Harvick feels the rich history of Indy when he enters IMS

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and discussed the meaning of winning at Indy, the comparison between Indy and Pocono and other topics.

Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

DO YOU ALWAYS KIND OF GET THAT FEELING WHEN YOU WALK IN THIS PLACE? EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT IT BEING SPECIAL ON A CERTAIN LEVEL WHAT IS IT LIKE FOR YOU? “This is Indianapolis and as a kid you grow up wanting to race Indy cars and race in the Indy 500. Just to come to Indy and be able to race here and be fortunate to have won a race here is something that you will always remember. It’s definitely one of those places where you get that feeling when you walk in you can feel the rich history that the race track has. You can see it and I think everybody respects that.”

WHERE DOES THAT WIN HERE RANK UP THERE FOR YOU AS A GUY WHO HAS ALSO WON A DAYTONA 500? “Like I said I grew up wanting to race at the Indy 500. I grew up in Bakersfield, California; I’m a huge Rick Mears fan. To be able to win in Indy is something you grew up wanting to do and watched. That is right up there, obviously it’s not the Daytona 500, but it’s right behind it.”

WILL IT AFFECT THE MYSTIQUE OF THIS PLACE AT ALL NOW THAT THERE IS A LOWER SERIES USING THE TRACK? “I don’t think so because when I walked into this place yesterday I mean there was a tremendous amount of energy it seemed like from the people walking around. There was a lot going on and I think people that are spending the money that are coming to the race track want to have things to do. I think when you look at the amount of on track activity that we’ve had in the past it was obviously not what it has been so far this weekend. I think things have changed and you know they race a lower series here now at the Indy 500 as well. It’s just something that gives the fans more to do. I think it adds a new element to the race weekend.”

ROBIN PEMBERTON SAID THE OTHER DAY THAT THEY ARE CONSIDERING TWEAKING QUALIFYING REALLY MORE THAN TWEAKING, GETTING AWAY FROM THE TOP 35 RULE AND MAKING IT MUCH MORE SPEED BASED FOR NEXT YEAR. IT’S NOT A DONE DEAL, BUT DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ON HOW THEY MIGHT TAKE AWAY A LOT OF PROVISIONALS AND MAKE IT MORE ABOUT HOW FAST YOU ARE THAT WEEKEND DETERMINES HOW YOU GET IN THE FIELD? “I think the way we used to do it was fine with the provisionals. I think you are going to wind up with the same outcome it just gives the opportunity for more guys to get in the field. I think it’s really going to be the same no matter how you twist it. I think when you look at it.”

NO WORRIES ON GETTING OFF ON A BAD START OF THE SEASON AND BEING ON THAT BUBBLE WHERE AN ESTABLISHED TEAM WITH FULL TIME SPONSORSHIP WILL STILL HAVE TO RACE THEIR WAY IN AND BE IN DANGER OF MISSING A RACE? “Obviously that would always exist but I think those changes are there but very slim.”

CARL EDWARDS HAD A CREW CHIEF CHANGE. WHAT DOES A CREW CHIEF CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE OF A SEASON DO AS FAR AS TO A DRIVER? HOW DO YOU THINK HE WILL REACT TO A CREW CHIEF CHANGE AFTER HAVING A CREW CHIEF WHO HAS BEEN THERE? “The biggest thing that does is it brings a lot of eyes to the program when you are in a situation where you are trying to change things up and mix things up. It’s not really just the crew chief that gets involved it’s pretty much everybody that will touch the car and management that goes through the processes. The first weeks that you make a crew chief change you want to come out and make something happen to perform, so everybody will be doing everything they can this week. Usually it takes four or five weeks to see how things are really going to go.”

TELL ME HOW YOU APPROACH EACH CORNER AT POCONO? “The first thing you do is you’ve got to survive the restart (laughs). We learned last time that practice didn’t really matter if you could get a good restart and survive going through the corner and get in line then you were in good shape. It’s really fast and the thing I like about what they did at Pocono all the bumps are now kind of swells and you have the same kind of feels that you had there, they are just not extreme bumps. Each corner is fast. Turn one is a corner where you drive in and down shift. The key to Pocono now is getting up off the corners and in the throttle and being able to stay in the throttle really in all three of them.”

YOU HAVE TWO LONG STRAIGHT-A-WAYS THERE, HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE? DO YOU EVER LOSE FOCUS ON THOSE LONG STRAIGHT-A-WAYS? IF SO WHAT IS THE ODDEST THING YOU MAY HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT? “Well before they had all the fences I was always thinking about whether a deer was going to jump out in front of me as I was going down the straight-a-way (laughs).”

WITH THE REPAVE AT POCONO WILL YOU TAKE MORE OUT OF INDY THAN IN YEARS PAST HEADING BACK THERE? “I think you bring a lot more to Indy just because of Pocono and Michigan and how aggressive you can be with the front of the car and keeping the splitter on the ground. I think at those race tracks apply more to each other that they have in the past. They have obviously applied in the past, but I think you can be as aggressive at all three of them now.”

ARE YOU GOING TO MICHIGAN ON MONDAY (FOR THE TIRE TEST)? “Yes.”

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR OUT OF THE TIRE THERE? “I have no idea honestly I have been out of touch for a week and a half just trying to get everything situated. I know these guys have been through a lot of meetings and things. Shane (Wilson) will have a good test plan and we will figure it out. No blisters would be a good start (chuckles).”

IS THIS ONE OF THE MORE UNIQUE THREE RACE STRETCH? YOU HAVE A RECTANGLE HERE THEN WE GO TO A TRIANGLE IN POCONO THEN A ROAD COURSE? “I feel like we are starting over in school. I think as we go from here to Pocono obviously there is a lot to take back and forth. Watkins Glen is different. I think as a driver it’s fun to kind of mix that up because each week you really have to change up what you’re thinking about and your approach. Going into that particular week is a lot different than going from here to Pocono is not that much different, but Pocono to Watkins Glen is a big difference. It’s just a matter of the train of thought that you go through.”

YOU MENTIONED WATKINS GLEN, YOUR NUMBERS ARE SLIGHTLY BETTER AT THE GLEN IN COMPARISON TO SONOMA. HAVE YOU TAKEN TO THE GLEN BETTER; IS THERE SOMETHING ABOUT THE GLEN THAT FITS YOUR STYLE A LITTLE BIT BETTER THAN SONOMA? “I feel like we run fairly well at both of them. For whatever reason at Sonoma we just can’t finish the races off. I feel like we have run pretty good at both places. I enjoy the road racing and look forward to going to Watkins Glen and just kind of seeing what happens.”

Source: Team Chevy Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Interviews
Tags chevrolet, indianapolis, harvick, childress, brickyard

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