Watkins Glen: Harvick - Friday media visit

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Watkins Glen International and discussed racing at Watkins Glen, proposed schedule changes and other topics. TALK ABOUT BEING BACK AT THE GLEN: "I really enjoy the...

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Watkins Glen International and discussed racing at Watkins Glen, proposed schedule changes and other topics.

TALK ABOUT BEING BACK AT THE GLEN: "I really enjoy the road racing. This a fun weekend to kind of mix it up as far as what we do on a normal week-to-week basis. We put a lot of effort into road racing and feel like we do pretty good at it and we've won here before. Hopefully we can keep ourself in position and have all the cautions and strategies work your way and stay out of the wrecks and put yourself in position at the end. Should be a fun weekend."

TALK ABOUT ATLANTA LOSING A RACE ON THE SCHEDULE AND KENTUCKY RUMORED TO GET ONE: "I think all tracks need to be held to a standard. Whether it be safety; whether it be crowd attendance; whether it be whatever it is. The biggest boom we have ever seen in this sport came in 2001 when we went to new venues in Chicago; went to new venues in Kansas and you had all this movement with the schedule and you created all these new fans. Sometimes things become stale. It is a constantly evolving sport. Whether it is in the garage or out into the race track schedule, or whatever it may be. If a market is stale, we have to go someplace where the grandstands are full. Iowa is a great example. You go there for a Nationwide race; you go there for a Truck race; the first time I went there for an East race, the grandstands were sold out. You have to have that kind of excitement. This sport is too popular to not to go venues that are not sold out. If it is not sold out, you need to be held accountable as a race track. That is, in my opinion, what is going to happen."

BEING ONE OF THE TOP ROAD RACERS IN THE SERIES, WHO DO YOU SEE AS YOUR BIGGEST COMPETITION THIS WEEKEND? "I think there are a lot of guys that are really good road racers. Obviously (Tony) Stewart has the record to back it up over the last several races. (Jeff) Gordon will be good. Jimmie Johnson has done well the last couple races. So, I mean, you have to look at the guys that have been most recently good. It seems like good at Sonoma is a little bit different than what's at Watkins Glen. Seems like you have a another group of people that run well at this track than you do at Sears Point or Sonoma. You never know until you get going but the guys that have won recently are the ones that you obviously point the fingers at."

DO YOU KEEP YOUR EYE ON THEM AND SEE WHAT THEY ARE DOING DURING PRACTICE? "Not really. I just try to keep an eye on myself. That is a full-time chore, especially here because there are so many things I can screw up and usually I do screw them up. (SMILES) You have to pay attention to your brake zone markers and where you let off and where you get back in the gas and when you downshift. There is just so much to do, for me, if I start thinking about anything but what I do myself, I become confused very easily."

WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN THE PROBLEM AT CALIFORNIA? "I think one of the problems is people don't want to sit in 110 degree weather and watch a race. That is the first problem, probably with the second date. I don't necessarily know all the answers or have all the answers or know all the problems, but I think you probably could make a list of things that could be changed to make it better. Sometimes one race is going to be better than two races for a race track because you can put a good crowd in there. When we first went there, we had good crowds. You just have to look at the differences of what has happened between then and now and one of the things is that sometimes people say, well, they are having two races this year so I am going to go to the second one. So, instead of having the whole crowd at one race, you have them at two races. So, sometimes, more is not better for some venues."

HAVE YOU SEEN ADVERTISING FOR THAT RACE (CALIFORNIA) IN BAKERSFIELD? "No, Bakersfield is probably the biggest racing town. So when you talk about race tracks being held accountable, sometimes the people running them have to be held accountable as well."

WHAT DOES YOUR LINEUP FOR KHI LOOK LIKE FOR NEXT YEAR? "Right now, it is all just kind of up in the air. Obviously, I'll drive the Nationwide car a fair amount and the truck a fair amount. Then everything from there is up in the air as far as whose is going to drive where, what and when. Can't really do a whole lot until you know where you are going to race. So, we are kind of in a holding pattern as far as we can't finish selling your sponsorship stuff until you know where you are going to race. Until we finish selling our sponsorship stuff, you can't decide who is going to drive. That is just where we are. We are kind of stuck until the schedules come out."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE PAVING OF THE RUN OFF AREAS AT WATKINS GLEN? "That's probably good, for sure. I think that will definitely change a lot of things just for the fact -- I'm just giving you a hard time, I just wanted to make sure you knew. I think the two things that it will change, I think you will see less caution flags and I think it will affect fuel mileage just for the fact that you can't count on somebody getting stuck in the sand trap anymore. At the end of the race, if you can come in and make it in 30 laps, you come in with 35 laps to go because the history of the race is going to change and you used to count on one or two cautions at the end of the race for people getting stuck in sand traps. The fuel mileage gambling is going to be a lot different than what it was in the past just for the fact that you're not going to have those cars getting stuck. In my mind, that's the biggest thing that will change and kudos to Watkins Glen for changing the race track and upgrading their stuff. There should be like a big star next to their name because all the race tracks should take note and upgrade something all the time. There is always something they can make better."

DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE UNDER-RATED AS A ROAD COURSE DRIVER? "I don't know about under-rated. I think you go out and race and you guys decide whether we're under-rated or over-rated or what we should be classified as -- road racer, oval racer, short track, whatever it may be. Road racing is something I've done since I was six years old. I grew up racing go-karts from the time I was five, six until I was 16 and we didn't have ovals in California. Everything was road racing. We've just always been fairly decent at road racing and I enjoy it. When the team puts a lot of effort in it, usually we've come out of here with good results so I enjoy it."

HOW MUCH OF YOUR SUCCESS THIS YEAR IS YOU GETTING BETTER AS A DRIVER AND COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR CREW CHIEF "None. I mean, obviously, I shouldn't say none, but I mean every year you get a little bit better. You take these cars and you put them with the same guys as last year and you get the same results. I think once you get to a certain point in your career, you know how to communicate and you know what you need to do and how to talk and how to do the things and I think all three of us are at that point. Obviously, sometimes you make mistakes and you shy away from that and you do things differently that what you normally do just for situations like we had last year. You question whether it's the cars, yourself or whatever it may be and all of the sudden you put good cars in there and all of the sudden everybody remembers how to drive. I think you take these cars, you put them last year, you get the same results."

IS THE FALL RACE AT BRISTOL MORE INTENSE THAN THE SPRING RACE? "I think all races at Bristol are definitely intense, but it does seem like there's a little different atmosphere for the second one and it's getting to that point in the season where you have guys racing to stay in the Chase, guys who are looking for wins, guys who are looking to keep their jobs to try to win and it's hot. Everybody just becomes a little more aggressive than they are at the beginning of the year it seems like and you have some strange things happen it seems like at the second race. Bristol in itself is just a very intense place and this one will be no different."

DO YOU THINK CANADA SHOULD GET A SPRINT CUP RACE? "I think that's obviously a great market, not only for the race, but I think for the sponsors. I'm all for it. I don't think you'll have a hard time convincing the drivers or the fans or anybody, I think it's just a matter of how that would fit into the Sprint Cup schedule with all the race tracks that are doing good. It's hard to find a slot, we can't add weekends to what we do, it's already a long season. Obviously the market is good and that would be a good question for Mr. (Brian) France."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson