Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Monte Carlo SS, met with members of the media and discussed racing at Chicago, his team's performance this season, his plans for the off-weekend, returning to Indianapolis and his success there, crew chief ...
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Monte Carlo SS, met with members of the media and discussed racing at Chicago, his team's performance this season, his plans for the off-weekend, returning to Indianapolis and his success there, crew chief suspensions and the amount of communication they should have with their team, his opinions on NASCAR's drug policy and preparing for the Chase for the Championship.
ON RETURNING TO CHICAGO: "Obviously Chicago has been very good to us and we've always performed very well here so we always look forward to coming back. Everything's kind of just going along and going pretty good."
ON ASSESSING HIS SEASON SO FAR: "I think performance-wise it's been very good, we've just had a lot of things go wrong and I think it shows the maturity and the experience of the team to keep ourselves in contention to be where we need to be and still have as many things go wrong as we've had go wrong. So performance-wise I think it's been pretty good."
ON WHAT THEY NEED TO IMPROVE ON THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON: "I don't think we need to do one particular thing better. I think it's just trying to get the momentum on our side and get things going our way to go along with the performance of the race cars being pretty good. We need the momentum to shift and hopefully we can get through that part of it and we can just stay away from the 42 car we'll be in good shape."
IS IT HARD NOT TO SECOND GUESS YOURSELF ABOUT NOT PUSHING HARDER IN SONOMA AT THE END? "No, I mean that's your job (laughs). You can second guess that. We had two-tenths of a gallon left. If we would have pushed any harder we would have run out of gas."
ON HIS PLANS FOR THE OFF-WEEEND: "Right now we have two tests in the two weeks and right now we don't have anything really planned, just to stay at home and relax and not do a whole lot there. That'll be a good thing in itself. Everybody has these trips planned to go this place and that place. Man, we go every week; I don't know why you'd want to leave home if you had a weekend off."
ON RETURING TO INDY WHERE HE HAD A TOP-FIVE FINISH LAST YEAR: "We know what it's like to win there and Indy is just one of those places that everybody wants to win at. It's kind of like our mid-season Daytona so you bring your latest and greatest stuff. Well you usually do, this year you won't. You kind of got what you got with the current car so we'll have our latest engine package and everybody will be kind of one step up from what they normally are just for the fact that it's Indy and everybody wants to win there."
WHERE SHOULD A CREW CHIEF BE WHEN HE'S SUSPENDED? "I don't know. I don't know that it really matters if he's not here or if he is here outside the race track. With the technology of today's world you can be anywhere in the world now and be accessible from text message or something in a e-mail or something of that nature and you can keep track of everything that's going on at the race track anyway. They probably shouldn't be here, that's for sure, but I don't know that they're ever going to be out of touch."
SHOULD THERE BE SOME EFFORT TO CUT OFF SOME OF THOSE MODERN FORMS OF COMMUNICATION? "Well the only way you get that is to go to jail, I guess, and I don't necessarily know that they're sending them to jail. It's a sport and the average fan can keep up with all the same information on the internet so that's kind of the monster that's been created just through evolution of time and with the way that things are right now. With those guys being away from the track, unless everything goes perfect, it's the time when things go wrong or you have somebody get hurt or something doesn't go as it should be going, that's when the crew chief really earns his money. These things are set up to function without.you can take pieces of the puzzle out but they have to function weeks at a time without that key piece, that's when it really starts to show."
ON IF THE SUSPENSION OF A CREW CHIEF MAY NOT BE THAT EFFECTIVE AND IF THE PENALTY SHOULD BE MORE IN THE POCKETBOOK OR THE POINTS: "Like I say, I think that the crew chief being gone is a severe penalty and not being in the garage and not being at the race track to be able to look, touch, feel your car is a severe penalty especially if things aren't going good on that particular weekend. If everything is going perfect, it's no big deal. I think the penalties are pretty strong and I think the crew chiefs being out of the garage is still a pretty severe penalty."
ON A YOUNG DRIVER BEING BUSTED FOR DRUGS AND HOW THAT NEWS SETTLES WITH OTHER DRIVERS: "Here's how I feel about the whole thing. I believe every driver and every national series should be drug tested a couple times a year randomly regardless of who you are, what you're doing. I think we owe it to the sponsors and the fans to 100 percent know that this is a clean environment. It would eliminate a lot of those problems of the younger guys that disrespect the sport and the system. Shame on NASCAR for not policing our garage better than what they police it right now. I think we're all professional athletes and should be treated like professional athletes in other professional sports and shame on them for not doing that."
DO YOU THINK THIS IS A PROBLEM AMONG YOUNGER DRIVERS? "I don't think it's necessarily a problem but I think there would be zero speculation and speculation is something that I believe is not something that should drive anything in our garage. I don't believe we have a huge problem but it's still the black eye of the one or two guys that do have a problem. That just kind of frustrates me a little bit."
WHAT IS THE DRUG POLICY FOR NASCAR AND DO YOU THINK DRIVERS ARE AWARE OF IT? "There's a random testing policy that we all sign at the beginning of every year that they can drug test us at any time."
DOES IT SCARE YOU AS A DRIVER TO KNOW THAT SOMEBODY MIGHT BE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OUT THERE? "That's why there shouldn't be a speculation, there should be a couple times a year everybody should be on guard all the time and for those of us who have no interest in even really looking to find a party scene or anything like that, I just think it would be good for the sport if they just cleared the air and there was never any speculation about it whatsoever."
NINE RACES TO THE CHASE, HOW IS EVERYTHING GOING FOR YOU? "Performance-wise it's going really well, we just need momentum. We need some momentum to get back on our side. We have good cars every week; we just seem to be in the wrong spots sometimes."
ON CHICAGO BEING A SPECIAL PLACE FOR HIM: "This place has been really good to us, to win the couple races here and always run good here. It's been very good to us."
WHAT SHOULD THE PUNISHMENT BE IF SOMEONE IS CAUGHT OR BUSTED FOR DRUGS? "I believe we all make mistakes in our lives and I believe if you go through the whole recovery period, do the things that you need to do to clean your life up, you deserve a second chance but if I was in charge I wouldn't give anybody a third chance."
DOES THIS PUT A CLOUD OVER ALL DRIVERS? "The problem that I have with it is I that I have to answer all the questions that I know nothing about, that's the problem that I have with it. I just don't like having to answer a lot of questions and a lot of speculation over somebody's ignorance. That to me is something that could be easily fixed and should be fixed."
WHERE DOES YOUR SUCCESS AT INDIANAPOLIS RANK IN TERMS OF YOUR CAREER ACCOMPLISHEMENTS? "Running at Indianapolis, I grew up an open wheel and grew up in Bakersfield (Calif.) a huge Rick Mears fan and always wanted to race at the Indy 500 so winning at Indy for me was pretty special and every time we go there it's just the history and the mystique of the whole race track. You got the old grandstands and covers, just everything about Indy is just really neat for everybody to participate in just knowing the history of everything that's gone on."
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO GET BACK TO VICTORY LANE AT INDIANAPOLIS? "Track position is important. Obviously you got to have the whole package. You need horsepower, you need your car handling good and you got to put yourself in the right position there with 25, 30 laps to go on the last pit stop to capitalize on a good car and be able to have that track position at the end of the race."
SIX OF THE 13 BRICKYARD WINNERS HAVE GONE ON TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP, WILL THAT BE A CONFIDENCE BOOSTER FOR YOU? "There's a lot of things that you can read into it but I think we all go there with the intentions of winning and if it leads to that then I'm good with it."
ON NOT TESTING AT INDY THIS YEAR AND IF IT MAKES IT MORE OF A CRAP SHOOT: "We were just talking about that. The year we won the race we didn't test there and we sat on the pole and won the race so hopefully it works out the same way."
ON IT BEING A CRAZY YEAR WITH SPONSORSHIPS AND CAR NUMBERS: "I stay out of it, that's what I do so it really hasn't affected anything that I've been doing."
ON WINNING HERE IN THE CUP SERIES AND IF HE THINKS ABOUT WINNING IN THE BUSCH SERIES HERE AND IF IT WEIGHS ON HIM: "Not really, we race the Busch Series to go out and try to win races. I don't know that you narrow it down to one particular track. We've been successful here in both the Busch car and the Cup car and hopefully we can continue that this weekend."
-credit: gm racing