KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Bristol, how important points are early in the season, the Legends race at Bristol on Saturday and other topics. TALK...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Bristol, how important points are early in the season, the Legends race at Bristol on Saturday and other topics.
TALK ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS COMING IN TO BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY THIS WEEKEND: "This has been a great place for us. This place has been really good to me over the years. Obviously, the track has changed a little bit but we were in position to win the race last year and I got a little over anxious there and spun Tony (Stewart) out and cost myself the race. But luckily I handed it off to have a good finish for RCR (Richard Childress Racing) and that was good for everybody. It has been a good place for us. I love racing here. It is something that we look forward to twice a year and look forward to getting it going today."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW GETTING A NEW CREW CHIEF AND TEAM AROUND A YOUNGER DRIVER CAN HELP REALLY JUMP A CAREER AHEAD? "I am really good friends with Shane (Wilson, crew chief for Clint Bowyer and No. 33 BB&T Impala SS at RCR) and felt like Shane could do a good job and good friends with Clint and knew he could obviously do a good job. Sometimes scenarios don't work out and you're not happy away from the race track. For me, I have had the same crew chief for the most part since I started at RCR. Got thrown in to the situation with (Dale, Sr.) Earnhardt's car and eventually migrated back to where I started with the guys, with Todd (Berrier) and all the guys that I felt the most comfortable with. It is all about timing and situations and other things in the sport. It is as much about communication and teamwork as it is about what you have for fast cars. A lot of times it doesn't really matter how fast your car, you can make something out of it if you put your heads together. I felt like that was what we did last year. I felt like our experience on the No. 29 team and the knowledge that we have about each other was more important than the speed of our race cars on the track. We weren't fast enough last year but we made something out of it. I think that comes from experience."
WHAT CAN YOU DO ON THE NEW CONFIGURATION OF BRISTOL THAT YOU COULD DO ON THE OLD ONE? "Well, you don't have to knock somebody out of the way to pass them anymore. You can race all over the race track, from top to bottom. Last time it was more conventional than it was the very first time racing from top to bottom. Last time it was more middle to the bottom but you still have options as far as where you can go and when you need to pass somebody."
HOW MUCH ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION TO POINTS THIS EARLY IN THE SEASON? "I think the main thing is the first three or four weeks, you just don't want to wind up bad because it makes for a long 10 weeks to try to get yourself out. That is kinda how we look at it. You look at it from a week-to-week perspective but when you get in a hole and you are in 34th, or 35th place, you look at ok, how am I going to get out of this hole. That usually comes with kind of like saving money, you have to have a plan and you have to have it start somewhere. This place, you can be running good all day and wind up in a mess regardless. It is tough to get yourself in a hole and then get out of it because there are so many good teams that are running good and somebody is going to be "on" when you are "off". It is a whole lot harder to make up points than it is to lose them so you always pay attention."
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT FOR A TEAM TO ASSESS WHERE YOU ARE AS A TEAM WHEN YOU GO FROM ONE TYPE OF TRACK TO SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WEEK TO WEEK? "You really don't know just because this is the fourth different style of race track that we have gone to. You have the Daytona stuff. California is its own beast; really Michigan is the only thing that compares to that. Then you go to Vegas, I guess Vegas and Atlanta are similar, but Atlanta in its own way is a lot different than anything we do because it is so worn out. This is the first time and you see where you stack up, obviously we have notes to go off from the last couple of years and luckily our cars have been pretty good the last couple of years here. You could show up today and everything be completely upside down and you have to go home and try to figure it out. We feel pretty good about where we sit as a team coming in to the race. When we leave Sunday, we hope we have the same opinion.
"I think you lean on the last race here as far as what you did and where you start. The guys have gotten so good at all of the simulation stuff that they know what we have changed and can go back and figure out if you have different bump stops or if you have different whatever the case may be, track bar heights and things like that. They will come with new setup based upon where you were last time but with all the new technology applied to that particular setup."
HOW HARD IS IT TO BE A GOOD TEAMMATE AND A COMPETITOR AT THE SAME TIME? "We all share our notes and we all get along well, so, that is the best thing for me. I don't really know how to expand on it any further than that."
ARE YOU GOING TO BE WATCHING THE LEGENDS RACE TOMORROW NIGHT AND DO YOU THINK THAT IS AN IDEA TO FORM SOME KIND OF A LEAGUE? "I will definitely be watching. I think we are going Bill Jordan, obviously after yesterday, I think he needs a little bit of help. It is fun to see those guys kind of get out of their element and really see them do things that challenge them. Then you have the guys that have raced for their whole lives and come back and do something that they love to do. I don't know that you could convince those guys to a league just because I think it is more fun when you come in and do something that you love to do and then you have to go back and live your normal life. I think it is more entertaining and more challenging and more rewarding when you just get to do it every one in a while. I don't know that they would be interested in doing something planned. I don't think I would.
"Rusty (Wallace) could still be racing, but I think some of those guys are up there in age and just having a good time with it. I think that is what is more about. The fans to see guys that made our sport what it is today actually on the race track. Usually something like that turns in to a race regardless though."
WHAT IS IT ABOUT BRISTOL THAT INGITES DRIVERS TO THROW HELMETS AND THINGS LIKE THAT? "Well, it is frustrating. Short track racing is a little bit frustrating in itself just because sometimes it becomes hard to pass and everybody is running really close to the same speed. So it just becomes frustrating more than it does anything. Then you work all day to get yourself in a good position where you were having a terrible and then somebody finally wrecks you, you just feel like taking a little bit of your frustrations out on somebody else. It is just a place that creates that environment. Tight quarters and everything is really close from top to bottom. Whether it is pit stalls, or the competition or whatever it is, everything is just tight here and usually it frustrates you when something goes wrong."
DO YOU THINK THAT IS WHAT THE FANS LIKE MOST ABOUT HERE? "Well, there are a lot more fans here than there are in California, so it has got to be more exciting to watch."
DO YOU THINK THE GUYS WHO WINS THE MOST RACES IN THE FINAL 10 RACES SHOULD WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "I think that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. If it is about winning the most races, the other ones just don't count? In my opinion, it is all about 10 races (the Chase) and when you have problems, it is all about the guy who can fix his car and it is about the guy who can come back and make something out of a loose wheel and make up two laps and to me it takes an element of the sport away because if you aren't going to win and you are having a bad day, what the consequences of just pulling in?"
-credit: gm racing