Las Vegas: Harvick - Friday media visit

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL PENNZOIL MONTE CARLO SS TALKS WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE NEW TRACK SURFACE, WINNING THE DAYTONA 500, AND THE IMPALA SS CAR OF TOMORROW: ON THE NEW LAS VEGAS TRACK SURFACE: "We have a new race track and then we have a ...

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL PENNZOIL MONTE CARLO SS TALKS WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE NEW TRACK SURFACE, WINNING THE DAYTONA 500, AND THE IMPALA SS CAR OF TOMORROW:

ON THE NEW LAS VEGAS TRACK SURFACE: "We have a new race track and then we have a different tire than what everybody tested on, and we have a different pit road than what we're used to. If we have to do a green flag pit stop, it'll be good to get that out of the way. We practiced that at the test, but you never can simulate race conditions like you can during the race."

IS THE NEW TRACK BETTER THAN IT USED TO BE? "I don't think so. I think the old race track had a little bit of character. The asphalt was worn out and you could move around the race track. What they've done with the infield is great for the fans.

But I think it's hard to tell how it's going to race until you get out there and race. It's just one of those 1.5-mile tracks now."

WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT JEAN PABLO MONTOYA BY WATCHING HIM AT THE MEXICO CITY RACE LAST WEEK? "I learned he's a good road racer. I think everybody knew that coming in. He's good at what he does. The oval track is what you have to figure out. But he's obviously a really good road racer and they're on top of the road race stuff."

WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON WHAT HAPPENED WITH MONTOYA AND PRUETT? "I didn't see it. I read about it, but I didn't see it so I really don't have an opinion."

WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF YOUR FAST START THIS YEAR? "We obviously ended the ('06) year really well and everything was on our side. We felt like we've made some improvements on the current car and everything there. I think we have a good package for that car and just carried some of that momentum over and things have gone good for all three teams.

"When you have all three teams running good, that makes things a lot better because you have more draw from it. You can take the package that you thought was pretty good and everybody tries something a little bit different. And a lot of times you find a little something that makes it better - no matter how good you think it is."

HAS THE THRILL OF WINNING THE DAYTONA 500 WORN OFF? "It really hasn't worn off because I really way underestimated the magnitude of the Daytona 500 and everything with the fans and the general population - the casual race fans I guess you would call them - it's just not like anything else."

HOW SO? "It's just one of those things. When you win a race everybody says hey, good job. But everybody, no matter where you go, knows that you won the Daytona 500. When you win a normal race, not everybody knows that. And everybody knows you won the Daytona 500 because it's just way bigger.

"I thought the Brickyard was a big deal. But it's not even in the same ballpark."

DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE THE SAME CAR AT TALLADEGA? "No, it wasn't the fastest car in the world. We were going to build another car for Talladega anyway. Now when we go back to Daytona, we might miss it."

HOW DISAPPOINTING WERE YOU WITH HOW FONTANA PLAYED OUT? "I as a little disappointed, but I wasn't devastated by any means. To go there and run like we did at what we feel is one of our worst race tracks, it's very encouraging for everybody. And I think the benefits way outweighed the negatives. It was a good weekend for us. You can't control those dumb-luck circumstances. So it's just one of those deals."

WHEN WE THINK YOU SHOULD BE KICKING AND SCREAMING AND THROWING THINGS, YOU ARE CALM: "Those are the things that you can't control and there's no reason to get wound up about the ones you can't control. There's so many of those that you can really pay attention to and try to understand and try to make better. The things you can't control, you just don't need to worry about and you just have to try to roll with it."

ON CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY: "Well, I like the track but it's just one of those places where we have struggled the past three or four years and it's been hit or miss. And on the days that we have been good, it just seems like we can't the results."

HOW IMPORTANT IS QUALIFYING HERE? DO YOU NEED TO START UP FRONT? "Oh, you want to be up in front. I think there's probably going to be some stuff tore up and some things that happen that normally don't happen. If you get behind everybody, you're probably going to be behind all day."

ON MOVING FORWARD FROM THE COT TEST AT BRISTOL: "It's going to be a lot different. The cars fall off at about 35 or 40 laps pretty heavily. That's a lot different than what we usually race there and the fall off is a lot more and the cars are a little bit slower than what we're used to racing there. So I don't think it's going to be one of those deals where you can just stay out on the race track and use your tire strategy. When a caution comes out, everybody is going to come down and get four tires."

NASCAR SAYS THE COT IS GOING TO IMPROVE THE COMPETITION. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? "I don't have those answers. Until we see race conditions and get everybody out there and really understand where things are. I just don't even have an opinion on that because it's just hard to know when you actually have to pass somebody for real and not just somebody letting you go by."

IS THIS A CHALLENGING TIME WITH THE COT AT BRITOL IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS AND THEN THIS NEW TRACK SURFACE AT LAS VEGAS? "Here, we have a notebook started. The tire is a little bit different than what we've had. There are a lot of unknowns the next three weeks but you just have to approach them with an open mind and not get yourself in a box. You have to be really open-minded to think outside the box if you get in trouble and things aren't going good."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup