NASCAR Stock Car Racing was born in North Carolina with roots in the Appalachian Mountain back roads. Today, many NASCAR drivers and teams call the state home.
Driver Kevin Harvick is from Bakersfield, California but now lives in Oak Ridge, in Guilford County. His wife Delana grew up in Kernersville, and was also part of a local racing family.
FOX8 Reality tagged along with Kevin Harvick and the #29 Budweiser crew as they prepared for the Sprint Cup Race in Bristol.
The crew arrives well before the sun rises over the mountains of East Tennessee to prep the car for the race. The crew has a five-page checklist with hundreds of detailed items to check and double-check, so the car will survive 500 laps around the high banked half mile.
Harvick, a champion driver who's been at the wheel of a racing machine of some type since he was 5-years-old, spent the morning meeting fans, shaking hands and chatting with many well wishers along the way.
He even had a pit road encounter with Tim Smith from the reality show "Moonshiners". Smith can almost be considered a local too, living in Virginia near the Martinsville Speedway.
Once the green flag drops, its Kevin's job to drive 14 second laps and the pit crew's job to change tires and add fuel, also in 14 seconds.
Kevin ran well early in the race, 2nd for a long time, falling back late after pit strategy cost them valuable track position.
Finishing the day 14th is no reason to celebrate, but the crew knows there's always next week.