Phoenix II: Harvick - Friday media visit

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed racing for the championship, racing at Phoenix and other topics. ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO RACING AT PHOENIX THIS ...

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed racing for the championship, racing at Phoenix and other topics.

ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO RACING AT PHOENIX THIS WEEKEND?: "I'm excited. This has been a great race track for us in the past. Obviously I've raced here my whole entire career -- coming up through the ranks and the track hasn't changed a lot. It's something that we've been looking forward to in these last couple weeks they have been great race tracks for us so we're looking forward to getting the weekend started."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS BATTLE?: "I feel excited just for the fact that this is the worst we can finish in the points is third. We have two great race tracks for us and we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Whatever it takes to gain is what you do on the race track and what you do off the race track. There's really nothing else that matters at this point. Just throw it all out there and if it gets rough, it gets rough -- if it doesn't then we just go race and see where it all falls in the end. It's still a no pressure, no lose situation for us and I like it. I like coming from behind. I like when people write us off -- it's kind of like or how everybody's been my whole career. You just go out there and it's fun to come up and see everybody after that."

WHAT MAKES IT SO DIFFICULT TO PASS THE POINT LEADER WITH TWO RACES REMAINING IN THE CHASE?: "When you get in these positions and you're racing like the three of us are racing right now, you just exceed the expectations that everybody sets for you a lot of the times, which is what we've done. You just get in this incredible zone and the team's incredibly focused on making the cars good and everybody is just performing at the top of their game in these situations. It's hard to make up ground, but when you have three guys in the middle of it then you can't -- there's no defense. I think when you get ahead then you can play a little bit of defense to be competitive or use strategy. With everything so close, it's all offense. The tone has kind of been set that anything less than probably winning a race or two in the next two weeks -- you're going to have to go take it. I think all three teams are capable of performing. Denny (Hamlin) did it last week -- he went out and took it at the end of that race and I think over the next two weeks, it's going to be who takes that control and there's no room for defense. If somebody's going to go out and win the race, you're going to lose points. You just have to go on offense and take, take, take."

ARE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW YOUR PIT CREW MOVE VERSUS JIMMIE JOHNSON'S PIT CREW MOVE ARE PORTRAYED DIFFERENTLY?: "I think when you do it in the middle of the race, obviously it's going to be a bit more 100 percent and there's no hiding. For us, it's been very beneficial. We hadn't gained a spot on pit road in the Chase and we haven't lost one since we changed so the results for us have been very simple to look at. I'm sure they feel like they're in the same situation and it's different. I think it's something that you obviously don't expect to have happen in the middle of a race. It's just very open and everybody gets to see it."

WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT THE 48 TEAM CHANGED THEIR PIT CREW?: "Everybody's got weaknesses though. I think on that particular day with the pit stall selections that you saw in that particular race -- it was a very unique situation. If I was them, if you can and if you qualify worse than the 11 (Denny Hamlin), I would pit right in front of them again just to do it all over. We all loved watching it -- it was great. I hope it all happens the exact opposite way this week."

HOW DO YOU DEFINE YOURSELF VERSUS THE OTHER TWO DRIVERS YOU ARE RACING AGAINST FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP?: "I think our whole team is just a lot different. Especially, it's a lot different or we're a unique bunch I guess you could say. I guess you could categorize us as a little rough or hardcore type of racers that have come up through the ranks. It's just a little bit different than the other two teams. I think you guys can figure it out."

IS IT BAD TO TRY TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP FOR AN ORGANIZATION RATHER THAN AN INDIVIDUAL TEAM?: "I think Mike (Ford, 11 crew chief) should take his own advice to his driver and not insert your foot into your mouth when you don't do something that winds up being something that you say it should be. I think the comments that he made after the race about being better than the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) team and all that stuff, I think he's just trying to stir stuff up. Whatever it takes to win is what you've got to do. If there's something wrong with that then I'm missing something."

WHY DO YOU THINK MIKE FORD MADE THE COMMENTS HE DID FOLLOWING THE RACE AT TEXAS?: "The only good thing that comes from being cocky like that is you better win because if you don't, you're going to have to answer a lot of questions about your comments when you get done. You create a lot more work than what you see initially when you say those things, if it all doesn't go your way. I think when you're trying to intimidate the guy who's won four championships in a row, I think you might need to go rethink your strategy and just go out and worry about racing because it's not really something that was probably necessary. He got all over Denny (Hamlin) at Dover for saying the things that he did about RCR (Richard Childress Racing) and the organization and how disruptive their team, in my opinion all the things that he said seem to be a disruption to his team and now Denny is going to have to come in here and answer all those questions."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT BEING 59 POINTS BACK WITH PHOENIX AND HOMESTEAD REMAINING?: "My thoughts are just to go keep doing the same things that we're doing and being in the position that we're in right now, we've stepped up the finishes and things that we needed to in the Chase, but over the next two weeks it's all about trying to win a race or two in the next two weeks. This has been a great race track for us. The average finish through the Chase is great, but it looks like this Chase is all about taking those wins and that's the one thing that we haven't done so far is win a race. I think we have to over the next two weeks in order to keep control of our situation."

IS THERE ETIQUETTE TO CHOOSING PIT STALLS AND DO THE TEAM MEMBERS HAVE TIME TO LOOK AT THE OTHER CREW NEXT TO THEM?: "I think last week, when you look at the pit stop stuff, when you're racing against a guy that's running in about the same spot on the track, it becomes a total nightmare for both teams whether you're in front or behind. It becomes tough to make quality pit stops on the race track. There is etiquette and you want to be around the slowest car that you can be around that you don't think will be on the lead lap so they won't be around and you can have an opening in and an opening out. The pit stalls are a lot smaller here so who knows what's going to happen. I tend to get frustrated in those situations and just gas it and make sure that guy doesn't stop too short. It aggravates the rear tire changer because you just get a little too close to him."

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO BOUNCE BACK FROM A TOUGH WEEK?: "A lot of times hard, difficult situations are very inspiring. It inspires the team to not want to go out and fall on their face and say that was a bad move with the pit crew swap and look what it did to the performance of your team. So the driver gets motivated, the team gets motivated, everybody gets motivated to not want to fall on their face. This place has been really good for that particular team so it's probably not somewhere that they want to go other than here. It's going to be an interesting weekend. Everybody's got their own feelings about things. Everybody's got their own feelings about things that were said last week, we all have our own feelings about where we are and what we need to do and how we need to do it. There's no way to see it all play out until you start practice and you see where your performance of your car is and you see all the things that happen. I can tell you right now that we're paying attention to everything that's going on whether it's things being said, heard, everything that's going on the race track and just look for that one opening to pounce on somebody. Pay attention to everything and just looking for any opening to gain an advantage over the other team in these particular moments. I think we're in a great position because of the pressure on our team is very low. You're not going to finish any lower than we are in the points, we have everything to gain with winning the championship, we have those two guys obviously going back and forth with each other and we're just kind of sitting back doing what we need to do."

HOW HAS GIL MARTIN'S LEADERSHIP AFFECTED THIS CHASE?: "I think when you speak of Gil (Martin, crew chief), Gil is great for me because he's very good with the people and that can be my short fall sometimes. He's very motivating, he's very good in controversial situations in guiding the team and telling them what they need to do and keeping them away from the things that they don't need to focus on. Gil is very good as far as racing for the championship -- win or lose, it's all about racing for that championship. You look back and that's easy for us to say considering where we were last year. We weren't anywhere even close to where we are this year. This is what you want to do. You want it to come down to the end, you want to be a part of the championship race and in order to win it, you have to be in it so it's good."

WHAT ABOUT HELPING THE FOSTER KIDS APPEALS TO YOU WITH THE CONCERT COMING UP?: "I think it's just a tough time of year for a lot of kids that don't have their families and things to lean on. The foundation has given us a lot of unique opportunities to go out and just help in different situations. It will give the kids a chance to be around something and get their mind off of things and get some toys for the kids and raise some money. Sara Evans is going to headline the event and that will be fun. When you don't have family and it's all about creating a moment that the kids will remember that 's positive and something that is close to Christmas and anything we can do to help that will be good."

DO YOU THINK TEAMS HAVE TIP-TOED AROUND THE 48 TEAM FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS?: "I didn't agree -- when things are going good, it's one thing to be cocky around your team, but when you want to be cocky publicly, you have one place to go and that's to back it up and you're not going to back it up in this sport forever. You might back it up this year, but you're probably not going to back it up week in and week out forever. There's just nothing to be gained from it as far as the team standpoint. It's a crew chief for god's sake. No reason -- I just don't understand I guess."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Denny Hamlin
Teams Richard Childress Racing