KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed racing at Martinsviile, his position in the standings, the Chase and other topics.
I look at being hopefully on the offense as we move forward and that is a good thing.
TALK ABOUT COMING TO MARTINSVILLE AT A PLACE WHERE YOU WON IN THE SPRING: “Yea, obviously last week (at Talladega Superspeedway) didn’t go as we wanted it to, I think we played everything that we could have played how we wanted it to play, just wrong place wrong time. Coming in here, obviously we had a good first race here and we have run well here the last several years and we are looking forward to hopefully getting some practice in today, I’d rather not have no practice today, just as to what the weather looks like tomorrow morning for qualifying, so we will see how that goes, can’t control that part, but we will go out and see how it goes.”
HOW MUCH MOVEMENT IS STILL GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE CHASE AND HOW MUCH WILL IT AFFECT YOU IF YOU DO NOT GET PRACTICE TODAY? “I would rather see practice because I don’t believe that the No. 99 (Carl Edwards) and No. 17 (Matt Kenseth) that this is their strong suit, I would rather not see it line up by points, either way, it is what it is, it is not something that you can control but I would like to see practice. I don’t think it will affect us a tremendous amount but it will have an effect on getting the small things right and the things that you do at the beginning of the race, trying to build a little more adjustability into your car. I would rather not see all that happen. Obviously, you have a new racetrack at Phoenix and you have this particular race that can turn things upside down as well so, the Chase is a long way from over.”
HOW DOES IT IMPACT THINGS KNOWING THERE ARE TWO TEAMMATES FIRST AND SECOND IN POINTS, DOES THAT CHANGE THINGS THE WAY THEY APPROACH IT? IF YOU WERE SITTING IN OUR SEAT, HOW WOULD YOU CRITIQUE THE LAST FOUR RACES?
“Critique what part of it?
WHO HAS THE EDGE, WHO RUNS GOOD, THAT SORT OF THING: “For the last four weeks, ya know I think that obviously if you look at the last four there are two short tracks, and one of those short tracks being new, so I think anything can happen over the next few weeks. I look at three of those race tracks as really strong points for us, and I look at being hopefully on the offense as we move forward and that is a good thing, so what was the first part again?
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TEAMMATES IN THE CHASE? “Teammates, yea I think that is a tough situation to be in, obviously there is a lot at stake with winning championships and I think you saw a little bit of controversy within that whole camp last week as to how they raced and how they were told to race, so it will be interesting to see how they tell them to race each other for a championship.”
TEXAS, COMING UP, FOUR OF THE LAST SIX HAVE BEEN TOP TENS, ARE YOU READY TO BREAK-THROUGH THERE FOR A VICTORY? “I have not even made it to Texas yet, we have not even made a lap here, so I am worried about Martinsville right now.”
MILE-AND-A-HALF PROGRAM, CAN YOU COMMENT ON THAT? “I am worried about a half-mile flat track right now, so Monday morning we will switch into Texas.”
THE PRE-RACE COMMENTS MADE BY JIMMIE JOHNSON AND CHAD KNAUS, WHERE CHAD WAS OVERHEARD TELL JIMMIE TO DAMAGE THE BACK OF HIS CAR IF HE WON THE RACE AT TALLADEGA, YOU THOUGHTS ON WHAT YOU HEARD THERE: “I actually have not heard it, I cannot comment on it, because I have heard the rumblings but I have not heard the conversation, so I don’t really have a comment because I have not actually heard the conversation other than second hand as to what was said.”
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THINGS LIKE THAT HAPPENING IN THE GARAGE? “Yea, I know for me I am all for doing whatever you have to do to win the championship and sometimes you have to do what you have to do and what you think is right as a team, so some people may not agree but at this point, it is really all about trying to win the race and trying to win a championship, however you think you need to go about that differs between teams, but you have to do what you have to do.”
DO YOU HAVE A POINTS GOAL FOR MARTINSVILLE, OR IS IT JUST TO KEEP DIGGING AND DIGGING EVERY WEEK? “Obviously in your mind you want to make the deficit smaller and you need to capitalize at the places where you feel like you can capitalize. We feel like we need to capitalize here and we need to capitalize in Phoenix to make up some ground; and obviously their mile and a half stuff has been pretty good and ours has been fair. So, you just want to make it smaller. You want to make that deficit smaller as you leave here. So if we can do that, I’d say it would be a good weekend. I don’t think there’s any real points total in your head; it just needs to be smaller than what it is.”
DID YOU HAVE TO CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR DRIVING STYLE TO GET BETTER AT MARTINSVILLE? IS THERE JUST SOMETHING ABOUT THIS PLACE THAT SUITS SOME DRIVERS BETTER THAN OTHERS? CAN WE EXPECT THE LIGHT BULB TO GO ON FOR THE NO. 17 (MATT KENSETH) AND THE NO. 99 (CARL EDWARDS) WHEN THEY HAVEN’T REALLY BEEN THAT GOOD HERE THROUGHOUT THEIR CAREERS? “It’s just one of those places where it takes such little increments of getting better that you can’t just go out there and change it all at once. It’s like you learn a little piece here and a little piece there and luckily for me, I’ve had teammates that have run well here so we’ve adapted a lot of the set-up stuff. You go back and you look at tape and you just try to figure out exactly what they’re doing with the same stuff to get better. I think that was just a progression over time. When you first come here, it’s one of those places where you can really charge, but that’s really probably not the right way to do it. So, it’s so close here and it’s so competitive and there are so many little things that it takes that it takes to make a good lap and you have to just kind of piece all that together to try to make a good lap time and be consistent in the race and know what you want in your car. So yeah, it took longer here than it would at most places, than it has at most places. In the beginning, it took a long time to get going here. Luckily my teammates have run well and that makes it a lot easier when you have guys that are running good.”
YOU MENTIONED EARLIER ABOUT DOING WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO DO IN RACING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP. WHEN YOU GO THROUGH THAT PROCESS, HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHERE THAT LINE IS AND WHEN YOU CAN’T CROSS THAT LINE; WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG IN YOUR MIND REGARDLESS OF WHAT ANYBODY ELSE THINKS? “I think the line is further away when you’re 26 points behind with four races left. What’s fair in my mind is probably not what’s fair in the guys (minds) in the first two spots. It’s just a matter of doing what you have to do for your team and sometimes fair in the end, doesn’t win the championship.”
INAUDIBLE: “It’s one of those things where you do what you have to do to try to win the championship and you suffer the consequences later.”
AT THE FUEL INJECTION TEST AT TALLADEGA, DID YOU RUN WITH THE SMALLER SPOILER? “We made just a single car run.”
YOU DIDN’T DO ANY DRAFTING? “No.”
IF YOU DON’T GAIN ANY GROUND TOWARD THE CHAMPIONSHIP THIS WEEKEND, HOW DO YOU THINK THAT’S GOING TO AFFECT YOUR CHANCES HERE ON OUT? “It’s going to become harder.”