KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 JIMMY JOHN'S CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed the race next week in Vegas, this week's Truck race, his engine trouble last week and more.
VEGAS NEXT WEEKEND, WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO PUT IN A FAST LAP AND BE SUCCESSFUL THERE? "When they redid the race track, it's just a really fast race track. It's got several bumps in the race track and you have to make sure you are pointed in the right the direction to go over it straight. It's a really fast race track and you just got to have a lot of grip in the car to keep the pedal on the floor."
DID YOU GUYS FIGURE OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ENGINE? "Yes."
WHAT HAPPENED? "It broke. (laughter)"
ANY MORE DETAILS? "Yes, not that I'm going to tell you but they have a good idea. They called me Monday morning and told me what had happened and I feel like they have a good direction to fix it."
WAS IT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT OR SOMETHING? "Both of them."
ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT GOING FORWARD? "No, I don't think it's something to worry about. I think it's just something we have to make an adjustment on. I think the No. 29 and No. 31 both had the same problem."
HAVE YOU AND GIL (MARTIN, CREW CHIEF) DISCUSSED THE NEW PIT STOPS AND HOW LONG DO YOU THINK BEFORE TEAMS CAN FULLY GET A GOOD GAME PLAN ON HOW YOU HAVE TO STRATEGIZE? "I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to that as far as what you do, just because the timing of the fuel and I think a lot of it is going to depend on where you are at in that fuel run. If it's completely empty you have a lot of decisions to make in a very short amount of time because the speed of the fueling and the speed of the changing of the tires are going to be different. So you just got to make some decision on whether you are going on tires or you're going to wait on gas. So you are just going to have two different strategies. The guys up front are probably going to just go and the guys in the middle are probably going to wait and if it comes down to the fuel mileage thing you are going to see a lot of different outcomes. So it's just a lot of decisions that you have to run through your mind in a short amount of time."
ON THE SHORT FIELDS IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES "I think it's got to be expected. You know I think as the new car was coming I think everybody knew that there was going to be some shortfalls in the field just for the fact that there just aren't a lot of cars in circulation. A lot of the teams that aren't able to participate, there are no old cars and there's really nothing to be sold at this particular point. And the processes are substantially different than what they used to be and it takes some getting used to. From our team and the way that we do things with our customer base, we haven't sold any cars because we don't have any to sell so it's just going to take some time to get those cars into circulation. Even with our team we don't even have full fleets of race cars at this point just because we're still in the process of building our road racecars. We have all our speedway stuff out of the way and we have all our cars built through California, but that's not the case for most of the teams. It's just going to take some time. It was the right decision to get the cars into circulation just for the fact from a safety standpoint. The other thing that's going to be good about this series is its going to teach the mechanics, the crew chiefs and everybody involved how to work on the race cars because when you get to the cup level the cars are going to be very similar as to the inspection process and the building process, so it's going to take some time and I think the short fields are going to be expected for a while. I think when you get to this point next year and you have short field then you have a problem."
WITH VEGAS NEXT WEEK, WILL YOU STAY OUT HERE OR GO BACK TO NORTH CAROLINA? "I'm going to go home just for the fact ... DeLana stayed home this week because we had a dog that had surgery on its back so she's taking care of it so I got to go home and get her. My anniversary is Monday, so I'd be in deep water if I didn't go home."
IS THERE AN ADVANTAGE OR DISADVANTAGE OF STAYING OUT HERE? "I don't know. Last year I stayed out here and I had a miserable back ache for the next three or four months. So I'm going to go home and sleep in my own bed and just do my normal thing. We have to come back out Wednesday so it's really just kind of a two day turnaround. That's just the circumstances that we were dealt this year."
DANNY LAWRENCE SAID YOU GUYS ALL PULLED TOGETHER AFTER LAST WEEK, THAT RICHARD WAS VERY SUPPORTIVE AND YOU GOT TOGETHER IN A BOARD MEETING AND THEY'RE REALLY RAMPED UP FOR TALLADEGA AND OF COURSE THIS WEEKEND. "I told those guys on Monday, I told Richie and Danny, just keep doing what you're doing. That's the first time I've had an engine failure in my car in 156 races. Obviously it's not the opportune time that you want to have it but when is? They do a great job and we have the best engines in the garage and it just is what it is. Just part of this sport. I'll take those odds, one in every 156."
HE SAID THEY'RE KILLING THEMSELVES THINKING ABOUT IT NOW, IF ANYTHING IT STEPS THEM UP AND MAKES THEM WANT TO GO EVEN HARDER. "Yeah, and that's bad news for everybody else. They do a great job and they were devastated Sunday and Monday and Tuesday. I felt bad for them. They just got to keep doing what they're doing. They know what to do."
NOT BY CHOICE, BUT YOU'RE SORT OF GOING TO BE THE GUINEA PIG TO SEE HOW LONG IT TAKES TO PIPE OUT OF THE HOLE UNDER THE NEW POINTS SYSTEM, DOES THAT CHANGE YOUR APPROACH AT ALL? "Well the good thing for us is all the good cars had problems last week. I mean there was maybe one or two guys that didn't have problems. We just got to do what we do on a week-to-week basis. I couldn't even tell you who half the top-10 are. If you're gonna have a problem last week was a good week to have it."
FROM 2007 TO LAST YEAR WE SAW A DECLINE IN CAUTIONS PER RACE, HOW DOES IT CHANGE WHAT YOU DO AS A DRIVER WHEN YOU HAVE FEWER OPPORTUNITIES TO COME IN AND GET CHANGES? "You just have to be more precise on knowing what you do and hope that you hit it right when you make those decisions. In this race in particular, you don't get many choices as to making pit stops and I think as we go into the year and you look at some of the places with tire limits and things like that is shouldn't affect it but it might. This race in particular is shorter and you've got to make good decisions on your pit stops which makes practice more important to get your car right and know exactly what corners and pieces of the car are more sensitive than others as you go through the race to try to help you make adjustments."
WHAT ARE YOU DOING INSIDE THE CAR? "You just try to communicate the best that you can from a driver standpoint, you have long runs and short runs. You really don't do anything different. You just try to feed the best information that you can so that everybody can make the best decision that they can on the pit box."
HAVE YOU NOTICED MUCH DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU HAVE THESE LONG CYCLES? "It all just seems to go in cycles to be honest with you. We'll go through spurts of having long runs. The place that sticks out in my mind is Bristol. We have more long runs at Bristol now than anybody could have ever imagined. Other than that the trends go in cycles as you go to different races."
SOME FOLKS FEEL LIKE THE "REAL RACING" BEGINS THIS WEEKEND, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT? "These are more of the types of race tracks that we are going to race on as we go through the year. You've got to be good at the 1.5-mile race tracks and you have to be good at the unrestricted stuff. We have four opportunities a year to have the speedway races and as you saw last week the outcome is as unpredictable as anybody could ever imagine. If you're going to win races and win the championship you've got to win on anything besides the restrictor-plate and road races."
AT WHAT POINT DO YOU START WORRYING ABOUT POINTS? "I think if you worry about it too much you just driver yourself crazy so you just go out and you race and you take it on a week-to-week basis as far as how your car is running, what you need to do. When we sit down on Monday mornings we talk very briefly about what we needed to do the week before, but most everything is about the next week. Our rule is by halfway home you need to stop thinking about last week and start thinking about next week, win or lose."
IT'S KHI'S 10TH ANNIVERSARY IN ADDITION TO YOUR 10TH ANNIVERSARY, WHICH ONE WAS HARDER TO GET TO? "Definitely KHI I'd say because it just requires a lot more effort. Here I've got a lot of people who have been around me for a long time and I can concentrate on driving the car and giving the feedback and after that they handle everything from there. Definitely a lot harder to build something, especially at this level. To put the right people and the right equipment, sponsors and everything together it takes a long time. You can't do it in one year. We've been fortunate over the 10 years to put together some good people and make it through a lot of good times and a lot of bad times. It's been fun."
SO DELANA HAS BEEN EASY BY COMPARISON? "(laughing) It takes everybody to make it all go around. It's just one of those things where it takes a lot of people."
FOR THE TRUCK SERIES PRE-RACE SHOW, YOU'RE GOING TO BE HANGING OUT, TELL US WHAT WE MIGHT SEE IN THE TRUCK RACE, IT'S A REAL INTERESTING CAST OF CHARACTERS. "I just hope we win. That's really all I care about. I think obviously with the trucks that we've been able to bring and the guys that we have driving it should be a fun race to watch. Obviously you will have Kyle (Busch) in there mixing it up and you never know about those trucks. I've seen them all wreck on the first lap before they even get to one lap complete. You just never really know what to expect. So it will be a fun race. Everybody will race hard as they always do in the Truck Series from lap one."
YOU KNOW THEY ALSO SAY IT'S HARDER TO WATCH THAN DRIVE, IS IT HARD FOR YOU TO SIT? "I'd much rather be driving than watching. Driving is much easier and much less stressful for me."
OBVIOUSLY YOU HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS LAST YEAR MOVING UP THROUGH THE FIELD DURING THE RACE, BUT YOU DIDN'T ALWAYS HAVE THE BEST QUALIFYING TIME, HAS THAT BECOME MORE OF A FOCUS ON A DAY LIKE TODAY OR IS STILL AS MUCH ABOUT RACE SETUP AND PREPARATION? "I just drive as fast as I can and we try to do the best we can with our car setup to make it adjustable no matter what because you just never know where the weather or where the race is going to go. Obviously there is an opportunity with rain this week. They worry about qualifying, I don't."
-source: team chevy