KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed sponsorship with Camping World with his Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI) NASCAR Truck and Nationwide series teams; Talladega being wild card in...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed sponsorship with Camping World with his Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI) NASCAR Truck and Nationwide series teams; Talladega being wild card in the Chase; strategy in the Chase and racing at Kansas Speedway.
HOW DOES THE TALK OF CAMPING WORLD BECOMING PRIMARY SPONSOR FOR NASCAR TRUCK SERIES AFFECT YOUR ORGANIZATION? "Right now on the truck side, it doesn't really affect anything until the end of 2009. Camping World is signed on to be the sponsor through the end of '09. It affects our Nationwide program a little bit. It opens up a 14 race gap that wasn't there. That is how it affects it.
"Obviously Camping World has been involved in a lot of entitlements and things. I want them to do what is best for them as a sponsor and what works best for them. Understanding where everything comes from and how it works, I think for them, it sounds like they think that is a better avenue. That is ok. They are still solid on our truck and I feel confident on getting the 14 races on our Nationwide car put in place."
DO YOU EXPECT THEM (CAMPING WORLD) TO BE NAMED AS THE SPONSOR OF THE TRUCK SERIES? "That I can't answer. Steve (O'Donnell, NASCAR) has said there is definitely a few people in the mix. I can't answer that to be honest with you."
DO YOU HAVE THE OTHER 21 NATIONWIDE RACES LOCKED DOWN FOR NEXT YEAR? "Yes, we are pretty much set on the rest of the races so we just have to go in a late-game scramble here. It really isn't that late. It seems like everything is happening a little bit later this year because a lot of companies are really waiting for the economy to see where it turns. Where the President is going to sit and who is going to sit in office. That is pretty normal for a year like this as far as looking for sponsorship. Any time the presidency up for grabs, the economy takes a crap. It is one of those deals where I think a lot of people are waiting later than normal. We have a few good people on it.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF COMPETING WITH NASCAR FOR YOUR EXISTING SPONSORS? "I think, in the case, I don't necessarily think that NASCAR went out and sought Camping World. I think Camping World has seen how their race entitlements work for them and based upon, where NASCAR sits, if they are going to do something different, Mike (Helton, NASCAR), Steve O'Donnell and those guys have communicated well with us over the last couple of days to let us know where that stands. At first glance, you are like 'Wow, what the hell in happening here'. I don't think anyone is stealing a sponsor here, I just think it something that seems to work good for them."
IS IT EARLY TO HAND THE SPRINT CUP TO GREG BIFFLE AND TO TELL KYLE BUSCH TO SIT DOWN AND STOP RACING? "It is interesting. I think Jimmie Johnson sat in the exact same spot that Kyle Busch is sitting in right now and came back and won the thing. Obviously there is just so much left to happen and you can have something happen so fast. It just never really starts or ends until it is over. You don't really know where you stand until you get four, five, six weeks in. I think you have to get Martinsville to really see who the players are going to be. I think up until that point it is wide open. Biffle has had a good start to the Chase, a good first couple of weeks. But, I think anybody else could do that too. When you look at the finishes of a lot of the guys that are up in the points right now running for the championship, everybody has had streaks of good runs this year."
HOW HAS THE RCR PROGRAM OF EMPHASIS ON ONE AND ONE-HALF MILE TRACKS COME ALONG? "I think that is where we lost the championship in 2006 was on the mile and a half race tracks during this part of the schedule. For us, this year, the mile and a half tracks have been really good for the No. 29 team. I know the No. 07 has had some trouble on these tracks and Jeff (Burton) has been good on the mile and a half tracks too. We have definitely tried to concentrate on these tracks from a Shell-Pennzoil team standpoint and really try and make sure that we are as good as we can be and better than we have been in the past."
DO YOU NEED A SPONSOR FOR (JACK) SPRAGUE AND FOR (RICKY) CARMICHAEL? "The Carmichael thing is kind of a work in progress. We have just kind of got started on that. We are going to get going on that this week. It has a lot of momentum right now and a lot of things working at that so I feel that is working in a good direction. The Sprague thing is that truck races regardless, the No. 2 truck."
DOES THE TRUCK SERIES BEING AT LEAST CLOSE TO HAVING A SPONSOR HELP YOU AT ALL IN TRYING TO FIND A SPONSOR FOR SPRAGUE? "I think the fact that there is more than one sponsor in the mix is definitely a good thing. Not only for NASCAR but for the teams. When you look at the Truck series, the last couple of weeks, the truck count has been down a little but you don't have a bunch of people start and parking. You have 30 or 28 trucks that are racing and from a team owner standpoint that is a good thing when you have trucks on the race track racing. On the West coast, the count is always down this time of year. It is definitely a good thing that are a few people involved in the entitlement chase."
DID YOU TALK WITH MIKE HELTON THIS MORNING ABOUT THE WHOLE SPONORSHIP THING? "They have been in communication over the last days. Not only Mike, but everybody at NASCAR has been in communication. Making sure that everybody understood where everybody is at."
HONESTLY, I THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE MORE UPSET ABOUT THIS AS IT COULD BE AN ONGOING ISSUE IN A DIFFICULT ECONOMY IF NASCAR IS CHERRY PICKING SPONSORS FROM TEAMS. "I don't think they cherry-picked in this situation. I think if you look at the entitlements that Camping World has, if is definitely something that they obviously to look at that works for them and their vendors and the way that they sell product at the race track. It has got to make sense. If something doesn't make sense for me from a business side of it, I don't do it. It has to make sense on that side of it. Camping World has been a great partner and will continue to be a great partner as we roll forward on the No. 33 truck. We have a lot of good races on the No. 33 car with me driving. It is just something that we haven't been selling. We have sold the rest of the car; I don't foresee a problem there."
SO YOU ARE SAYING ONCE YOU HAD THE DISCUSSION WITH NASCAR, YOU UNDERSTOOD IT BETTER. "They have been in communication. We have known that Camping World has been looking at the entitlement. This has to work for everybody and I don't think there is definitely not any cherry-picking from a NASCAR standpoint. This is just a company looking at it, one of a few companies looking at something that might make sense for them. That is not something that you can damn anybody for. You just have to stand back. Sponsorship hunting is something that is always going to be a part of NASCAR, the teams and there is going to be some crossover and some things that happen. I just like the fact that there has been good communication and been on the same page with the team from this point."
WHY ARE YOU (KHI) SO GOOD AT GETTING SPONSORS WHEN OTHERS HAVE STRUGGLED? "I think we work hard at it and I think we get creative and figure out a way to make things work."
SO CAMPING WORLD WILL BE ON YOUR TRUCK YOUR TRUCK EVEN IF THEY ARE THE TITLE SPONSOR? "I don't know the details of how far along they are with NASCAR. I know that they are under contract to run on Ron Hornaday's truck, it will be the Camping World Chevrolet with six VFW races with Hornaday next year."
DO YOUR STRATEGY AS A DRIVER CHANGE AS THE CHASE HEATS UP? "I don't think so. I don't think much changes. I think you go out and race every week, just like it is your last week. That is what has got us here and that is what is going to get us through the end of the season. You have to go out and gain as many points as you can through the end of the year and really see what happens from there. Hopefully, we can continue to keep doing what we have been doing and get our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet in to victory lane."
GOING TO TALLADEGA, IF THEY WOULD SAY THEY WOULD GIVE YOU A TOP-10, WOULD YOU JUST TAKE IT AND LEAVE? "I am leaving, for sure! Talladega is obviously a wild card. That has probably been our company's biggest emphasis is to make our superspeedway program better. The last couple of years, we haven't been that good.
"I feel like our engine department has made some huge gains last time going to Daytona. And a little bit better going to Talladega. You can have your feelings hurt pretty quick going forward, and not have things work like you think they are going to work. But, I think they are going to better when we get to Talladega."
HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT BECAUSE NOTHING IS IN YOUR CONTROL AT TALLADEGA? "Basically all you do is try to put yourself in the best position to stay up front. But you have seen the wrecks happen up front and start with the first car and collect the last car. There is no safe spot. You just go and you push and shove as hard as you can all day and try to keep yourself and hopefully it isn't your day to wreck. You have a 50/50 shot when you go there and that is just kind of how it is."
WHAT ARE YOUR OPINIONS ON THE DRUG POLICY NASCAR ANNOUNCED LAST WEEK? "I think that the drug policy worked out really good for everybody. I think NASCAR was very pro-active in this particular situation. Obviously, I have been involved in it very early. I think they stepped up to the plate and have done what big companies do and put a pre-employment, an injury drug test, a random drug test and that it is almost identical to the program that RCR and KHI have in place for our companies. It is good. It puts a lot of questions to bed knowing that the public is going to happen."
THERE HAS BEEN SOME CRITICISM FROM SOME OUTSIDE EXPERTS THAT THERE IS A LACK OF LIST FOR BANNED SUBSTANCES. DOES THAT MATTER TO YOU? "I don't know. That Shaun Assael or whatever that guy's name is from ESPN that I have seen criticize NASCAR, I have never seen the guy, I don't know who he is and obviously he doesn't really know how our sport works and the ins and outs. He can talk all he the trash he wants, but in the end, I think they have done a great job in taking something that when somebody is sick, letting them go out and get treats. If that substance is banned and knowing what it is being treated for and being used correctly, I think that is fair. I think it is a very fair policy. I think that guy, I don't even know his name-whatever, the Penn State Professor, that is what I will call him since I can't say his name, I think he is just trying to make news and making noise and just stinking it up for everybody. I think they have done a great job in really being pro-active and making something happen."
YOU ARE COOL WITH THERE NOT BEING A LIST? "I think that they are testing for everything. The tests are going to be random and I feel very comfortable sitting in the seat with the guy next to me.
"I don't think there is a problem. My biggest problem with the whole drug testing policy was it not being public and people not knowing how it worked and people not being tested more often. That is not going to happen anymore. We are all going to be tested several times throughout the year and everybody knows that and I am proud of that."
-credit: gm racing