Harvick pays visit to Beamer, Virginia Tech

Three days after securing a share of the lead heading into
NASCAR’s playoffs, Kevin Harvick paid a visit to Virginia Tech and
avid stock car fan Frank Beamer.

Harvick toured the No. 13 Hokies’ facilities Tuesday, popped
into a coaches meeting, distributed hats to the coaching staff and
had lunch with several Hokies. He also sat through their media
interviews, at one point saying 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. “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 Chicago this weekend,
Harvick and Kyle Busch will share the points lead, although Harvick
is technically the No. 2 seed based on the regular season.

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

Beamer, who has served as the grand marshal for a race at
Martinsville, recalled his own visit to Bristol Motor Speedway,
where he and five other celebrities took part in a 15-lap race.

“I really was nervous about running into the wall with people
looking,” he said, 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 was kicker David Akers, 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, he asked his daughter, Casey, if everyone
had passed him.

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

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.

Unlike previous seasons, when five-time defending series
champion Jimmie Johnson seemed like the favorite to win the
championship again, Harvick said the race is wide open.

“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 period of
struggles and I always tell everybody that each Chase takes on 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.”

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