KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway and discussed Ricky Carmichael, DeLana in the spotlight and Auto Club Speedway. HOW ARE FEELING AFTER SUCH A STRONG RUN AT DAYTONA? "We are ...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway and discussed Ricky Carmichael, DeLana in the spotlight and Auto Club Speedway.
HOW ARE FEELING AFTER SUCH A STRONG RUN AT DAYTONA? "We are coming off a good week. Obviously to start the season well is exciting for the race team to get things going on the right foot. Hopefully we can keep that going."
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR? "My first car, I shared with my dad. It was an '88 stepside pickup. The first car I bought was an '88 Camaro."
WHAT IS YOUR MOST DARING MOVE IN NASCAR? "The most exciting moment was probably, shoot, we have had a lot of exciting moments, I guess it would be kind of a tie between coming from the back to the front of the Daytona 500 and probably the first win-to go three-wide there at Atlanta between, I don't know who was leading, I think it was Dale Jarrett and Jerry Nadeau."
DO YOU LOOK AT THE SPORT ANY DIFFERENTLY NOW THAT YOU ARE ENTRENCHED IN OWNERSHIP? "I think the ownership side of it has definitely helped understand the sport better. It has helped my relationship with Richard (Childress), just understanding where he is coming from on a lot of different things and really knowing how much things cost to make things go around. Respecting what you have as far as equipment and things like that. It kind of puts it all in perspective for you. I think it has made me a more well-rounded person. It has made me a better driver and I think it has come with a lot of learning experiences that come with that but I think, for the most part, it has made everything better."
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE FOR YOU TO SEE DELANA STEPPING IN TO THE SPOTLIGHT IN SHOWS LIKE NASCAR WIVES AND WHAT DO YOU THINK OF PEOPLE'S FACINATION WITH DRIVER'S WIVES AND THEIR PERSONAL LIVES. "I know where that whole show sits to be honest with you. I know she has been able to do a few of the shows that have done, with the 360 and things like that. NASCAR 360 was pretty cool for all of the race fans and people. I think it gives them kind of a different perspective as far as what we do in our everyday life. She is a little bit more in the spotlight than some of the other wives because she is involved in it from a day-to-day basis and really understands how the sport works. It is fun to see her do things that she really doesn't want to do. It is fun for her to be a part of those things."
TALK ABOUT HAVING RICKY CARMICHAEL IN THE TRUCK STABLE. "We have done a lot of things to prepare Ricky for the races that he has run in. I think he has done a really good job in adapting to our trucks and situations and really wants to learn and really wants to be successful.
"Everything he has ever done on the motorcycle side of it has been very successful for himself. It is not accustomed to losing. From an owner's standpoint it is great because it is not you have an 18 or 19 year old kid coming in that you, if he has some success, you have to teach him what to do with his money and worry about going out partying or whatever the case may be. He has already got that foundation set so the only thing we have to teach Ricky is what he needs in the race truck. What he should feel and shouldn't feel. The only thing we have to work on with him is the driver itself. The rest of it is all taken care from a personal standpoint, from a mental standpoint. He brings a lot to the series. He brings a lot to our sport, our organization. He is a great person, that is really the only reason we did the deal is because I know how determined he was to try to make a successful career in NASCAR. He is just a great person to be around. That is really the main reason why we did what we did. He is going to be a great asset to everything in our sport.
"I have been watching qualifying I am pretty hands on. I was here yesterday for practice making sure that everything went good. I think the biggest thing that has surprise me is how fast he picks up on what you are telling him. He has a very good feel for the race truck. The feedback that he gives to you is really good once you learn to understand it. It is a different lingo that he speaks from his background and the things that he came from on a motorcycle side of it. He just speaks a little bit different language than we are used to but as we have gone to tests and he has raced at Daytona and Talladega. He has done seven or eight different events for us now, we've kind of started to adapt to the different lingo that we are trying to become accustomed to. Just in how fast he really catches on to things and the feel that he has for the truck and the feedback is really good.
"The most important thing is we started him with a good foundation. The trucks are competitive with the No. 33 truck being as competitive as it has been week-in and week-out, they had a good base foundation to work from. You add in two very mature people and add in Bill Willburn (crew chief) with his experience in the sport there are just a lot of things that point in the right direction and there is still going to be some major hurdles in the road, but Ricky is a racer. He understands how to race and has been through a lot of different scenarios and situations and things that come with that. Even though it has four wheels and fenders on it and you aren't jumping triples, it is still racing and he still is very experienced on that side of it. Bill is very experience as well. It is going good for the first week and a half."
IS THERE SOMETHING AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY COULD DO TO LIVEN UP THE RACING HERE A LITTLE BIT AND ATTRACT FANS TO THE TRACK? "It has been a tough market for our sport in general. I've heard the ideas of putting banking and restrictor plates on and I think that is a pretty dumb idea that I have heard floated around. I don't think that is going to do anything.
"In order to have a restrictor plate race track, you are going to have to have a Daytona or Talladega. I guess if somebody wanted to spend $30 or $40 million dollars, I guess it would be good. I don't know the answer to that. Obviously the race track has aged. I think the groove has moved around, but it probably our poorest supported race track on the circuit. That is probably the biggest problem that the race track has in itself.
"It is tough. Obviously this whole year is going to be a challenge. I think they did a great job at Daytona helping the fans with ticket packages. With the things that you have, coming from Daytona to California, I don't think you could ask for a better weekend with more momentum in the sport. It is all going to come down to the support of the people around here."
FROM AN OWNER'S STANDPOINT, HOW DO YOU EVALUATE THE NEW PIT ROAD RULES? "I don't think anybody really noticed as far as the competition in the race. It was still great. Pit road added another element that kind of mixed things up. I don't think it really changed anything as far as the competition and I think that is good especially when you can save a dollar or two.
"A lot of the owners had a lot of input as far as where the rules were going and how they going to come up with them. I was all in favor of less people at the race track and trying to make it as efficient as possible. It has all worked out pretty well so far.
"It affects the dollar right off the bat. From airplane flights to hotel rooms to per diems to another person's salary. No testing saved us six figures between the three teams over the winter. Each person is $150,000 by the time you add up travel, per diem, hotel rooms and salary. It adds up pretty fast."
DID YOU HAVE TO SELL RON HORNADAY AND YOUR EXPERIENCED CREW CHIEFS ON THE CHANGES? "There is some things as an owner you just have to take in your own hands. There is one thing I have learned about crew chiefs; they always want more people and more money. Sometimes as an owner you have to do what is best for your company."
-credit: gm racing