Kevin Harvick visits the Virginia Tech Hokies

Kevin Harvick and Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon join Virginia Tech Head Football Coach
Frank Beamer and President of Martinsville Speedway, Clay Campbell. Credit: Martinsville Speedway
Three days after the Chase was set, Kevin Harvick paid a visit to the Virginia Tech Hokies football team and their head coach, Frank Beamer, who is an avid NASCAR fan.

Harvick toured the Hokies’ football facilities earlier on Tuesday, popped into a coaches meeting, distributed hats to the coaching staff, and had lunch with a few of the players. He also sat through the weekly media interviews and at one point said he felt sorry for the way one player was being grilled.

“There’s a lot of similarities about what it takes to make a race team go around and what makes a football team or any other business for that matter,” Harvick said to the media. “It takes good people, it takes dedication, and it takes determination to do what you have to do.”

When the Sprint Cup Series moves to Chicagoland this weekend, Harvick and Kyle Busch will share the points lead, although Harvick is technically the No. 2 seed, a tie is broken by 2nd place finishes.

The driver of the No. 29 also presented Coach Beamer with a replica helmet and in return, he received a Hokies jersey, with his Sprint Cup car number and name on the back. The President of Martinsville Speedway, Clay Campbell, gave Coach Beamer two lifetime tickets to Campbell’s suite at the track.

Coach Beamer, who served as the grand marshal for a race in Martinsville in 2008, recalled his visit to Bristol Motor Speedway. He and five other celebrities took part in a 15-lap charity race.

“I really was nervous about running into the wall with people looking,” he told the media, adding that he tried to make a deal with the other drivers beforehand to ensure they all remained safe. “I said, ‘Look, none of us know how to race cars, and so why don’t we all just drive down on the lower part of the track and if we want to pass, just pass on the outside and that way we don’t run into each other,’ and these guys didn’t want to do it,” Beamer said, laughing.

One of the other racers in the 15 lap race was kicker David Akers, who currently plays for the San Francisco 49ers, who Beamer said wants to race cars.

“I noticed a lot of people were going by me,” Beamer said, “but I was just trying not to run into the wall. So I got through the race and was happy as heck I didn’t run into the wall.” When it was finished, Beamer asked his daughter, Casey , if anyone had passed him.

“And she said, ‘I don’t know if anyone passed you, but Akers passed you twice.’”

Beamer was put on the spot and asked whom he liked in the Chase. Beamer said “Kevin Harvick” but quickly added he also roots for Virginia drivers, including contender Denny Hamlin.

Harvick said the race is wide open this year, unlike previous years in which Jimmie Johnson was the favorite to win.

“I tell you, with so many different people winning this year, I think it shows how competitive the series is right now,” Harvick said. “It seems like everybody’s been through a certain people of struggles and I always tell everybody that each Chase takes its own characteristic, and it will be interesting to see if this is going to be a consistent one, one where you have to win, or one where you have to make the best out of your bad days. It will be interesting”

Harvick's visit to Virginia Tech was part of a NASCAR Media Event. Different drivers will venture to surrounding areas where the last 10 races for the Championship will be held. Martinsville Speedway will host the seventh race in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase.
Kevin Harvick visits the Virginia Tech Hokies Kevin Harvick visits the  Virginia Tech Hokies Reviewed by Kristin Weaver on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 Rating: 5