Kevin Harvick - Daytona 400 Thursday Media Visit

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By Team Chevy

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER FOLDS OF HONOR CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed the two-car draft at Daytona, his special paint scheme here this weekend, sponsorship and other topics.

TALK ABOUT THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE BUDWEISER CHEVROLET YOU WILL BE DRIVING HERE AT DAYTONA: “It is great to have a sponsor that is so in to supporting our military and we have the Folds of Honor on the back of the car this week which is a foundation driving to draw awareness and trying to raise some money. The fans got to chose the car paint scheme that we are racing this weekend. It is very patriotic. I like the way it looks. It is red, white and blue with some stars all over it. It is a cool car and it is cool to have a sponsor like Budweiser that supports everything.

Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing RheemTankless.com Chevy
Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing RheemTankless.com Chevy

Photo by: Bob Heathcote

“This race track is obviously a big part of our sport and the things that we do. We’ve been fortunate to win some races here. This is one of those races where you have to keep your car rolling and be around at the end. The way that it has become now, you have to have partners. You have to be in the right place at the right time. We didn’t have much of a chance to race in the Daytona 500; we had an engine failure there. Excited to come back and looking forward to the weekend.”

CAN YOU ASSESS YOUR TEAM’S CHANCES WITH FOUR CARS IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES RACE HERE TOMORROW NIGHT AND SECONDLY, ONLY FIVE GUYS IN THE 52 YEAR HISTORY OF THE 400 HAVE WON CONSECUTIVELY, WHAT MAKES THIS RACE SO HARD TO WIN? “To your first question on the Nationwide stuff, really the reason for entering the cars is the way the races is now. We probably only needed to enter one. We could have just let (Tony) Stewart handle the whole process and he could probably handle it by himself with the success he has had in the cars here at Daytona. We’ll put the four cars together and see where they fall in the end. These races are just hard to win because there’s just so many things happening. It’s kind of the great equalizer. Anybody can win from any given spot at any particular time. You just have to try and put yourself in the right position to A. be around at the end and, B. be in position to capitalize at the end of the race on the last lap because that’s when it all happens. It is just all about trying to put yourself in the right spot. Sometimes you can’t even get there. But you do the best you can to try and do that.”

WHERE DO YOU STAND WITH THE TANDEM-RACING SCENARIO-THUMBS UP, THUMBS DOWN OR IT IS WHAT IT IS? “It is what it is for me. I honestly think if the track would have been paved 15 years ago… Everybody just figured it out and I think if everybody would have figured it out 15 years ago, you could have done it with the cars then. It is just a matter of one guy figuring it out and it has just kind of stuck. Now that there is new asphalt, you can do whatever you want because the grip is really high. As a driver you race whatever gives you the best opportunity to win the race and if you don’t do that, you aren’t even to come close. That’s what gives us the best opportunity and that’s what we’ll do.”

DO YOU PREFER THE BIG CLUSTERS OF CARS WE SAW A FEW YEARS AGO? “I’m not really going to prefer one way or another. For me as a driver, it is just all about whatever is the fastest way.”

YOU HAVE DEVELOPED A REPUTATION OF PULLING OUR WINS AT THE LAST MINUTE, ARE YOU JUST IN THE RIGHT PLACE IN THE RIGHT TIME? “We have always been better at the end of the races than we have been at the beginning. Over the last little bit it has been more dramatic than it needs to be, for sure. Hey, whatever we’ve got to do, if it is leading one lap, or a half of a lap or a quarter of a lap, as long as we are winning, that is the main thing.”

KYLE BUSCH CAME UP AND SHOOK YOU HAND LAST WEEK AFTER INFINEON, IS THAT ALL OVER WITH AND YOU GUYS ARE GOOD TO GO? “I wouldn’t call it good to go on that. I mean we raced together for a lap and a half. I was as confused about all that as everybody else.”

WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON BLOCKING AND ALSO BLOCKING HERE AT DAYTONA? “Oh yes, you have to block here for sure. The hardest thing about the road race stuff is you have to race with a different style. As everybody has seen over the last several years, those races are rough and have become probably the most exciting races on the schedule because they are so rough. You have to take chances and sometimes you can put a block on. As the blocker, you know that after you have put a couple of them on, if you put one on every once in a while, if you make a mistake to try to keep your position, but when you do it lap after lap, it tends to frustrate people. The road race guys are the worst about it. They will do it lap after lap and you usually just have to run over them to get by them. If it is a lap after lap thing, it gets on your nerves pretty fast.”

ARE YOU GOING TO BLOCK HERE? “Oh, you are going to block here. You have to. It all depends on where you are in the race. How many laps are left.”

DO YOU FIND WITH THIS STYLE OF RACING HERE THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE TO BE FRIENDS WITH SOMEONE YOU WOULDN’T BE ANYWHERE ELSE? “Absolutely. As a team as a whole with RCR, we have to try to put our team first. But when you wind up with people having accidents or just problems in general or bad pit stops, or whatever the case may be. You wind up with some odd partners. This weekend you just expect it. You know that you are going to have to work with people you don’t want to or you wouldn’t even necessarily even think about cooperating with on a normal race track. But on this particular weekend you work with whoever, whenever and you do what you have to do. First and foremost, you put your team first and you try to take those four cars and make that work.”

HOW DO YOU THINK TREVOR BAYNE IS FEELING WALKING BACK INTO DAYTONA? “It’s got to be pretty special, well, I know it is. I think with everything that he has been through this year, I think just getting in the car every week is pretty exciting for him and just being around the race track and being around all the people he likes being around. His friends, his family and everybody at the race track pretty much becomes your family. So, when you can just be around the people that you like being around, sometimes that is more important than winning any dumb race. It is really more about living an everyday life than it is winning a race. He’s winning the big race.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE EVOLUTION OF THE TANDEM DRAFTING AND DO YOU SEE A TIME WHEN IT GOES AWAY? “I really think if you think you way back, you can think way back and you can remember at Talladega before the race track was paved, and I remember this conversation on the radio about Jeff Gordon just screaming and yelling on the radio with Dale, Jr. (Earnhardt) hitting him and pushing him through the corners. That is really where it all started was Dale, Jr. pushing people all the way around the race track and that was before the track was even paved at Talladega. I just remember that day and going home and watching the race and Jeff Gordon just raising hell about Dale, Jr. pushing him through the corners. Ever since that time, everybody saw that and it has evolved into what it is today. Then they paved the race tracks and it became easy. I don’t remember what year that was, but, it was several years ago before the race track was paved.”

IS THERE LESS BLOCKING HERE WITH THE CARS TWO-BY-TWO AND CARS ARE A LITTLE MORE SPREAD OUT, DOES IT LESSEN THE CHANCE OF ANGER ISSUES ON THE TRACK? “It just depends, you just have to judge on how fast that group is coming up. The blocking just becomes one of those deals if you feel like you made a mistake and you need to guard the position because you’ve already passed the cars behind you, or whatever the case may be, you know you are going to get passed and you know there is going to be some blocks. If you can break that two-car tandem up, it is going to benefit you to keep going. It is all circumstances as to how much you block and there is going to be blocking.”

IS IT BECAUSE YOU DO SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS TO SUPPORT YOUR SPONSORS THE REASON YOU ARE ABLE TO HAVE SPONSORS FOR YOUR TEAMS AT KHI WHEN OTHERS ARE SEEMINGLY HAVING A TOUGH TIME? “We work had it and we think outside the box. When you have a sponsor, you have to take care of them and treat them like they belong. They have to have fun and they have to do the things at the race track that work for them as a sponsorship. We take a lot of chances on certain things and try to bring new people into the sport. Sometimes it’s successful, sometimes it’s not. But we work hard and we’re always on the look-out to try to do something different. If you try to do it the same old way, you are going to wind up with the same old result and it’s not very good right now. You just have to think outside the box.”

WOULD YOU RATHER BE THE CAR IN FRONT OR CAR IN BACK? “To be honest with you, I would rather be the pusher. It’s just easier. It is less work. You can just hold it on the floor and keep your car cool. In the front, it is one of those things where you have to pay a lot of attention as to cars coming up the side of you and keeping the guy attached to you from behind. The front car has to do more work in my opinion.”

WERE YOU IN THE NASCAR BRIEFING THIS MORNING ABOUT THE FANS, THE MEDIA, ETC., WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT IT AND YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEXT FIVE YEARS IN NASCAR? “We’ve been a part of the same meetings. I think that everybody has the same goal in mind and it is no different than anything else. Things change. Perspective of younger audiences change. Everybody wants that 18 to 34 demographic. You want to keep the current fans and the old school fans happy too. It is a fine balance. It is hard to juggle all the pieces and figure out how it works. There is just a lot of things that have changed and there is no way, just like I talked about the sponsorship thing a second ago, there is no way that as a sport that we can have the same strategy that we have had for 50-60 years. It is just not going to work. They are doing a lot of work to try and make it better and that is really all you can ask for is to have everybody be pulling the same direction and if everyone is understanding it and is on the same page, it is a lot easier to pull in the same direction. They have been very open as to what they want to do. If it doesn’t work, it’s not from a lack of effort.”

CAN YOU TELL IN THE CAR WHO YOU ARE SPEAKING TO ON THE RADIO IN YOUR CAR HERE? ARE THERE ANY LIGHTS ON THE DASH? “There shouldn’t be any lights, but there is a sticker with a knob that points to the car that your radio channel is on, that is pretty common. But, I don’t put it in my car, it is too confusing. Anything past five is hard for me because I can only take one hand off the wheel at a time.”

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE WITH ONE TO GO? “You would like to be the second car for sure. It is no different. You can pull out and drive right by them if you pull out at the right time. But the problem is, there is usually somebody right beside you and at that point you are stuck. If you pull out to pass the guy in front of you, the guys on the outside are going to drive right by you. If it’s like how Elliott Sadler and Michael Waltrip were in the truck race and you are out by yourself, they guy in front is a sitting duck unless you just drive him into the fence. Which is a good option (LAUGHS).”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags chevrolet, childress racing, daytona international speedway, kevin harvick, nascar, nscs, sprint cup