KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed the difference between Daytona and Talladega, the two-car draft, radio chatter and more.
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT COMING BACK TO TALLADEGA. “This has been a good race track for us as we’ve gone through the years and obviously last year was really good. You just got to hope that things work out your way as the crashes happen and things shuffle out and see how the race shakes out toward the end. All you can do is put yourself in position and see what happens from there at the end.”
DO YOU THINK THAT RCR STRENGTH IS ENOUGH THAT MAYBE WE CAN HAVE A REPEAT OF A PHOTO FINISH BETWEEN TEAMMATES WE HAD LAST FALL AND ALSO WHAT DO YOU THINK THE ODDS WOULD BE OF YOU AND C LINT REPEATING? “I think as far as the odds go who knows. This place you go through spells of having good days and bad days but our cars will be fast again and you just got to have the luck to go along with it. It definitely could happen again. I think we all work well together and we all do the things that we need to do to run up front and they bring the cars to run up front. It’s just a matter of surviving until the end, that’s the main goal. Yeah, I would say for sure that’s a possibility.”
YOU MADE A PRETTY DRAMATIC PASS ON MCMURRAY TO WIN THIS RACE LAST YEAR, KIND OF A SLING SHOT TYPE OF MOVE, IS THAT POSSIBLE AGAIN THIS TIME WITH THE CURRENT CONFIGURATION? “Based on Daytona I think as you look at the way the race played out and the way that everybody has got the bump drafting style figured out I think nothing has really changed. I think it’s the same type of stuff it's just a matter of timing just like it was last year.”
DO YOU THINK SUNDAY WE MIGHT SEE SOME KIND OF COMBINATION OF THE RACING AT DAYTONA AND THE RACING HERE LAST FALL AS FAR AS THE TWO-CAR DRAFTING? “Well I think when the green flag dropped at Daytona I think the race was different than what a lot of people thought because as time has progressed since this race last year everybody has really figured out the two-car draft and how it works and what you need to do to keep it. What you need to do to keep the cars connected. So I think that the style of the race is gonna be very similar to what you saw at Daytona but when they dropped the green flag at Daytona it was hard to race in the pack and it’s hard to keep the cars connected and we saw a lot of wrecks because of the fact that the cars were pulling up on groups of cars and you didn’t have anywhere to go. Here you have a lot more space so it might be easier for that but I still think it’s going to be very similar to Daytona.”
DO YOU EVER HAVE LIKE WEIRD DREAMS COMING TO THIS PLACE ABOUT WHAT COULD HAPPEN? “Not really. I enjoy this type of racing. We prepare well for it. We come into it ready to race and push and shove and do the things we need to do to race here. I learned a long time ago it’s better to be aggressive here than it to just sit around and wait for something to come your way because in more times than not it’s going to not come your way and things are gonna just happen around you and you’re going to get tore up. You can be smart but at some point you’re gonna have to get up in there and get after it to make something happen. It’s just an aggressive style of racing now but it doesn’t bother me at all.
“I think as you look at the race there is different parts of the race and I think you have to take a lot of things into consideration as to how you race the first half of the race. So it just depends on who you are around and a lot of guys have different guys they feel comfortable around. I’ve been here and taking it easy the first half of the race and got up there and raced the second half of the race, you just have that sense and feel of who you are around and how you are racing and how the race seems to be playing out. You just kind of go off of that feel as to where you race in the first part of the race.”
At some point you can mix yourself into people that you feel comfortable around.
YOU TOLD ME EARLIER IN THE WEEK THAT YOU DIDN’T WANT TOO MANY PEOPLE ON YOUR RADIO THIS WEEKEND, WHAT ABOUT THE SPOTTERS BECAUSE THEY ARE RUNNING AROUND UP THERE AND THEY’VE GOT TO KEEP THEIR EYES ON YOU AND YOU WOULDN’T WANT THEM TO BE DIVERTED BY DOING DEALS UP THERE. “I just want my spotter to be loud and clear on the radio. That’s really all that I care about here. I know my spotter is going to give me the information that I need. We’ve been together for a long, long time and he knows what I want to hear. That’s just how it is. It’s a lot tougher job for those spotters than it used to be. I told you two days ago I wasn’t going to have a lot of people on my radio and I look at my Nationwide car and I have 20 people. I don’t even know how to keep track of that. It’s just one of those things where you have to do the best you can from inside the car and just have to stay calm and try to stay around the first selection of guys that you want to be around. Then if you’re not and there’s something unexpected we have a backup plan.”
SO WHO ARE YOU GOING TO TALK TO ON SUNDAY AND HOW DO YOU PUT THESE DEALS TOGETHER BEFORE YOU GET TO THE RACE TRACK? “I don’t know that you put them together before you get to the race track. Sometimes I think you can over think it. Really it’s all situational. It’s kind of like I was talking to Newton about the first part of the race, a lot of it is just sense and feel as to who you are around and what you’re around. A lot of times you take your time and you find that car and those people that you want to be around and then you take those groups of cars and you do what you have to do to get back to the front. If there is a situation where I don’t feel comfortable I just get out and get around people that I want to feel comfortable even if it requires going to the back or whatever it does. At some point you can mix yourself into people that you feel comfortable around. You have to take your teammates first then you have the guys that you feel comfortable with and then you just take what’s left from there.”
DO YOU ALREADY KNOW AND DO MOST DRIVERS KNOW WHERE THEY WILL MAKE THE MOVE ON THE FINAL LAP OR HOW MUCH OF IT DEPENDS ON YOUR CAR OR THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU? “I think most people have a plan in their mind as to how they want it to play out. Last year for us it played out for one of the very few times as we laid it out on paper and talked about it before the race. It played out all the way to the checkered flag. Very rarely does that happen. So for a lot of us it depends on who you around, how many cars are around and what position you are in. Are you leading, are you pushing, is there cars on the outside, is there one group or two groups, are you catching the guys in front of you and where are you going to go. There are just so many things running through your mind as to what you want to do and where you want to go and where you want to be. For me I try to stay a couple of steps ahead of it and have a plan before I get to where I’m going as to what I want to do. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.”
ARE YOU GOING TO RUN AT NASHVILLE? “No.”
WHAT IS THE KHI PLAN THERE? “Austin Dillon will be in the Nationwide car and then we will have four trucks, Elliott Sadler in the No. 21, we’ll have Cale Gale in the No. 2, Hornaday in the No. 33 and Nelson Piquet in the No. 8.”
t just takes a lot of commitment at this place to take the chances and do the things that you need to do to stay up front.
HOW DOES RACING HERE AT TALLADEGA COMPARE TO WHAT YOU GUYS HAVE DONE PRETTY MUCH YOUR ENTIRE CAREERS AT THIS RACE TRACK? “Well this has always been a little bit different than Daytona with the way that the asphalt was before because there was so much handling at Daytona you couldn’t do the things there that you do here. But this has always been a much different race than Daytona and now it’s very similar because of the asphalts, the styles are virtually the same. Well they are the same. The way that it is now if you are the second car you are 100 percent committed to the guy in front of you and if he piles into something you are just going to pile in with him. It just takes a lot of commitment at this place to take the chances and do the things that you need to do to stay up front. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes you wind up on the hook but that’s just part of it.”
YESTERDAY JEFF GORDON TWEETED THAT THIS IS BLIND TWO-CAR DRAFTING AT 200 MILES PER HOUR, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE VISIBILTY PROBLEMS THAT YOU HAVE WHEN YOU ARE PUSHING SOMEONE? “I don’t know that it’s a problem. I think it’s no different than what it used to be when the cars were bumper to bumper and you didn’t really have anywhere to go when it used to be three and four wide and the whole pack was together like that. It’s just a different deal. It’s really not that big of a deal I don’t think. You just get up there and push and rely on your spotters and you kind of have that feel as a driver as to what you’re around and when things are starting to happen. You can feel a lot from the guys’ reaction in front of you as to when he hits the breaks and when he lets off the gas. So this is a lot of feel. You spend more time looking backwards than you do forward anyway so it’s just not that big of a deal.”
FROM DAY ONE WHEN YOU CAME INTO NASCAR, FOUR OR FIVE WINS IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES AT RICHMOND AND A CUP SERIES WIN, IF YOU’RE NOT IN THE TOP 10 AT RICHMOND IT SEEMS LIKE IT’S A RARETY, CAN YOU PINPOINT WHY FROM DAY ONE WHY THAT TRACK HAS ADAPTED TO YOU OR VICE VERSA? “Yeah, that’s a good question. For us, I grew up and we spent a lot of time at Phoenix when I was growing up racing and our cars just really from day one we’ve always been somewhat successful on the flatter type of race tracks through the years. So Richmond has been probably our best race track on paper in both divisions and we’ve been fortunate to win some race there and we look at that place if we are having a bad start or having a tough go at things, when we go to Richmond you at least expect a top 10 out of the car and if everything is running good you expect to be competitive in the top five and running up front. It’s been a very good race track for us. I think it’s kind of how I was brought up and we just adapted well right off the bat to those types of race tracks.”
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW TWO CARS CAN SLOW TWO CARS IN FRONT OF THEM DOWN, I KNOW IN THE NATIONWIDE CAR THERE ARE SOME INSTANCES WHERE WHAT YOU DO BEHIND THEM CAN ACTUALLY PULL A CAR BACK AWAY FROM A TWO-CAR DRAFT. IF IT WORKS IN NATIONWIDE WILL IT WORK ON SUNDAY IN THE CUP CARS AND HAVE YOU LEARNED MORE ABOUT SLOWING TWO CARS DOWN IN FRONT OF YOU? “Yes. Am I going to explain it to you, no. (laughing).”
YOU SAID YOU HAD 20 PEOPLE WITH THE ABILITY TO CHAT WITH YOU IN YOUR NATIONWIDE CAR WHILE YOU ARE IN THE CAR, PEOPLE CAN’T JUST IMAGINE TRYING TO IM 20 PEOPLE WHILE YOU ARE ON YOUR COMPUTER AND YOU’RE DRIVING A RACE CAR THAT FAST, HOW ARE YOU HEARING IT AND THAT JUST SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE? “It seems like that kind of the trend in the garage so I figured I would try it over there before I tried it in my Cup car. Its seems like everybody has just gone that way. My Cup car is just still very simple. It’s got my teammates in it and that’s it. I’m still not comfortable with it to tell you the truth but I’m going to try it just because. Just to see if it works. If it works on Saturday then we’ll implement it on Sunday. We’ll see.”
HOW DO THEY ADDRESS YOU? “Unless you are on the right channel you can only communicate with one person at a time so it’s not confusing by any means. The only confusing part is finding the channel.”
-source: team chevy