KEVIN HARVICK, DRIVER OF THE NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Watkins Glen International and discussed passing at Watkins Glen, racing at Michigan next week, racing in the rain and more. DID YOU SURPRISE YOURSELF...
KEVIN HARVICK, DRIVER OF THE NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Watkins Glen International and discussed passing at Watkins Glen, racing at Michigan next week, racing in the rain and more.
DID YOU SURPRISE YOURSELF AT ALL WHEN YOU WON HERE THE FIRST TIME? "I grew up on road courses and won races from the time I was five years old on road courses. Not really. We've always run good on the road courses and enjoy coming here and being a part of both the road races."
WHERE'S THE BEST PLACE TO PASS HERE? "There's a few different spots. Obviously you can pass in turn one, you can pass going into the inner loop and if you get a really good run out of the back sweeper back there you can pass going into the next left-hander. There's obviously a lot of heavy braking zones to make something happen."
DO YOU APPROACH RACING HERE ANY DIFFERENTLY? "I think you approach it just as you would any other track. Obviously the strategy is a little bit different here than it would be at some of the places but you approach it just as you would any other race and you want to do as good as you can to get the best result that you can."
WHERE YOU ARE SITTING FOR THE CHASE RIGHT NOW NEAR THAT 12TH SPOT, CAN YOU KIND OF ASSESS HOW YOU GOT TO THAT POINT AND WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO TO MOVE UP? "Finish better."
WELL I KNOW THAT BUT HOW DID YOU GET WHERE YOU'RE AT? "Just finishes."
WHEN YOU LOOK BACK AT THE INCIDENT WITH MONTOYA, IS THAT SOMETHING YOU CAN LAUGH ABOUT NOW? "That's a year removed. We've come past a lot of things since then. We don't dwell on those things, you guys do."
WHAT'S IT GOING TO TAKE TO GET A GOOD FINISH AT MICHIGAN NEXT WEEK? "I feel like we've made a lot of improvements on our cars since the last Michigan, the last Pocono, the first time we went to those races. Everything that we're racing is totally different from where we were with bump stops and bodies and all the different things that are on our cars now. Performance wise, we've made big gains. We've run really well over the last seven weeks and just need to have the results come with it. With circumstances and things that have happened, those are things that are out of our control and we just got to keep controlling the things that we can control."
IS THIS A GOOD TRACK FOR A LOT OF GUYS TO SOLIDIFY THEIR POSITION AND MOVE AWAY FROM THE GUYS THAT THEIR BATTLING? "We look forward to coming to the road races and hopefully that's a good weekend for us."
WHAT ABOUT THE ENGINES, AT POCONO IT SEEMED TO BE A LITTLE BETTER THAN WHAT YOU HAD EARLY IN THE SEASON. IS THAT KEY GOING INTO MICHIGAN AND SOME OF THE LATER TRACKS HEADING INTO THE CHASE? "I think there's a lot of good race tracks for us. Our engine program has made as many gains as our cars have. Putting that whole package together has been a lot better for us to go to the race track with. Hopefully the engine stuff shows up more there but I think the cars will show up. I think the whole package is better than it has been."
QUALIFYING HAS GOTTEN RAINED OUT HERE THE LAST FEW YEARS, HAVE YOU FELT BAD FOR THOSE GUYS LIKE BORIS SAID? DO YOU FEEL LIKE MAYBE THEY SHOULD MOVE QUALIFYING TO SATURDAY OR TRY TO GET IT IN OR IS THAT JUST HOW IT WORKS FAVORING THE GUYS THAT ARE HERE EVERY WEEK? "I think it's just one of those deals where you can only control the things that you can control. We have the top 35 rule that is pretty much set. The guys that show up every once in a while, it's unfortunate to see them have to go home when they try to make a couple of races a year. There's probably a couple of things that we can look at as a sport to try to move qualifying to a different day. Those are questions that are way out of my league."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS OF THE CUP GUYS RUNNING IN THE RAIN? EVERYONE ELSE IS WHY AREN'T WE DOING IT? "Those are decisions that I don't make."
WOULD YOU TRY IT SOMETIME GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY IF IT WAS PRESENTED TO YOU? "Yeah, I think I'm going to get to try it today in the Nationwide practice. The race last week in the rain was not very bad at all. I thought that the whole circumstance was pretty fun to watch. Pretty unique to our sport. I thought everything went well in the rain last week. There's just so much riding on the line here in the Cup garage it's kind of a catch twenty-two. You want to see the show go on but there's also a lot at stake."
LAST WEEK, YOU BOUNCED BACK AFTER SPINNING EARLY IN THE RACE AND CAME OUT WITH A GOOD FINISH. YOU REALLY MADE SOMETHING GOOD OUT OF A BAD DAY, IS THAT WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO MAKE THE CHASE? "You just go out and you race as hard as you can. We do that every week. Hopefully it turns out good."
WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN THAT HAPPENED? "The only thing that went through my mind was don't back it into the wall. That was the biggest thing I didn't want to do. You want to be able to keep going. Obviously I never even saw Joe (Nemechek) down there and I was side-by-side with the fifteen and the next thing I knew I was spun around backwards. It's just been a lot of those things happen this year to kind of dampen a weekend or start a weekend and we've recovered from a few of them and a few of them we haven't recovered from. So I guess there's your answer to why we're where we're at in the points. The performances have been a lot better than where we are sitting at right now."
HOW MUCH IS THAT DUE TO THE AGE YOU ARE NOW AND THE MATURITY THAT COMES WITH THE EXPERIENCE? "I think that the maturity of the team and the experience is something that plays into it. We all don't sit back and count points and we don't sit back and decide who we are racing, we don't get wound up about where we are in the points. We kind of know it is what it is. As you get to the end of the Chase here you just kind of go about your business and do the best thing that you can. We come to the race track wanting to win every week and when you can't win every week you want to do the best you can. If you can't do the best that you can and you wreck you want to gain all the spots you can after you wreck. It's just a checklist that you go down as the circumstances present themselves and I think that's the good thing about having been through a lot of this stuff before is you don't really get stressed out about it you just go and do what you know how to do and hope that everything works itself out."
THERE'S BEEN DISCUSSION THAT PEOPLE HAVE TALKED TO MIKE HELTON ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT FINANCIALLY TRUCKS MAKE SENSE. I'VE TALKED TO THREE OF THE MANUFACTURERS THIS MORNING AND THEY SAID WELL TRUCKS MAKE MORE SENSE THAN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES. CAN YOU GIVE US YOUR PERSPECTIVE FROM THE OWNER'S SEAT? "From an owner's perspective you can run a truck on about half of what you can run a Nationwide budget on maybe a little less than that actually. For the manufacturers Trucks make sense just for the fact that they sell more trucks than they do anything else. We've been fortunate to make it make sense and be a part of the series and look forward to being a part of the series for a while to come. I think there's a lot of things in motion for the Nationwide Series to take place as we go forward and I think collectively as owner's, NASCAR everybody is working in the same direction to make that better."
TRUCKS SELL THE MOST, BUT WHY AREN'T THE STANDS PACKED WITH FANS? WHY DO YOU THINK FANS ARE COMING TO THE TRUCK RACES? "Dale Earnhardt, Jr. doesn't drive a truck. The one thing about it is this is a pretty driver driven sport. The fans come to see the drivers run around the race track and they have their driver that they cheer for. When that driver changes cars they usually go cheer for that driver wherever he drives. There's a lot of good racing in the Truck series but it's just different. The Truck series if it was supposed to be the marquee event it would have the marquee drivers. Everything kind of goes parallel with the people you have driving them, the events that they go to and it all starts with the drivers that are driving the vehicles."
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF RUNNING THAT SERIES FULL TIME SOME DAY? "If that's what they ran in the Cup series."
HAS GM OR CHEVROLET COME TO YOU AND TALKED TO YOU AS AN OWNER AND SAID WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO CUT BACK BECAUSE TIMES ARE TOUGH? HAVE YOU HEARD ANY OF THAT? "As a business owner you look at all different aspects of everything that's going on and you try to make your business as efficient as possible to do what you can do to save money and still be competitive. I think GM is no different and all the manufacturers are no different than any other business in the world, in our country at this point. Nobody has come to us and said that but we understand running your business as efficient as possible is what needs to happen."
-credit: gm racing