KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media and discussed being in the Chase, tire evolution, substance abuse testing, Clint Bowyer's win at New Hampshire last year, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s confidence, success at...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media and discussed being in the Chase, tire evolution, substance abuse testing, Clint Bowyer's win at New Hampshire last year, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s confidence, success at Texas Motor Speedway in the Nationwide Series and other subjects.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO START THE CHASE? "It feels really good to be in the Chase and get that first battle behind you. And if anyone has anymore questions, we are not scared to answer their questions and it's something we wanted to face head-on. But we are excited to be in the Chase and looking forward to getting it started and we're really excited about our flat-track stuff after Richmond last week and looking forward to going this week."
YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE CHASE OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS. IS IT IMPORTANT TO GET OFF TO A GOOD START? "Well we've gotten off to a good start before and we have won this race and then our stuff wasn't quite where it needed to be when we got to the mile-and-a-half stuff and we fell off a bit. So, it's all about putting ten weeks together. If you have some circumstances that pop up, you deal with those but you have to be able to make the performance what it needs to be and you have to be competitive week in and week out and make something happen in the ten weeks, week in and week out."
WITH THE NEW CAR, IS IT BECOMING MORE DIFFICULT FOR YOU AND THE CREW CHIEF TO FIND THAT SWEET SPOT IN THE CAR AND COULD IT POSSIBLY GIVE AN ADVANTAGE TO THE YOUNG GUYS WHO DON'T KNOW ANY BETTER AND DON'T HAVE ANY KNOWLEDGE ABOUT DRIVING THE OLD CARS. AND IS IT A SITUATION TO TRANSITION FROM BIAS-PLY TIRES TO THE NEW TIRE? "Yeah I think with the evolution of the new car, I think it seems to be evolving very fast. I have been very fortunate to having an open mind as far as the set-ups on the cars. I really enjoy trying things and doing things that you normally wouldn't do at the race track to make your car run faster because I know the rewards are fun when you get to ride those things for the next few weeks and be really competitive. So it's a different time from what it used to be the way the cars are evolving and the things that you have to do to make the cars feel comfortable but I feel comfortable and Todd is one of the most innovative people in the garage and we've tried a lot of stuff over the years and that has been the way it always has been over my career as I have come up."
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THE DRUG POLICY THAT IS COMING TOGETHER AND THAT AS ITS BEING FORMULATED TO FACE REAL WORLD ISSUES LIKE WHAT RON IS FACING AND THAT A STEROID THAT HE'S TAKING MIGHT NOT BE ON THAT LIST AND CAUSE ANY HEADACHES FOR YOU GUYS? "Well here is the problem with steroid testing. There are so many different types of steroids that it's hard to test for one actual steroid and there has to be real world instances like was the case with Ron where you have to stay alive and there's only a certain kind to fix certain things and to prescribe to fix certain illnesses. So that is well incorporated in what they are getting ready to do and what they currently do and they have a great department that understands your health and understands what you need to do to make that happen."
IN WHAT WAY WOULD HGH HELP A DRIVER IN THEIR RECOVERY? WOULD IT HELP IN THE RECOVERY FROM AN INJURY AND AGAIN HOW WOULD IT ENHANCE THE PERFORMANCE OF A DRIVER? "Yeah, I really don't know that. The only real experiences that I have is through high school and watching one of my best friends take the drugs and he was just a miserable person and it's a totally different animal when you see these people on steroids and you see how they react and you see the things that they do. It's very obvious, and I say this and don't want everyone to think that I am some kind of druggie or something, but I say this because I have been around it and I have seen it and when people take these kind of drugs they aren't the kind of people you want to be around and they become these animals and that is not good for our sport and that is not something that we need to be involved for sure. And I don't know that it would necessarily be a benefit.
THE NO. 07 (CLINT BOWYER) TEAM GOT A VICTORY HERE LAST YEAR AND IT KIND OF SEEMED TO GIVE THEM A PUSH THROUGH THE REST OF THE CHASE. DID YOU NOTICE THAT AND HOW BIG OF A BUMP CAN A VICTORY HERE GIVE YOU? "Anytime you win it gives you a big boost and in 2006 we had a lot of momentum coming from Richmond in winning that race, then winning this race and it carried us for a few weeks and then we stumbled a little bit then got it back there at the end of the year, but it's all about ten weeks. But obviously winning the first race can definitely give you some momentum and they showed that last year."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE FANS WHO ARE FOLLOWING THIS SPORT ARE WISHING FOR THERE TO BE A REAL RIVALRY BETWEEN KYLE BUSCH AND CARL EDWARDS AND GIVEN THE CORPORATE ENVIRONMENT IN TODAY'S SPORT IS IT POSSIBLE FOR THERE TO BE A REAL BAD GUY IN THIS SPORT ANYMORE THE WAY YOU HAVE TO PROMOTE THESE TWENTY-MILLION DOLLAR SPONSORS? "We definitely have a bad guy, and I am not necessarily sure that it has been earned the way that you would want to earn it but I think there definitely can be rivalries. I think with all the media you have around you, you have to take care of your sponsors and do the things that you need to do there. But I have told Richard (Childress) and I have told our sponsors from the very beginning that you are not going to change who I am. If you don't like who I am, then go sponsor someone else, go have somebody else drive your car because I am not smart enough to remember how I am supposed to act. I just go out and be who I am. I think a lot more people are more comfortable with that than they were two or three years ago."
TONY STEWART SAID THAT DALE EARNHARDT JR. IS MORE CONFIDENT ON TRACK THAN HE HAS BEEN OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS. DO YOU SEE THAT IN HIM? "I think he went and bought some new sweaters this week. You asked for that Jenna. You stirred all that up and then you asked for that.
"But yes, he seems a lot more relaxed than what he used to be and there is probably a lot more stress with the family business and having to answer to his dad's name and I can kind of relate to that. So it's getting into a situation where he is in more control of his own career and it's got to feel more comfortable and more rewarding than the situation that he was in before."
KEVIN CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR SUCCESS AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY IN A NATIONWIDE CAR? "Yes, we have been fortunate and have run really well there and win some races. It's just one of those racetracks that fits what we do with the cars and fits the driving style and things that go along with it. So it's just one of those tracks where everything clicks and we've been fortunate to be in some of those situations where we could capitalize and get some wins."
HOW BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION IS THE RON HORNADAY SITUATION KNOWING WHAT KIND OF GUY HE IS TO NEVER DO ANYTHING WRONG. AND SECONDLY DO YOU THINK YOU WILL HAVE TO WIN RACES, YOU ARE ONE OF FIVE GUYS WITHOUT WINS, ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE TO WIN RACES TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "Well I think on the Hornaday front, with this group of media it's very easy to understand how it was gone about to get the kind of procedures that he had and obviously would have needed to be done differently today than it was then probably, but knowing where Ron was with his health and the things he was trying to accomplish with everything, it's very easy to explain to this room the circumstances and conditions. So unfortunately you have somebody from the outside that looks at a list from this place that has some history and it makes some headlines."
As far as the top-five and finishing in the top-five I think you are going to have to win a race or two to make a championship happen. I think you could be consistent and finish in the top-five to make it happen but to be on top, you are going to have to win a race or two to make it happen."
IN THE PAST CHAMPIONS COULD HAVE A BAD FINISH AND A MEDIOCRE FINISH AND STILL WIN THIS THING. BUT NOW, IS IT SO DIFFICULT THAT YOU CAN'T EVEN HAVE ONE OR TWO BAD FINISHES AND WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "You know the ironic thing I see is if you go back and look over the past few weeks and you look at the top-twelve finishing order, it's almost always representative of the top-twelve guys in the Chase. And when you go back and look at that you know that you have to run in the top-five every week to win this championship and if you have a bad week most likely someone else is not going to have a bad week. So we have seen it in the past like when Tony's won it without winning a race but some of the guys like Jimmie have gone and had a couple bad weeks then gone on a tear and finished in the top-three for a bunch of weeks. I don't know how many weeks, but he finished a lot in the top-three in one of the years he won. So it all depends on what kind of Chase it is, but most likely if you have something go wrong, somebody isn't."
KEVIN, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE TESTS THAT WERE HELD IN RICHMOND WITH THE NEW NATIONWIDE CAR AND DO YOU THINK DEVELOPMENT OF THAT CAR AND SOME OF THE DATA GATHERED FROM THAT TEST IS GOING TO HELP SORT OUT THINGS ON THE CUP SIDE? "Yeah, I don't know if with the way the rules are different that if the data is going to bring much back on the Cup side. Everything I have heard about the cars has been positive and I heard that it drove well and I think NASCAR's done a good job of getting everyone in that box in a good place to start. I think it's a good place to start and we'll see how it goes at Charlotte."
KEVIN A COUPLE YEARS AGO YOU HAD FOURTEEN WINS AND ENDED UP GETTING A NATIONWIDE CHAMPIONSHIP OUT OF IT. HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO HAVE GOTTEN THAT CHAMPIONSHIP AND WOULD IT HAVE BEEN A HOLLOW FEELING IF YOU HAD NOT GOTTEN THE CHAMPIONSHIP TO GO WITH IT IN THAT TYPE OF SEASON? "Yeah, we won nine races in the Nationwide Series and I think five in Sprint Cup and yeah, it would have been a hollow feeling if you would have won that many races in a year and not have won a championship. It just doesn't seem complete and that would have been a bad deal."
-credit: gm racing