KEVIN HARVICK, DRIVER OF THE NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Lowe's Motor Speedway and discussed the driver change on the No. 2 Kevin Harvick, Inc. truck, Jeff Burton's character, the tire test at Indianapolis,...
KEVIN HARVICK, DRIVER OF THE NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Lowe's Motor Speedway and discussed the driver change on the No. 2 Kevin Harvick, Inc. truck, Jeff Burton's character, the tire test at Indianapolis, and more.
ARE THERE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT YOU DOING DOUBLE DUTY HERE THIS WEEKEND IN YOUR NATIONWIDE CAR WITH THE CHASE IN FULL SWING? "I don't think so. I think that's how we all got there was to race. I don't think that's really a concern."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE DECISION TO RELEASE JACK (SPRAGUE) AND WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO? "I think it just wasn't going as it needed to go and we needed to do something different. I think both sides were probably not happy with the results so I'm going to drive it at Martinsville and we some other of my friends to drive it after that."
ARE YOU TALING ABOUT YOUR CUP FRIENDS OR WILL YOU PUT CALE GALE IN THERE? "Just some of my friends."
DOES THAT OPEN THE DOOR FOR RICKY CARMICHAEL? "I don't think so. I'm not saying no, I think if we do Ricky's truck it will be a third truck."
TALK ABOUT JEFF BURTON'S CHARACTER. "You know Jeff Burton is one of the best people you'll ever meet no matter if you're in this garage or just in everyday life. He's obviously a great dad, a great teammate, a great whatever, cousin, brother whatever you want to call him. Jeff's just a really good all around person and I tell everybody when they ask this question I think Jeff Burton's helped me more as a person than he's helped me as a race car driver and that's more rewarding than anything that you can do. Just glad to have him as a teammate. You could go on and on about why Jeff Burton is such a great person to have as a husband or as a teammate. He's just a good, good all around person."
COULD YOU IMAGINE BEING WITH THE SAME PERSON SINCE YOU WERE 14 YEARS OLD? "Well, not with him. (LAUGHS) Obviously Jeff and Kim (Burton, Jeff's wife) have a great relationship. Jeff just knows how to make things work. I think that is what a marriage is all about. Making things work and Jeff is somebody who if something's wrong he wants to sit down and talk about it. That's probably why it's worked so well."
DO YOU THINK HE (BURTON) IS CONSIDERED A SERIOUS THREAT TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "You know right now I think the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) car is the car to beat and I think it's theirs to lose."
WERE YOU CONFUSED AT ALL ABOUT THE YELLOW-LINE RULE BEFORE LAST WEEK AND DID THE EVENTS FROM THE LAST WEEK CLARIFY IT? "I thought if you could see the checkered flag that anything goes. I guess I was not clear on it. I have not seen the finish though."
IS MARTINSVILLE ANOTHER WILD CARD IN THE CHASE? "Yeah, I think if I had to pick one out of the 10 this (Lowe's Motor Speedway) would probably be the weakest spot that we went to. Obviously Talladega wasn't exactly the way you wanted to finish. We ran great all day and came up about 16 laps short there at the end. That didn't help anything. We'll keep racing hard. I'm looking forward to going to Martinsville. I'm racing the truck there and racing the car is going to be a lot of fun."
WHEN THINGS HEAT UP AT MARTINSVILLE, HOW TO YOU STAY COOL AND CALM IN THE CAR? (LAUGHS) "I'm not very good at that. I just go out and race. Usually you race the guy how they want to race you. Martinsville is a long, mentally draining race just for the fact that it's hard to pass and you wide up having to beat and bang a little more than you do at other places. Usually they have to keep me cool. Usually I'm not very good at doing it myself."
IS MARTINSVILLE A GOOD PLACE TO GAIN POINTS? "Well I think they're all good opportunities to gain points. It's just a matter of right now everybody is racing the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) car and as lucky as he was last week, there's a lot to be said for what they can do performance wise at the race tracks and when you have the luck to go along with it that's a good thing."
THEY'VE HAD A LOT OF GUYS ON THAT NO. 48 TEAM THAT HAVE BEEN TOGETHER FOR A LONG TIME, HOW DOES THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THEIR SUCCESS? "I think stability is a key factor in a lot of things. I think that's what gets you through the hard times and I'm fortunate to be in that same boat and been able to have a lot of success with a lot of the same people. That's important that people know when you're in a bad mood or a good mood and know really who you are as a person and know the lingo that you're talking on the radio helps speed things up."
DOES THE DYNAMICS OF THE CHASE CHANGE NOW THAT YOU HAVE TALLADEGA AND DOVER OUT OF THE WAY AND YOU JUST HAVE THE 1.5-MILE TRACKS AND FLAT TRACKS OF MARTINSVILLE AND PHOENIX LEFT? "I don't think so. I think they're still just races and it doesn't matter where you're going, you've got to have pit performance and you've got to have everything on the luck side going your way. Just race tracks. I don't think the dynamics of the Chase or ten races there's not one week that's going to make or break you."
YOU HAVE SAID THAT THE 1.5-MILE TRACKS HAVE BEEN YOUR STRONG SUIT THIS SEASON, IS THAT TRUE HERE? "I don't think this is our strongest suit. I'd say Charlotte is our weakest point in the Chase but we've run really well on all the other 1.5-mile tracks. All the tracks after this one are really good for us and I think we've done good everywhere that we've been so far. It's just a matter, like I say, we're 100 points out of second and Jimmie's kind of off in his own little league right now as far as points goes so we'll just have to see how it all shakes out."
ARE YOUNG DRIVERS GOING TO HAVE A TOUGHER TIME CLIMBING THE LADDER BECAUSE OF HOW TOUGH IT IS GOING TO BE TO FOR A TEAM OWNER IN THESE ECONOMIC TIMES? "Well it's turned my team upside down from an owner's standpoint just for the fact that our Nationwide program we're having to kind of step back and revisit where we are with all that stuff. It's tough and if the economy turns worse here everybody kind of goes into panic mode so everything that you have going and that you want to take forward, everybody kind of stops and really wants to see who the President is going to be, how the banks are going to work and how things are going. It's as hard right now as it's ever been. We're looking to change our force I guess you can say as far as what we're doing from here.
"I think for me I don't go looking for talent. With a truck and a Nationwide program I just usually drive it myself or put somebody in there that's done it for 20 years because I don't have anything to develop for."
YOU WERE IN INDIANAPOLIS ON TUESDAY, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE TIRES? "The tires are really fast. They had a couple of 30-lap runs with the tires so that's a good thing. I thought the tire felt pretty good. So I think it's a huge improvement from what we raced there for sure."
SO ARE YOU CONFIDENT THAT BY THE TIME YOU HAVE THAT OVERALL TEST IN APRIL AND I GUESS OTHER TEAMS CAN BE GOING TO TEST THERE UNDER THE NEW POLICY THAT EVERYBODY WILL HAVE A GOOD HANDLE ON IT BY THEN? "I hope so. It's just a matter of everybody deciding how fast they want the cars to go and what exactly they are looking for. But the grip was good on the tire and obviously the conditions are optimum right now weather wise for Indianapolis. We're going to go back in the middle of the summer so that's a little bit of a curve ball that you get thrown there."
WAS IT HARD TO HAVE TO TELL JACK SPRAGUE YOU NEEDED TO MAKE A CHANGE? "It wasn't really hard when the performance was going like that. The hardest part is just telling somebody that you had to make a change and do something different and obviously you don't ever want to do that. When the performance isn't going good you've got to figure out how to make it go good especially when the other truck is sitting there leading the points and have won five races this year. You've got to figure out something. Those vehicles, they're all the same and you've got to figure out why they're not performing the same."
-credit: gm racing