Michigan II: Harvick - GM Top-10 interview

GFS Marketplace 400 - Weekly Top 10 Behind the Hauler Chat with Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo SS ON HOW STRONG HIS TEAM IS: "We're probably as strong as we've been since 2003. I felt like 2003 we had a chance to win the ...

GFS Marketplace 400 - Weekly Top 10

Behind the Hauler Chat with Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo SS

ON HOW STRONG HIS TEAM IS: "We're probably as strong as we've been since 2003. I felt like 2003 we had a chance to win the championship. I feel like we're in that same category I guess you could say now. We just have to keep doing what we're doing this year."

ON THE POSSIBLY OF WINNING TWO CHAMPIONSHIPS. HOW COOL IS THAT? "Right now we're just going race to race, just really trying to focus on what we're doing. When we get a little closer we'll start thinking about that and stuff."

ON HIS SYSTEM WORKING WELL BASED ON WHERE HE SITS IN THE POINTS FOR THE BUSCH SERIES AND MOVING UP IN POINTS IN THE CUP SERIES: "We all play by the same rules so it's just the way it works."

ON FIVE RACES IN THE CHASE TAKING PLACE AT MILE AND A HALF TRACKS: "I think it's pretty good. We finished in the top five and led a lap so we've done what we needed to do there. I don't think there's any race track right now that we go to that we're weak at. I think our weakest race tracks are here and California so I think our mile and a half program is fine."

DO YOU FEEL MORE CONFIDENT COMING TO THE TRACK NOW? "Oh yeah. Yeah confidence is definitely at a high for everybody, myself and Jeff (Burton) and Client (Bowyer) and everybody is moving the same direction. So it makes it a lot of fun to go to the track and know that if your teammates off you're probably going to the run in the top 15 where as last year we struggled to run 15th or 10th. So it makes it a lot more fun."

ARE THERE A LOT OF THINGS YOU CAN TRANSFER HERE FROM YOUR BUSCH CAR TO YOUR CUP CAR? "Not really. The aerodynamic package is different in the Busch car. We run the same general package but it usually winds up being, you know, from one end of the spectrum so you take a lot just from the driver's seat and that's the most important thing."

ON SOME OF THE BUSCH DRIVERS BEING UPSET THAT CUP DRIVERS ARE WINNING ALL THE BUSCH SERIES RACES: "They need to quit griping and start learning how to win. That's what all of us had to do. This is not something that's new. It's just something that's more widespread through the media. There's a couple of them that gripe about it more than others that have been here for a while that seem like they're on the coast and collect program so they just need to figure out how to win races and run better. That'd be what I would do. When I came in, Mark Martin was pretty much kicking everybody's butt, Jeff Burton (was also good). They were winning races and it wasn't really that big of a deal and now it's a big deal it seems like. I've always been the type that if you get beat you need to figure out why. That's what I would do if I was them instead of worrying about how we can try to be more competitive with getting rid of people. That's not really the answer to things."

ON GOING TO BRISTOL: "We finished second in both races there last time and won a race there last year. Bristol is my favorite place to go. I enjoy the short track stuff and we've always been fortunate to run really well there. We go there with high expectations but you never know what's going to happen there. You can get caught up in a wreck in a hurry and have your day ended so I mean you have to go there and enjoy it but know that the outcome could be the opposite of what you want it to be."

ON COMPETING WITH THE CAR OF TOMORROW. WILL THAT LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD? "I think it might make it work. In some cases because there will be weeks where some guys hit it and a lot of guys don't and all your notes are no good anymore so it's something where we'll probably have a guy every once in a while hit it at a race track and be completely dominant. It might be something where there's going to be some teams that are off and we all have to look at that and keep an open mind about everything because you might go to the race track and just get your butt kicked one week because some guy shows up and figures something out. It could have the opposite effect of somebody hitting it right on and just being dominant at certain race tracks."

HOW WOULD YOU GUAGE YOUR CONFIDENCE LEVEL RIGHT NOW? "High. I think right now everything is going really well and things are going good. You have to ride those roller coasters while they're up and you have to figure out how to get through them when they're down. Everything performance wise has been really good all year. We had some bad luck at the beginning of the year. Everybody kind of looked at you funny when you said 'Yeah we ran really well. We finished 30th last week but ran really well.' Everybody says well he's just trying to keep a positive attitude but I wasn't lying. The cars have run good all year and (we) mostly got the freak things out of the way and got to where we need to be on the luck side of it. The performance of the cars has been there all year."

HOW FAR HAS YOUR TEAM COME OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS? "I think 2001 and 2003 we were championship capable. The other three years we struggled, just struggled to get into the top 10 so it's come a long way. This is the same group of guys that I've had for four or five years now and I've been with Todd (Berrier, crew chief) all of seven years it seems like. It's been a struggle at times. It's been really good at times and to be where we are today is very rewarding for everybody involved. Everybody wants to finish the year off strong and compete for the championship so we have to get through the next four weeks without having a major disaster and hopefully do what we need to do in the Chase."

HOW ARE YOUR CHANCES FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "I think if we were racing for the championship right now we'd be in good shape but momentum can swing and you just have to try to keep momentum on your side. If we can keep momentum on our side I think the performance is good."

RCR OBVIOUSLY HAS A LARGE DALE EARNHARDT FANBASE. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD MEAN TO THEM IF YOU WERE TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "Well I think we weeded out a lot of those fans that wanted to be here because of that. I think everything that we look at now, we look at it as us being a part of our car and obviously there's a history there but we look at them as our fans and our people and our race team. It would mean a lot to our fans and RCR fans as a whole. It's something that I think probably has caught everybody a little bit off guard this year but we're pretty proud of everything that's going on."

ON RACING AT MICHIGAN. CAN YOU WIN TWO IN A ROW? "Well I don't know. We ran really well here last time (but) just didn't get to finish the race. The rain stopped it. The car was good here last time and I think we have to put ourselves in position. If you put yourself in position towards the end of the race, all you can ask for is an opportunity so if we can do that we should be OK. You never say we're going to go out and win because you never know what is going to happen in this sport."

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING IN NASCAR, WHAT WOULD IT BE? "I don't know."

ARE YOU A FAN OF THE LUCKY DOG PASS? "I think last week's incident was something where what are the odds of going to the race track and not having a guy a lap down or two laps down or somewhere in between the lead lap and five laps down so I think it was the aligning of the stars and (we'll) probably not ever have that happen. I think the lucky dog rule is a good rule and last week things just all lined up to have it happen. I think it accomplishes what they needed to accomplish, last week was just a little bit extreme."

"It's something where the rule keeps it interesting and there's a race within a race to get the lucky dog. I'd be interested to see if you go back and look at a race 25 laps into a race or 30 laps into a race or 50 laps into a race and it went on the whole race. What are the odds of it going through a whole race without a car being in between that?"

ON MOMENTUM AND CONSISTENCY: "I think it goes hand it hand. I think performance consistency is harder than having the momentum on your side because first you have to be able to perform and run well to get that consistency. When you're capitalizing off of your performance and having the luck go your way and having things on your side, I think both momentum and consistency go hand in hand with performance."

WITH DRIVERS TRYING TO GET INTO THE CHASE, WILL BRISTOL BE ANY MORE FRANTIC OR CAN IT BE ANY MORE FRANTIC? "I don't think it can be any more frantic. You're just on the edge the whole time there trying to get everything you can out of it. There's not a whole lot of room to move around. That's one of those places where I don't think it can get any more frantic. You just do what you have to do and go for it."

DO YOU GO TO BRISTOL WITH JUST YOUR FOOT, YOUR HAND AND YOUR BUTT? "Yeah, pretty much. You go there and try to qualify well and put yourself in position to run in the front all night but even in the front you're liable to get in trouble."

ON NEW, YOUNG DRIVERS ONLY GET ONE SHOT IN NASCAR: "I think there's a lot of pressure. I think that happens in the Busch Series and the Cup Series. You come in and the guys give you a good car and the sponsors become impatient or the owners become impatient or whatever the case may be and they wind up losing their opportunity. For example the Dollar General car with Burney (Lamar), the sponsor wanted a young guy. They wanted somebody to build their brand around and understand that there was going to be some bumps in the road but that's what they wanted. That's what they wanted to do. The first year was the year to get on the race track and evaluate everything that's going on and get their cars built and get everything prepared and next year the expectations will be a lot more. I think sponsorship has a lot to do with how the owners react to a young driver and how much time you give them."

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE A NEW DRIVER ENTERING NASCAR RIGHT NOW? "No. You always want the chance to do what you do but sometimes when you're 19, 20, 21 years old, you don't really understand the opportunity that you have. A lot of times its not anything that happens on the race track, it's the world outside of the race cars when you become a multi-millionaire and can have anything that you want. That kind of misguides you to do things that you don't really need to be doing. A lot of times off the track stuff can affect on track stuff more than what happens at the race track."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE PAST CHAMPION'S PROVISIONAL? "I think if you're a champion of the sport you deserve rights that other people can't get. If you've been able to win a championship and do what you need to do to make that happen, I think it's something where you should have some extra privileges over a guy who's just been here for one year. I think maybe if you haven't raced a year or something you probably shouldn't get in until you race a certain amount of races or something."

"It's definitely been abused. I think there's ways to make it so it can't be abused or something like that. You can make the rule better, it just needs to still be somewhere in the sport."

HAS WINNING IN THE BUSCH SERIES BECOME EASY FOR YOU? "No. It's as hard as it's ever been and we've been fortunate this year to capitalize on cars that have been running good and put ourselves in position to win some races that we shouldn't have won and win some of the races that we should have won as well. It's not easy by any means and I can't do it in my own car yet in the 33. The 21 just really has the stuff together and the whole Coast Guard Chevrolet team is really on top of things."

IS IT STILL FUN? "Oh I enjoy it, yeah. Anytime you're running good and winning races if you're in a go-kart or a Cup car or a Busch car, it's a lot fun."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Mark Martin