Daytona Media Day - Harvick




ON DAYTONA 500: "It is the biggest race we go to, it is the first race of the year. With all the history that has gone on here, all the different moments that everybody has been a part of, is what makes this race what it is every year. I am just excited to be a part of that to be a part of it."

ON WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO WIN THE DAYTONA 500: "We have to have a good week. I tore up the car we probably had the best chance with here a couple of years ago. We have run third and fourth and always seem to be competitive but we just have to step it up one notch. This year we had the best test we have probably ever had down here. I feel like our 500 car is really competitive."

ON NEW SPONSOR, NEW PAINT SCHEME WITH BRIGHT COLORS: "It is exciting for us to have our own identity to do the things we have always done, just do them in our own colors now. Every one at Shell has been great -- they have been 100% behind us in getting this deal done. It is going to be a great partnership and I am happy to have them on board."

ON RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING DEVELOPMENT OF IMPALA SS CAR OF TOMORROW: "We have been really fortunate there. Richard has let us work in the development of the car really since they started letting us test. For the most part, it is something we have been working on a lot. Scott Wimmer has done a great job testing the cars. Hopefully we are a little bit ahead of that curve, if we aren't, we will just keep working on it. It has been great though. We have come a long way in making it drive right. For the most part it has been, from a driver's standpoint, it has been as good to drive as our current cars. I think from a safety aspect, it is going to be 100% positive while we are working the rest of it out."

ON HOW DRIVERS WILL ADAPT TO THE COT: "I think there is going to be some guys that struggle with it just due to the fact that it is new. It is new understanding the balance on the car and where the aero balance needs to be. What springs you need, what shocks you need. We have no clue what we are up against. We can go and make the car drive good as we have been right now but you have no clue what you are up against until you are up against 42 other cars as far as what you are fighting. Are you loose in traffic? Are you tight in traffic? What do we need to work on to make it better? You aren't going to run side by side at Bristol. The first few races, like Loudon, will be a telltale sign of how bad it is or isn't going to push."

ON RACING THE BUSCH CAR DURING THE CHASE LAST YEAR: 'It was organized enough, I don't think it took anything away from the Cup car. I like being in a race car. I like being at the track. When I am at the track, I don't really like going outside the track, I like being a part of what is going on. It is just what I like to do and I will continue to run about 25 Busch races and a couple of truck races this year and just really enjoy what I do."

ON NEWLY ANNOUNCED CHANGES TO THE CHASE: "The best guy with the best cars and team is still. You could have put 20 cars in there last year and Jimmie Johnson was still going to win the championship because he ran better than everybody else. They really put it all together and made it all happen. Regardless of what points system there was, I think he was still going to win."

ON THE TEAM'S 1.5 MILE TRACK PROGRAM: "I think the only real struggle we had last year was Atlanta. For some reason or another, that has been a struggle for us the last three or four years, it has been our tough spot. We finished in the top-five at both Texas races and both times at Charlotte. For the most part, the mile and a half stuff, Chicago, Kansas, all those places, were good to us. Atlanta has just been our kind of tough spot."

ON STRENGTH ON FLAT TRACKS LIKE MARTINSVILLE, LOUDON: "I grew up racing at Phoenix. That is where our big race was every year for everyone who raced on the West Coast, I spent a lot of time there. The flat track has been something we have always been fortunate to have success at, Luckily we have been able to carry that forward."

ON WHERE RCR RESTRICTOR PLATE PROGRAM STANDS: "I don't think we are by any means dominate restrictor plate racers. We are fairly good at it. I don't think we are where they were several years ago but we have concentrated as a company on our downforce programs to make them better, the restrictor plate stuff kind of is what it is. I think we are good at it but I don't think we are dominant by any means.

ON THE BUSCH SERIES: "I like the Busch Series. It is where a lot of us got our start, it is where I got my first break with Richard and had some success there. I would rather be in a race car on Saturday, it is a big part of my racing career and always will be."

ON WHY IT IS SO MUCH FUN TO RACE IN THE BUSCH SERIES: "There is a lot pressure than we have on Sunday. You can just go out and race as hard as you can and go for the win. I am doing 14 in an RCR car this year and 12 in a KHI car. Tony (Stewart) will drive for me this year again in eight races and I am racing four truck races too."

ON BUSCH SERIES STILL BEING THE DEVELOPMENT SERIES: "I think it is, it is just right now there are a lot less guys being developed for what ever reason. Carl (Edwards) and Denny (Hamlin) came out of there in the last few years. For the most part, it has been good for the Cup series. We develop all of our pit crew guys, a lot of mechanics, a lot of different people that have come out of the Busch series in to the Cup shop."

ON HOW DRAINING IS IT TO DO THE FULL SCHEDULE IN BOTH SERIES: "To be honest, it wasn't that draining last year. We were fortunate to be very organized and for the most part, everything went off without a hitch so it was fairly easy to do just because of everybody else's organization. Just got lucky with the weather and everything. I think we won 13 races last year and that always makes it more fun."

ON TOYOTA ENTRY IN TO CUP: "It is going to be good for the sport to have another manufacturer. But all in all, it is just another car on the track. I don't think they are going to do anything out of the ordinary from the other teams. I wouldn't be as surprised to see them win the 500 as I would be if they won at California. Daytona lends itself to surprises. You never know where the accidents are going to shake out so this would be a lot less of a surprise than some of the other tracks."

ON RECENT COMMENTS MADE BY DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: "I don't think that is a surprise that Junior didn't understand his position in our sport. When you go back and look at situations, sometimes you don't get to be in those situations, you know what I mean. When you are in situations for the first time, it takes going through that to understand the magnitude of it and to understand where you stand on a lot of things. Obviously, my situation wasn't the magnitude of his but we went through a similar situation last year. He is probably the only one who has the bargaining power. He's got it all. I think it is deservedly right that he does have it on his side. He is the most popular driver, he has been successful. He deserves the respect-how old is he?-of being a grown man and not being treated like he is 15 and somebody's stepson. Absolutely I would welcome him as a teammate. But in the end, I think everybody wants them to try and work it out in the end.

"The situation is he is our sports most popular driver and he needs to have a good, stable condition and everything going how he needs it to go because he is the figure head of what we do. I think for the most part, obviously understands his situation better from what I have heard, we are all here to support him and do what he needs to make his situation the best.

"I think he needs to be in a situation that is comfortable for him as a person and a race car driver - but most importantly as a person. I have never been in a situation the magnitude of his, but it is a very uncomfortable situation coming in to this media center before you have even raced a race and being asked what are you going to do next year. That sucks. At that magnitude, it is even worse. I want the best situation for him as a race car driver, but most importantly as a person to go forward. To be comfortable and be able to walk in his shop and not have to answer 500 questions or meet the media and answer 500 questions. I mean, I want him to be able to answer if he is going to be able to contend for the championship or how many races does he think he is going to win because that is what he deserves. What makes our sport what it is, is what he does on the race track and not what he does off the race track. Like I said, I have been through that on a different level and it is just hard to do."

ON IT BEING GOOD FOR NASCAR FOR JUNIOR TO BE AT DEI: "I think that would always wind up the same no matter where he wound up to drive, you know what I mean?"

ON FEELING OF STARTING 2007 SEASON BASED ON SUCCESS OF ALL RCR TEAMS LAST YEAR: "It is so much easier it's not even funny. You get to relax. You don't have to worry about walking in to this room (Media Center) and worry about 'Ok, how am I going to defend myself today. How do I not say something that is going to create more controversy than there already is going forward.' I think it is definitely a lot easier coming down here knowing my situation for the next several years. Know who your sponsor it. I have a new sponsor that is 100% on our side. Just excited to be a part of it. Richard (Childress) and I are on the same page. My teammates are on the page. It is exciting to come down here and not have that."

ON DISAPPOINTMENT LEVEL IF DOESN'T WIN 2007 CHAMPIONSHIP: "I don't know that it would be a disappointment if we don't win. It would be a disappointment if we weren't competing for the championship. But I don't know that it would be a disappointment if we don't win. We want to win the championship but everything has to work perfect to win this championship. To go forward you have to be content to be competitive for the championship and do all the right things while you are in that championship to make it right.

"Our goals are to do what we did last year and not make the mistakes we did in the Chase. We are fortunate to have an owner that made a commitment to the development of the Car of Tomorrow. When Chevrolet handed the new engine out to us, to make those engines as good as possible and run them before everybody else. That is the kind of owner I have and it took going through the situation I did last year to realize that. Now we are in the midst of it a year and a half down the road. I have been very fortunate that Richard has given us the opportunity to develop the cars and engines as we have and hopefully we can reap those benefits early.

"But I have learned not to sit here and talk about what we are going to do, but to go out and hopefully let our cars do the talking for us and hopefully everything works out."

ON CHANGES OF CARS AND DRIVERS AND RECOGNIZING WHO IS WHO ON THE TRACK: "It is always a learning curve this time of year. You have to get used to it pretty fast. We are excited to have Shell as a sponsor and they are very supportive of everything we do and we are looking forward to having fun with it.

"The hard part of some of those cars is they look alike like the Red Bull cars and you can't read the numbers when you are out on the track."

ON ESPN BACK WITH NASCAR: "I am excited. They are what got NASCAR to where it is today. They are going to be 100% behind the Busch series and everything they do. It is sports TV. Excited to see Jerry (Punch) back up in the garage and Rusty (Wallace) in the booth. It is going to be a lot of fun."

ON RON HORNADAY BEING THE "PROFESSOR" AT KHI: "He has certainly been there and done that and been through a lot of situations to get to this point. He is willing to do whatever it takes to make our organization go forward. He is a big part of what we have done and I am excited about him and Rick (Carelli) and everybody and their having a chance to win the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship. At least be competitive for it."

ON BEING LOCATED IN KERNERSVILLE: "Kernersville, NC has been great to us. We bring a lot to the community. We have 80 plus people that work for us, pay our tax dollars, send our people out to eat at all the restaurants. It is nice to have the town recognize that we are there and support everything we do. If we need a favor, they are always there to help us.

"It is kind of off the beaten path but that is kind of the way I like to do things. It is kind of just out of the heartbeat of everyone else. Just close enough but far enough away."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson