KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Chicagoland Speedway and discussed the Chase and other topics.

Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Ted Rossino

TALK ABOUT STARTING THE CHASE AT CHICAGOLAND: “It’s been a good race track for us. Last year wasn’t great for the nighttime race, but I think as you say, looking back at the past, it’s been a race track that we look forward to coming to. Just see where we get started off in practice and then work on our car and go from there. It should be a good weekend for us and looking forward to getting it started.”

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO END JIMMIE JOHNSON’S DYNASTY AND WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP?: “I think as you look back at the five years that they’ve had and the things that they’ve been able to accomplish, you know, it’s definitely not all luck. Those guys have done a good job on the race track and have fast cars and put themselves in position to be able to take advantage of having some fortunate things happen and winning races in between. I think for everybody, you want to be the guy to knock them off as a team and it seems like this time of the year they thrive on listening to what everybody says and making things happen. We just need to focus on what we’re doing -- pay attention to the details of our car and take it one practice, one lap, one race at a time and try to take as many points away from every situation as possible.”

IS THERE A FAVORITE IN THE CHASE?: “I think as you look at this Chase it just seems so competitive. There’s been a lot of winners this year and it seems like a lot of the races have come to strategy and I think the 24 (Jeff Gordon) has run relatively well leading up over the last five or six weeks so I think right now over the last couple weeks, we’ve had a good car. There’s just a lot of guys that could run good and you can mess things up a lot easier than you can keep them going good. You just have to pay attention to everything that’s going on.”

DO YOU THINK STARTING THE CHASE ON A MILE AND A HALF TRACK IS A BETTER INDICATOR OF WHO THE PLAYERS WILL BE IN THE CHASE?: “Yeah, there’s not going to be one race that’s going to show you the signs of what’s going to happen. This is a 10 week dog fight. You have to scratch and claw for everything that you can get your hands on and take some things away that you probably shouldn’t have. The stage is already set. You can see the guys that are running good and the guys that aren’t. That can change at any given minute just for the fact, like I say, you can show up to a race track and think it’s your best track and not run worth a darn. That’s just kind of the nature of the beast right now. One week is definitely not going to tell what’s going to happen.”

DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING TO DEFEND RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING BASED ON WHAT JEFF GORDON SAID ABOUT PAUL MENARD YESTERDAY?: “As I told you yesterday, you can sit and have opinions on a lot of things about the races. Does Jeff Gordon ever catch me if the 51 car, which is a Hendrick car and has a lot of Hendrick support, does he ever catch me if he doesn’t sit there and block and ride and spin out twice during the race? There’s a lot of things that we could debate and Jeff’s just debating the things that he’s been told. There’s no message, there’s no anything. Jeff’s asking questions and it’s like I told you guys yesterday and I know what I know from what I hear and as a team I think we did what we did as a job that we needed to get done and won the race. There’s debates all throughout the race and all throughout the field and it’s just that time of year when you have teammates and everybody has teammates and you have friends. There’s just a lot of things that you could debate. He’s just voicing an opinion. I’m going to talk here, not you. He’s voicing his opinion and I have no problem with that. There’s nothing that needs to be riled up or create a controversy. There’s nothing there. It’s something to where people have opinions and I have an opinion and that is not anything against Jeff Gordon or anybody involved. He’s just asking questions and that’s what he should do.”

ARE YOU INVOLVED IN MEETINGS ABOUT WHICH CARS TO USE EACH WEEK OR PIT CREW DECISIONS?: “I’m involved in the meetings, but look, I’ve made a lot of decisions along with my wife and Richard (Childress) and a lot of things leading up to this point in the year. My job right now is to drive that car as fast as I can drive it, keep my head focused on the things that I need to be focused on and not worry about anything else. I’m a part of the meetings, but when it comes down to making hard decisions and doing things, we have Richard and Mike Dillon and a lot of management guys that are part of the team. It’s crunch time and everybody’s got to step up and do their jobs right now and that’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to stay as focused as I can and not let the little things bother me and we’re going to drive the car and see where we fall at the end of this thing.”

DO YOU FEEL DIFFERENT OR ARE DOING ANYTHING DIFFERENT FOR THIS CHASE?: “I feel good about where I’m at personally and professionally. I feel comfortable with a lot of the things and decisions that have been made. I feel comfortable with where the performance of the car has been the last two weeks, but look, everybody’s here to do one thing. There’s 12 guys that want to win the championship. Everybody thinks everybody is out to get them and you have to focus on your own stuff. You have to focus on your own team. Right now, there’s 500 people at RCR and that’s really the only thing I care about. I don’t care what anybody says. I know Jeff (Gordon) is very good and he’s been here before racing for championships and he wants to stir as much stuff up as he can. We’re going to focus on our job and race as hard as we can and do what we have to do. We’ll take it one week at a time and one situation at a time and have fun with it.”

DID YOU LEARN A LESSON FROM THE DENNY HAMLIN SITUATION AT DOVER LAST YEAR AND WOULD YOU LIKE TO PUT THAT BEHIND YOU AND FOCUS ON THE CHAMPIONSHIP?: “You know I think you have to pick and choose your battles. Whether that was a battle to pick or whether that’s right or wrong, I don’t know. It’s one of those things where you definitely have to pick and choose what you do and you have to be smart. I think every year that we go through situations and circumstances; I think we get a little bit smarter and we learn how to handle things a little bit different. There’s a lot of smart people that you’re racing against too that have done this for awhile and you have to know how to navigate your way through the game.”