Last year we crushed them the first 26 weeks, leading the points, consistent week in and week out. And it didn't really mean anything going into the Chase because we didn't win enough," Harvick said. "This year we've won a few races [but] haven't been as consistent. And we need both of those things heading into the Chase on a week-to-week [basis] for the last 10 weeks."

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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