KEVIN HARVICK, DRIVER OF THE NO. 29 REESE'S IMPALA SS, met with media members at Phoenix International Raceway and talked about NASCAR's drug testing policy, racing at Phoenix and more: DOES NASCAR NEED TO MAKE ANY CHANGES TO THE NEW CAR? ...
KEVIN HARVICK, DRIVER OF THE NO. 29 REESE'S IMPALA SS, met with media members at Phoenix International Raceway and talked about NASCAR's drug testing policy, racing at Phoenix and more:
DOES NASCAR NEED TO MAKE ANY CHANGES TO THE NEW CAR? "I don't think so. I think after watching Michael McDowell flip several times and drive straight in the wall, the mission was accomplished as far what everybody wanted to accomplish from that car. As you look back and you go to those types of race tracks, the high-banked 1.5-mile race tracks have been the toughest on the COT car and it's been that way with the old car as well, those types of tracks are a little less conducive to the racing it seems for whatever reason. But being the first time that we went to Texas I don't think anybody wants to throw up a red flag and say we need to change everything because we had a tough race at Texas. I mean we got to give it more than one race. You can't just change things, just to change them. The cars, the drivers, everything will be better the next time we go back. That was the first time we were there."
DO YOU THINK TEAMS NEED MORE TESTING? "I don't. I don't want any more testing. I think if we see a problem, a consistent problem on those types of race tracks maybe it might be something that you look at. It's just hard to throw up a red flag over one race."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF AARON FIKE'S REVELATION THIS WEEK OF HIS HEROIN USE DURING RACES? "I had a long conversation with NASCAR the last time we had this policy brought up in the end of the year last year and it almost seems like it went on deaf ears. I'm disappointed with the fact that we're in a case where we have to have a reaction instead of being proactive about the situation. So that part I'm disappointed with that we have to answer these questions again and we haven't made any headway whatsoever on the drug testing policy. In the 10 years that I've raced, I've never been drug tested. So to me that is not a proper professional sports drug policy and as I went up and talked to them about it. They were more mad that I had a reaction to the situation than they were as far as trying to move forward. To me, it was just kind of one of those meetings where they were content to listen to what I had to say and that was about it. My name is not Jeff Gordon."
DID YOU GET ANGRY THAT YOU HAD BEEN IN A RACE WITH FIKE? "I have been in a race with him and I know for a fact that he's not the only one. There's another driver that is suspended that I can almost guarantee you was in a race car while he was under the influence and that pisses me off. That is not fair to the 95 percent of this garage and that's the bad part about it is 95 percent of this garage I can guarantee you is clean, but there's a five percent chance - it's just like the safety thing back in 2001 the reason that we reacted to it, we weren't proactive until that situation happened.
"There's no reason not to be proactive in the state of the world of sports, there's no reason not to be proactive in the drug situation and that to me is irresponsible more than it is anything. I'm sure I'll be blasted from somebody for saying what I feel but I don't want to be on the race track with people like that."
ON HIS TEAM'S DRUG TESTING POLICY. "That would be a question you would have to ask Richard (Childress) as far as the RCR policy on it. I'm sure they have the same type of policy. It's like I told NASCAR before, this isn't about the teams, this isn't about the crew members, this is about the drivers and being very, very forward thinking as to how the drivers are perceived from a public standpoint. If I'm a fan of another sport, I don't want to watch and think that I don't know if those drivers, are they really clean. What difference does it make if they do random drug testing every week on every driver in the garage and you have to do it 15 times a year? I'm sure I'll have to for speaking my mind, but if I have to pee in a cup 15 times a year I'm happy to do that. Just make sure that everybody in the world knows that our sport is clean. I want the perception of the fan and the sponsors to know that this garage is clean and there's no reason to have to go back and clean up all this mess because we have two or three people. Let's just get it over with and do it and be done with it. As you can tell I'm a little bit frustrated about the situation."
WERE YOU SUSPICIOUS THAT AARON FIKE HAD BEEN ON ANYTHING WHILE DRIVING FOR HIM. "Aaron drove a couple of races for me and there was no reason to think that they were suspicious, but there's certain people that maybe they experiment with a lot of things. I don't know about drugs to tell you the truth, but I know that I want to be next to the guy and I want to know he's clean. I don't want to have to get in a truck or get in a Nationwide car or get in a cup car and think that somebody had been out the night before and not been clean. It really frustrates me that we have to even as a driver that is responsible and understands how the sports work and respect the sport and respect my sponsors, I'm frustrated with the fact that I have to answer questions about Aaron Fike. Everybody that has to do a media bullpen today will have to answer a question about Aaron Fike and it really, really ticks me off that we have to answer that because everyone should know that we are taking random drug tests, and every driver in this garage should take them, in any garage in NASCAR. This is always been perceived as a clean sport, let's not let it be perceived as something that is not clean now because it is for the most part. But let's prove it."
WILL YOU DRUG TEST YOUR DRIVERS BECAUSE OF THIS TYPE OF THING? "I can, I don't right now. In order to race in this series we have to sign a substance abuse policy and we have to sign a lot of things to race in this series. In the end, it's the responsibility of the sport to make sure that all the drivers in the seats are clean."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT RANDOM DRUG TESTING ON A REGULAR BASIS. "There definitely needs to be random testing on the drivers. I care about my crew guys and I care about the other people in the sport, but nobody wants to turn a newspaper in of Joe Blow tire carrier on the 33 car, that's not a big story. A big story is Aaron Fike not being clean while he was in a race car. That's a big story and that's going to be a story that's consistently run through this week, next week and the weeks to come until we fix it. It's definitely something, we all have to figure out how to evaluate it. They don't listen to me so, I don't know how we need to evaluate it, but we need to change something."
HOW ABOUT YOUR DRIVERS AT KHI? "I don't know exactly how we go through that policy right now. We definitely need to change the way we look at it too. I do know that to get any kind of insurance for our company and employees as well as my personal insurance, drug testing is a part of that procedure. Based on the responsibility of what we got going on here, we all need to fix it."
YOU SAID NASCAR LAUGHED AT YOUR OR JUST IGNORED YOU? "They were more mad that I spoke my opinion about it, then they were about trying to listen to what I had to say. I've had several situations like that lately where they just kind of listen to what you want to say and that's the end of it. There's not a whole lot that they want to listen to for some reason. We're not all against them, we all have the same goal in mind here to take this forward. I'm just really frustrated about the whole deal just for the fact that I know that 95 percent of the garage is clean and there's a lot of people I don't know. Those are the ones - you just need to know what you're racing against."
ON HOW HE FEELS RCR STACKS UP TO SOME TO THE OTHER ELITE TEAMS. "I think we've run really well. I think we've been very consistent. I think we haven't shown that dominance on a week-to-week basis as far as being able to lead a bunch of laps. We still have work to do. We've been very consistent over the first few weeks and we have to continue that consistency and when we've had a bad day we've kept it so it's not a 30th or 25th-place bad day, we've kept that kind of in the championship form I guess you can call it. That was one of our goals coming in, when we had a bad day was to try to finish in the top 12 because that's what we felt like it was going to take."
CAN RCR BE THE TOP DOG LIKE HENDRICK WAS LAST YEAR? "They have been before. I don't see why we can't do that. I think if you go back and look at the history of RCR they've always been a very reliable race team. They always concentrated on being very consistent and finishing races and running laps. When we crash our cars we don't give up, we try to fix them even if we go out and run laps. That's been kind of a trademark of the RCR organization long before I got here. It's something Richard really pounds in everybody's head."
IN YOUR OPINION, WHO IS THE GREATEST DRIVER IN ANY SERIES? "I think the most diverse driver would have to be (Tony) Stewart just because he's been in the Indy car. He's won in Indy cars, he's won in stock cars, he wins in midgets, wins in dirt cars, everything that he runs in. I don't think anybody else has that broad of a racing spectrum I guess you can say of what they race now because most people don't race like that on a week-to-week basis and he races on a week-to-week basis in everything."
ON WHAT HE LIKES ABOUT PHOENIX. "I just like the fact that I've raced here a lot. I like the flat tracks. We've always had a fair amount of success on the flatter race tracks. I've got a lot of experience here, the track hasn't changed a lot and we've had a lot of success here so that always makes it fun to go back to."
ON WHAT MAKES RACING ON A FLAT TRACK MORE ENJOYABLE. "There's a lot of braking. You have to really work on getting your car through the center of the corner and still having the forward bite you need up off the corner so you get all three aspects of the car, the driver and the set-up all in one."
DO YOU FIND A TRACK LIKE PHOENIX MAY BE A LITTLE MORE FUN FROM A DRIVER'S PERSPECTIVE? "You feel like you can do a little bit more on these types of race tracks than you can on some of the other types of race tracks, the cookie cutter race tracks that you would call it."
IS IT MORE IN THE HANDS OF THE DRIVER HERE? "You still have to have the car working really good and you have to have the engine and everything going really good but you feel like you have more control than you do at some other places."
-credit: gm racing