Kevin Harvick Phoenix II Friday media visit

Team Chevy Racing press release

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET met with media and discussed racing on the newly-configured track at Phoenix, Jimmie Johnson’s five straight championships, the Kyle Busch situation, and more.

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

WITH TWO RACES TO GO IN THE SEASON, TALK ABOUT BEING AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY “It’s been a fairly good year for us. The new track is going to present a whole new scenario with the way the race turns out. So it’s going to be interesting. There are a lot of unknowns. We had a good test out here and our car ran well. So we’ve just got to see how the race track progresses and try to keep up as the track changes through the weekend.”

AFTER AND KYLE BUSCH WERE INVOLVED IN THAT MESS AT DARLINGTON EARLIER THIS YEAR, YOU SAID YOU CAN RACE ANY WAY THAT NASCAR WANTS YOU TO RACE, YOU JUST NEED TO KNOW WHERE THE LINE IS DRAWN. DID WHAT HAPPEN LAST WEEK DEFINE THAT LINE MORE CLEARLY? “I think you can race all you want under green. I think the caution had a lot to do with the scenario. The whole retaliation part under caution/green during the race and coming back out and waiting for somebody just still seems like Late Model racing to me. But you’ve got to race within what they’re going to let you do. I think obviously under the caution, Kyle driving somebody into the fence, we know that one is out of play.”

YOU HAD A FRONT ROW SEAT FOR WHAT WENT ON LAST YEAR FOR WHAT WENT ON LAST YEAR BETWEEN JIMMIE JOHNSON AND DENNY HAMLIN; AND DENNY JUST HAD A MELTDOWN. CARL (EDWARDS) HAS HAD A VERY COMFORTABLE LEAD THROUGH MOST OF THIS CHASE. WHAT CAN CARL DO AT THIS POINT TO GET THAT MOMENTUM BACK THIS LATE IN THE GAME? “Well I wish we all knew how to gain the momentum and how you lose the momentum. Right now, the No. 14 car (Tony Stewart) has the momentum and he has won his way into contention during the Chase. It’s really all about the guy who gets on the hot streak during the last 10 weeks and can complete that hot streak through the end of the season and Tony has that right now. If you look at it, it just doesn’t even really seem possible that the No. 99 (Edwards) could even beat him with the momentum that Tony has right now. But this (Sunday’s race at PIR) could be a game-changer; in what direction, I don’t think anybody knows because we have no clue how it’s going to race. We know we can all drive around by ourselves and make good lap times and adjust on our cars and do the things that we need to do, but how hard will it be to pass when they drop the green flag and everybody’s on the race track? We don’t know. This could be interesting.”

IT APPEARS UNLIKELY THAT THE NO. 48 OF JIMMIE JOHNSON IS GOING TO WIN A SIXTH STRAIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP. CAN YOU TALK AGAIN ABOUT THAT REMARKABLE 5-YEAR RUN AND CAN YOU POSSIBLY BELIEVE THAT WILL EVER HAPPEN AGAIN? “The things that they’ve done have been very remarkable and I think as you look at the difference in the way that they won the championships, coming from behind and being ahead and having dominant years during the regular season and not being a factor during the regular season. They’ve kind of figured out how to do it in every possible way. So even though we haven’t been able to beat him, it’s been fun to watch and see. When you’re in the sport, you see how hard it is to do those types of things; not only to win a race, but to win that many championships and to win them in a row is almost unbelievable when you try to put it on paper and say this is what happened.”

AS THE TEAM OWNER DIRECTLY IMPACTED BY KYLE BUSCH’S ACTIONS LAST WEEK AT TEXAS, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW IT’S BEEN HANDLED FROM NASCAR’S STANDPOINT AS WELL AS THE SPONSOR STANDPOINT? “From a team owner standpoint, it was expensive. I think as you look back at the whole situation, the hardest part is that was the last time Ron Hornaday will race for a championship? That’s the part that bothers me the most. It’s pretty common that people know that I don’t care for Kyle regardless of whether he is in trouble or out of trouble, but that’s the guy (Hornaday) I feel like has taken the blunt of everything that happened last week. As far as the way it was handled, it’s not my situation. It’s not something that I feel like I need to weigh-in my opinion on, whether it was too much or not enough; it’s just unfortunate for Ron more than for anybody. And I think as you went through the week, hearing the phone calls that were made to Ron from Kyle at the first part of the week and trying to give him the No. 18 truck ride for next year and all the things that he tried to do, he knew how wrong it was, hopefully.”

INAUDIBLE “Yeah, as far as I know, (team manager) Rick Wren called Ron and offered him the No. 18 truck for next year. At first it started just with him calling Ron trying to get Ron to call NASCAR so he wouldn’t lose his job. That was how all that progressed.”

YOU WERE YOUNG AND IMPETUOUS ONCE BUT GREW TO BE A VERY MATURE AND DIGNIFIED DRIVER. KYLE BUSCH SAYS HE’S GOING TO CHANGE BECAUSE OF THIS. WE’VE HEARD THAT BEFORE. DO YOU THINK THAT KYLE IS REALLY GOING TO CHANGE OR IS WHAT YOU ARE, WHAT YOU ARE? “When I went through that situation I had two people in the whole sport; obviously Richard (Childress) was one; but I had Dale Jarrett and Rusty Wallace. Those were the only two guys who reached out and said you know, I’ve been there before and here’s what you need to do and you need to move on. But it’s a game-changer as far as how you look at the sport and how you feel about things. The bottom line is, when you’re in a competition and when things are competitive, you’re going to do things that you’ll look back on and you say, man that was pretty bad there. I shouldn’t have done that or I should have done this a different way. The one thing that we try to do is when we make a mistake or I make a mistake or somebody makes a mistake in the company, you try not to do it twice. You try to learn from that and you try to move on. And you hope as this situation moves forward you hope that you take something from it and learn something from it. This sport is a lot like life. You go from year to year and you learn and you hopefully learn from your mistakes and you get older and you mature as a person. So hopefully those go hand-in-hand as you move on in your career and things become more clear. So, it’s a tough sport. And the hardest part about this sport is not NASCAR, it’s not your sponsors, it’s really the part that governs it the hardest are the competitors because they look at it as a disrespect to the sport that they’ve been a part of building for a long time and that’s the hardest part is to come back and be able to look everybody in the eye and them believe that you actually respect the sport.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags avondale, chevrolet, childress, harvick