KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 2nd: Harvick's second straight runner-up finish propelled him to just 26 points behind second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the NASCAR Winston Cup driver's standings. It was...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 2nd:
Harvick's second straight runner-up finish propelled him to just 26 points behind second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the NASCAR Winston Cup driver's standings. It was his ninth top-five finish of the season.
"I was sitting back there in second, thinking "Man, if I pass Terry Labonte these people are going to hate me." It was pretty awesome to see him win the last Southern 500 on Labor Day with all the great tradition we've had here. I'm extremely happy to see Terry Labonte win. He's a legend and he's helped make the sport what it is today. I think anyone who isn't happy doesn't have true respect for our sport."
YOU HAVE HAD QUITE A RUN THE PAST FIVE OR 10 RACES.
"This is our third second-place finish, and we're getting a little frustrated that we're not winning, but that's greedy. This is sport is very tough. It's very hard to run in the top 10, let alone the top five. To be on the run that we've had, and we were pretty fortunate to have won the Brickyard--we've just had a great three months. I'm really proud of RCR, Richard Childress for putting all the people in place and all the guys on the teams for doing what they had to do to make our organization a really top-notch competitor. It's a lot of fun to be in the race cars right now. Todd [Berrier] and Gil [Martin] are doing a great job putting everything together. I just get in and drive them, and do everything I can because I know they are doing everything they can."
YOU AND ROBBY GORDON ARE RUNNING WELL WEEK IN AND WEEK OUT. HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO LAST YEAR?
"We haven't done anything a whole lot different. Our routine has changed a little bit. Now that Todd is in place, we have a better handle on our bodies and engines and things like that. This sport is really weird. Richard had so much to relate to. I don't remember what year it was now, but he was telling me, 'you know, Dale and I won the championship back in '94 or '95, whatever year it was, and we had the same race cars and the same people. We came back the next year and didn't win a race.' The smallest things can set your team off."
YOU CUT OFF A BUNCH OF TERRY'S LEAD THERE IN THE LAST FEW LAPS. IT LOOKED LIKE YOU COULD RUN WITH HIM ALL DAY. DID LAPPED TRAFFIC PLAY A ROLE?
"I got involved in the eight-laps-down race for the win. Ryan hit the wall and came down and hit the side of me. That's just part of it here at Darlington and part of racing, part of the sport. I got a little bit behind. We ran good all day, in the top five all day, led some laps and did what we had to do. I'm sure Terry was taking it a little bit easy toward the end there. He's not stupid. He knows this place can jump out and grab you at any second."
HOW TOUGH WAS IT IN THE CAR TODAY?
"I worked a lot harder to finish 40th, I'll tell you that much. When your car is good, it makes the day a lot easier. It really wasn't that bad in the car today compared to what I thought it was going to be from yesterday. They worked really hard and put some extra hoses and things on the seat. It may have looked like we had too many hoses in the car, but I always felt 10 degrees cooler at the end of the race, that's another few points you can pick up."
WAS IT EASIER TODAY KNOWING THAT YOU WOULD TAKE FOUR TIRES EVERY TIME AND NOT WORRY ABOUT PIT STRATEGY?
"I've heard a lot about this lately, and strategy has always been a part of our sport. I've used this 10 times, but Smokey Yunick didn't drive off when they took the fuel cell out of his car because he wasn't worried about gas mileage. Gas mileage has always been a part of our sport. Tires have been a part of our sport. You know at Darlington that you're going to have to put on four tires every time you come in. All the people that are complaining about the strategy, that's as much as a part of our sport as having a fast race car. It's been that way for a long time. I think the racing is as good as it's been. Especially when you come here, you know you're going to have to put on a little different state of mind."
YOU'RE LESS THAN 30 POINTS OUT OF SECOND PLACE NOW. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?
"It's not over. It's a long shot [to win the title], but we've been a long shot before and overcome the odds and done things they said we couldn't do. If they think it's over, just tell them to quit showing up and we'll keep racing. We just have to keep doing the things we're doing. We can't control Matt's fate. We can't control his destiny. We can't control anything he does. All we can do is control ours. Alan Kulwicki came back to win from 270 points down with just six races left, so I don't think it's out of the question."
DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A SHOT AT TERRY AFTER THE LAST PIT STOP?
"I really thought we did have a shot at him. I thought the 8 and the 12 would cut the first four or five some slack, but once I got behind them I was getting farther and farther behind, the chances were becoming less and less. There's really only one groove here, and you can whine about them being in the way or complain about them getting out of the way. That's just the way it goes."
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE RESPECT IN THE GARAGE AREA FOR TERRY LABONTE?
"I think he's one of the most well-respected guys in the garage. He's been here through two or three generations and seen the sport evolve into what it is today. He's been there when there wasn't anything but show up at the race track with your box dinner and open trailer. To me, there's a great respect factor there from me to him, that I see toward him, and I think everybody in the garage sees that. To see him win today, I don't know how many races it's been since he won, but we're just proud of him."