Las Vegas: Harvick - Friday media visit

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 PENNZOIL ULTRA IMPALA, met with members of the media at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and discussed racing at LVMS, next week at Atlanta, the improvement to all three RCR cars and other topics. TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS...

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 PENNZOIL ULTRA IMPALA, met with members of the media at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and discussed racing at LVMS, next week at Atlanta, the improvement to all three RCR cars and other topics.

TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: "Based upon how everything has gone, hopefully it goes the same way. It is fun to come to the race track and know everything is going good. We have a new car this week, so we will see how it goes. We ran well here last year and hopefully we can do the same this year."

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO COME IN HERE LEADING THE POINTS? "Obviously it is really early in the season to get in to points but I think it could be worse. It could be the opposite end of the spectrum. We'll take it week by week and keep plugging away at what we need to do on a weekly basis. We'll take it one race at a time to make the adjustments that we think we need with our cars and analyze what we did right or wrong the week before and try to keep improving on a week-to-week basis. That is the thing when you aren't completely struggling, you can really start to fine-tune what you are doing as far as changes and really start tweaking on the fleet of cars that you have so you can try to make little things better. That is where we are right now for at least this week until we go back to the spoiler."

CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHEN YOU SENSED THE TURN AROUND WAS STARTING TO HAPPEN WITHIN RCR AND WHAT DO YOU FEEL DIFFERENCE WISE? "From really Indy, where we took our newest stuff, and that is where we started the cycle, the new changes throughout our cars. The biggest thing is now we have a fleet of them and we are able to race them every week where last year we had one this week and you didn't have one next week. But we had to build 40 of them so it took a while to get everything turned around and get the chassis department and body department and everything on the right page. Indy was pretty much where it all started to turn around for us. The end of the year was a lot like the way the beginning of this year has been. We weren't as consistent with all three cars but everybody was still searching a little bit but there was at least one if not two cars for the last five or six weeks of the season that were pretty much doing the same thing we are doing now."

IF YOU HAD TO POINT TO JUST ONE THING THAT HAS CAUSED THE RESURGENCE BESIDES THE ENGINES, WHAT WOULD IT BE? "You can't point at one thing because it was everything but the engines. We pretty much started over and I guess the only think you can attribute to the success of where everything is is just the hard work. That is really what it boils down to is that everybody had to basically build new fleets of cars for all three teams to start over with. There is just so many things that have changed, the structure of management has changed, the chassis have changed, the bodies have changed, bump stops, springs, I mean it just goes on and on and on. I think you started seeing a lot of management changes and the way that the structure of the company functioned as we got toward the end of last year and I think a lot of that has helped the processes. You are going to get the first test at the first race we put the spoilers on, you are going to see where your engineering department stands. Where your aero department stands because you literally can't take this car that we race with a wing on it and just put a spoiler on it. All the cars are going to be different. They are going to get tested pretty quick on what is right and what is wrong as far as whether we maintain the competitive level that we are at when the spoiler is on the car. I think every team in the garage is somewhat concerned whether they are hopefully making the right decisions going forward as to what kind of build you need with your cars with the spoiler on them."

YOU TWEETED THIS WEEK THAT YOUR DOG MILLS PASSED AWAY, CAN YOU REFLECT A LITTLE ON THAT? "Mills was actually the first thing I bought when I came to North Carolina. That was my first purchase so Mills has been there longer than anybody. It kind of sucks when you lose a dog, you don't realize how attached to them you are until they are gone. So it not great, but she lived a good life. She stayed at the shop every day, so I think the guys at the shop were actually as attached to her as I was. It sucks but she had a good life."

WHAT DO YOU STILL REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR FIRST WIN AT ATLANTA WHERE WE GO TO NEXT WEEK AND WHAT DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CHANCES THERE? "We are really looking forward to Atlanta next week based upon how we ran there last time. It has become one of those tracks that has been really good for us in anything that we have been racing there over the past three or four years. Anything short of being competitive for a win or a top-five on the Cup side would be a let-down, so you just have to go there and try to do the same things that you have done over the past few years. I feel really comfortable about what I think I need in the car to make it go on the long haul there. The last race came down to a short run and we got beat by Kasey (Kahne) on the short run. Nine times out of 10 I don't think that happens with a late restart and everybody getting tires, it all played out the way it played out. For us, it's probably one of our stronger race tracks in all the divisions. I am going to run the truck race as well so it should be a good weekend for us and I am looking forward to it.

"As far as remembering much from that first win, I'll be honest with you, I don't remember much about that day. Everything was still a little confusing at the particular point in my career; I realize that I should remember everything that happened. But, I don't remember really anything from that day. There were just so many different emotions and things that ran through my head that it was just kind of more of a strange moment than it was anything."

AFTER LAST WEEKEND, IS THERE MORE DESIRE TO PROVE TO JIMMIE JOHNSON THAT YOU CAN BEAT HIM? "We have beat him before. The last time that we really dug in and beat him was '06, when we were running really well. We don't need to prove anything to anybody. We're here to race; we don't have anything to prove I guess you could say. I think it will all take care of itself as we go race week-in and week-out and do the right things. All that stuff will take care of itself as we go from week to week."

HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT TO LOSE LIKE THAT WHEN IT LOOKED LIKE YOU HAD THE BEST CAR AT THE END OF THE RACE? "Nobody lost it but me. I think if you look back, touching the wall. We had a chance to win and that is really what you want and didn't capitalize in that particular moment like we needed to. Usually that is one of our strong suits, when we get in to that position, usually we make that happen more times than not. We have always been really good at closing the deal. But, those guys (No. 48 team) are really good and when they have a little luck on their side, it makes them even harder to beat so you can't make a mistake. That is kind of the price that you take a chance of paying when you are running up there against the wall. That is why I don't necessarily like running up there. Jimmie saw me coming and moved up there and I just barely lost the nose. There was no room for error at that particular moment, just touched the wall. You just roll with it. Just glad we had an opportunity to be in that position."

-source: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup