KEVIN HARVICK, DRIVER OF THE NO. 29 SHELL-PENZOIL IMPALA SS met with members of the media at Darlington Raceway and talked about the fast speeds, the Lowe's test, winning the All-Star race, the burnout competition and more. HOW FAST IS THE...
KEVIN HARVICK, DRIVER OF THE NO. 29 SHELL-PENZOIL IMPALA SS met with members of the media at Darlington Raceway and talked about the fast speeds, the Lowe's test, winning the All-Star race, the burnout competition and more.
HOW FAST IS THE TRACK, IS IT TOO FAST? "Well I mean you're kind of in a catch 22 situation here. I was on the other side of the fence here when the track came up and went through the radiator, so you are at a point where you have to do something with the track and any time we have new race tracks, the track is really fast. This is no exception. The track is really fast. It's really smooth. It's going to be tough to make it all right this time and that's probably not a fair situation to be in but it is what it is and there's nothing you can really do about it because you got to repave the race track in order to keep stuff from flying out of it.
"It's fast, it's gonna be tough to race on. I think if you look through the garage there's more cars that have hit the wall than not and I'm in that category. I hit it twice. It's still Darlington, still can reach out and grab you it's just the consequences are a little bit bigger."
IS IT SLICK? "It's not slick, it's just you're riding on the edge and when you go over the edge there's no warning, it just goes and that's just the hard tire and the new race track and the high speeds and it's magnified at this place because you run right against the wall."
ARE THEY (THE WALL) A LOT HARDER NOW AT THE HIGHER SPEEDS? "That's like throwing a baseball. If I threw a baseball at you, if I threw it soft it wouldn't hurt as bad if I threw it hard."
DOESN'T THAT MAKE FOR A GREAT RACE? "It will be made for TV. It'll definitely be made for T.V. for sure. It'll be exciting and fun to watch."
IT SOUNDS LIKE PASSING IS GOING TO BE A PREMIUM. "Passing is going to be hard. It's going to be all about track position and keeping yourself out of trouble. The Nationwide cars are even worse because the speeds, you are out of the throttle so little that everybody kind of runs the same speed and the speed is so high that it takes the momentum into that one lane that you can run in. Unless somebody makes a big, big mistake it's going to be tough to pass."
HAVE YOU HAD TO CHANGE HOW YOU GET AROUND HERE? "It's so narrow that you drive the same line that you ran before but there's really no other option at this place because of the fact that it is narrow, it's just Darlington and it's kind of the line that you run. You do have a couple of more options in three and four than you probably did before. You can kind of run in the middle and you can run at the top so you do have a few other options down there than what you had before and feel like you're not tearing the tire up."
RICKY CRAVEN SAID WHEN HE WAS RACING AGAINST KURT (BUSCH) HERE SO CLOSELY THAT HE ALMOST FORGOT TO RUN THE TRACK. HE ALMOST LOST IT BECAUSE HE ALMOST STARTED RACING AGAINST HIM INSTEAD OF RACING THIS RACE TRACK. THIS IS GOING TO GET MORE FRUSTRATING PROBABLY, THIS TRACK. "I almost won the lottery a couple of times too. (laughs).
HOW MANY DID YOU GET? "A couple of numbers."
SO REMEMBERING THAT THIS TRACK IS AWFULLY FRUSTRATING IN ITSELF. "I think you just have to race the race track. I mean there's no other way to do it here because as soon as you get comfortable and you feel like you can gain a little more speed you hit something. So you still are going to have to race the race track, you still are going to have to do all the same things that you normally do it's just a lot faster."
JEFF (BURTON) WAS TALKING ABOUT ALL YOU GUYS ARE IN THE TOP FIVE IN POINTS AND HAVEN'T LED THAT MANY LAPS, HOW CLOSE DO YOU FEEL LIKE CROSSING OVER THAT NEXT BAR? "I think we've been consistent, a consistent top-10 car. I don't think we're where we need to be performance wise as far as leading those laps and having a race that was dominate. We went to our best race track last week and ran eighth. Obviously we are not where we need to be performance wise but we're not in the trunk either. We feel like we've taken that step from where we were four years ago and completely in the back part of the pack and made that better to where we are in the front part of the pack and making the cars better. Now we're all wanting to take it to that next level. We're consistent and we can luck into wins like we did last week, but we're not where the 18 and the 11 are. We're able to put ourselves in positions where we have a chance to win if something goes wrong with those two or three cars that are on that night, so that's just where we are."
WERE THE TEAM'S HAPPY WITH THE LOWE'S TEST? WERE THEY HAPPY THEY GOT THE TEST? "I don't know. I hate testing so I'm probably not the person to ask."
DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM IT? "Not really."
DID YOU GUYS FLIP THE SWITCH IN THE OFF-SEASON FOR THE THREE OF YOU GUYS AS A TEAM AT RCR? "No, I think you have to go further back than the off-season. We all ran pretty well last year too. Were pretty consistent last year and ran really well the year before and really well the half year before that. I think it goes further back than just the off-season. I think all three of us have gotten along really well.
"Everybody's communicated very well and we all work together very well so it's just a matter of finding that little thing that we all needed to take it over that hump."
ARE YOU DOING THE BURNOUT COMPETITION? "Yeah."
A LOT OF PEOPLE CREDIT YOU WITH MAKING IT POPULAR IN NASCAR. "I don't know. I think (Ron) Hornaday probably started it back in about '98. The first one I remember was probably in Memphis and then (Dale, Sr.) Earnhardt banned him from doing it because it was tearing everything up. He probably started it. I don't think I deserve the credit for that for sure. It's becoming a pretty common thing as far as when you win but that will be a lot of fun. I guess we get to practice Monday night. I guess Clint's (Bowyer) has already practiced. We're supposed to be practicing burnouts not crashing. We didn't call it a crash competition but he got to practice a little bit so we're going to get to practice Monday after the Nationwide test."
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR STYLE POINTS AND IS THERE A SECRET FOR DOING BURNOUTS? "I think the best style points are probably just blow the tires out. That's what I'm going for. Just pop the tires."
CAN YOU GET TO VICTORY LANE BY DOING THAT? "Oh, we can walk."
WITH THE STORMS THAT WENT THROUGH THE GREENSBORO AREA, DID THAT IMPACT YOUR RESIDENCE OR KHI (KEVIN HARVICK, INC.)? "Not that I know of. Everything was right around it. I know the home is okay. I haven't talked to anybody from the shop, but DeLana didn't say anything about anything being torn up but everything around us was tore up."
WHAT DID WINNING THE ALL-STAR DO YOU FOR YOU LAST YEAR? "Charlotte is notoriously not been a place where we run very well at and we ran really well at the All-Star race last year. We had a good test there last year. We ran good at the 600 for the 75 laps that we ran before the big accident. It's just been one of those places that's been harder for us to get a hold of. To win at Charlotte was a pretty big event for us and to win the All-Star race is one of those races where we all want to win and we all want to have that on our resume and to do that is something that we're all pretty proud of."
IT DOESN'T HURT TO WIN THE BIG MONEY RACES EITHER DOES IT? "Well they're all big money races now. Obviously it did pay a million dollars so that didn't hurt anything. Still the trophy is the most important thing."
IS THERE A BURNOUT THAT YOU'VE SEEN SOMEONE DO THAT IMPRESSED YOU AT ALL? "Really the only one that's really impressed me, probably the best one that I've seen is probably the (Jack) Sprague burnout. "It was probably 2001 when all the tires caught on fire. I think it was 2001 at Richmond. That was probably the coolest one that I've seen. I don't think I've been able to do that one but no one is overly impressive."
HOW ABOUT YOU? "I think I'm pretty good at it."
-credit: gm racing