KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET met with media at Talladega Superspeedway to discuss his situation for 2011, racing at Talladega Superspeedway, contract negotiations, and improved safety measurements in the Cup cars. WHAT WILL IT...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET met with media at Talladega Superspeedway to discuss his situation for 2011, racing at Talladega Superspeedway, contract negotiations, and improved safety measurements in the Cup cars.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO WIN THIS WEEKEND? "I think we just got to keep doing what we're doing. We ran really well at Daytona and hopefully that correlates to this particular race track. I feel good about where things have been. We have good days, and when we have bad days we turn them into good days. Everything has gone well so far and we're looking forward to continuing that this weekend. I like the plate racing and enjoy this style of racing at this particular race track. It's a lot of fun."
YOUR RECORD AT DAYTONA IS QUITE A BIT BETTER THAN YOUR RECORD AT TALLADEGA. THE ODDS OF DISASTER ARE GREATER HERE, BUT WHEN YOU SAY THAT PEOPLE ARE EXCEPTIONAL PLATE RACERS IS THAT TOO SIMPLE? ARE TALLADEGA AND DAYTONA TWO DIFFERENT ANIMALS? "Usually if you're good at one, you're going to be good at the other. For us, we've finished second a lot here and we've always run well here. I've always told people when you get here you have a 50/50 shot--you're going to have a good day or you're going to wreck. That's just the way it is and there is no reason to beat around the bush, it's been like that for as long as I've race here. That's just Talladega. I enjoy it and whether the records are one way or the other, we've always run well here and I don't look for anything to be any different this weekend."
YOU MADE A COMMENT ON TWITTER EARLIER THIS WEEK. YOU WROTE, "THESE MEDIA PEOPLE CRACK ME UP. THEIR THEORIES HAVE A LOT OF REALLY BAD SOURCES." ON BEHALF OF THE MEDIA, CAN YOU CORRECT US? "Sure. If you guys are going to--most of you are this way--you line it up with credible backing to your quotes, your sources and your people. If you're going to quote a source, quote their name. Otherwise, if they're too chicken to give you their name, don't put their quote in the paper. It's that simple. Anonymous sources are crap. If you want real sources go talk to real people."
I ASSUME YOU WERE REFERRING TO A STORY ABOUT BURNED BRIDGES. DO YOU FEEL LIKE THAT WAS A CASE WHERE BRIDGES WERE BURNED, AND WHAT'S YOUR STATUS ABOUT WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO BE? "Richard Childress and myself have a great relationship, and we've been talking about a lot of things for several months. It's not any different than what we would normally do at this particular time. Cars are running well, everybody is communicating well, and I don't know what else to say other than Richard and I have had many, many, many, many, many, many, many conversations over the last several months. Where all that leads--it's right now, I'm driving the 29 car and we'll see. I don't see where anything is going or this and that. I know Richard and I have had a lot of conversations over the last three months."
KEVIN YOU SAY THAT YOU THRIVE ON CONTROVERSY. DID YOU NOTICE LAST WEEK ALL OF THE BEATING AND BANGING BOTH ON THE TRACK AND VERBALLY BETWEEN THE 24 AND 48? IF YOU NOTICED IT, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF A LITTLE ACTION BETWEEN THE SQUEAKY-CLEAN GUYS? "I think we're all competitive, and I think those guys are just as competitive as all of us who are vocal about it. I don't think that's abnormal. I don't think it's the first time that those guys have been competitive with each other, and it's not the first time that me and my teammates will be competitive with each other. I think the mutual respect comes in for your owner to not crash your cars. You do the best that you can on that particular side of it and sometimes it happens because everybody's racing hard. From an owner's standpoint, you want guys that want to beat their teammates but they also don't race their teammates harder than they race anybody else. I think that's the thing that you look for from an owners standpoint--somebody who is going to race, not only their teammates really hard, but also is going to race everybody else the same way."
ANOTHER SUBJECT, IN A COUPLE WEEKS WE HAVE THE ALL-STAR RACE. YOU WON IT IN 2007, CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW BIG THAT WAS IN YOUR CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS, AND THAT ATMOSPHERE AND HOW FUN THAT IS AS A RACER? "Yeah, it's a fun weekend. I look at Charlotte as probably the biggest challenge for me. It's the race track I dislike going to the most, and for us to win the All-Star race was a huge accomplishment. It was a good weekend for us as far as speed and putting ourselves in position to win that race. The race is fun; the format is fun just because you have the pit stop for qualifying and you make a couple laps. There aren't any points involved, so it makes it kind of a free-for-all as far as pushing every lap to the limit. It's a fun race and it's great for us because we get some extra track time at what I feel is our worst race track."
CAN YOU FATHOM WHAT KASEY KAHNE HAS DONE WHERE HE DOESN'T REALLY KNOW WHAT HE'S GOING TO DO IN 2011, CAN YOU FATHOM DOING ANYTHING LIKE THAT? ALSO, PLEASE ENLIGHTEN US ON WHEN AND WHERE YOU GOT YOUR JOURNALISM DEGREE.
"Yes, sir. I don't have a journalism degree; I have a common-sense degree. I'm not going to go any further than that. I think when you have to make decisions and when you have situations that are presented to you, you have to weigh out all the options. I don't particularly know all of the options that he had in front of him. It's going to be a situation where I'm sure that he gets put in a good situation, whether it's 2011 or 2012. Me, personally, I still think there are a lot of cards that haven't fallen yet for 2011. I just find it hard to believe that 2012 will be as far out as it as it gets put, but that's just my opinion--my journalism opinion."
WHAT WERE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT PENNZOIL'S DECISION TO GO TO PENSKE? WERE YOU UPSET, WERE YOU ANGRY, OR DID YOU KNOW IT WAS COMING? "Yeah, I don't have any ill-will towards anybody or anything like that. I don't particularly agree with the way the whole situation was handled, but in this particular situation, I'm the driver and it's not anything new to the sport. There are sponsors that come and go and things change. In this particular situation there was a lot of business-to-business that took place. It's not anything new, and being an owner you understand that there are a lot of those decisions that take place. Other than that, it is what it is and you roll on"
WHEN THE DUST SETTLES HERE, WE START HITTING SOME TRACKS THAT ARE PRETTY RACEY. RICHMOND IS ONE OF THEM. YOU'VE WON THERE AND I THINK YOUR AVERAGE FINISH IS 9TH. WHAT IS IT ABOUT RICHMOND THAT YOU ALWAYS SEEM TO BE CONTENDING FOR THE VICTORY THERE? "It's been a good track for us and over the past couple years it's been good for us as well. I think last year we wrecked in the first one with a flat left-rear tire, but it's a race track that kind of goes with everything we do--from my driving style to the cars to everything that goes with it. I enjoy racing there. You can run the top, you can run the bottom and you can run the middle. It's a fun race track from a drivers' standpoint because it gives you options. I think it's just been a good place for us."
WE COULD END A LITTLE BIT OF THE SPECULATION HERE. IT SEEMS LIKE YOU'RE NOT REALLY WORRIED ABOUT THIS, THAT YOU HAVE OPPORTUNITIES, AND THAT THERE IS NO PRESS FOR TIME. IS THAT WHAT WE'RE GETTING? YOU SEEM TO NOT REALLY BE WORRIED ABOUT IT. ARE YOU TALKING WITH GUYS LIKE TONY STEWART AS WELL AS RICHARD CHILDRESS? "Right now, we're really just trying to focus on what we're doing to be honest with you. I just really trying not to get in the middle of it like I have in the past. When that time comes, I don't think there is anything pressing time-wise for anybody whether it's the team at RCR or myself. Rightfully so, I think that's the opportunity that we have to try to work out first. Like I said, that is where we've been headed over the past several months. As far as talks and things like that, I think it's only far that we work on all that first. So that's what we've been doing."
YOU SAID SOME BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS THINGS HAPPENED BEHIND-THE-SCENES WITH THE SHELL THING. ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT AN AGREEMENT WITH PENSKE AND HIS DEALERSHIPS AND TRYING TO WORK THINGS LIKE THAT OUT? "I don't know. Like I said, I don't know all the details of all that. Those would be great questions for Richard."
THE LAST FEW TIMES YOU'VE COME HERE, YOU'VE SEEN CARS GOING AIRBOURNE. ARE YOU SATISFIED THAT NASCAR HAS DONE WHAT THEY CAN TO TRY TO FIX THAT? AS A DRIVER, DOES IT MENTALLY AFFECT YOU? DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF THAT WHEN YOU'RE OUT THERE? "I don't think so. From a driver's perspective, once you get going you don't think about that kind of stuff. You just go in there. There's so much going on here that you're looking backwards to go forward, you're two-three-four wide pretty much all day. At this particular race, you don't think about any of that stuff until you go home during the week and you go back and watch the race and see how it all played out. If you look at what they've done with the cars, with the spoiler, with the new fins on the sides of the cars, and [how NASCAR was] really trying to pay attention to where the speeds needed to be at the test, and restrictor plates that they came back with. They're obviously--that was their number one concern with the cars going upside-down. It may happen again; nobody knows. I think everybody's done as much research as they can to do the best that they can with the cars, the scenarios that they feel like they can put the cars in at the wind tunnels, and things like that. Like I tell you guys all the time, there is nothing that you can do to simulate 43 cars on the racetrack pushing and shoving; things just happen differently than anything in a fixed environment. It's just one of those things where you have to do the best that you can with the tools that you have to make things the best that you can and try to prevent things from happening. I feel strongly that they've--I think just the things that they've done with the cars has been really good, but the things that they've been trying to do to the car, just out-of-the box things that they've been working on, are really good as well.
"You just have to keep plugging along and they're in the same situation that we are as far as trying to develop the cars to go faster and they're trying to make them safer. They spend millions and millions and millions of dollars [on improving safety]. I think that'd be a great story for somebody to go in and follow NASCAR on a weekly-basis and see how much time they actually spend on it."
YOU TALKED ABOUT WHEN YOU SHOW UP HERE, YOU'RE EITHER GOING TO HAVE A GREAT DAY OR A HORRIBLE DAY. SO WHEN YOU DRIVE THROUGH THE TUNNEL FOR THE FIRST TIME EVERY TIME YOU COME HERE, WHAT IS YOUR INITIAL THOUGHT WHEN YOU SHOW UP AT THE RACETRACK HERE? "It's exactly that. It's like throwing your money down on red or black, you spin the wheel and whenever it winds up it winds up. Either you walk off pissed or you walk off with a smile on your face and pocket full of money. It's really no different. You roll through and you're either red or black this week."
THE NFL DRAFT IS GOING ON AND OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS WE'LL START TO LEARN THE DETAILS OF THESE CONTRACTS WITH THE BIG FOCUS BEING ON THE MONEY THAT'S ATTACHED TO THE DEAL. NASCAR TEAMS ARE A LOT QUIETER WHEN IT COMES TO THOSE KINDS OF DETAILS ON THE CONTRACT BETWEEN THEMSELVES AND THEIR DRIVERS. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?
"That's a good question. I don't have an answer to that one. I think it's a much different environment. They have a lot more rules as far as luxury taxes and salary caps and things like that; here, there's none of that. In the end, the off-track stuff is a lot like the on-track stuff. It's very competitive and everybody is trying to take everybody's sponsor, I guess would be the best way to put it. You don't really want everybody to know what you're paying your driver because it might be too low, or it might be too high. You want to keep all those things to yourself because that's another element of the competition off the racetrack that is just like on the racetrack. You keep your driver's salaries quiet, you keep your crew chief's salaries quiet; everybody in the garage pretty much knows where everybody else is at. The sponsors are really good now-a-days with keeping each other in check as far as knowing how much everybody is paying each team. There is a lot of different scenarios that pop up as far bonuses and salaries and you'll never hear anything about them unless you're in the garage.
WOULD YOU THINK THAT ONCE SOMEBODY GETS OUT OF LINE AND IT GETS OUT, WOULD IT START A BIG THING ON NEGOTIATING AND BARGAINING AND ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF? HAVE YOU SEEN CONTRACTS BETWEEN DRIVERS AND TEAMS CHANGE SINCE YOU'VE BROKEN IN? "I think the contracts, being on the ownership side of it you see a lot of changes. The sponsors have gotten so big and with so much money there is a lot of stipulations as far as what you can do if you leave a team, not leave a team, where the sponsor can go and can't go. It all just depends on the situations and it winds up in the lawyer's hands more than it does in the actual driver's and owner's hands."
YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING IN THE FUTURE. KNOWING THAT YOU ARE SO HEAVILY INVESTED WITH CHEVROLET IN THE NATIONWIDE AND TRUCK SERIES, NOT JUST WITH YOUR TEAM, BUT ALSO WITH BUILDING CHASSIS FOR OTHER TRUCK TEAMS. IS IT FAIRLY CERTAIN THAT NO MATTER WHERE YOU DRIVE IN THE CUP SERIES IN THE FUTURE THAT IT WOULD PROBABLY BE A CHEVROLET? "That'd be a good, fair statement."
LAST FALL WE JUST SAW TWO CARS GET ON TOP OF EACH OTHER ALL THE WAY AROUND THE RACE TRACK. I'M CURIOUS BECAUSE NOW THAT WE HAVE THE "HAVE AT IT BOYS" THING AND YOU CAN DO THAT IF YOU WANT TO, HOW MUCH OF A TICKING TIME BOMB IS THAT FOR THE CAR IN THE REAR IN TERMS OF HOW FAST YOU'RE GOING TO HEAT UP AN ENGINE? IF GET DOWN TOWARDS THE END OF THE RACE AND TWO CARS DO MANAGE TO BREAK AWAY BY THEMSELVES, IS THAT A THREE-LAP, FOUR-LAP, FIVE-LAP--HOW FAST DOES THE GAUGE GO UP? "I did it yesterday in the Nationwide car and it's a little bit different than a Cup car. In one lap, it was 260 degrees. That's pretty fast. It won't take long. I think if you're down at the end of the race, you might be able to get three laps out of it, but I don't know that you'll be able to stick together that long. It's going to happen. You're going to see guys get pushed out there and things like that. It's very easy here as long as you're straight. Once you get on him, as long as you're square up on that guy's back bumper, you just hold it on the mat and go, baby, go."
-source: gm racing