KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway following his announcement that the Kevin Harvick Foundation will fund a full academic scholarship to one California State University, Bakersfield...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway following his announcement that the Kevin Harvick Foundation will fund a full academic scholarship to one California State University, Bakersfield student-athlete per year for the next 12 years. Harvick then discussed racing at Auto Club Speedway, competition in the Chase, staying calm under pressure and more.
CONGRATULATIONS ON THIS VERY SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON COMING BACK TO AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY? "Well, I think for us it has obviously been a great year for us. You look back to the second race of the year, and this is really one of the weeks that kind of spring boarded everything into motion. As we went through the race here and felt like these were our weaker race tracks over the past few years and we've been in contention to win the first race here and obviously won the last race at Michigan. We've had circle on this one as we come back to this particular race track. Obviously, [I am] racing in front a lot of our fans and a lot of friends and family from home, so it is hopefully going to be a good weekend. A lot has changed since then--no wing, you've got the spoiler on the car and a lot of things are different. Based upon Michigan, hopefully things will be good."
HAVE YOU DETERMINED THE PLAN FOR KHI IN 2011 AND BEYOND? "Right now we're working through a lot of different things to get our plans and hopefully we can kind of lay out our [NASCAR Camping World] Truck and Nationwide [Series] plans as we get through the next three or four weeks. We're working on a lot of different things and scenarios right now.
"Right now, he's obviously a part of our Truck Series program and has run the Nationwide races. We'd love to have him play more of a role with the organization."
OVER THE LAST WEEK THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT HOW A NON-CHASE DRIVER SHOULD RACE THE CHASE DRIVERS. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT? "I think that's the great thing about our sport--it's the race within the race. There are a lot of guys that have created new life in their season that want to win a race, and there are a lot of guys that are racing for a championship. It's all about 43 cars on the racetrack and if there is a scenario that something happens between a Chase guy and a non-Chase guy, then those things are going to happen. I would hate to see a separate points system, and you hear a lot of talk about those types of things. In the end, it's all about all 43 cars on the racetrack. I don't think there is any--it is still the same old deal--you race those how they race you. Obviously there was a circumstance like that last week and it played out the way that it did. I don't think--obviously there is more that has happened than just last week. Those weren't just feelings from last week, I don't think."
AS A FAN GROWING UP IN CALIFORNIA DID YOU EVER MAKE IT TO ANY CUP RACES? "I actually went to--you're going to laugh--the only time I went to Riverside, I wasn't old enough to get in and my dad was there working on Rick Carelli's car. I actually went into the infield in the backseat of Cathy Carelli's car with a blanket over the top of me to get into the pits. I stayed in the back of the--Rick had a bread truck basically as a hauler at that particular point--but that was the last race at Riverside. Then we've been to Phoenix as we were racing the Southwest Tour cars and things like that for the Cup race."
THIS IS THE LAST YEAR WITH TWO RACES FOR CALIFORNIA, DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE BETTER TO HAVE TWO RACES IN THIS STATE AS OPPOSED TO THREE? "I don't think that it will be a bad thing. I think when we used to come here and there was one race a year, a lot of participation from the fans and I think this is not going to be a bad thing for this particular market, in my opinion."
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE 500-MILE VERSUS THE 400-MILE RACE IN YOUR APPROACH TO THE RACE? "I don't think that the approach is much different. I think the engine guys take a deep breath and are happy that you don't have that extra hundred miles. From our point, really nothing changes other than you're calculating to the end of a 400-mile race instead of 500, and that's really just two extra pit stops."
SHOULD NON-CHASERS HAVE ANY DIFFERENCE TO YOU GUYS THAT ARE RUNNING FOR A TITLE? "I don't think so. I think everybody needs to race us as hard as they can. Everybody will race everybody with respect, and obviously if you feel like you've been done wrong then you are going to handle it however you think that it needs to be handled. I think that's part of what makes our Chase unique; you have all these past moments that have happened through the year that could bear their ugly head again if they haven't been settled.
"That to me looked like something that hadn't been settled; hadn't been talked about off the racetrack. There was just too much emotion involved in that whole situation."
IN GENERAL, IT SEEMS THERE IS A CALMNESS AROUND YOU THAT I HAVEN'T SEEN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS THAT YOU'VE RUN FOR THE CHASE. IS THAT ACCURATE? "I feel really comfortable where I'm at. I feel like we've been through a lot of these situations before. I feel like we've run better this year--just consistently. I know that we've started the Chase better than we've ever started the Chase before. It seems like looking back at the past history of what we do, the last four or five races are our strength based upon the last few times that we've been in the Chase. You never know how it's all going to shake out, but I feel really good about the situation that we're in as a team and we just go race every week as hard as we can."
YOU RACED HERE EARLIER IN THE YEAR, HOW IDENTICAL IS YOUR CAR TO WHAT IT WAS EARLIER THIS SEASON? "Well it's a lot different actually because with the wing off a lot of the downforce numbers and shifts of downforce have changed from front to rear. The cars are quite a bit different, but everything that we've got in our car this weekend, it is the same car that we ran at Michigan and a lot of the same things underneath the car that we ran in Michigan. I feel really good about going into the weekend and I feel like we should run well."
MICHIGAN IS SIMILAR TO AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY, BEING THAT THEY'RE SIMILAR DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE DIFFERENT SET UPS OR CAN YOU PATTERN IT PRETTY CLOSELY TO MICHIGAN'S PERFORMANCE? "Well, we hope we can pattern it fairly close. There will be some differences in the setup. Obviously it is going to be probably 90 degrees on Sunday, so the weather will be virtually identical to what it was in Michigan, but the racetrack has its own unique characteristics and drives a little bit different than Michigan. A lot of the same setup theories will work here."
HAS GOODYEAR BROUGHT THE SAME TIRE USED IN MICHIGAN, OR IS IT DIFFERENT? "This is the same tire we ran last week at Kansas. There seems to be subtle differences every time that we show up so we just have to see how the tire measures and drives on the racetrack."
DO YOU HAVE THE HORSESHOE THIS TIME? "I hope I have the horseshoe. If I have the horseshoe I'm happy; hope you can't find it."
-source: gm racing