KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed the Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski situation, racing a Bristol, season to date and other topics. TALK ABOUT RACING HERE AT...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed the Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski situation, racing a Bristol, season to date and other topics.
TALK ABOUT RACING HERE AT BRISTOL THIS WEEKEND: "We're excited about the first four weeks and I think as we come here, this has been a very good place for us so we are looking forward to hopefully having a good weekend. If we can have a chance to win the race, that is what we want to do and if not, we want to capitalize on whatever we can to make the best day out of it. It has been a great place for us on both Saturday and Sunday and hopefully it is the same thing this week."
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL COME OUT OF THE MEETING TOMORROW BETWEEN CARL (EDWARDS) AND BRAD (KESELOWSKI)? "There are a lot of things that could come out of it. Obviously there is a pretty deep history it seems like between the two of them. Hopefully they can get things squared away and not get everybody else involved in what is going on."
HOW CLOSE DO YOU THINK EVERYONE WILL BE WATCHED ON SUNDAY? "I think most everybody is tired of hearing about it from our standpoint. I mean, that is what I think about it."
YOU WERE PRETTY OUTSPOKEN ABOUT HIS PENALTY AND USED THE WORD "FAKE" ON TWITTER AND THE RADIO, COULD YOU ELABORATE ON THAT? "I don't think I ever said anything about his penalty being one way or the other, I made a crack about maybe I got in trouble in the wrong era and it was more expensive then. (SMILES) Things change and the sport changes and I'm not up-in-arms about anything like that. As far as the fake comment, I mean, you can't be the nice guy; you can't be the bad guy and you can't be the bully. So....that is just how I feel about that."
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT YOU STRUGGLED AT ATLANTA BUT RALLIED BACK TO NINTH AND DO YOU CONSIDER THAT ONE OF YOUR BETTER TOP-10 FINISHES? "That was the best weekend we have had so far this year. I think for us, when we have had those weekends in the past, and you have a 20th-place car, we always finished 20th or 25th with it and as the day progressed on we got worse. We made something out of it. That, to me, is a huge step in the right direction for us as far as competing for wins and championships and the things that we need to be doing. That was the most productive weekend that we have had because of how bad it was at the start of the weekend. We ended the weekend with a top-10 and probably didn't have a top-10 car and we made it in to that. Those are the things that you have to do and for me that is what made it the best weekend of the year."
WHAT IS IT LIKE BEHIND THE WHEEL WHEN THINGS ARE NOT GOING WELL AT BRISTOL? "When things aren't going well at Bristol, you have a tendency to be in the way which makes for a long day because it is hard enough to do when you are looking forward. And when you are having to look backwards to make sure you stay out of the way, you really can't make any progress, it gets pretty frustrating pretty fast. It is a frustrating place when things are going good, but when things are going bad, it is not more fun at all."
THE LONGER YOU ARE IN THE POINTS LEAD AS THE SEASON ROLLS ALONG, WHAT DOES THAT DO FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE? "From a confidence standpoint, it is very good for us to keep doing the things that we are doing. You want to look ahead to make sure that you don't get behind and you want to keep pushing things forward. Right now the ball is in our court as far as how we push things forward and how we make things happen. We have to continue to do that and hopefully things keep going well. Leading the points in this part of the season is great, but it really only matters in the last 10 races."
DO YOU CHANGE ANYTHING HERE AT BRISTOL BECAUSE YOU ARE LEADING THE POINTS? "We come in with the same mentality that we had every week and that is to try to do the best job we can to put ourselves in position to win the race and whatever you have to do to do that. When you 100% realize that that goal isn't able to be accomplished, then you want to gain the most points out of the weekend that you can. It is win the race first and do what you can to make that happen."
WHAT DID "HAVE AT IT BOYS" MEAN TO YOU? "I think it is a lot of things. I think a lot of this stems from the bump-drafting rules that we saw put in to place at Talladega. I think that is where a lot of this got started and that is really the majority of what I think they were talking about. I think it tells you that they (NASCAR) aren't going to come down and give you the $50,000 fine and a week or two suspension. I think it is very clear for everybody on where it all stands. I think everybody knows how it is going to be treated."
IS THE RACING HERE AT BRISTOL DIFFERENT THAT WHAT IT WAS BEFORE THE TRACK WAS REPAVED? "It is very different. The style of racing is very different from what it was before the new configuration because now you can really run from the bottom to the top and you see a lot less caution flags. The track is very smooth. Before it was very much a rhythm-type race track. It's still a rhythm-type race track, but you have options as far as where you go in the corner and those types of things. It is a very different style racing from the driver's seat than it was in the past."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO GET A WIN KNOCKED OUT IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS? "We started the year off winning the Shootout so that was good for us. We have been close a couple of times. We need to win the races, not only to get the bonus points and things like that, but we need to win, that is for sure."
WHEN COMPARING LAST YEAR TO THIS YEAR, WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED TO SEE OUT OF RCR TO EVEN CONSIDER STAYING WITH THEM OR RESIGNING WITH THEM LONG TERM? "I think the difference between last year and this year we all ran for the most part terrible at California. We were mediocre at Daytona. I think the first three weeks; we have had a chance to win every race. Atlanta, we struggled and made something out of it. It is much different. Last year we just kind of hung on those first four or five weeks and we got decent finishes but never in contention to lead laps and win races like we have been this year. The most important thing to me is that we take the next step as far as making the cars better, making engines better, making everything better in order to keep the competitiveness of the team at the level that it needs to be because everybody is going to continuously get better. Those are the types of things we need to do. We can't always play catch up. At some point you have to be ahead to win a championship."
HOW DO YOU MEASURE THAT? "I think it is going to be a lot easier to measure this year because we have such an obvious change with the spoiler coming on to the car. The odd part about this year is you are going to have five weeks with the wing on the car. It is going to be 10 weeks in to the season before you really know where you stack up from a competition standpoint with the spoiler on the car. I mean you are creeping up on half-way to the Chase getting through the first 26 races to make the Chase before you even know kind of where you stack up. To me that is a lot different than seasons past because you would have known by now if you were in trouble like we were last year from a competition standpoint."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE KEEPING UP? "I don't think you really know until you race. You can go off of your test speeds and you can go off of all the things that you have but until you actually put that car on to the race track and get around other cars and race and see where your speed winds up when everybody is under the same conditions at the same track, the tires come in with different staggers and different compounds and different constructions as we saw at Atlanta. It all depends on how everything that you have done measures up on the speed of the car when you get to the track around everybody else. You think you are doing a good job but we thought we were doing a good job when we got in to the beginning of last year too and you get to the race track and you see that you don't' have speed and you aren't competitive with the other cars. We are going to have to get through Martinsville and Texas and Phoenix and those types of places and just see where the speed of our car racks up to really give an honest evaluation of that."
IS THE TEST NEXT WEEK IMPORTANT FOR THOSE THINGS? "I think the test is important but you still aren't going to be racing around people. I mean, you are going to be on the track at the same time, but there is just a difference between race conditions and how everything reacts in traffic. I mean, we all think we know how it is going to react, but you never know until they drop the green flag and you are side-by-side and have to pit.
At Charlotte, are you going to do a 50-lap run? Probably not, I'm not. You have to do those things in the race. Are you going to have tire trouble? I don't know. Do we have too much front down force in traffic? Do we have enough down force? There are just so many questions that have got to be answered."
TOMORROW SOME OF THE EARLY GREATS OF THE SPORT ARE GOING TO BE RACING, DO YOU THINK YOU WILL WATCH IT? "I think it is great that those guys are a part of our sport. Over the past couple of years, NASCAR has done a lot better job of getting the guys that made our sport what it is today involved in events. Bristol does a good job of involving them in their events over the past couple of years too. I think that is very important to pay those guys the tribute that they deserve for helping make our sport what it is today. It is great to see them involved and it is fun to watch."
ARE YOU PARTICIPATING IN A FAMILY FEUD TONIGHT? "Yes. It is fun. They do a great fan event here that is open to all of the fans and they get involved and they can come watch us make fools out of ourselves so it is entertaining for them. As long as they don't ask too many engineering questions with (Ryan) Newman on the other side, we should be ok."
-source: gm racing