FONTANA – There is definitely a Western flavor in NASCAR Nextel Cup these days. For the third successive year, a driver with California ties has won the season-opening Daytona 500. Kevin Harvick’s win on Sunday by two feet over Mark Martin extended the streak started by Jeff Gordon in 2005 and kept alive in 2006 by teammate Jimmie Johnson. Harvick will compete in all three races this weekend. His first Craftsman Truck Series race was in 1997 and resulted in a 20th-place finish. He has competed in two other track races at Fontana. In Cup competition, Harvick’s best furnish at Fontana is sixth in nine races. He has a pair of second-place finishes in eight Busch starts. RACE FOR BOOKS Petty Enterprises driver Bobby Labonte and sponsor Cherrios have renewed their season-long Race For Books program. Cheerios and nonprofit partner First Book will donate 43 books for every lap that Labonte completes during the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season. It’s an opportunity to earn more than 400,000 books for children in need. During the last 10 races of the 2006 season, Labonte earned more than 125,000 books,recording four top-10 finishes during that stretch. “As a father and professional racer I know how important reading is,” said Labonte, who has two children. “Reading is a part of life every day. We are looking forward to success on the track in 2007, but now we can be winners off the track, too. I am proud to be associated with Cheerios and First Book. We are going to work as hard as we can to earn as many books as possible.” INJURY UPDATE Of the two crewmen who were injured during Sunday’s Daytona 500, only one may get the opportunity to work in the Auto Club 500. Jeremy “Gator” Geiter, a crew member on the Chevrolet driven by Mike Wallace, was hit on his left leg and ankle by the Dodge driven by Jaime McMurray. X-rays revealed a sprained ankle and at least one bone bruise, but no broken bones. “I’ve gotten hurt before, but not like this,” Geiter said Sunday night as he hobbled out of the infield care center at Daytona International Speedway. “They said I’d be out two or three days. I’m hoping that’s all it is. I’m hoping to be back for California.” It’s more serious for Josh Yost, jack man for Jeff Burton’s Chevy. According to Richard Childress Racing spokesman David Hart, Yost suffered his second serious Achilles’ tendon injury in less than two years. The first injury, in May 2005 at Talladega Superspeedway, Yost suffered a laceration to his right Achilles’ tendon when he was struck by Rusty Wallace’s Dodge on the pit lane. That injury took months to heal, required a wheelchair and Yost had to learn how to walk again. LOCAL FAN Jeff Hood of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found a group of Michael Waltrip fans at the Daytona 500 and discovered a San Bernardino County fan with a strong opinion. Victorville’s Kenny Nance, wearing a NAPA hat, said he believed NASCAR’s penalty for Waltrip was too severe. Waltrip’s car was confiscated and two crew members suspended after an illegal substance was found in Waltrip’s Toyota. “My reaction was NASCAR was probably being a little too harsh on him, being a new team and not cutting a little slack being new cars in Toyotas,” Nance said. “I think Michael probably didn’t know anything about it.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Two of the three have won at California Speedway, the next stop on the Nextel Cup Series Schedule. Both Johnson and Gordon have won the Auto Club 500 while Harvick is a two-time runnerup in the Busch Series. Harvick is a native of Bakersfield while Johnson hails from El Cajon outside San Diego. Gordon was born in Vallejo, but left the state at an earlier age to pursue his driving career. They are part of a growing list of drivers outside the Southeast, NASCAR’s traditional base. Daytona 500 polesitter David Gilliland lived in Riverside and Chino Hills before heading East last year to compete in the Busch Series. Casey Mears, whose family excelled in off-road and open-wheel racing, is also from Bakersfield. Kurt and Kyle Busch cut their teeth racing out of Las Vegas while Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle are both from the state of Washington. Boris Said, the road racer trying to get a full-time Nextel Cup ride, is from Carlsbad.