KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS met with media to discuss the recent success of RCR, how the new race car is expected to perform at TMS, adjusting to the new car, adding a fourth team at RCR in '09, and more. YOU SEEM TO BE IN A...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS met with media to discuss the recent success of RCR, how the new race car is expected to perform at TMS, adjusting to the new car, adding a fourth team at RCR in '09, and more.
YOU SEEM TO BE IN A GOOD MOOD COMING INTO FT. WORTH "Oh yeah. This place has been a really good race track for us on the Nationwide and the Cup sides. We've run well on these types of race tracks this year and it's kind of become our hometown for our sponsor, Shell and Pennzoil and everybody on that side. So it's an important race, but its become even more important as we've gone through the transition with our new sponsor."
THIS HAS BECOME A PRETTY GOOD YEAR FOR RCR. TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THE RESURGENCE? "I don't know if you can call it a year. We've gone through six weeks. We worked hard over the winter but this new car I think you're going to see a lot of teams coming and going and you just have to stay on top of the R&D side of it and continue doing what we've been doing and to try to keep progressing and stay ahead. But I think a lot of people are going to do the same thing and it's just going to be kind of a cycle of people coming and going."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE START OF THE SEASON? IT'S NOT AS SPECTACULAR AS WINNING THE DAYTONA 500, BUT IT'S BEEN A LOT MORE STEADY THAN A YEAR AGO AND YOU'RE IN A BETTER POINTS POSITION. "Yeah, the only thing we did right at the beginning of last year was to win the Daytona 500. That was about it. This year we've been fortunate to run consistently week in and week out, and that's what you have to have to win the championship and be competitive on a weekly basis. That's what we all ask for. If we keep doing that, we'll keep ourselves in contention to win races and eventually that will come."
HOW DO YOU THINK THE NEW RACE CAR WILL PERFORM AT TEXAS? "I don't think this track will be any different than a lot of places we've gone unless there is something we all don't know about. We're going to find out about that shortly (upcoming first practice). But the car has driven well. I know they did a tire test here. And it seems like the cars drove really well then. But the conditions are going to be a lot different than what they were at that tire test and we'll just have to wait and see."
ON THE OVERALL ADJUSTMENT TO THE NEW CAR, HOW IS THAT GOING? "It is a big adjustment from a driver's standpoint. It's a big adjustment from the team standpoint. But it's totally different from a set-up standpoint. You've got to have a very open mind as far as what you want to approach and what you don't want to approach. So we've tried to be very open-minded about that and not try anything that we wouldn't have tried in the past just because it didn't work. Being the firs time here, you've got to have that same open mind to try to use forward thinking to progress and take and hour and a half practice into something worthwhile."
HISTORY TELLS US THAT THE TOP 12 RIGHT NOW IS PRETTY MUCH THE SAME TOP 12 WE'RE GOING TO SEE IN RICHMOND. ARE YOU AWARE OF THAT? DO YOU GO INTO A SEASON THINKING YOU'VE GOT TO GET OUT OF THE BOX RIGHT AWAY REALLY HARD AND MAKE SURE WE'RE IN THE TOP 12 AFTER ATLANTA? "I definitely think getting off to a strong start makes things easier. But I don't want to be that guy who has that plummet and drops out of the top 12 for the first time. But historically the race tracks coming up starting this week and over the next several weeks are really good race tracks for us and kind of where we usually have gotten our season off on the right foot and headed in the right direction. Usually the first part of the season hasn't been all that great for us, so we're looking forward to the next stretch and we know we've gotten off to a great start. We want to continue trying to stay level-headed about everything and really approach each week the same as we have every other week, no matter how good or bad its been."
WHO SHOULD BE THE FOURTH DRIVER AT RCR? "The fourth driver should be somebody who can contribute something to the three teams that already get along well and already have good relationships amongst the crew chiefs and teams and drivers. It just doesn't need to be somebody that drags the other three teams down. It needs to be somebody who can bring something to the table and make the whole organization better."
WITH YOU AND JEFF BURTON 1-2 IN THE POINTS, IS THIS ABOUT AS GOOD A TIME AS YOU'VE HAD AT RCR? "We were able to be in contention in 2003 going to Homestead and racing for the championship and 2006 was a good year for us as well, winning races and Jeff won one or two. We've had good years; we just haven't been consistent. And the consistency is the part that we have to stay focused on as we go forward. But we've had good years in '03 and '06; '07 was mediocre and we were able to make the Chase and win a couple of big races. We just have to stay consistent. That's the part that we've been lacking."
AS A FULL-TIME OWNER IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES, HOW HAS THAT CHANGED YOU AS A DRIVER IN THE CUP SERIES? "I think from a driver's standpoint it just helps you focus on the things that you need to focus on as a driver. You know there are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes (like) politics and personnel and sponsors and things that take a long time to make changes on certain things to make them happen. So it's just a different perspective of thinking from a driver's standpoint and understanding a lot of things that you really wouldn't understand just on a normal week-to-week basis as a driver, just jumping in and out of the car."
HOW PROUD ARE YOU THAT YOUR WIFE, DELANA IS SO SIGNIFICANT IN RACING? "DeLana is a big part of what we do. And she is a huge supporter with me here every week. And to have a wife that understands the sport and who really enjoys being a part of the sport is something that makes my life a lot easier and we both have been able to enjoy a lot of things as a couple that most people don't get to enjoy. So we're pretty fortunate and enjoy being here."
YOU'VE WON A COUPLE OF RACES AT PHOENIX. HOW MUCH DID THE COT CHANGE THE RACING AT PIR? "The pace is a little bit slower. The cars fall off a little bit more. We had a good test there a couple of weeks ago and I'm sure the weather will be different when we go back. But the cars were a little bit faster than they were last time. The races have been different there than what they have been in the past. I think that will kind of come back as we get a better handle on the car every week."
-credit: gm racing