Cup Star Harvick Returns To Roots At Iowa Speedway
Daytona 500 Champ To Run Busch East/West Combo Race
This year’s Daytona 500 champion is returning to his roots. Kevin Harvick plans to compete in NASCAR’s inaugural event at Iowa Speedway when the Grand National Series races there May 20.
For Harvick, the NASCAR Grand National Division East-West race marks a return to the series where he earned his first NASCAR championship. The Bakersfield, Calif., native won the West Series title as a 22-year-old in 1998.
Kevin Harvick (#20) has run with the West Series several times since winning the title in 1998.
Since then, he has gathered numerous accolades on a national level including two NASCAR Busch Series championships (2001, 2006), the 2001 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year title and the 2000 NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year title.
Most recently, he drove the Richard Childress Racing No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet to victory in this year’s Daytona 500.
"Being able to go back and run a West car is pretty cool for me," said Harvick. "I know what the series can do for a driver's career.
“KHI also has a pretty good record in the few West races we've run, so it'll be exciting to compete in a KHI car at the Iowa Speedway. I've only seen pictures of the track, but it looks really nice. You know anything Rusty (Wallace) is involved in is going to be first class."
The 7/8-mile track in Newton, Iowa, was designed by the track’s chief operating officer, Andy Vertrees, and former NASCAR Champion, Rusty Wallace.
Vertrees emphasized the significance of having Harvick compete there.
“Rusty and I designed the track to attract the greatest race car drivers and racing teams in America to race in Iowa,” Vertrees said. “That’s why we call our track, ‘America’s Place to Race’. We invite Iowans and racing fans everywhere to visit us this year for some of the best racing anywhere.”
The NASCAR race at Iowa Speedway on May 20, coupled with a similar event at Elko (Minn.) Speedway on May 18, will make for an historic two-race, regular-season face-off for competitors in NASCAR’s Grand National Division – the Busch East Series and the West Series. This marks the first time these teams will compete for valuable championship points in a combination race such as this.