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Wednesday March 11, 2015

Kevin Harvick is in the midst of a successful West Coast swing with a win Sunday, but he readily admits he’ll be happy when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series comes back East for the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29.

“I think as you look at the West Coast swing and the three races and the travel and everything that comes with it, I think everybody is extremely excited to come back to Martinsville,” said Harvick. “To start the weekend to be able to drive your own vehicle to the race track and end the weekend coming home and sleeping in your own bed is something everybody is excited about.

“You add in the short track factor and just getting back to the roots of everything we’ve done leading up to our Sprint Cup careers.”

Then, of course, there is Harvick’s track record that helps him love the .526-mile oval even more. He’s got six Martinsville wins to his credit: two in the Sprint Cup Series, two in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and one in the Xfinity Series.

Why has he enjoyed so much Martinsville Speedway success?

“I think a lot of us grew up on short tracks. I’ve raced there a lot, be it in the trucks or the Xfinity Series or the Cup Series,” Harvick said Tuesday during a Martinsville Speedway media event at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. “It’s a track where we feel like we could have won more races than we have. But it’s a place you enjoy racing.

“It’s like Talladega in the fact you never know when something is going to happen. Just like last year we were rolling good. We had qualified bad and came up through the field and worked into the top five. A restart went wild and we wound up backwards in the fence. That’s really what short-track racing is all about and that happens a lot at Martinsville.”

Harvick said over the years he has gotten better at handling the emotional roller-coaster 500 laps at Martinsville can be for a driver, but added everyone has a boiling point.

“It’s almost impossible to race at Martinsville and not be mad at someone,” said Harvick. “You’re gonna run into somebody. Somebody is going to run into you. There are just so many things that can go wrong and you have to try to balance it all the best you can. I think I’ve become better at balancing that over the years but we still have our moments.”

Advance ticket prices for the STP 500 begin at just $45.

Prices increase the week of the race.

Tickets to the STP 500 on March 29, the Kroger 250 on March 28 and the Virginia Lottery Pole Day on March 27 can be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

Tags: Entertainment, Henry County, Insider's Tips, Local Business, Martinsville, Martinsville Speedway, Racing, Ridgeway, ,