KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL IMPALA SS met with media and talked about how special Atlanta is to him, his KHI Nationwide teams, the IROC Series and more. ON HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW THE RACE IS GOING TO BE ON SUNDAY AFTER TESTING BACK...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL IMPALA SS met with media and talked about how special Atlanta is to him, his KHI Nationwide teams, the IROC Series and more.
ON HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW THE RACE IS GOING TO BE ON SUNDAY AFTER TESTING BACK IN OCTOBER. "I don't really think anybody knows right now just because the tire is different, all the cars a different, set-ups are different. So I think today's practice is important just to understand how much different our cars are from where we tested. At the test the cars were kind of a handful and wearing out the tires a lot. We've obviously made a lot of difference. Goodyear made an adjustment on the tire, came back and did another tire test. Probably everybody is still going to have some tire trouble until the track gets rubbered in but I don't foresee any tire trouble as we go to Sunday."
ON HIS REACTION TO THE PENALTY THAT THE NO. 99 TEAM RECEIVED FOLLOWING THE VEGAS RACE. "When you look at all the stuff that they did with the side window and the oil tank lid and the way the lid was designed to come off it sounds, I think the intent was for it all to happen. When you start messing with the safety devices and things on the side window, you're doing things that are a pretty big no, no."
THE PENALTY YOU GUYS HAD WITH THE NO. 77 NATIONWIDE CAR, WAS IT SIMILAR? "It was similar. Obviously the lid wasn't off there were just a couple of bolts that had come out of the oil tank lid, but it didn't fly all the way off like that. It still wasn't right."
DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH CHARLIE'S (WILSON) APPEAL AT ALL? "He doesn't work for us anymore."
HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT THE IROC SERIES COMING TO AN END. "I think the IROC Series has kind of been a place where a lot of guys got to race against other people that they normally wouldn't race against. I actually bought one of the IROC cars that I won my first and only race in several months back.
"Jay and Bob Signore are great people. It's kind of a shame that's it's going away. It just shows you how tough it is in our world right now to keep things headed in the right direction and it just seems like they got behind a little bit on the sponsorship. That makes everything suffer and you just can't seem to ever catch up, but you couldn't have two nicer people than the Signores."
WHAT DID YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT RUNNING IN THE SERIES? "I just liked the different types of people that you got to race against.
"Seems like now everybody is in the Cup Series, its kind of your own weekly IROC Series that you get to race against all those guys. You just got to race against guys that you normally would race against and that was the neatest part about it for me."
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE MOMENT IN THE SERIES? "I think the first time that I got invited, just to know when I won that first Nationwide Series Championship. That was one of the things I looked forward to was just going to the IROC Series and being able to race against different people and that was just something not a lot of people got to experience and we were fortunate to experience winning the championship and winning a race, doing those things. So I feel fortunate we got to experience all those things."
ON HIS 2001 WIN IN THE CUP SERIES AND HOW SPECIAL THAT DAY WAS. "That was a big day for our company at RCR. We didn't all really know where we were going and what we were doing and what was happening with the company. To come and win the race it kind of gave us some momentum to turn things around and really get us headed in the right direction. We really suffered more in 2002 than we did in 2001 because we were able to win that race so early and it just seemed like we got momentum and everybody was kind of on an adrenaline high after that point."
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FOR THAT SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT AND THAT DAY TO SINK IN? b^0x001cI don't think that day will ever really sink in because that part of the season was just so strange. That whole year was just strange. None of us really wanted to be in that position. I know that was the first race that I was, you know you can only do that once and you remember that every time you come back here. You go back and you still remember that day. Just something just really strange about the way the whole year went and I don't know it just never really sunk in like a lot of other things have in my career. I don't know why that is."
DO YOU REMEMBER ANY SPECIFICS ABOUT HOW YOU WON OR THE MOVE THAT YOU MADE? "Oh yeah. The move that won the race was the three-wide move coming off of two and Dale Jarrett and Jerry Nadeau were side-by-side and we were able to get by them off of Turn 2. So that was, a lot of people don't go back that far in the race but there was a heck of a race that day between the five of us trading the lead back and forth. It's actually a pretty fun race to watch."
ON HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT KHI DRIVER CALE GALE AND WHY HE CHOSE TO PUT HIM IN A KHI CAR. "We just think Cale has the potential to go do things. He's a very good young person, he has a good feel for the car and hopefully we can get him enough experience to where he can show case what he can do.
"That's the hard part is it cost so much to do these things you can't get him in there every week. We just need him to have one or two good weeks and hopefully get him in there full time at some point.
"The good thing about it is I've got a sponsor that's willing to take on that risk with Rheem. They like Cale and that he's young and taking a chance and up and coming. They like the fact that he's in that position and were willing to take that gamble. So you have to have a sponsor that's willing to take that gamble with you."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO RUN HIM (CALE GALE) FULL TIME IF YOU COULD? "Our goal is to eventually, once we get everything settled with what types of cars we're gonna race and how we're gonna phase all that in. Once they decide all that it will probably be a couple of years down the road but I intend on this 33 car being the car that I drive with somebody. Obviously Hornaday will be in that mix because he wants to run Nationwide races. That would be the goal, to have one full-time car racing for the championship as well."
ON HIS CONCERN WITH THE CORNER SPEEDS AND THE SPACER. "I'm not very concerned after watching Truck practice. They slowed down about a second. I mean Atlanta, it's going to grind the tires off. But I don't think we'll have any problems."
WHAT ABOUT THE SPACER IN GENERAL? "I don't think it's really fair to analyze it yet. We haven't been to too many race tracks. Obviously the speeds are way slower, the racing style is a lot different but it doesn't seem like we've really had any issues. The intent of the rule was to save the owners money. I don't know if that was 100% the right way to go about it. I would have put a weight rule or something on it, but they had to take a direction and go with that and they went with it and I don't think the racing has suffered any from the spacer."
ON HOW SPECIAL ATLANTA IS TO HIM WITH GETTING HIS FIRST CUP WIN HERE AND A WIN WITH HORNADAY AS AN OWNER AS WELL. b^0x001cYeah, that was Hornaday's first win here so that was pretty neat to be a part of in the Goodwrench Truck and see him win his first race for us. Obviously he's won a lot of races, but we've been fortunate to have some pretty neat moments here. We've had some disappointing days here, but we've had some really neat moments here on the Truck side with Ron and on the Cup side with our first win, so we've done a few things here. Had a lot of bad days, had a lot of good days."
HOW DO YOU THINK THE NEW CAR WILL BE PHASED INTO THE NATIONWIDE SERIES? "I think the main focus is just to decide what style of car they want to race; and get all that situated first.
"It all just depends, that's where we're at with our second team is just kind of waiting to see where the rules go and how much work it's gonna be and how much testing we're gonna have to do. We're geared up to do all the testing for the car but just waiting on NASCAR's decision as far as how that phasing is gonna take place. It would probably be more work up front to phase it in and be running two separate cars so it probably would be better just to phase it in all at once."
ON THE IMPROVEMENTS WITH HIS KHI NATIONWIDE TEAM. "We've made a lot of improvement. Last year we started the year and didn't run very well. I felt like we've been competitive every week. We've got to do a lot of small things better. I don't think we're capable of winning every week yet, but I think we're capable of running in the top 10 and that was our goal. To get it to where it would run in the top 10 every week and then get it to where it would run in the top five. Once you start putting yourself in position to win, then you'll start winning races. So we just got a lot of little things left to do. It just takes a little bit of time but I'm happy with the progress so far."
-credit: gm racing