KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway and discussed the Daytona 500, racing at Auto Club Speedway and other topics. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE GOOD START YOUR TEAM HAD TO THE SEASON ...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway and discussed the Daytona 500, racing at Auto Club Speedway and other topics.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE GOOD START YOUR TEAM HAD TO THE SEASON AT SPEEDWEEKS? "It was obviously a good start. We were excited to have such a strong Speedweeks. We felt like we hadn't really ever done that before as far as being strong in every race as far as speed. We felt good about that; obviously the feeling when we left wasn't great. As far as the momentum and everything that went with it, we were pretty happy with that. All in all, it was good. When you have them that good, you want to win so that was disappointing, but that's the way it is."
WHAT WENT INTO THE DECISION TO MAKE A CREW CHIEF CHANGE ON THE KHI TRUCK TEAM AND WHO ARE YOU LOOKING TO PUT INTO THAT POSITION?: "We just made a change and felt like that was the best thing to do. We'll get to all that when it gets time to go truck racing."
HOW DIFFERENT WILL THIS RACE BE FOR YOU AFTER DAYTONA? "We feel like we've always run well here. Last year it wasn't tremendously good end for us, but we felt like we had a solid car all day and it was kind of the beginning of how the year was going to go last year. The oil filter fell off and we had some trouble with that in the end. It's been a good track, it's a slick race track and I know they changed the tire so I'm interested to see how much more grip or less grip or whatever the case may be with the tire. I enjoy racing here and it's close to home so you have a little bit of pressure to go out and do something good at some point during the day. We're looking forward to getting going."
DO YOU THINK THE CONCRETE PATCH AT DAYTONA IS THE RIGHT FIX AND HOW DO YOU THINK THAT WILL AFFECT RACING THERE IN THE FUTURE?: "I think that obviously, I haven't read anything about anything that's happened this week. If they put a patch then I think that's the right thing to do to try to preserve the race track as much as they can. I don't think it would be the right thing to do to repave it just because unless it's just the absolute last resort. I think a patch is okay just because the track has so much character. I don't think there's too many people in the garage that would like to see it paved. I don't think it will be a problem. Fixing it right is the main thing so it doesn't keep spreading. That's the main thing."
DO YOU THINK ECR ENGINES ARE ONE OF THE BEST PACKAGES NOW AND DO YOU THINK YOU WILL BE COMPETITIVE THIS WEEK?: "We probably have, I would argue, what would be the best engine package in the garage for the last couple of years -- last year and a half I would say, since we made some pretty big internal changes. We don't talk about motors anymore. Motors are the best thing that we have going for us.
They're real reliable, they make a lot of power and they're constantly pushing forward and that's one of the things that we've struggled with in the past is getting to a point and not continuing forward and the engine department doesn't do that. They push forward every week. They're constantly looking for more power and more technology and things to move forward. In our competition meetings we honestly don't even talk about engines anymore because they're just such a non-factor for us, they just keep clicking along and do a really good job."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE IDIOSINCRENCIES OF QUALIFYING AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY?: "This is one of those places where you can really overdrive the car and it really affects what you do in the middle of the corner and your exit speed is really what it's all about. That, for me, is really not good I guess you could say, but it's been a place where we have qualified good in the past. We've kind of picked a different technique as far as how we approach qualifying here as far as where you let off and things like that. There's a lot of things you can pick out on the side of the race track to really make sure that you do the same things every lap as far as markers and things."
DO YOU DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY IN QUALIFYING YOURSELF?: "No, the last couple times we've qualified well and it hasn't been a great qualifying track for us up until those last few times. I feel like we've made it better."
HOW MANY RACES INTO THIS SEASON WILL YOU START TO PANIC IF RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING IS NOT BACK ON TOP?: "I'm going to do my job and that's to drive the car and the rest of it, there's so many unknowns this year as far as what's going to happen when we switch to the spoiler. I think that's going to throw a whole monkey-wrench in there. The 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) did well, the 1 (Jamie McMurray) didn't do worth a crap last year. It's not really something that you can base off of just putting those engines in those cars. It's a matter of teams and I think the 42 has good chemistry, I think the 33 (Clint Bowyer) ran well to a certain point last year. It's just a matter, for us, it's a matter that we've been together for a while and understand what we're talking about amongst each other and feel like we're heading down the right path. There's no way to tell until you get in there and start racing. I really think these first four or five races or whenever we take the wing off, are not really a fair judgment. You're looking at 10 races in before you really know where you stand. You're either going to be really happy or really sad because it's going to be really hard to turn it around 10 races into the season."
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU GIVE JAMIE MCMURRAY ABOUT THIS RACE AND THE REST OF THE SEASON AFTER HE WON THE DAYTONA 500?: "I think it's fun because there's really nothing that you can experience that's ever going to be like winning the Daytona 500. The only thing I said to him was to take it all in because it's a really cool moment no matter what happens for the rest of the year. I think you saw Matt (Kenseth) come here and win last year and I think after we won the 500, we were probably going to win the race and had a flat tire sitting there under red. There's a lot of momentum that you can carry in and I don't think it really takes away from anything that you do. It just seems like the last few years it's been not good to win the Daytona 500 and carry on. We did make the Chase and had an okay year, but the year we won the 500, I think we won the All-Star race too, but it wasn't spectacular. You just go about your normal business and it all goes away after this week. It's a fun week, but it's still something that they can't take away from you no matter how good or bad your season is."
WHAT LINE DO YOU DRAW BETWEEN HELPING A TEAMMATE AND TRYING TO GET THE BEST RESULT FOR YOURSELF?: "We have a pretty firm understanding on where everybody stands on our team. You help yourself do what you can do and if you're in a position to win the race, to help a teammate win the race -- then you help him do that. Last week it was just a really weird flow to the race with all the red flags and it seemed like every time a guy restarted on the front row, you ended up sixth or eighth by the time you settled the first couple laps after the restart. It was just a really weird flow to the race and my car didn't want to be on the top of the race track. Clint (Bowyer) started on the top of the race track with about, I don't know, whenever he was leading and do you have to fight off all the guys behind you and we wind up mixed up. If you're coming to a lap or two to go, you want your teammate behind you, but up until that point, you really kind of do what's best for yourself. It's hard to have everybody have that understanding, but I think between myself, Jeff (Burton) and Clint, I think we have a pretty good understanding that we're not going to screw the guy in front of you or behind you. You're just trying to protect what you've got and do the right thing for what you've got going."
HOW IMPORTANT IS A GOOD STARTING SPOT AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY WITH WEATHER POSSIBLY A FACTOR FOR QUALIFYING?: "I hadn't looked at the weather, I'm kind of taking a 'hands-off' approach this year as far as keeping up on information and things like that. I've started in the back here and led the race and started in the front here and led the race. It's really one of those race tracks where you can pass if your car is handling well. I think you always want to start at the front of the pack just because it makes your day easier to get a better understanding of what you've got for a pit stall. Here, it's less of a big deal to qualify good just for the fact that the pit stalls are so big that every pit stall is a good pit stall. You really want to try to get good track position and I think based upon chatter that I hear, I think its going to rain tomorrow so you want to get the most that you can out of this practice, but whatever, if they're in qualifying trim or race trim, we'll be good."
-source: gm racing