Homestead: 2009 Championship team, driver press conference

Ford 200 Post-Race Transcript An interview with: KEVIN HARVICK - 1st place finisher, champion team co-owner ERNIE COPE - Harvick's crew chief RON HORNADAY JR. - 2009 champion (clinched at Phoenix) RICK REN - Hornaday Jr's crew chief THE ...

Ford 200 Post-Race Transcript

An interview with:
KEVIN HARVICK - 1st place finisher, champion team co-owner
ERNIE COPE - Harvick's crew chief
RON HORNADAY JR. - 2009 champion (clinched at Phoenix)
RICK REN - Hornaday Jr's crew chief

THE MODERATOR: We've got quite a group up here in front of us. We're going to roll into the race winner for the Ford 200. That is Kevin Harvick, he drives the No. 4, Georgia Boot Chevrolet with crew chief Ernie Cope, and also joining him up on the podium is our 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion for the fourth time. He sets an unprecedented record in that series. No one has ever won four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championships, and he's the first driver to do that. And that's Ron Hornaday Jr., driver of the No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet, with crew chief, Rick Ren. Certainly owners Kevin Harvick and DeLana Harvick are here with them to celebrate in that.

First off, the race winner, let's hear from Kevin Harvick. Great victory for you tonight. The third win in your sixth top 10 in 2009. Back to back victories, congratulations, Kevin.

KEVIN HARVICK: Thank you. Just you know it was a great weekend for us. The truck was flawless. Really two weeks in a row it's been flawless now. We built two new trucks to try to get a head start on next year.

Our main goal was to go out and after Ron had clinched the driver's championship the last two weeks to lead the most laps and win the race, and it's not very often you can go out and accomplish that. So we had a good weekend and the guys have worked hard.

And Georgia Boot came on at the last minute to sponsor the truck, so it's been a great weekend. Lock up the championship last week, and lock up the owner's championship this week makes it a lot of fun.

ERNIE COPE: It was pretty dominating. Only thing I was worried about was a caution at the end, and it did happen, but the truck was fast enough it didn't matter.

THE MODERATOR: Speaking of domination tonight, Kevin Harvick certainly defined that. He had a perfect driver rating of 150 tonight in the race. That's the first time, I think, in your career in the Truck Series, Kevin, that you've accomplished that. It doesn't get any better than that. So congratulations on a perfect driver rating of 150.

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, I don't really know how that works. But it sounds good.

THE MODERATOR: Various components go into it. But it's certainly a measure of just how dominant you were tonight. Congratulations.

KEVIN HARVICK: Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Let's hear from our 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion. He may have wrapped it up this week, but he was hard charging out there tonight. But, Ron, how does it feel to win four championships in this series as competitive as it is, and here you are with your fourth championship? Talk about that?

RON HORNADAY JR.: It would have been really bad if we did not win that owner's championship. This team really deserves it. Kevin and DeLana have given us the equipment to do the stuff that we do. Five wins in a row is remarkable, and that's because of Rick Ren and all the guys and Kevin and DeLana letting us build new trucks week in and week out.

I went up there probably two months ago and I had like 11 trucks done. I went back up there two weeks ago and only had four trucks. So Kevin keeps selling my trucks and building new ones. I'm not going to complain because they're faster than anything you drive.

At my age you get too get in these rocket ships.  I'm still having fun.
Other than this weekend and last weekend, I've been sicker than a dog.  But
to come down here and win four.  It will hit me as soon as we get a cold
beverage over there at the motorhome.  Gatorade.

THE MODERATOR: Rick Ren, certainly not your first time around the block with Mr. Hornaday. You guys won the championship in 2007. And here again in 2009. I think this is a great statistic here. You're the all time series leader in crew chief wins with 27. That's terrific. Had five different drivers in nine seasons that have won those races for you, but congratulations, Rick, and how does it feel to be a champion again in 2009?

RICK REN: It's kind of undescribable. It's a valiant effort of all the members of our race team. The guys, Ron and myself, we worked really hard this year to not have any shortcomings, because we came up just a little bit short last year, so we worked really hard other all areas that we could control.

I've just got to thank the whole thing. Kevin and DeLana with the opportunity, Ron with his drivability, and my guys with their work ethic. And that's what it takes to build a championship team.

Q: Ron, would you detail what kind of ailments you've been through this week and just how difficult it's been for you tonight particularly?

RON HORNADAY JR.: It's just been flu symptoms. Just it all started when I got off the airplane. You know, my mother in law's been sick, and we went to the hospital and seen her. Then we jumped on an airplane. Must have gotten the flu or something. The tickle in the throat, the head ready to blow off. You want the whole deal? The drippy nose, the runny (laughing).

The only good thing about it I didn't get the fever or anything. They say if you get the fever, you have the swine flu. So I didn't get that. Sit down here in good old Miami for three days, sitting in the motorhome sweating to death.

Q: You talked a little bit out on pit road about the final restart. What was the decision like there at the end? Was there any talk about whether or not you were going to come in or was it just a no brainer?

KEVIN HARVICK: I thought it was a no brainer. I thought that the tires, you know, were probably to the end of their life. And with the track position that we had, I felt like there was enough lap cars in between us that were going to pit, you know, to make sure that we could put four tires on it.

And I saw the 17 stay out, but everybody behind me came. So it really worked out good. We had four tires, they had no tires, and we were able to get a good restart. He had old tires and just spun the tires there at the end and moved down the block. As soon as he moved back up, I just drove by him.

So it was a good night on pit road. We didn't have any mistakes on pit road, and, you know, it all worked out in the end.

Q: You were emotional a couple of years ago with winning your first title. How can you put this one in perspective? How much better is it maybe because you won the race, Ron won the title last week and then clinched the owner's title for you. I don't want to say does it make it sweeter, but can you compare the two?

KEVIN HARVICK: I think we look at them as equal from a team standpoint, you don't want to lose anything from an owner's championship to a driver's championship. And I think everybody knew how important it was to go out and win that.

I've been a part of the celebrations where you have to share the stage with somebody from the owner's championship side of it, and it's not you don't feel fulfilled. And I think with the year that they've had, you know, it feels like it's a fulfilled year.

I mean, you know, we knew that I knew that my job was to go out and try to lead the most laps and beat Kyle. I thought that barring some crazy circumstances, that they knew what they needed to do and could make that happen and it all worked out.

We've seen it all night workout.  We've been on the other side of the fence
last year.  You just never know.  That's what makes the series so exciting.

I don't need to tell you guys, and you all know, but it's more of a there's a lot of personal relationship between Ron and myself and, you know, it it's very gratifying to see him be able to win. That means as much to me as winning the races or winning the championships is to see Ron happy and winning races and winning the championship. You know, the personal relationship is more important than, you know, anything else.

Q: People have talked about this often throughout your stint in the Truck Series. But what is it when you run well in a truck race, why does it always seem like the momentum tends to carry over throughout the weekend?

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, I don't know. I race at all the racetracks that I like. You know, I think every time we show up we have good trucks. That makes it a lot of fun. You kind of cherry pick the places that you like to go.

So nine times out of ten, the Cup car's going to go well. The momentum definitely didn't carry over last week, and we had two good days to lead up to the Sunday race. But it definitely doesn't hurt. It makes you feel good from a confidence side that you can go out and win races. You know, it makes it a lot of fun, so it makes you pretty relaxed for the rest of the weekend.

Q: How do you have so much success when you've got a grizzled old grandfather for a driver?

RON HORNADAY JR.: He's as old as I am.

RICK REN: Yeah, I'm actually a little bit older.

KEVIN HARVICK: Between the two of them they're over 100.

RICK REN: Yeah (laughing). You know, it's just we're both first of all, we respect each other. And respect is a big word in this business. Second of all, you know, him and I just have an agreement. He tells me what it's doing and he wants me to fix it, and we work it out.

We don't argue with each other or fight with each other. We just go out and do our thing, you know. Everybody growls at each other once in a while, but that's part of this business. I don't know. It's just fun. I think we get along great.

RON HORNADAY JR.: Now. Ten years ago we wouldn't have.

RICK REN: Yeah, ten years ago we probably wouldn't have.

Q: Did you know that Kyle had blown the tire and was a couple of laps down or did they not tell you?

RON HORNADAY JR.: Yeah, I seen Kyle. Trust me I had been watching him all night. Yeah, it still didn't change my strategy. Rick and I, I told him what the truck was doing, and he fixed exactly what I told him. We went a little too far.

We were on the same deal, and we know the tires were, you know, Kyle made the right choice of staying out and just putting fuel only because he's won the race three or four times having tires in the pits when the other guys didn't.

So strategy didn't work this time. We blew the right front. That's what with Rick and I did last year, we got tires and made up for it, and we lost. So, yeah. They kept me informed. I kept yelling at how many laps to go because I wanted to get out pretty quick.

Q: I know the past two weeks you've been thinking big picture, but how does it feel to get beat two weeks in a row by your car owner?

RON HORNADAY JR.: Yeah, it's my truck. Yeah. It's I'll finish second every week. I'll keep getting championships. You've got to do what you've got to do to win.

Kyle, when he shows up here, he brings the bar up that much higher, makes us work that much harder. Same deal with Kevin when he shows up. That's what makes this series so great.

Anybody can win any given day, and NASCAR with the venue tracks we're going to, different drivers, young and old did I say that again? It just makes it so much fun.

So Kevin beat me.  I've got to go do my homework.  I'll give him the truck
this week.  He had a better truck than I did.  You own them both, does it
matter (laughing)?  I got to slow down once in a while, don't I?

THE MODERATOR: Okay. Congratulations on tonight's race win. Or this season's championship as both a driver and owner. Congratulations.

-credit: nascar

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