KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 PENNZOIL ULTRA CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed the All Star race, the new Nationwide Series test, the business of racing and other topics. TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK ON THE...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 PENNZOIL ULTRA CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed the All Star race, the new Nationwide Series test, the business of racing and other topics.
TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK ON THE ALL STAR RACE AS A FORMER WINNER: "It was a lot of fun to come out and win the All Star race here. This has been a tough track for us notoriously. I felt like we had a good test when we came a couple of months ago. I felt like we ran well here in October. Just going to go out and do the best we can and see where we are at hopefully in practice today and make some adjustments from there and go for it tomorrow night."
AS A PAST WINNER OF THIS RACE, FOR THE LAST 10 LAPS, WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE AND WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER YOU WIN OR LOSE? "The biggest thing is you want to try and be out front once everybody gets single file as soon as you can to try and take advantage of the aero side of it. The year we won, we won from fourth on the restart and passed everybody going through the middle of one and two on the restart. I think with 10 laps with as fast as everybody's cars are going to be and as much grip as you are going to have, I think you are going to want to be leading."
HOW BIG OF AN ADVANTAGE IS THE NO. 11 GOING TO HAVE GETTING THE NO. ONE PIT BOX? "I think with the rules, I definitely going to be an advantage but I think that is the key to the whole week just the fact that every event matters. It is kind of like the baseball All Star game gives you home field advantage in the World Series. They won the first part of it and they are going to reap the benefits from it."
THERE ARE REPORTS THAT SOME ANONYMOUS SOURCES THAT YOU HAVE AGREED TO A CONTRACT EXTENSION WITH RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING, ARE THEY CORRECT? "I don't have anything new to report today. As soon as we get something to report, we will go ahead and do that, but nothing new to report today."
IS THE FINAL 100 MILES OF THE COKE 600 MORE MENTAL OR PHYSICAL OR A COMBINATION FOR YOU GUYS IN THE CAR? "I think mentally you are kind of programmed to run four or five hundred miles so the extra 100 miles definitely, you think the race should be over and you have 100 miles to go. Really from that standpoint, there's really not a whole lot different. The engine guys worry about it more than anybody just because everything that we do is pretty much for a 700-mile weekend with practice and qualifying and the race. So, they become pretty stingy about how many laps you can run in practice and things like that during the practice sessions."
HOW HARD DO YOU THINK IT IS FOR BRIAN VICKERS TO SIT ON THE SIDELINES THIS WEEKEND AND WATCH HIS TEAM AND TALK ABOUT THE COMMUNITY OF THE GARAGE TO SUPPORT HIM? "Obviously you don't want to sit in the garage and watch your car go around. I had to experience that a little bit and watch those guys practice my car while I was at home sick. Mine was a just a day of illness and this sounds like it is going to be a little bit. It is definitely not something that you want but obviously your health comes first. I think anybody in the garage will do what they need to do to try and help. Everybody is just wanting to know what caused it, why and make sure there is not anything that we're doing that could be a common thread or anything like that. Anytime something like that happens, you just kind of want to know why."
HOW DOES THE CAR REACT WITH THE SPOILER ON IT ON A TRACK THIS SIZE AND CAN YOU TAKE THE AIR OFF OF SOMEBODY IN 10 LAPS OR WILL THE ADHESION WITH A NEW SET OF TIRES OFFSET THAT? "I think they are definitely going to be aero sensitive when you get somebody right next to you. They haven't seem to be real sensitive with somebody near you, but if they're right on your door, it is obviously going to affect what is happening and somebody right on your rear bumper is going to affect it. But they are going to have to be really really close to have it be a full affect. To win this deal and run as fast as you need to run, the car has got to be right on the edge of spinning out. The track is fast and has a lot of grip at night. It will just one of those things I don't think it is going to affect it unless they are right next to you."
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE PATCH AT DAYTONA? "The patch felt fine. You really couldn't even tell that it was there. Everybody ran through it lap after lap and it didn't bounce the car around. They did a good job fixing it. Don't think it will be an issue."
WHY IS ALL STAR RACE DIFFERENT THAN OTHERS, DO YOU REALLY FEEL LIKE ANYTHING GOES OUT THERE? "If you are racing for a win, probably. You probably put yourself in positions that you normally wouldn't put yourself in on a longer race. You take more chances definitely from a driver's standpoint than you would on a normal weekend just because the risk, there is really nothing to lose other than a race car. There is nothing really to lose so you take more risks than you would on a normal every day circumstance. This race has notoriously been a proving ground for new parts in the engine. The engine guys seem to use it more than anybody else and you will push things harder here just to get some time on them, for sure. Whether it is engines, chassis parts, whatever the case may be. If you have something that could break, this is the place to put it on because you know the performance is better but you just don't know what the durability is."
AS A NATIONWIDE TEAM OWNER, CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE CHALLENGE OF GETTING THE NEW CAR READY? "I think based upon the test, the participation is very good. We're still a couple of months out from the race and I think we had 23 or 24 teams there. I really think once everything gets going it is going to be easier for the smaller teams just for the fact that the car is easier to build. The box is a lot smaller that you have to work in. I know that there really isn't any good way to phase anything in but I think they have done a good job of figuring out once a month there for a few months with each style of race track so everybody will have at least one car built. The good thing about the new car is for those guys on that end of the garage is you can really race the same car at all four races if you had to. If you really wanted to gamble a little bit or you couldn't afford it, you could just buy one car and race all four races. I think it will be great. I know sitting in the driver's seat it is just so much better to be able to move around and not have your head sitting against the roll bar and all those different things that come with the new car. As we get down the road, I think it will pay big dividend. If your car breaks down and you don't want to go to the dealer and have to buy a new car, but, if you want to go to work, you do. If they want to show up and race, then they have to buy a new car."
DOES THE BRIAN VICKERS SITUATION MAKE YOU LOOK AT YOUR HEALTH? "I don't think it is just Brian's situation, I think anytime something happens, you want to know why and if it is something that could be prevented whether he is in this garage or somebody outside the garage. I feel comfortable with my lifestyle and my health and the frequency that we have to go through the NASCAR nurses and physicals and all the things that we do. It is very rare that something is not going to pop up. For the most part, you really receive a physical at least once a year before you start. Probably twice a year and any time you bump anything on the race track they are checking everything before you can even leave. We go to the doctor more than everybody probably realizes."
FROM A BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE, HOW DO YOU ADJUST THE COMPANY WITH THE CURRENT ECONOMY AND ROLLING OUT A NEW CAR? "Last year we went through some situations where we had to restructure our company and it really forced us to reevaluate everything in the middle of last year. It all kind of fell in to play with what the new costs of racing are and new willingness of sponsors to pay for each series, what the market would be. I feel like we got there a little bit quicker than most people. We had to adjust salaries and bonus plans to make everything work. Really, it has been almost a year since we've been under that new structure and with the new car thing, we committed to it from the beginning to just do everything that we needed to do to be prepared for 2011 and these four races this year. That is the only thing we made a little extra investment in going forward to try to be ahead of the competition.
QUESTION -- NO AUDIO --"RCR is a Cup team so they have all the systems in place to do what they need to, but there is no way to really share all of that just for the fact we don't have any of the templates or how long it is going to take to build a car. We don't have any of that stuff. Even the stuff that they have is going to be different than our company because they have a much bigger overhead as far as people and the way that their shop functions. For us, we kind of switched our whole company to what we call COT-style racing. It is much more detail oriented. It is different processes. We looked at a lot of processes that were in place in a lot of the other Cup teams and tried to put those into our Truck teams and our Nationwide team anticipating this new car coming so that everybody in the company was prepared to do the things that they needed to do for that car."
WHAT LEVEL OF COMFORT IS THERE IN LEADING THE POINTS WHEN YOU ARE HALF WAY THROUGH THE SEASON? "For us it is a position that we haven't been in and as long as we can keep any major disasters from happening over the next six to eight weeks, hopefully we will be able to prepare what we feel like the No. 48 has done for the last several years as far as getting your cars ready and your fleet ready for those particular races. Hopefully we can push some things that we normally wouldn't push and try to get some more wins before the Chase begins to get some more bonus points and take more chances on that side of it and prepare your fleet for the end of the year."
DOES NASCAR NEED TO WORK ON THE NEW NATIONWIDE CAR OR IS IT PRETTY CLOSE TO RIGHT? "It is hard to tell what you really need to work on until you really get it into race configuration. There is no way to simulate it with testing and practicing until everybody racing. As we go through Daytona and Michigan, Richmond and those places, really be able to be prepared for 2011 with whether we need more down force, less down force, things like that. They took a lot of what the Cup garage thought they needed in that particular car and put it in this car. I think they have done a good job. I think the look of the cars is good and I think the fans will be happy with that. I know driving them, they drive a lot like our Cup cars do at Daytona, we will just have to race now and see what happens from there."
IS THERE ANY UPDATE ON A NEW SPONSOR FOR THE NO. 29? "I don't have anything to update."
-source: gm racing