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NASCAR NEWS 

Harvick no fan of Villeneuve debut

Nextel Cup title contender Kevin Harvick has joined the group of drivers who don't agree with Jacques Villeneuve's planned Cup debut at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend.

Following Jeff Gordon's comments at Kansas Speedway speaking against Villeneuve's plans, title rival Harvick agrees that the 2.66-mile oval is not the best place to kick off a career at NASCAR's top level.

"I wouldn't pick it as my first race, I can tell you that much," said Harvick. "It could be a bad move if things go wrong. But hopefully they go in with an agenda of just trying to survive and just really just making laps and not trying to do anything miraculous or heroic, I guess you could say.

"But it's probably definitely not the race if I was a team owner or a driver coming for the first time to such an unknown that I would have picked."

Harvick, also a team owner in the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, believes the kind of racing typical of Talladega does not favour Villeneuve's chances of having a successful debut with so little experience.

"Obviously [he] didn't do very well in his first Truck race," Harvick added. "Going to Talladega, I think there's a lot of things that with a lot of things on the line and being one of our places where you know that you're going to have some trouble probably that you're going to have to avoid, there probably could have been a better place for him to make his Cup debut."

"So the Truck Series and the Busch Series are there to gather that knowledge and be able to race and understand the cars and Talladega is a place that's so unpredictable.

"He's probably going to be able to do it and probably going to be fine. But it's just the odds are definitely not in his favor."

Villeneuve will have to qualify on Saturday hoping to grab one of the eight places remaining on the grid for those drivers who don't have their cars in the top 35 in the owner points. Those spots will be contested by at least 16 drivers.

If he makes the field for Sunday's race, he will benefit from some additional track time at Talladega, when he competes Saturday afternoon in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event.

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