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HARVICK STILL RACING AROUND.

Byline: TIM HADDOCK

MOTOR SPORTS

Being the Daytona 500 winner comes with a whirlwind media tour.

For Kevin Harvick, that has meant appearances on "The Late Show with David Letterman," "Live with Regis and Kelly," California Speedway Day in L.A. at Hollywood and Highland, "Jimmy Kimmel Live," and radio spots with ESPN's Dan Patrick in Bristol, Conn., Steve Mason and John Ireland on KSPN 710-AM, and Rick Dees on KMVN 93.9-FM in Los Angeles.

"They've been very organized with everything, making things go really smoothly," Harvick said. "We've been able to rest at night and have somewhere nice to sleep, too. It's really not been much worse than being at home."

He arrived Wednesday in LosAngeles, but won't see California Speedway, the site of this weekend's NASCAR races, until this afternoon.

When he gets there, things won't settle down.

Harvick will run in all three races at California Speedway this weekend. He will be in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Friday night, the Busch Series race Saturday and the Nextel Cup Series race Sunday.

Once he gets on the race track, it might be his first chance for a little peace and quiet -- so to speak -- since winning the Daytona 500.

"Still going to race all three races," said Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Richard Childress Racing in the Cup Series. "We planned on doing that from the beginning. Just trying to get the truck program started off on the right foot. Be in the Busch car this week, too. When you're in the car at the track, you can kind of get away from the rest of it."

In addition to winning the Daytona 500, Harvick also won the Busch Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway in the Richard Childress Racing No. 21 Chevrolet.

Driving for Childress, Harvick won last year's Busch Series championship -- in dominating fashion -- but has decided not to race the entire Busch Series schedule this year.

He is splitting his time in the Busch Series between his own Kevin Harvick Inc. car and the one for Richard Childress Racing.

For the California Speedway Busch Series race, Harvick will be in his own team's No. 33 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Tony Stewart drove the No. 33 Chevy to an eighth-place finish in the Daytona race.

This is the first of eight Busch Series races Harvick plans to run in his own No. 33 entry.

Harvick will also be racing one of his own trucks, the No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado, in the Truck Series race.

"I am doing four races in a KHI truck this year," Harvick said. "Clint (Bowyer) will drive in four truck races for me this year and Cale Gale will drive in three more."

With successful teams in both the Busch and Truck Series, Harvick said he and his wife, DeLana, are not entertaining any desire to move into the Cup.

"We don't have any plans right now," Harvick said. "DeLana and I are really trying to get our arms around what we do need to do, don't need to do, in the Busch and Truck Series, really try to focus on that."

Seeing his Cup boss run his three-car team, Harvick said he has a good understanding of how much effort and commitment it takes to run a Cup team.

"We can still enjoy being the driver and being a team owner with the Busch and Truck," Harvick said, "where I don't think we could do both if we owned the Cup car."

Truck drivers head back to SoCal

Three drivers in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series have strong Southern California ties. Brendan Gaughan, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Tyler Walker all started their NASCAR careers racing on the West Coast.

Gaughan, driver of the No. 77 Chevrolet Silverado for South Point Racing, won two NASCAR West Series championships and a number of races at Irwindale Speedway before making the jump to the Truck Series and a stint in the Nextel Cup Series.

Gaughan has made five career Truck Series starts at California Speedway, collecting two top-10 finishes. But Gaughan said he feels like he should have at least two wins at the Fontana track.

"California Speedway has always been a really great race track for the South Point Racing team," Gaughan said. "It's always been a great track for me -- going back to my Winston West days when I won there. I've had that truck race won twice and twice we had it taken away from us last minute -- we had a flat tire once and then finished third the other year. This year, I want to close the deal."

Hornaday won two NASCAR Southwest Series championships before moving up to the Truck Series and winning two more championships. He was a track champion at Saugus Speedway before moving up to the NASCAR touring divisions. He currently drives the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado for Kevin Harvick Inc.

"Going to California is always good for me because of the fans; the racetrack is close to my hometown," said Hornaday, who holds the record for Truck Series career wins. "In the last California race we lost the master cylinder and had no brakes. Heading into the second race with a seventh-place finish at Daytona, is a good way to start the season off."

Walker drives the No. 36 Toyota Tundra for Bill Davis Racing.

Walker, who graduated from Granada Hills, was the highest qualifying rookie in the Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

He started the race sixth.

Walker made 19 Busch Series starts in 2005 and posted seven top-20 finishes.

"I've waited for an opportunity like this for a long time, and I plan to make the most of it," Walker said. "Bill Davis' entire organization is top-notch, and the Bill Davis Racing NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series program is, in my opinion, the best one out there. With trucks from BDR, and teammates like Johnny Benson and Mike Skinner and 360 OTC behind me, I can't imagine how I would ever have a better shot at success in NASCAR."

CAPTION(S):

4 photos, box

Photo:

(1) Daytona 500 champion Kevin Harvick, left, talks with David Letterman on Monday on the "Late Show with David Letterman."

Jeffrey Neira/Associated Press

(2) GAUGHAN

(3) HORNADAY

(4) WALKER

Box:

Etc.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 22, 2007
Words:1053
Previous Article:LAKERS NOTEBOOK: NOTHING HAPPENING YET.
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