Bristol II: Harvick - Friday media visit

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed running for the Championship, KHI Truck and Nationwide teams and other topics. COMING OFF A WIN LAST WEEKEND AND A NEW SPONSOR...

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed running for the Championship, KHI Truck and Nationwide teams and other topics.

COMING OFF A WIN LAST WEEKEND AND A NEW SPONSOR ANNOUNCEMENT THIS WEEK, TALK ABOUT THAT: "It is really hard to take it all in to be honest with you just for the fact, we all know where we were a year ago at this point. It is a lot of fun for us to enjoy it. We all respect it a tremendous amount just for the fact that you know how it can turn away from you in a heartbeat. Everybody is relaxed. I think these next three races are going to be fun for us. We are obviously racing hard but I think there is no pressure on the outcome other than the bonus points. That would be nice but it's not like it is the end of the world for us like it would be if something goes wrong in the last 10 weeks. We're going to have fun with it and it is a kind of reward for everybody and I think it is a good good time to get mentally prepared and relaxed for the last 10 races."

DOES IT MATTER WHETHER THE CHAMPION WINS A RACE OR NOT? IS IT LIKELY THAT SOMEONE COULD WIN A TITLE WITHOUT WINNING A RACE? "I think all the circumstances would have to really go your way. But, it is definitely possible. I hear a lot about winning and if you look back at our sport, I think it is built on being successful but it is not necessarily built on having to win every week. It is not like baseball or football where you have a winner. Here we have a winner every week but you have 42 losers. There are always circumstances. It is a team sport so you have the guys fixing the car after an accident. You have the guys in the engine shop that have parts failures. You have a lot of things that go on that are a part of the sport that don't need to be taken out of the sport. It can't solely be based on just winning races. I think it is definitely possible. If you finish in the top-five every week, you are going to win the championship. I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing. Over the last 10 weeks, it is still 10 weeks. There are still 26 other weeks that you did something right."

IN '08 WHEN YOU FINISHED 4TH IN POINTS BUT DIDN'T WIN A RACE, DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE A LEGITIMATE CONTENDER FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "Well, it is hard to say what I thought that year. I have a hard time remembering what I did yesterday! I would say we raced hard that year but I don't necessarily know unless everything would have went perfect, that we'd had a shot at winning the championship that year because in the end, you're going to have to contend for some wins. Over the last 10 weeks, you are going to have to have speed in your cars in order to that. If you have speed in your cars, you are going to have chances to win some races. You would win if you don't win a race, but it is going to be a lot easier to win winning races. You have going to have to win one or two races in the Chase to really beat the guy that wins the championship based upon everything that has happened over the last several years."

EVERYONE SAYS YOU ARE NOW THE FAVORITES FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP, IS THAT GOING TO ALLOW YOU GUYS TO STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO DO AND NOT START READING THE STORIES AND BELIEVING EVERYTHING THAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN? "I still think the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) team is the team to beat. No matter how good somebody runs, I still think that those guys are the ones to beat just for the fact that they have won it the last four year being in a somewhat similar situation. I'd like to just leave it all over there and let us keep doing what we are doing. Obviously, we've run well and we feel like we can contend for a championship. But contending and winning are two different things and I think we've shown we can win races and have shown that we can run good. But, I still think until somebody completes the deal and knocks them off, they have to be the ones you have to beat just because they have done it four times."

NASCAR HAD A MEETING WITH THE NATIONWIDE TEAM OWNERS EARLIER THIS WEEK, AS A NATIONWIDE SERIES TEAM OWNER, GOOD; BAD OR INDIFFERENT, WHAT ARE YOU FEELINGS ABOUT WHAT CAME OUT OF THAT MEETING? "I didn't attend. I did not attend the meeting. I had prior obligations. We had representatives at the meeting but I have not been brought up to speed on what came out of that meeting."

KEVIN A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT YOUR WIN AT MICHIGAN AS BEING A DIFFERENT WIN. IT'S NOT AT A PLATE TRACK AND IT'S THE TYPE OF TRACK YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO RUN AT IN THE CHASE. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT AS A CONFIDENCE BUILDER AND WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT THE STATE OF YOUR TEAM? "Yeah, I think to just get that out of the way so that we could know for ourselves that we could close the deal and we have been very close this year. California was one where I kind of bumped the wall with a few laps to go and kind of ruined that one. But I feel the 1.5 mile stuff has really been our strong point this year where before I would have said the short track stuff was but we have run............aside from Chicago.....we have run well at every race track that has been a 1.5 miles or longer in length so I'm looking forward to the 1.5 mile stuff and I am glad we got Michigan out of the way with the win just because that racetrack in particular has been tough for us over the years and to go and run like we did last week makes everybody know we can run well on pretty much any racetrack. So I still feel like we have run better on 1.5 mile tracks this year more than we have in any other year and they have really been our strong point this year, I think."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT ELLIOTT SADLER RUNNING WELL IN YOUR EQUIPMENT AND IF THAT IS SOMETHING WE ARE GOING TO SEE MORE OF? "Elliott has done a great job. I think in the right stuff he can be competitive at whatever level he is in. You don't just win all the races that he won in Cup and just forget how to drive and at some point you are only as good as what you drive and I don't know all the ins and outs of that particular situation but every time he has been in our No. 2 truck....and he is in the Nationwide car today......he is in the top-five and competitive every week.

"So we are happy to have him in there because it takes some pressure off of me because the sponsors are happy because they run competitively and race for wins and you know he has done a great job and is easy to get along with and really enjoys driving the stuff so we really enjoy the relationship we have had with Elliott so far and look to continue that going forward."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW DRIVERS CHANGE FROM BEING OUTSIDE THE CAR TO INSIDE THE CAR AND IS IT DIFFERENT HERE NOW THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO ROOT AND GAUGE PEOPLE OUT OF THE WAY? "Yeah, I think the style of racing has changed here for the fact that there is a lot more room to race and you can race from the bottom to the top of the race track. And as far as what I think you are asking is how the drivers change from inside the car to outside the car here is that you become a little bit more wound up about things in a short amount of time because the quarters are so tight and you wind up with some bent fenders and some hurt feelings and things tend to happen here pretty fast and those things are going to happen so Bristol is just a tough place on you. Not only physically and on your car, but mentally it can drive you crazy."

ABOUT RELATIONSHIP WITH CARL EDWARDS: "You know sometimes I just think people don't see eye-to-eye on things. I enjoy racing on the racetrack with Carl (Edwards) and that is all that matters. It doesn't really matter if he likes me or if I like him and I think we both race each other hard and off the racetrack doesn't really matter as long as on the racetrack I think we race hard and enjoy racing with each other."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jimmie Johnson