Atlanta: Harvick - Friday media visit

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 REESE'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed the state of General Motors, the upcoming off week, new pit rules for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and more. WHAT ARE YOUR ...

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 REESE'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed the state of General Motors, the upcoming off week, new pit rules for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and more.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON COMING BACK TO ATLANTA, WHERE YOU GOT YOUR FIRST WIN? "It is always exciting to come back here. Obviously that was an emotional win and day for all of us so it makes come back here special. I am looking forward to being in the truck this weekend here as well. We need to get our Reese's Chevrolet closer to the front and contend for wins."

WHAT WILL YOUR STRATEGY BE WITH TIRES IN THE TRUCK RACE? "I think that is a great part of the new rules just in the fact that there is a lot of strategy that plays in to that. I don't anticipate having a tire problem so if you do pit under green I think it's just a matter of where you are. I mean it's hard to tell until you get on the race track and see what the tire wear is like. New tires are going to be worth a couple of seconds a lap. It's just kind of a balance as far as of where you think you are inside that particular run. You can make up time really fast so you just got to see where it all falls."

THERE'S SOME PRETTY SCARY HEADLINES ABOUT GENERAL MOTORS AGAIN, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR YOU GUYS? "I don't know that you can just pin it on General Motors. I think if you want to go through the garage and really pin situations on just about any sponsor in the garage you can look at how bad it is for everybody. General Motors is a very strong brand. Obviously they are going through tough times, but they are in a wonderful restructuring process right now of putting their company back on their feet. I think when the economy turns they're going to be as good as they have ever been going forward. We're all here to support them. It's a huge company. A very strong company and I think they'll be as strong as they ever were when all this turns in the right direction as with thousands and thousands of other companies that have restructured their company and made themselves more efficient.

"You turn on the news and I hate to say this in front of all you guys but I don't watch the news because it's so hard to turn the news on and everything is negative. It's always the worst is reported and I think from everything that everybody has talked about I think they'll be stronger going forward than they ever have been."

DO YOU THINK THIS IS GOOD FOR THE TEAMS TO HAVE AN OFF WEEK THIS EARLY TO EVALUATE AND SEE WHERE YOU STAND AFTER A COUPLE OF RACES? "I think there is a couple of different ways you can look at it. Once I get going I like to keep going. I'd rather just race 35 weeks and be done with it but there's a lot of times you get in a situation where you just get behind and things are not going good and whatever the case may be and that off week is kind of a sense of relief. So there are a number of different ways that you can look at it. I've been on both sides of that fence. I think the beginning of the year is a mad rush to get everything going and get back in the swing of things. I don't think an off weekend is bad by any means for sure."

HOW BIG OF AN IMPACT HAS NOT HAVING AS MUCH OFF-SEASON TESTING BEEN SO FAR? "I don't think it's been that big of deal. I think going to Daytona the races were great. I think the crew guys, myself included, really enjoyed the fact that we didn't have to go straight from Homestead to working on your cars, to testing straight to the race. This is a long season. I think they should make it mandatory every season from Homestead to Daytona you don't test and then once the season starts, start back at it. The hardest part for the crew guys is they wind up working right up until Christmas and then if you're behind they wind up making their Christmas vacation short and you need that time to just not be miserable. It seems like everybody has got a lot more spring in their step and sometimes you're behind. Some people are behind and some are ahead, but that was probably going to be that way regardless of the situation. I enjoyed the not testing part of it. I'm not huge on testing anyway. We've got a tire test next week at Darlington for a couple of days and its right back to normal as we're going through the season. So I don't think it's affected anything on the race track myself."

ON HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW JIMMIE JOHNSON, CARL EDWARDS AND KYLE BUSCH HAVE STARTED THEIR SEASONS. "Well obviously all three of those teams are strong. Jimmie got out of the gate slow last year so you can't ever count those guys out. I haven't really paid much attention to the No. 99 to be honest with you (laughter). I'm just being honest I haven't. I just haven't paid really that much attention. I haven't paid that much attention to the No. 48 either but you know those guys are going to be there in the end on the No. 48. The No. 18 seems like he didn't miss a beat from last year so we're hoping that he does the same thing he did last year and just gets it all out of the way here early but most likely that won't happen two years in a row. All three of those guys will be there when it all counts."

COULD YOU TALK ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT IT WAS LAST WEEK TO COME OUT AND HAVE ANOTHER STRONG RUN AFTER WHAT HAPPENED OUT IN CALIFORNIA FOR THE WHOLE RCR TEAM? "It was great. The team led a lot of laps last week. Our car ran well. We had one run where we got off and then got caught on pit road under green. Came back and made something out of our day. Our car ran fine at California.

"The other three teams really turned their stuff around from California to Vegas and ran well. Pretty impressive for what everybody did during the week in the parking lot or at Brendan Gaughan's shop out there in Las Vegas to turn everything around. To make our cars as good as they were last week was pretty impressive for the guys. Just glad to see them use all the tools that they had to make the stuff better."

ON HIS PROSPECTIVE OF THE NEW PIT ROAD RULES IN THE NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES AS BOTH AN OWNER AND DRIVER. "From an owner's standpoint you take two to three guys to the race track less. Our jack man is the gas man and one of our tire carriers is the catch can man.

"From a cost saving effort I think that's helped us there. I think that the strategy that it adds to the race, I don't think it's affected the races really any. I don't think there is a negative to it. I'm sure it would be easier to do just the same old things we've always done but I think NASCAR has done a good job with the sealing of the engines and the roster. I know we only take 10 guys on the No. 33 team and 11 guys to the race track on the No. 4 truck. That's three less people than we took on each team from last year and that includes the driver and the spotter and everybody. There's a substantial amount of savings that are coming from that. A six-figure savings for our three teams that came from no testing from Homestead to Daytona.

I guess going back on that, I guess the moral of the story is there's got to be a balance in there of the economic times and the balance of costs and things. But used correctly the five-man pit crew can save you from bringing two to three people to the race track."

RCR HASN'T HAD ENGINE ISSUES, WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS? "We had engine issues at Daytona. We had two or three engine issues at Daytona with the ECR stuff. Our down force stuff has been fine. It's just the beginning of the year and everybody from our team to all the teams in between are pushing the limits as hard as they can and trying to get the most out of everything that you can. You couldn't simulate the race conditions at a test because you have to run, you just can't do it even at a test efficiently and do it correctly and put the same wear and tear that you would on the motor. Everybody is just pushing the limits right now. I think if you go back you can probably see those limits being pushed in years past too. There are more manufacturers. Usually it's more isolated to one team and right now it seems to be various teams in the garage."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Brendan Gaughan