KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed short-track racing, watching a race from a fans perspective, restarts at different tracks and more.
TALK ABOUT RICHMOND SHORT-TRACK RACING. “Yeah this has been a great race track for us and no matter how our year is going or has been going, this is always a place you come to as a team we think we can run good. It’s a fun race track to race on and our car has always seemed to drive good in the race and we always seem to be able to produce a result here. So that’s fun when you can come to a race track knowing that in the back of your mind.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE ART OF SHORT-TRACK RACING AND WHETHER IT’S DEVELOPED AT ALL OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS? “Well I don’t think its developed like the bump drafting by any means but I think as you look at this particular race track, it’s a little bit different than a Martinsville or Bristol just for the fact that you do carry a fair amount of speed and use a fair amount of brake, but it’s just different. The corners are a little more sweeping and it’s not just a bottom grove like at Martinsville so there’s not as bunch beating and banging as there would be there. It’s a fun race track. You kind of get that speed and that short track feel all in the same package so it’s definitely one of my favorites.”
WHAT WAS YOUR IMPRESSIONS LAST NIGHT FROM WATCHING THE RACE IN THE GRANDSTANDS? “I needed to move down about half a section because all the wrecks were coming off of turn two. It was just fun to watch honestly. There was a lot going on and sometimes it’s fun .. that’s the first time I have ever even stepped foot outside of the infield at the race track here. Usually I’m racing the Nationwide car or truck or whatever the case may be. And you sit on pit road if you are not racing and just watch them go by, but we sat up there and just took in a different perspective and sometimes that’s good. It was definitely fun and here it is fun because you can see the whole track and you get close enough to the race track to feel what’s going on. It was just a fun time.”
MICHAEL WALTRIP CAME IN AFTER THE RACE AND TALKED ABOUT HOW WELL HE THOUGHT THE BIAS PLY TIRES MADE IN TERMS OF IMPROVING THE RACING ACTION, WHAT WAS YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THAT AND HAVE YOU EVER RACED ON A BIAS PLY TIRE AND WOULD YOU EVER LIKE TO TRY SOMETHING LIKE THAT IN CUP? “I’ve raced on bias ply tires pretty much the whole beginning of my career but that would be asking you to go back in time and try to do your job without your computer so… I think that’s ridiculous.”
DO YOU THINK IT IMPROVED THE RACING LAST NIGHT AT ALL? “Look, here’s the thing about those types of races. When you have a late model race and a K&N race and even into the Truck Series there is such a discrepancy in the back of the field and the front of the field that makes it exciting because you have stuff going both ways all the time and you can’t come in a change tires. When you get to Nationwide and Cup, the disparity and competition level is not that great so you have a different style of racing. I mean bias ply tires is just not something that we would go back to on our cars. That’s just crazy. The durability and reliability. You go to Dover on a bias ply tire now and you wouldn’t have any cars left.”
THIS BEING THE LAST RACE BEFORE THE CHASE STARTS IN SEPTEMBER, HOW MUCH THOUGHT IS THERE AMONG TEAMS THAT ARE CONTENDERS FOR CHAMPIONSHIPS TO USE THIS WEEKEND IN ANY FASHION TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE FAST THEN JUST IN CASE YOU REALLY NEED IT. “We haven’t really had that conversation about this particular race track but I think when you look at Dover coming up, for us that’s been a hot topic of conversation, Dover, Charlotte for the Chase races. Sometimes I think we kind of take this place for granted as a team and organization. We talk about it. Obviously we had a whole competition meeting about it but in that same sense Dover and Charlotte to be more of a thought process as far as where that goes for the Chase races.”
Sometimes I think we kind of take this place for granted as a team and organization.
WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT THE ART OF A RESTART HOW DOES IT OR DOES IT CHANGE FROM TRACK TO TRACK AND WHEN YOU GO FROM A SUPERSPEEDWAY TO A SHORT TRACK DOES THE WAY YOU DO A RESTART CHANGE? “From the Superspeedway stuff it definitely changes just from the fact that you’re dealing with a lot less power. The transmission ratios change every week. For me I like a particular RPM at each particular race track and some of that varies as far as wheels spinning and things as you set those transmission ratios. Really the biggest difference would be the superspeedways, everything else is pretty much the same depending upon what you feel wheel spin is on the restarts.”
THE LAST FOUR WEEKS YOUR TEAMMATE CLINT BOWYER HAS GONE FROM 24TH IN POINTS BACK UP TO 10TH, YOU ONE TWICE, HE’S FINISHED SECOND TWICE, HE WAS PRETTY BUMMED AFTER THE FIRST FOUR RACES. DO YOU THINK WHAT WE’VE SEEN RECENTLY IS FAR MORE INDICATIVE OF WHAT WE’LL SEE FROM HIM IN THE FUTURE? “I think all the teams have run well. I think we’ve all got room for improvement as you always do kind of in this sport. I think it was good to see what they were doing. They could change the direction and turn it around instantly. They’re running like they have in the past and the last four weeks have been really good. Because for us, when we are running good we want everybody else running good and when everybody is running good you have more to draw from. So if we are running bad and everybody else is running good then we’re basically useless to the rest of the team. It’s good for everybody, for all the cars to be running good.”
YOU GAINED A LOT OF POSITIONS IN THE POINTS EARLY IN THE SEASON, CERTAINLY THIS SYSTEM, OLD SYSTEM YOU COULD DO THAT EARLY ON, HOW DOES THAT CHANGE THINGS FOR A DRIVER LATER IN THE SEASON WHEN THE GAP GROWS WIDER? “When you look at the beginning of the year I don’t know how much of it is the points system or just being at the beginning of the year where everybody is close in any system, but I think obviously when you have a bad week .. where we started in Daytona we didn’t have anywhere to go but up. As you get later in the season you have to put weeks together and not days as far as to gain points. As you get closer and closer to the end of the year or to the end of the regular season it depends on where you are at in the points as to what you really need to be doing. Are you just trying to make the Chase? With the wild card system this year, are you just going to hang it out and consider yourself out of the Chase and go for winds and try to get yourself a win. So, there is a lot of different scenarios that you can put together from a point standpoint this year. But when you get in a hole, as you get further and further in the season it takes longer and longer and longer to get yourself out of that?”
IS IT TO THE POINT NOW WHERE YOU’VE ALREADY REACHED THAT PERIOD? “I think it depends on where you are at. I think if you are in the 31 position right now, it’s going to take consecutive weeks to get where you need to be. If you can just get that momentum going, just have something positive happen and continue that momentum for a couple of weeks then you can ride that wave hopefully or consecutive finishes over a period of time. In the middle of the top-10 up there it seems like everybody is so close, you can be fourth this week and 10th next week. It’s just kind of a revolving door right now in that particular part of the points.”
I think the first time I went to Darlington was 1999 and I actually missed the race there.
WE GO TO DARLINGTON NEXT WEEK, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW THAT RACE TRACK OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS HAS CHANGED? “The race track hasn’t changed as fast as it looks like its changing. It’s really grayed up, even from last year, when I saw it at the Truck race. The biggest thing about Darlington is when you get there, there is so much sand on the race track you’ve got to take your time getting up to speed. There is no way they can blow it off the race track. You’ve got to suck it all out of the crevices that are on the track. For us it’s a race track obviously we want to win at. To win at Darlington is something, it’s been a huge part of this sport for a long time and to win there would be good for our team. We’ve been close a couple of times. We just got to do better. It’s a fun race track to race, very challenging. You don’t just race the other cars, you’re racing the race track itself. It’s a very challenging place to win at.”
WHAT WAS IT LIKE YOUR FIRST TIME AT DARLINGTON? “I think the first time I went to Darlington was 1999 and I actually missed the race there. It was a Nationwide race in ‘99, but it was definitely an eye opener. Good thing we went there in ’99 because I could at least figure out where I was going in 2000, but it was rough and worn out and they kept telling me I needed to hold it wide open through turns one and two and I’m like there is no way, it’s not going to happen. In qualifying everybody was able to do that and I didn’t. So it was an interesting first day there but it’s a fun race track. It took me a long time to get my feet on the ground as to what I need to be doing because it was so easy to over drive and hit the wall and do all the things that you are not supposed to do at Darlington so it just took some time.”
WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT HANGING IT ALL OUT, OBVIOUSLY EVERYBODY GOES IN TO WANTING TO WIN THE RACE EVERY WEEKEND, SO WHAT’S DIFFERENT? “Aggressiveness from a car standpoint, pushing the limits on that and pushing the limits on your engine and taking chances on pit road that you probably don’t need to be taking as far as pit strategy and things like that. So it’s just trying to use strategy as part of your game to try to pull one off that you probably weren’t in position to. So just taking chances that you wouldn’t take because the consequences are a lot bigger than probably the reward of winning but that might be your last hope.”
-source: team chevy