KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 PENNZOIL PLATINUM MONTE CARLO SS, TALKS WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE COCA-COLA 600 AS THE LONGEST RACE OF THE YEAR, WHAT THE ALL-STAR RACE MEANS TO HIM, AND MORE: DO YOU LIKE THIS RACE? THERE IS NO INVERSION THIS YEAR "I'm not...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 PENNZOIL PLATINUM MONTE CARLO SS, TALKS WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE COCA-COLA 600 AS THE LONGEST RACE OF THE YEAR, WHAT THE ALL-STAR RACE MEANS TO HIM, AND MORE:
DO YOU LIKE THIS RACE? THERE IS NO INVERSION THIS YEAR "I'm not really a huge fan of this race, anyway. I think it always tears up a lot of cars and really not for a whole lot at stake. It probably would be a little bit cooler if we could rotate it from track to track, but I don't really know what the format it. I know it's 20 laps for four times, so we'll see what happens."
WHAT DO YOU DO AND WHAT DOES THE TEAM DO TO PREPARE FOR RUNNING THAT EXTRA 100 MILES NEXT WEEK AT THE COCA COLA 600? "I don't do anything. I just drive a little bit further. But you know, for the most part, our stuff is all certified on the dyno to go 600 miles anyway. So, for the most part, we really don't do a whole lot different."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE RCR / DEI MERGER TO BUILD ENGINES? AND WHAT DOES THAT DO TO THE POSSIBILITY OF HAVING DALE EARNHARDT JUNIOR JOIN RCR? "I can't speak for Dale Jr. I don't know anything about that. But I know from my standpoint, I don't know how it could be bad. Obviously it's going to give us more resources and more people and more engines and more cars on the track. It's just going to give you more of anything. And when you can have more of everything, you're going to wind up getting somewhere faster than you would by yourself."
WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THE STIFF PENALTY NASCAR HANDED OUT TO THE NO. 8 TEAM AFTER DARLINGTON? "No. At the team meetings and at the car of tomorrow meetings, that was exactly what the penalty was told to be and that's what they did. That's what they told you it was going to be from the beginning."
WILL THIS ALL STAR RACE BE MORE OF A TEST FOR THE COCA-COLA 600 NEXT WEEKEND THAN A RACE? "It's just one of those things where you go out and race just as hard as you can and whether or not I'm a big fan of it, we're still going to go out and race just as hard and try to win. That's just the nature of who we all are. So, it's one of those deals where you always gain information and you can always make things better for next week."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE COCA-COLA 600 RACE? "The 600 is long, but it's really only 100 miles longer than we normally run, so it's not that big of a deal. But it's our longest race. Coming to Charlotte is always kind of special because you get to have all your guys at the shop who don't normally get to come to a race."
DOES THE EXTRA 100 MILES WEAR ON YOU AT THE END OF THE NIGHT, OR IS IT JUST ANOTHER 100 MILES? "You're programmed to go 500 miles. So that last 100 miles is always a little bit different than what we normally do. But all in all, it's really not that big of a deal."
NOT GOING TO DOVER FOR THE TEST...DOES THAT HELP? "It helps a lot. It's ridiculous how much we test right now because we're right in the middle of the season. We're basically running two race teams per team with the COT program and the old car program. It's hard on our guys now and I think it was a good call on their part to not go."
ON THE BIG PICTURE, ARE YOU LOOKING AT 26/10 OR THE ENTIRE SEASON OR JUST WINNING RACES? "I think right now you just have to try to win races and be competitive week in and week out and try to position yourself in the Chase and then hopefully have a good plan at the end so you can go out and race for a championship."
DO YOU THINK IT'S LIKE TWO SEASONS? "Well, last time I looked at the calendar, it was all one season."
IS THERE A JEALOUSY FACTOR IN HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS WINNING SO MANY RACES THIS YEAR SO FAR? "Not really. We had that same kind of success last year and it just kind of goes in cycles. They've had good cars. I don't think they've had the best cars at every race, they just haven't made the mistakes and they've been in the right position to capitalize on the right situations."
ON GOING TO IOWA? "We're going to race the Busch East-West race there and it should be a lot of fun. We're looking forward to going there and having a lot of fun on Sunday."
ON THE STATE OF NASCAR, WHAT'S THE BIGGEST ISSUE YOU WANT TO BE FIXED? "We don't really have any issues. I think the car of tomorrow is probably the biggest thing we've got going right now. If there is any issue, it's just maintaining the cost of the sport to keep the teams able to afford what they need to do."
JUNIOR JOHNSON WAS SAYING THAT THE DRIVERS NEED TO SPEAK THEIR MINDS AND HAVE CONTROVERSY. DO YOU THINK THE DRIVERS ARE LESS WILLING TO SPEAK UP BECAUSE THE SPORT HAS GROWN SO MUCH, OR IS THAT JUST PART OF THE SPORT? "Oh, I don't think so. I think the guys who are going to speak their mind are going to speak their mind and guys who aren't, aren't. It's really not any different than it's been before."
DO YOU THINK IT'S IMPORTANT THAT EVERY DRIVER HAS HIS OWN PERSONALITY? "I think it's important that we don't speak our minds to you guys (the media) and that we keep it in house as we try to make our sport better."
ALL THE DRIVERS SAY THEY DON'T MIND THE BOOING. IS THAT TRUE? "I don't mind. I don't care. I don't really pay attention to it. As long as my team is happy, I'm happy."
YOU MENTIONED GOING OUT TO IOWA. WHEN YOU GO TO A PLACE LIKE THAT, DO YOU HAVE A FEELING LIKE YOU CAN KIND OF LET YOUR HAIR DOWN? "Yeah, it's definitely fun. That's the main thing. You go out and have a good time and race hard and do things that you normally don't get to do."
HOW CHALLENGING IS THE TEAM LEADER ROLE TO A YOUNG DRIVER AND WHEN TO KNOW HOW OUTSPOKEN TO BE AND WHEN TO LET YOUR CREW CHIEF HANDLE THAT ROLE? "That's a good question. I don't know that I've figured all that out yet. Sometimes you say something that you shouldn't. You try to work with your team as much as you can. Sometimes you try to step up in the right situation. The more experience you have, the better off you'll be."
HOW DO YOU REPAIR SITUATIONS WHEN MAYBE YOU SAY SOMETHING THAT YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE SAID? "It all depends on the situation. Nowadays, most of the younger drivers have older teammates to look up to, to help with what you should and shouldn't do. So I think most all teams have somebody to be the team spokesperson."
-credit: gm racing