Homestead: Championship team owners' press conference

Kevin and DeLana Harvick, Championship Team Owner - Kevin Harvick, Inc., No. 33 Camping World Silverado THE MODERATOR: We are very pleased to be joined in our media center by our championship team owners. Winning their first, which I'm...

Kevin and DeLana Harvick, Championship Team Owner - Kevin Harvick, Inc., No. 33 Camping World Silverado

THE MODERATOR: We are very pleased to be joined in our media center by our championship team owners. Winning their first, which I'm sure will be the first of many, championships for them as owners, Kevin Harvick, Incorporated, and that's DeLana and Kevin Harvick. Congratulations on the season championship.

And DeLana, I'm going to ask you first to give your comments about winning this 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship.

DELANA HARVICK: Well, it's not sunk in yet, and I've been fortunate to be a part of championships with Kevin, but there's nothing that can quite describe the feeling that you have when it's your own and your own team because we're there every day with these guys and we see how hard they work.

Coming into this race I told Kevin, it's got to be over for me. I can't go up and down any more. My emotions were completely shot. I don't know how these guys do what they do every weekend because for me being a competitor is emotionally draining. To watch this race unfold was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life.

The 33 team, they've been so resilient and they're so determined, and Ron Hornaday, what can you say about him? To watch him battle like he has, and to battle Mike Skinner, they mean so much to the Truck Series. That's what's so cool for Kevin and I is Ron has done so much for Kevin, and to be able to give back to him, that's just not a feeling that you can describe.

THE MODERATOR: Kevin your thoughts about this team Championship?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I think for me it's obviously very personal. You know, I slept on Ron's couch for a number of years -- not a number of years, a number of months, just trying to get a break in this sport. Lindy and Ron basically took me into their house and made me part of their family. When Ron was kind of out in the cold there looking for something to do, we had our Truck team going and really wanted to go forward, I felt like Ron was the right person to put in there.

You know, he's been as a part of our company as he was when I was sleeping on his couch. I mean, Ron Hornaday is the same type of person now as he was then, and that's what's so great about him.

For me it's obviously a little bit more personal than it probably has been for a lot of other people, but to share that moment with him on the backstretch and be the first one to congratulate him, that's something I'll never forget.

Q: Kevin, I don't know how I can exactly phrase it, but you're talking about somebody that did so much for you and now you have this feeling that you're able to give it back to them with interest, I guess. I mean, what is that like? Is it pride, is it just satisfaction? I mean, how can you put that into words?

KEVIN HARVICK: I mean, it's pride, it's satisfaction, it's the most rewarding thing that you can do as a person. To be able to give something back to somebody is -- I mean, you can't put a price on it. You really can't -- you can put all those words on it.

When somebody goes out of their way to help you and -- Hornaday was the one who basically kind of brokered the deal back and forth between myself and Childress because I had a contract and he was the one who made it all happen. I grew up on the West Coast racing with Hornaday, and he just ?? I really don't know how to put it into words, other than all of the above, other than it's rewarding, it's satisfying, and when you can give back to somebody and be successful it's probably the most rewarding thing that you can ever be a part of.

Q: Ron's personality is kind of unique to say the least. I mean, he's a guy that's always kind of wide open, having fun and all that. How important is that to kind of have a guy that's so loose like that all the time? Even when things don't go right he's still kind of tweaking you and doing crazy things like that.

KEVIN HARVICK: He's always been the guy that can run over the top of you, run into the side of you, spin you out, and an hour after the race you're over there drinking a beer with him and he's explaining to you what you did wrong. He's just that type of guy. He's just a hard?core racer. He grew up at Saugus Speedway racing on a third?mile. He raced for everything that he's got. They made a living off of racing, they went in debt off of racing, they did everything that they did from racing. It's just always how he's been.

He's been more relaxed the last couple weeks just being behind. He's actually been more relaxed for whatever reason. Even when he was leading the points -- I shouldn't say that, he wasn't near as relaxed as he was the last couple weeks.

After Texas he didn't really know what to think about after that race, and I told him after Texas and I told him again tonight, I said, the reason that we are here is because you race as hard as you can race every lap, and we wouldn't expect anything different. If we would have lost tonight, he would have kept going back to Texas. I kept telling him, this is why you're here, because of your racing.

Q: You were very eloquent in expressing what it meant to you for you to win the Championship for Ron. What does it mean to you and DeLana to win the Championship for you guys and to hang that banner on the wall in the shop?

KEVIN HARVICK: You know, I tell had I guys, my people, and DeLana and I talk about this a lot, owning a race team is a lot like owning any other sports franchise, and it's taken us six years to get our truck team to where it's at. A lot of people want to know why your Busch team isn't running as well. Three years ago the Busch team was about where the Truck team is. We got the right people in there this year with Rick Ren, and from that point all the pieces were in place, we just had to have the right people.

To employ 80 people, somewhere around 80 people, is something that's ?? you're responsible for a lot of people. And to see it start from one truck, a bunch of guys from RCR, and evolve into 70,000 square feet, four race teams, is something that's also very rewarding to be a part of that as you've built it from basically dirt, from scratch, and see it evolve into a championship?winning organization is very gratifying.

Q: DeLana, I'm wondering if you could speak to the same thing that Kevin was just talking about, and also, if you could talk about, were there times in building an organization that things become so difficult that you wonder if you're ever going to get to this point?

DELANA HARVICK: You do, because like Kevin said -- and there are days that I questioned Kevin, why are we doing this? It's odd because when I'm down, he's not, and when he's down, I'm not. I think that's been the best part of how we've kind of evolved and made it through this process of building a company. It's moments like this that you realize why you do it.

You can't put into words what it means to watch these guys every day, every night. They're there until early in the morning sometimes because they have to and they care so much about it, and it's hard to find people that care as much about your company as you do. But we've found those people and we're starting to put them in the right places. It's all about the people, it's not about having the fastest trucks. It is, but if you don't have the right people in the right place it's never going to work.

And that's probably been the most difficult part of what we've had to do is learn how to manage people. We're just kind of a couple kids who wanted to start a race team, and it's evolved. We've just been fortunate to have good people and people that believe in what we're doing.

Just to watch these guys and to watch Ron Hornaday, like Kevin said, we told him after Texas if we're going down, we're going down racing, and that's kind of our motto, and that's Ron Hornaday's motto, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Q: Drivers in the Nextel Cup garage always talk about the demands that are on them, driving the car, testing the car, the personal appearances, sponsor commitments. You've got all that, plus all this, too, so really how do you keep all that straight? How do you even find time for the two of you to just be husband and wife?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, we spend a lot of time together at home, and even if it's at work, she has an office right down the hall from mine, and we wind up going to -- we work out together every morning, we go home every night. We don't spend a bunch of time with all the fluff and buff and wherever you go -- I don't even know where you go on vacation. I don't know where a place is to go. I don't play golf. I like to shoot my guns, that's one thing I like to do, and ride my go?karts. I just like to race, and sometimes it's a fault.

I told those guys in the shop, I said, I'll pretty much do whatever it takes to win a Championship, and some of them look at me like I'm half nuts. This is what my whole life is around. This is what our whole life is around, and this is what I enjoy about racing, and that's winning and winning championships and there's nothing else that I enjoy any more than sitting right here and calling yourselves champions. That's what we're all here for.

Q: What do you remember about sleeping in the basement and the couch? Was it just -- what was down there? Was it like real junky? What was it like?

KEVIN HARVICK: It was kind of like a frat house, and I had never been to college. I slept on the couch next to the pool table in the trophy room, so I don't know if that was on purpose, if he just put me in the trophy room just so I could look at all those trophies or what the deal was.

I remember sitting at home watching the Daytona race and seeing Hornaday come home with stitches in his chin the first time that he went to Daytona and raced. Taking the stitches out of his chin at the house and putting them in a plastic baggy, and I'll guarantee Lindy still has those stitches somewhere in a bag in her house.

We used to chase Lindy around the house with a water hose. In the summertime I'd just chase her in the house, around the house, she'd chase me around with a plunger. It's just that deep of a relationship, and it was always a good time and still is. It's just so many memories. Lindy bought my first house. She went with me to buy the first house that I ever owned.

It's a lot deeper than that Championship trophy sitting outside.

Q: You've won Busch, now Truck; is the next progression now Cup for you as a couple, to maybe explore that? Is this Championship giving you that itch to think about going that route now, or is that something you just would rather put off and continue focusing your efforts at this level?

KEVIN HARVICK: I think for right now, I think the focus is -- the driving force is still the driving of the Nextel Cup car. I enjoy that, I enjoy the Busch Car, I enjoy the Truck, but the competitor in me still likes to sit in the driver's seat and go out and race for wins and race for races on the racetrack. I'd have been a nervous wreck tonight sitting up on top of that pit box as an owner. It's almost a relief for me to sit in that truck.

But Cup racing is something that I think for us is -- we really enjoy what we're doing right now and really seem to be able to manage our time and manage our businesses and manage a lot of the things that go on, and Cup racing can be so not fun, so much of a burden from an owner's side of it, and you see how much Richard Childress and Rick Hendrick and all these guys put in. There's no way right now that I could be as competitive driving and be a part of Nextel Cup teams.

Q: When you think about when you started this, did you have a timetable in mind to be a player? And now that you've won the Championship, does it seem like it's happening pretty much when you thought it would, or sooner?

KEVIN HARVICK: That's a great question. Really our Truck team started just for the fact that I never really felt like I had the stuff I needed to go out and win a Truck race. That's really the only reason we built our first Truck. The first time we went to the racetrack we had two dualies, two fifth wheel trailers and about eight people that went to the racetrack. It really evolved from there.

The only reason we got involved in Busch racing was because Tony Stewart wanted to drive some Busch races and he wanted to go out and do it different than just going to drive for Joe Gibbs and being a part of that team. He had a big part to do with where the evolution of the company and how it evolved into what it is today just because he wanted to drive those Busch cars and he wanted to drive them on our team.

But the company started, I guess, more out of my ego, I guess, not being able to win in the Truck series and wanting to go out and put that equipment together.

When I was growing up, my father and I, we had late models and we had stuff that was kind of halfway put together, and I never felt like we really got a fair shot with the proper financing and the proper stuff to do it right, and when I had that opportunity to go out and buy the right race vehicles and build the right shop and have all the tools that you need to go out and race, that was something that I never got to do. So that was always a goal of mine, to go out and be able to accomplish winning the Truck race, and that's really the only reason that we started the whole company.

Q: Things haven't quite gone your way in Nextel Cup but you won the Daytona 500, so to win that race, does it almost kind of give you the satisfaction the rest of the year that no matter what happens, I've had a great year, I won the Daytona 500?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, we've been fortunate enough to win the 500, we won the All?Star race, and I'd love to sit up here and tell you that winning the Daytona 500 was -- a lot of people would say that -- if I don't do anything else this year, fine. But the competitor in me is just foul, I guess you could say. I guess my gut just tells me that that's not good enough, and you want to go out and you want to win the Daytona 500, you want to win the All?Star race, you want to win the Brickyard 400 and you want to win the Championship and every race in between. We all know we can't do that, but that's your goal in your mind is to every week go out and win the race.

We've been fortunate to win the 500 and we've been fortunate to win the Brickyard, the All?Star race, Championships. You know, it hasn't been a great year, but I look at it like this: We've been able to accomplish those things. We've had everything under the sun go wrong, and we've still been able to be a part of the Chase and be competitive with everything that hasn't gone right.

You know, I look at 2002 and I compare it to this year, and they're very similar years but we're a more mature team to make the results better.

Q: Next year you're going to have two guys with six Championships between them. How are you going to keep them both on the straight and narrow, and who's going to be the alpha driver?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I think it's a lot like my teammates that I have now. Having a good teammate helps make you better. It helps drive you. If their truck is running faster, you want to run faster. If their truck looks nicer, you want your truck to look nicer. I didn't really realize to be honest with you how good of friends that Ron and Jack were, not knowing that that situation really until we got into this, this second truck.

It's something that I feel like they're going to drive each other and make each other better. The teams are going to make each other better. We basically run both Truck teams right now this year anyway, so I feel like we're going to have a good start on our fleet.

I really think they're going to drive each other to make each other better, and I think they'll respect each other -- they do respect each other enough to really make it right.

-credit: gm racing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR-TRUCK