Kevin Harvick - Loudon 301 Friday Media Visit

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New Hampshire International Speedway

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and discussed drivers being athletes, the prestige of Indy, the rivalry between RCR and Gibbs and much more.

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS HALF WAY THROUGH THE SEASON AND LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SECOND HALF. “Obviously you always want to do better and I think last week was good for us to kind of struggle since the time when they opened the gate until the time we left and went home and had some good meetings and feel like we had some good things going. I feel like everything is going good though. I think everybody is doing a good job of working together and doing the things they need to do as a team. I think we have a good plan for what we want to do in the last 10 weeks, so really that’s what it’s all about right now is having your ducks in a row for the last 10 weeks and we’re going to go out and try to win some more races and hopefully gather some more bonus points before the Chase starts. Everything is going well.”

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

WITH THIS NEW SYSTEM AND EVERYTHING THAT IS SHAKING OUT WHEN DO YOU THINK PEOPLE WILL START TO GET DESPERATE? DO YOU THINK WE WILL SEE DESPERATION WHERE PEOPLE WILL BE WILLING TO DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING AT SOME POINT WHEN THERE IS NOTHING LEFT TO DO TO GET INTO THE CHASE? “I think we would all do that to win a race anyway or at least I know we would. You just have to do what you have to do and I think that’s what this system creates. As it gets closer and closer and you realize you’re not going to be in the top-10 or you need to get in the top-20 whatever the case may be the intensity starts to ratchet up a notch every week and I think the wildcard system has created a tremendous amount of buzz in the air and the people who aren’t in the top-10 or haven’t won races know they need to make something happen. You at least have an outside chance to make that happen with winning a race. It’s been fun to watch.”

HOW DO YOU THINK DRIVERS ARE PERCEIVED IN THE REST OF THE ATHLETIC WORLD AND DO YOU THINK GUYS AROUND YOU IN THE GARAGE ARE ATHLETES? “Well I think, I don’t even know who the guy is or what he does that made the comment this week, it’s one of those things where everybody thinks their sport is better. I think our sport is different. I think the athleticism of the garage is much different than it was probably 10 years ago. I think you could say a lot of guys are athletes and some of them aren’t but I think the ones that are, are going to be better down the long haul and I think everybody pays attention to what the physical aspect of your week is like is much different than what it was 10 years ago. I know we all for the most part spend a lot of time on taking care of ourselves and getting through the length of the year. Are we going to go out and put it to Peyton Manning or somebody on the football field, probably not. We race and it’s a much different aspect of mental and physical preparation than what it could be. I think when you look at guys like Elliott Sadler; he went to college as an athlete and is an athlete so there is a number of guys in the garage that chose this path because of what they wanted to do and not because it’s what they had to do.”

YOU’VE GOT THE BRICKYARD COMING UP, YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANT TO YOU WINNING THERE, DO YOU THINK THAT RACE HAS LOST ANY OF ITS LUSTER IN THE LAST FEW YEARS WITH ATTENDANCE PROBLEMS AND SOME OTHER THINGS, IS IT STILL AS HIGH ON THE BUCKET LIST AS A RACE YOU WANT TO WIN? “Absolutely. When you go to Indy there can be nobody sitting in the grandstands and it’s still the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s still been there for 100 years and still is our second biggest race that we go to. So for us, it’s where you bring your latest and greatest car, you latest and greatest engine, and it’s just kind of like the Daytona 500. It’s all about trying to win the race and putting it on the line to do that is what it’s all about. It’s a prestigious race to win and nobody in the garage is going to go there with any intention other than to try to win the race when they unload their cars.”

AS A DRIVER WHO IS OUT THERE AND FULLY PARTAKING IN THE “HAVE AT IT BOYS” POLICY, DO YOU NECESSARILY WANT TO SEE THAT HAPPEN OR ARE YOU CONTENT WITH THE WAY THINGS ARE NOW AND BEING ABLE TO EXPRESS YOURSELF ON THE TRACK? “I think I’ve moved on. I wouldn’t call it content or happy with the way that it was handled but I’ve moved on from the way it was put to me in the trailer.”

IS THAT A GOOD THING? “Depends on what side you are looking at it from. From your side probably not.”

IT GAVE US SOMETHING TO DO. “That’s why it’s not a good thing.”

I REMEMBER LAST YEAR YOU GUYS BROUGHT THE LATEST AND GREATEST, IS THAT THE SAME THIS YEAR OR IS THE TEAM MECHANICALLY MATURED SO MUCH THAT YOU GOT WHAT YOU GOT? “You always have to get better. We’ve had to make some things progress a little more rapidly than probably what we needed to last year. There’s a lot of things that probably won’t be done by Indy to get on the race track but they will be on the race track before we get into the Chase. You’re gonna bring some edgier things I guess you can say to the race track as far as the car and the engines go. It’s just you spend more time rubbing on the car and trying to get everything out of it before you get to the race track than you would on a normal week.”

YOU LOOK AT YOUR STATS AND YOU’VE WON THERE, RUNNER-UP A YEAR AGO, WHY ALMOST FROM THE GET GO HAVE YOU BEEN GOOD AT THAT RACE TRACK (INDY)? “You know that’s a good question. I don’t know. From the first time we stepped foot in that place it’s been a good race track for us. We’ve had good results there. I enjoy going there and I’m sure that Gil (Martin, crew chief) would argue with the right mental mind frame, if I had went in there with that mindset at Kentucky last week it might have been a better weekend for us. It’s just one of those places where I really like going to. All the guys enjoy going there and being able to just race there is an honor. It’s been a good race track for us. It’s flat and we’ve always been good on the flatter type race tracks and I think that’s got something to do with it as well.”

WHERE DO YOU HAVE TO BE REALLY GOOD TO BE EFFECTIVE AT INDY? IS THERE A KEY PART OF THE RACE TRACK IF YOU GET THAT RIGHT THEN YOU HAVE A SHOT? “Really it’s just getting off of all four corners. Being able to make your car turn well enough to be in the gas so you can get down the long straightaways. I would say (turns) two and four are probably the most important corners because you have so much distance to carry down the long straightaways. It’s definitely a challenge every lap. If it’s really hot it becomes even more of a challenge. It’s just a fun place.”

AS YOU’VE SAID YOU’VE MOVED ON NOW, BUT DOES IT NECESSARILY MEAN YOU’VE TURNED THE OTHER CHEEK? “I’ve moved on with the stipulations that NASCAR has put on the situation. As far as the situation itself, those things don’t go away.”

WE’VE HAD A LOT OF BREAK-THROUGH WINNERS THIS SEASON, COULD PAUL MENARD BE THE NEXT GUY AND WHY? “I think he could win any week. They just got to put together the whole day. They’ve obviously started the season great and knocked on the door several times, pretty much every week. It’s just a matter of putting that whole day together and keeping the car in the top-20. The crazy part about the sport right now, and I’ll use Jeff Burton as an example, even though on paper they’ve struggled, they’ve run okay at times. This week he could pop up and dominate the weekend or have something happen, rain, anything could happen. From the guys in 35th to the guys in first, it’s just very competitive and I think the quality of the competition is good in between those spots in the garage. Anybody could win at any given time now.”

LAST FALL CLINT (BOWYER) HAD SOME SUCCESS HERE, HOW MUCH HAS THE REST OF THE TEAM BEEN LOOKING TO SEE IF THAT RUBS OFF AS FAR AS SET UP AND SEEING WHAT WORKS HERE? “Yeah, this is one of those places where Clint has been very good. It’s been a great race track for us as well. I can put Clint’s stuff in my car and I don’t even make a lap. I can’t drive it so he just has a kind of unique feel and set-up for this particular race track as to what he likes in the car. But as far as that goes for helping a lot of what we do, we can look at some little things, but the whole package I can’t even drive it.”

IN GENERAL ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE STATE OF SELF-POLICING ON TRACK OR ARE THERE STILL SOME LINES THAT HAVEN’T BEEN DEFINED YET FOR YOU AS A DRIVER? “The easiest thing for me was just to roll on because I spent a couple of weeks there and was really frustrated with the whole situation so it just is what it is. In general I think the basic outline of it is pretty simple and you pretty much know where most of it stands. It’s just like anything else; it could go a different direction if you get too much further into it.”

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED COMPILED A LIST OF PEOPLE WHO TWEET, ATHLETES, MEDIA, THINGS LIKE THAT AND YOU WERE IN THE TOP 100, WHAT IS IT ABOUT TWITTER YOU LIKE AND IS THER A LOT OF THINGS THAT YOU REFRAIN FROM TWEETING? “The thing I like about Twitter is just the fact that it’s short and sweet and to the point. It’s kind of one of those things if there is something going on and you feel like talking about you can and if not you roll right over it and move on to the next day. For me, I feel like it’s very convenient to do. You don’t feel forced to do something. With our stuff on Twitter nobody has ever asked us to do so nobody really pushes us to do anything. It’s just worked because its natural and the easy part about it is you can communicate with the fans and answer their questions or get them stirred up or push something through, whatever you feel like doing that particular day or whatever they are wound up about its very simple to be a part of it.”

HOW MUCH DO YOU ENJOY TWEETING PEOPLE ON TWITTER? “It depends on ... yesterday I was wanting to send a couple of tweets and they were like no I don’t think that’s a good idea so I sent them anyway.”

WITH ALL THE SITUATIONS YOU GUYS HAVE HAD, RCR AND GIBBS, WHAT IN YOUR MIND WAS THE FLASHPOINT OF THIS RIVALRY AND DO YOU DEFINE IT AS A RIVALRY NOW OR IS IT SOMETHING MORE? “I think it’s just two competitive organizations that want to win and you wind up colliding at the front a lot of times. Whether it’s Clint or myself or whoever it may be I think it goes back before we even started. I think there was some things that happened before that. They’re two different styles of companies the way that they’re run and usually it’s just because everybody is wanting to do the same thing and that’s win races.”

By: team chevy

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags chevrolet, childress, kevin harvick, loudon, nascar, new hampshire, nscs, sprint cup