Skip to content

Harvick: Rookies struggle now because Nationwide, Trucks are “too slow”

Oct 10, 2013, 7:15 PM EDT

Sylvania 300 - Practice Getty Images

Rookies haven’t had a particularly easy time of breaking into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in recent years. However, series debutantes are in the spotlight for this weekend’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway as three drivers will be making their Cup debuts.

Chip Ganassi’s top prodigy Kyle Larson and Richard Childress Racing development driver Brian Scott have been previously announced as entrants for Charlotte this Saturday night. Blake Koch is a late add to those two, in the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Ford.

Kevin Harvick, who won in only his third ever Sprint Cup start (Atlanta, 2001, in a memorable photo finish over Jeff Gordon), said it’s harder for younger drivers to come in because the cars in the Nationwide Series and trucks in the Camping World Truck Series simply don’t measure up to Cup cars.

“There’s not as good of a training ground as there used to be,” Harvick said Thursday at Charlotte. “The Nationwide cars and Trucks are so slow. The Cup car and the driving style is so drastically different, so it makes the experience of Cup drivers more valuable. When I started, the cars were more similar. We raced on same tire pretty much every week and cars were faster. It would be good for our sport for the guys coming in – Larson I hope will be successful – and do what he needs to do. The chances aren’t there as much to take chances on the younger guys. The training ground not as good as it used to be.”

Five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson added the comparative lack of testing is also an issue.

“For me it’s more the limited testing,” he said. “I got 24 test days to sort stuff out. We didn’t race at Martinsville yet, or Pocono, so we could test there and get me up to speed.”

Johnson’s first full season was in 2002; this weekend marks 12 years since his Cup debut in the fall race at Charlotte in 2001. Johnson’s team could test at Martinsville and Pocono because the No. 48 team was not yet a full-time entrant. When teams reach that full-time status, they can only test at tracks that do not hold Sprint Cup races, as Martinsville and Pocono do.

Latest Posts
  1. Vergne equals best-ever F1 result with late charge

    Sep 21, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    14th to sixth in the final stages of the race caps off a great race for Jean-Eric Vergne.

  2. Vettel delighted to score fifth straight Singapore podium

    Sep 21, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore Getty Images

    German driver misses out on fourth straight win at Marina Bay, but pulls a great result out of the bag to move back up to fifth in the drivers’ championship.

  3. Re-taking the championship lead, the tide has turned for Lewis Hamilton

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:39 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore Getty Images

    The British driver has completed a great turnaround – a swing of 32 points in three races – to re-take the lead of the championship today.

  4. Hamilton rules in Singapore to re-take championship lead as Rosberg retires

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:08 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    An electrical glitch sidelines Rosberg, but Hamilton is made to fight for his second victory in Singapore after a lengthy safety car period.

  5. Rosberg forced to retire in Singapore after electrical glitch

    Sep 21, 2014, 8:35 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Rosberg’s championship hopes take a huge hit before a lap has even been run in Singapore.

  6. WATCH LIVE: 2014 Singapore Grand Prix on NBCSN from 7.30am ET

    Sep 21, 2014, 7:15 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    All of the action from Singapore as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg go head-to-head under the lights of Marina Bay.

  7. Starting grid for the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix

    Sep 21, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Lewis Hamilton edged out Nico Rosberg by the narrowest of margins in qualifying to secure his sixth pole position of the season.

  8. VIDEO: Behind the scenes at Red Bull, 24 hours after an F1 race

    Sep 21, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    Spanish F1 Grand Prix - Qualifying Getty Images

    Red Bull gives you a unique insight into what goes on at a race team’s factory in the aftermath of a grand prix weekend.

  9. Brendan Gaughan takes lead with 6 laps to go, wins Nationwide at Kentucky

    Sep 20, 2014, 10:35 PM EDT

    Bristol Motor Speedway - Day 1 Getty Images

    A wild final restart opened the door for Gaughan to out-hustle Chase Elliott and Ty Dillon late on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.

  10. IndyCar: Kanaan wins Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am charity kart race (VIDEO)

    Sep 20, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    KanaanTMSP1-2 Getty Images

    More than a dozen former and current IndyCar drivers take part in the special event that honors the late two-time Indy 500 champ and raises money for Alzheimer’s research.

  11. NASCAR: Tough Kentucky track awaits Regan Smith this evening

    Sep 20, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    Kentucky Speedway - Day 1 Getty Images

    With seven races left in the Nationwide schedule, can Smith start making up ground on teammate Chase Elliott in the championship?

  12. IMSA: Ganassi holds on for COTA win; Viper, 8Star big winners

    Sep 20, 2014, 7:11 PM EDT

    PruettCOTAWin Getty Images

    Ganassi Riley-Ford, 8Star Motorsports, Vipers win in COTA.

  13. Wendy Venturini to become first female to call Sprint Cup race on radio Sunday at New Hampshire

    Sep 20, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy WendyVenturini.com) (Photo courtesy WendyVenturini.com)

    When Wendy Venturini walks into the press box at New Hampshire Motor Speedway prior to Sunday’s Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup race, she will become part of NASCAR history.

  14. Red Bull GRC: Scott Speed scores third win of 2014 in Los Angeles Race 1

    Sep 20, 2014, 6:03 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    The Red Bull GRC championship tightens dramatically after the first race of the weekend in L.A.

  15. Ty Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr. on front row for Saturday night’s NNS race at Kentucky

    Sep 20, 2014, 5:42 PM EDT

    Ty Dillon KY 2014 Getty Images

    Ty Dillon is bound and determined to give it his all to win the Nationwide Series championship this season. He took a big step Saturday afternoon by earning the pole for the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 later that evening at Kentucky Speedway. Sam Hornish Jr. will start on the outside of the front row.

  16. WATCH: Red Bull Global Rallycross begins doubleheader weekend in L.A.

    Sep 20, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    CLICK HERE for stream links to the first of two GRC finals this weekend from Los Angeles.

  17. 16-year-old Cole Custer becomes youngest-ever winner of NASCAR national series race

    Sep 20, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    UNOH 175 Getty Images

    Custer holds off Darrell Wallace Jr. and Matt Crafton to win the Camping World Truck Series’ UNOH 175 at New Hampshire.

  18. F1 Qualifying Analysis: Missed opportunities allow Hamilton to rule again

    Sep 20, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Ferrari and Red Bull could have – perhaps even should have – been in the mix for pole position. Mercedes was simply too good for them, once again, though.

  19. Tyler Clary hopes to go from Olympic gold medal swimmer to NASCAR driver

    Sep 20, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Tyler Clary 2014

    Head-to-head, there’s very few Sprint Cup drivers that can beat Jimmie Johnson. But Tyler Clary can kick Johnson’s butt any time he wants to.

  20. Red Bull GRC: Friday recap from Los Angeles (VIDEO)

    Sep 20, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    Friday recap from Red Bull GRC in LA is in the books.

Video from NASCAR America

Which longshot will advance in Chase?
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Keselowski (1959)
  2. J. Gordon (1452)
  3. K. Harvick (1348)
  4. M. Crafton (1199)
  5. K. Busch (1145)