February 5, 2004: Highlights of Driver Q&A Sessions with the Media at Daytona International Speedway. KEVIN HARVICK , NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO WIN THE DAYTONA 500? "Oh, this is the one that we're...
February 5, 2004: Highlights of Driver Q&A Sessions with the Media at Daytona International Speedway.
KEVIN HARVICK , NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO WIN THE DAYTONA 500? "Oh, this is the one that we're all shooting for. It's the one we put the most effort into. The Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 and the NEXTEL Cup championship - not in any particular order - are by far the biggest wins everybody wants."
WHAT DO YOU DO TO PREPARE FOR THE SEASON? "The most important thing is to just try to keep yourself mentally focused during the off-season and just try not to veer away from anything you were just doing. You've got to keep your mind on the right thing. That's hard at times, but you have to remember where you left off. If you've got momentum, like we had at the end of last year, you definitely try to hold on to what you had. You've just got to make sure you get all you can during the off-season. You keep your team in good spirits because they work pretty much every day of the week."
WILL THINGS BE DIFFERENT FOR YOU WITH NEXTEL AS THE SERIES SPONSOR?) "The biggest thing for me is the fact that they can use me in their advertising. They can use our car. They can put it on a billboard. Just the marketing side of it is the biggest thing for us. It's not different for me as far as approaching things. It doesn't really change anything that you do."
WITH VARIOUS TEAM CHANGES, DO YOU EVER GET THE CAR NUMBERS AND THE DRIVER CONFUSED? "I am in tune with who is in what (car) and who has gone where. You just make yourself a mental note and make sure you know who has changed. And you give somebody a little extra room until you get used to racing with him. That's definitely important."
COMING INTO THE SEASON, WHO ARE THE FAVORITES? "It's so hard to tell. We've tried to prepare ourselves as best as we can to be one of the favorites. It's so hard to know who changed what or who has lost a member of the team that can disrupt the team - like a car chief or crew chief or whatever. Once we get five or six weeks into the season that will be an easier question. But obviously Jeff Gordon has to be in the group. Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, and the typical guys who ran good last year will run good again."
ON DRIVERS WHO RUN A FULL CAMPAIGN IN BOTH BUSCH AND CUP "When we did it, it was for different reasons. Now they're just doing it to do it. It's good for the track time and seat time and getting used to the race tracks. But when you have to go to Milwaukee to Pocono to Pikes Peak, it really starts wearing on you. Hopefully they've got their travel plans coordinated correctly."
HOW HAVE YOU IMPROVED SINCE YOUR CUP SEASON? "We're better than we were in 2001 for sure. We finished the year running good, which is something we didn't do in 2001. We were slowly falling off. This is the first year that we've come back with the same crew chief, the same pit crew, the same people, and all the small things that add up to the big thing - especially in communications. This is the first year we've come back with that whole structure in place. That, to me, is the most important thing. I think it'll show, but you never can tell."
WILL THE NO. 29 TEAM BENEFIT BY YOUR TEAMMATES? "I hope it'll be better than it was last year because we didn't benefit a whole lot from each other. That has to be stepped up. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon and those guys (Hendrick Motorsports) benefit a lot from each other. We've got to be able to have Robby (Gordon) and Johnny (Sauter) got to other race tracks and step up to the plate and deliver some good information. If we can all do that, it'll definitely help our program. I felt like we had a lot of really good tests last year and Robby helped us tremendously on the road course program and I think that showed. But we've got to draw something from the No. 30 car this year."
ON THE FLOW OF INFORMATION BETWEEN THE RCR TEAMS "There was just a lot of flow of people. That was the biggest problem. There were so many different people and drivers that nobody ever got settled. If we can get Johnny (Sauter) and Kevin (Hamlin, crew chief) settled down and on the same page, I think it'll really help. Those guys have been together that are on the No. 30 team. You've got to keep the same people in place and that's the biggest key."