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Southern Super Series

Kevin Harvick brings good vibes, beer to Pensacola practice day

Everyone was pretty pleased after a full day of practice

After spending six hours turning his first laps in a Super Late Model, Kevin Harvick sent a cooler of Busch Light around the Five Flags Speedway infield for anyone who wanted to partake and then spent almost an hour shooting the breeze with anyone who packed up early.

The 2014 Cup Series champion is doing more than simply entering the ASA Southern Super Series race at Five Flags Speedway on Friday, he is actively contributing it to it.

In addition to the sponsorship on the Kevin Harvick Inc. No. 62, this race is also titled Busch Light Night at the Races. It was clear, before the race even begins on Friday night, that Harvick really wanted to take in the Blizzard Series in his first real week off of the season.

And that also means acclimating to a completely different car from anything he has ever driven.

“It’s a lot to take in that, that’s for sure,” Harvick said. “But I think coming down here, we knew that we were going to be out-experienced. And that’s rare for me. Usually, I’m heavy on the experience side but this is a very fun, technical race track.

“The hardest thing for me to get used to is trying to get as close as I can to that wall and stay on the yellow line. But I’m still learning about the cars and how they ride and handle and trying to learn the racetrack was a lot to take in over one day.”

Harvick ran 80 laps trying to learn the platform before a race day setting on Friday because these are nothing like the Late Models he raced in California or even a Late Model Stock that he has now raced for CARS Tour competition.

“I’m having to rewire everything,” Harvick said. “Like the rack and pinion on a Cup car, it was quick, but not as responsive as this. Having a car that is this throttle responsive, Cup cars go, but it’s not like this, right?

“So the acceleration in the throttle and the quickness of the steering and the horsepower and everything that comes with the Super Late Model is exactly why I’m here. I want to race the car because it’s fun to drive (and) it’s challenging. It’s fast. It’ll blow the back tires off of it when you put the throttle down.

“And we figured we’d just start here because if you’re going to run some of the biggest races, you have to start a Pensacola. And so, we’re jumping in with both feet but we will learn and go forward.”

Joining Harvick in Pensacola on Thursday and Friday is Chase Elliott, a two-time Snowball Derby winner and a driver who spent half a decade of his formative years racing at Five Flags Speedway 8-10 times a year.

“Harvick came down here and I said, ‘are you lost,’ Elliott joked.

“But, you know, really cool to, to have him here and nice to see him having fun. Man, he put the time on the Cup side and it’s a grind to do it. And, and he did it for what, 20 some odd years and I know we are fortunate to do what we do but there are days that are tough and he withstood that for a long, long time.

“I have a lot of respect for that and just glad to see him out enjoying himself and looking forward to seeing how he does.”

Bubba Pollard, one of the all-time greats, wants to have a beer with him before the weekend end.

“That guy could be doing anything right now and he has the CARS Tour and his NASCAR TV so I really respect that he wants to come down here and race with us,” Pollard said. “He’s doing a lot of great things for the CARS Tour and he’s bringing some of that excitement down here.

“I’ve never raced with him before so that’s going to be a lot of fun too.”

Casey Roderick echoed those sentiments.

“Well, obviously it’s gonna help the show, having those two names here and anytime you can have those kind of guys come race with us, it’s gonna be a good thing,” Roderick said. “I like racing those guys and it raises the measuring bar for all of us.”

Practice notes

Matt Craig, who has generally been pleased with his speed this season, says he’s been struggling to keep up at the end of races so he made 125 laps on Thursday. That included a 70 lap run over the final hour to simulate full races.

Bubba Pollard has some new cars coming down the pipeline but this is actually a refurbished car, and it’s historically their best car at Five Flags Speedway.

“This is the car we won all our races with last year and it was fast tonight, pretty good,” Pollard said. “It was down to the bare chassis as of last Tuesday so we’ve done a lot of work and it’s good. We had a few problems early but we got them fixed it and we’re pretty good.”

Pollard said it makes him nervous because usually when he’s happy in practice, something goes wrong.

“But naw, we’ll see,” he said with a laugh.

What did Elliott learn during practice?

“Nothing real good to be honest but we’re working through it,” Elliott said. “I hope it gets better but I feel like we have a lot of work to do so we’ll see you tomorrow night,” said the 2020 Cup Series champion. “These summer races are always … or because it’s been so long since I’ve done one of them … but they always had a little bit of a different vibe to me than like the Snowball Derby does, just from a track standpoint.

“And obviously it’s much hotter now than it is in December so I hope tomorrow goes a little better than today, dude. Just working out bugs and issues and I feel like we can have our balance a little better too.”


Casey Roderick and Anthony Campi Racing currently lead the ASA national championship standings and the Southern Super Series standings and are 13 points behind Stephen Nasse for the Blizzard championship. And yet, they are still seeking their first win of the season in a Super Late Model.

They have podiums at Speedfest, New Smyrna in the ASA opener, at Five Flags in April, with the ASA at Hickory and in both Wisconsin ASA national tour races two weeks ago.

“We’ve definitely got to start winning here,” Roderick said. “We’ve been really consistent in the top five here and fast n practice but just lack turn in the race once we get some laps on it. So that’s what we worked on today, just trying to make it better on the long run.”

He also says they got too fixated on chasing Ty Majeski earlier in the month in Wisconsin and paid for it by dialing themselves out.

“80 percent of what we did at Milwaukee was chasing one particular car, you know,” Roderick said. “If he wasn’t there, you know, we may may have done a little bit different strategy on our adjustments, trying to tune the car to go faster through the corner.

“But I knew, the moment he pulled out of line and passed me for the lead, I wasn’t beating him. We’re going really fast there but the draft ain’t that big.

“I mean, he had me cleared before we entered Turn 1 and he was behind me coming off the corner. We were going straight when he decided to pull out and he went by me so I knew right then, I was like, we’re in trouble.

“But I mean, we got rules. We all gotta obey them and, and you know, we just gotta, we gotta get our cars better going through the corner and we’ll be fine. We, we got the power, we have good motors from RW out here and, we’re just lacking the little bit of turn we need here on a long run.”

Friday’s ASA Southern Super Series Busch Light Night at the Races 100 airs live on Racing America and

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He also has extensive experience covering NASCAR, IndyCar and Dirt Sprint Cars.

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