KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA met with media and discussed NASCAR penalties and a self-policing garage, the Pocono test, driver's styles, the upcoming Eldora race, KHI and Roadloans.com Million Thanks program and more. EVEN THOUGH...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA met with media and discussed NASCAR penalties and a self-policing garage, the Pocono test, driver's styles, the upcoming Eldora race, KHI and Roadloans.com Million Thanks program and more.
EVEN THOUGH YOU RAN THIS NEW CAR TWICE HERE LAST YEAR, DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE DIFFERENT TODAY? "I don't think so. They brought a different tire, so that's probably the biggest thing that we don't know about, but we know about everything else that's going on so it shouldn't be that big of a deal."
ON THE NASCAR PENALTIES FOR THE NO. 66 AND NO. 70 TEAMS "It's been pretty consistent as far as how they've reacted. I think the precedent was set a long time ago as far as what the penalty would be. When you start messing with the wing brackets and the templates and things on the cars, they've been pretty consistent about that. As a competitor, the main thing you want to ask for is consistency. And the consistency has shown up in all the penalties."
IS A SELF-POLICING GARAGE A GOOD THING? "If everybody was hiding in their own garage like in Formula I racing, those things probably would be a lot more common. But our garage is very self-policing. It keeps the garage competitive when you're a few feet away from the other cars. So not only does it police when somebody is doing something that's outside of the box, it polices when one guy is up on the competition, you can figure out what you need to do by looking over."
ON THE POCONO TEST "We were mediocre at Pocono, so we've got some work to do. Hopefully the engine shop comes up with a little more power to make the engines go better and hopefully we can come up with a little bit more to make the cars handle a little bit better. We were okay; we weren't anything spectacular."
WAS THE FEEL OF THE CAR DIFFERENT THERE? "Slow (laughs). Incredibly slow. I've been there when we ran 52.00 flat and that's what you had to run was in the low 52's to be up front. And I think the first day the fast time was a 54.70, so it's a lot slower."
WAS THE FEEL OF THE NEW CAR ANY DIFFERENT? "No, they don't feel any different. They bounce all over the place. It beats your head in between the headrests. It's pretty rough."
WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE FACT THAT KYLE BUSCH DOESN'T SEEM TO HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF RESPECT FO THE VETERANS OF THE SPORT? "Let me think of the best way to put this. Kyle Busch is an incredibly talented driver. He's very good at what he does. But I think his age shows through in a lot of aspects and that's not a bad thing. I've been in the same boat and you learn to respect the people around you. And it all takes its toll on you. It doesn't necessarily take its toll on you immediately; it takes its toll on you as you move down the road. You have to respect the guys who laid the foundation for the sport that got you here and I think the age, just the immaturity is probably the biggest thing he had going for himself and this sport has a very good way of breaking you of those habits pretty easily."
WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT TAKES ITS TOLL? "As you move down the road you find yourself if you have a question, because at some point, all that momentum goes away it doesn't last forever. A lot of people look at you, and that's probably the biggest thing I learned as I came in and was kind of the same way, is that you think you're invincible and pretty soon you're not. And then you don't have anybody to turn to in the garage and that becomes a little bit of a problem as you move down the road or you need a favor for somebody to come do something or you need a new job or whatever the case may be. At some point, all that disrespect comes back because no matter how good you're doing, because you're not going to be good forever. It's all in how you handle yourself in a five year stretch, not a five month stretch."
AS A CAR OWNER, HOW IS THE NEW CAR GOING TO IMPACT KHI IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES? DO YOU HAVE A PLAN YET? "It's hard to have a plan when they don't have any plan for the car. Right now it's very hard to plan for anything because you don't know what the rules are going to be. We've had people in place to try to develop the car because we thought it was coming this year. Right now it's not very good. We don't have any plans whatsoever because NASCAR has given us very little direction on what we're going to do and how it's going to be done and when it's going to be done. And we don't know where we're going to race it or when we're going to race it. So as a team owner you just have to step back and look at it and say, 'Is this the smartest thing for me to do?'"
ON THE TIME AND EXPENSE INVOLVED, IS IT A WAIT AND SEE THING? "We're not going to wait long, I can promise you that."
WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET READY FOR ELDORA? "We went to Wytheville Speedway, I guess that's what you call it. We went to a dirt track in Wytheville (laughs). I don't know if it's a speedway, but it's a half-mile high-banked race track to just kind of shake the cars down. The last time I've been in a dirt Late Model was last year at Eldora. I've been racing a little Modified. That, for me is a little more fun. I guess that's probably because I'm better at it. The Late Model is a challenge. It's pretty abrupt. Those cars have a lot of downforce and they're just different to drive than a Modified or anything I'm really used to. We went there and had a good test and just tried to get used to my surroundings again. It'll be fun Wednesday night."
YOU'VE BEEN TO ELDORA BEFORE, SO YOU KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT "Well it all depends on how the track owner prepares the track (laughs). He says it's going to be the same as it was last year. Obviously he can't control the weather or anything. It's all wait and see. The wetter it is, the faster it will be for sure.
"It's competitive. Nobody wants to go there and run bad. For me, it's been a huge challenge because it's something that I've never been able to do in my racing career. So it's something that I've kind of grabbed onto and really tried to get better at it. Anytime you can do something that's abnormal from what you do on a week-to-week grind is a lot of fun. For me, I've had a lot of progression in my dirt racing career and it's been fun to learn something new."
IS DRIVING STYLE SOMETHING YOU GUYS TALK ABOUT IN THE GARAGE? "Clint (Bowyer) and I drive very similarly. The three of us pay attention to what we can control from a driver's aspect between our three cars. It's hard to pay attention to what somebody else is doing because everybody has a different approach in how they get to where they are handling-wise and how their car drives. We control what we can control as drivers. Between the three of us, Jeff (Burton) drives a little bit different in the corners than Clint and I do. Jeff helped Clint and me both at Pocono in just the way he got through one corner. So we try to do that. But we just try to control it between the three of us."
DOES YOUR DRIVING STYLE DEVELOP FROM YOUR BACKGROUND? "I think a driver's style is developed long before you get here, for sure. Just the characteristics and how you use the brake were all developed wherever you started racing."
TONY (STEWART) WAS REALLY TICKED OFF AT A NUMBER OF DRIVERS AND SAID ON HIS RADIO SHOW, NO MORE MR. NICE GUY, HE WAS GOING BACK TO BEING THE OLD TONY, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT? "I don't have any problem with Tony. We race hard and have fun."
WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF JOEY LOGANO? "I had a chance to race against him at Iowa last year, he really raced really good. I think the hype is probably something he wishes wasn't there, because there is so much hype around one race. A lot of pressure on him, he is 18 years old. But he is going to do a good job, he is going to be...it seems like he is very well mannered and a very good person. He is going to get it. In the Nationwide series, it is obviously good equipment he is in, he just as to take his time. He is going to run good, he has a lot of experience too. For him, I wish he didn't have a lot of the pressure on him. I don't think he really asked for any of it, it just kind of came with everything that he is stepping in to. He is just going to need support, but he has good people around him. His Dad is a big part of his career and I think he is going to help him through a lot of things you don't necessarily expect when you get to this point with the media and everything that comes with it."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT KHI'S PARTICIPATION IN ROADLOANS.COM MILLION THANKS PROGRAM: "Anything we can do to help and support the troops is something we are excited to be a part of. Roadloans.com has done a good job with the Million Thanks program. I wrote my letter at California, so they have had it going on all year. Anybody who gets a chance needs to write a letter and support our troop." NOTE: A MILLION THANKS: RoadLoans.com and KHI have partnered with the A Million Thanks Foundation, a letter writing campaign, for the 2008 NASCAR season to collect letters of appreciation for the men and women of the armed forces. Shauna Fleming, the 18-year-old college student who founded the foundation in March 2004, set an initial goal of collecting and distributing one million letters of 'thank you' to the troops serving in the U.S. Armed Forces around the world. In October 2004, Fleming reached her goal and presented President George Bush with the one-millionth letter. RoadLoans.com will station drop boxes at all show car appearances throughout race markets this season for fans to write letters and drop into the box. The letter writing campaign kicked off February 23 and runs through November 15, 2008.
-credit: gm racing