KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Atlanta, Kevin's Krew, KHI NCWTS program and other topics. TALK ABOUT ATLANTA AND THE WIN BACK IN 2001 AND THIS...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Atlanta, Kevin's Krew, KHI NCWTS program and other topics.
TALK ABOUT ATLANTA AND THE WIN BACK IN 2001 AND THIS WEEKEND "We are definitely excited to come here. The first win was great but I think the best thing about coming here is the way that we ran last year here. This was probably our strongest track so hopefully that continues. Obviously there will be some things that are different compared to last year with the tire but I think our cars are better than they were last year too, so it's going to be finding that right balance and making your car good for the long haul and go from there."
KEVIN CAN YOU TALK TO ME ABOUT KEVIN'S KREW, WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT IT AND MAYBE A STORY YOU CAN SHARE? "Kevin's Krew is basically a group of challenged or under privileged kids that come to the race track that the local police department started near Fontana (California) and they basically bring anywhere from twenty to eighty kids to the track and let them get away from their environment and put them in an environment that impresses them enough to go out and do things that are fun and to be in an environment that is safe and put a good influence on their lives. So, we do that about eight times a year and the local police departments handle that and bring the kids to the track and they have a great time with it. So it's fun to see the smiles on the kid's faces and last week we had an essay winner that wrote an essay about the races ... and it just depends on what week you are at as to just the magnitude of impressions you make on those kids.
We take a picture and sign everybody's hats and try to interact with each of them as much as you can in a ten-minute time frame. But they like being around you, and it excites them and it makes you feel good because you are having a positive influence on the kids that are in that particular group."
ON HOW GOOD THE 48 TEAM HAS BEEN AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON "I think obviously they have had a great start and I don't think you can call it a great start because it's been a great several years for them. In order to be the best you have to beat the best and that is just kind of where we are right now and I feel like we have run with them now every week and now it's just time to go out and win a race and make that happen. So it's just for us to go out and keep doing the things we are doing and we are happy that we are running well but we want to win."
HOW WOULD YOU SIZE UP THE 48 TEAM RIGHT NOW GIVEN THAT YOU HAVE BEEN THE ONLY TEAM TO BE ABLE TO RUN WITH THEM SO FAR? "Obviously they have made it happen and have won the first couple of races but I don't think they are any better than we are right now, I just think it's just that we have to limit our mistakes and they do a really good job at limiting their mistakes and when they get something going their way, they capitalize on it and those are the things that we have to do as those opportunities present themselves to us. Got to capitalize on things when they go your way and when they are not going your way you have got to make them happen so to me that is the thing that they are the best at is when things aren't going their way, they figure out how to make it go their way. And for us I think it was a huge hurdle for us to overcome was to crash the car right off the bat in practice, qualify bad, and then we were able to drive through the field and have a solid day so those are the kinds of things that we couldn't do in the past and that's what we need to continue to do."
TALK ABOUT THE TRUCK RACE AND THE NEW CREW CHIEF FOR RON HORNADAY "Yeah, we made some changes over there because after the test and the first race we didn't really like the way things were functioning and we have seen them function right for several years and I know how Ron is and I know how I am and I know what we expect in the shop. Doug is going to do a great job and they have a great history of racing against each other and know each other personally and I think that goes a long way with Ron.
"Doug works really hard and I like the hands-on crew chief that can get in there and not tell you how to do it, but get in there and do it himself. And for me this week we have got Ernie Cope who handles all my Nationwide stuff and Butch Hilton will take over and to be around to watch things and see how it works and hopefully be ready to move forward and be there for us in Martinsville. I feel really comfortable where all that is at and we didn't have a great Daytona with crashing both trucks but I think they will do a good job and they'll be fine."
TALK ABOUT THE OFF WEEK AND WHAT YOUR TEAM PLANS TO DO: "Well, I don't think that Bristol is a big deal and we have a lot of testing coming up at Talladega and we have two test days at Charlotte so they will be getting prepared for those days and I think the spoiler is the first thing on everybody's mind and to get prepared for that and the aero guys and the engineers are working as hard as they can to understand what exactly the spoiler is going to change as far as that goes so there is a lot going on and not time for a week off and you just have to keep working ahead. Obviously you get the weekend off so that will be a good thing and for me I will just stay at home and relax and go from there."
DO YOU THINK YOU GUYS NEED TO SHOW THE 48 TEAM THAT THEY CAN BE CAUGHT AND THEY CAN BE BEAT? "Yeah, it's like I said earlier, you just have to do it. You have to go out and make it happen and capitalize on a situation that is either a good day or a lucky situation and make it happen from there. So I feel like they are running well enough to do that but there is also a fine line between forcing that and racing and just doing what you need to on the racetrack. So you can't force those things and you usually have those things go in cycles and if we keep running like we are we will get our share on the cycle."
THOUGHTS ON THE NEW GREEN/WHITE/CHECKERED RULES AND WHETHER IT WILL MAKE GOOD RACING: "Well, to tell you the truth I didn't really like it at Daytona but I do think it's the right thing to do based on the fact that the fans want to see a green flag finish and that is usually out of those three times you are going to get a green flag finish so it didn't work out good for us the first time out but I think overall it's going to work to getting those green flag finishes."
JUST BECAUSE WE DIDN'T ANTICIPATE THE RCR CARS BEING THIS STRONG, DID YOU ANTICIPATE BEING THIS STRONG? "Well, I don't listen to anything you guys (media) anticipate, I know that for sure. (LAUGHS) I wasn't trying to be mean to anybody, I promise. I don't you ever really know how you are going to start. I know how we finished last year and we expected to start well. I don't think we expected to start by having a chance to win every race so far. But, we expected to start well and do well on the race track. But, you never really know what you are going to get caught up in. I think the No. 42 car (Juan Pablo Montoya) is a great example of this. They have been fast the last two weeks and have just had stuff happen. That is very easy to have happen. We had it happen in the Nationwide car. Had a little bit of trouble with the engine at California. You just never know. Last year, we couldn't do anything right and if it was going to happen, we were in the wrecks. We were having mechanical failures. Like I said, those things go in cycles and you can't get too overwhelmed by those things happening because you can only control the things you can control. That is really what I try to focus on. That is what the guys on the team try to focus on what they can control. They can't control what I do in the car and I can't control what they do out of the car. We all try to do our jobs. Right now it is all going good and our job is to keep it going that way. That is the hard part about this sport is to keep it going in that direction. You have to stay ahead of that curve because everybody in this garage that is behind is working to catch up just like we were and they all will. So you have to keep pushing ahead to try to maintain those positive performance runs on the race track."
ON THE PRERACE SHOW LAST WEEK, YOU SAID YOU LIKED WORKING AT RCR BECAUSE IT IS A BLUE-COLLAR ENVIRONMENT, BEYOND YOU AND THE NO. 48, HOW MUCH OF A RIVALRY IS THERE BETWEEN RCR AND HENDRICK? IS IT YOUR GOAL TO BECOME THE TOP CHEVY TEAM? "Chevrolet works in a pretty unique way. There is a lot of information that goes in between the teams and wind tunnel time. You want to win for yourself, but it is a lot easier to race against a small group of guys than it is to race against the whole field. But, obviously, you want to be the best and you strive to be the best and you do everything you can to beat everybody on the race track no matter what brand it is. We don't feed off of things like that. We feed off of the things that we do. It is not about how good they have been or what they have done because they've done a really good job over a long time. It has not just been the last few years; it has been 20 some years that they have been really good in this sport. Obviously it sets that bar at what you want to be but I don't think that is motivating force behind what we are doing at RCR."
TALK ABOUT YOUR SHORT TRACK PROGRAM FOR THE NEXT TWO RACES: "I feel good about Bristol. I feel like Clint (Bowyer) probably ran the best at Martinsville last year. I am sure we will base a lot of what we do off of where they were and what we have learned this year. It is all about keeping your track position there and not getting yourself in trouble. Qualifying well definitely helps things go forward. I feel more comfortable at Bristol than I do at Martinsville as far as the performance will go. I feel like we could run in the top-10 in Martinsville. We should run at Bristol in the top-five and have a good shot at it if everything goes right and be competitive for the win. A little bit different expectations I guess you would say as far as those two. We have never put ourselves in position to win at Martinsville with the No. 29 car, but we have run up front a lot. It wasn't a bad place for us last year but I guess the confidence level would be a little bit different from Bristol to Martinsville. I don't feel bad about either one of them"
-source: gm racing