KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed testing with the spoiler and other topics. TALK ABOUT THE TEST HERE TODAY AT CHARLOTTE: "For us it is running through a lot...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed testing with the spoiler and other topics.
TALK ABOUT THE TEST HERE TODAY AT CHARLOTTE: "For us it is running through a lot of things to gather some data. Things we need seven-post and simulation and things like that. We did that this morning, then we will go to work on things that you don't have time to do at the race track. For me personally, it was good to know and put out of my mind that the spoiler was going to be a drastic difference in the way that the car drove. That is not the case. The car has a lot of grip with the tire combination and the spoiler so it drives really good. We went right to work on the things that we needed to because we felt comfortable with the car. I think that's been good and everything has gone well so far."
IS THERE GOING TO BE A COORDINATED EFFORT TO GET GROUPS OF CARS OUT THERE AT A TIME OR HAS NASCAR GIVEN YOU A WINDOW AS TO WHEN YOU ALL WILL GO OUT AS A GROUP TO SIMULATE RACE CONDITIONS? "No, I don't think that will happen. You might get behind a car or something like that but it isn't going to be any big groups. You just want to get everything driving as well as you can. What it does in traffic is what it is going to do. I think you are going to see some more similarities that we used to have with the spoiler. It is probably going to get a touch freer around other cars when you are racing side-by-side. As far as the aero push, it is hard to simulate with even 10 cars until you get everybody on the race track. So I'd say the first race will probably be the first time that everybody gets together."
HAVE THERE BEEN ANY SURPRISES SO FAR? "No. With the way this sport has gone, the guys have done a lot of that work in the wind tunnel. Obviously, they brought a new car here with what they felt was the best aero package for the spoiler and things like that. They have done all the hard work and now we have to go an backup everything that they think is right or wrong on simulation and seven-post and things like that. No big surprises so far."
DARRELL WALTRIP SAID YOU ARE ONE OF THE GREAT AGITATORS, MEANT IN A GOOD WAY. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS A GUY WHO LIKES TO STIR THINGS UP AND IS THAT GOOD FOR THE SPORT? 'No. You guys want it so you can give your opinion then you want to bury us after we give it to you to make everybody look as bad as possible. It is one of those things, you say something it goes as far as everybody wants to take it. But I have an opinion on a lot of things."
NASCAR IS APPARENTLY USING THE FIN AS A TUNING DEVICE WHERE IT CAN BE THE LENGTH OF THE SPOILER OR IT CAN BE A MAXIMUM OF 8 INCHES SHORT OF THE SPOILER. ARE YOU USING SOMETHING THAT'S SHORTER THAN THE LENGTH OF THE SPOILER? ARE OTHER TEAMS DOING THAT? "I thought it had to be taller, but maybe I'm wrong."
(MODERATOR CLARIFICATION) IT IS 3.5-INCHES TALL, BUT WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT IS THE LENGTH OF THE REAR DECKLID FIN "I don't know why you'd want it to be short because it makes side force."
OKAY, SO YOU GUYS ARE JUST USING THE FULL LENGTH? "Yes."
THIS TEST DOESN'T SOUND LIKE IT'S A HUGE DEAL, BUT WE DON'T GET TO TEST VERY OFTEN ANYWHERE. IS THERE THE ABILITY TO LEARN THINGS HERE OTHER THAN THE SPOILER AND USE THIS FOR ANYTHING ELSE? "Well, it is rare to get the information that we're getting today because usually you go to the race track and you're changing springs and you're making small adjustments to the car to fine-tune your car. We won't really fine-tune anything today because when you come back, the conditions will be different. So you're looking to change the things that (a) take a lot of time, or (b) you normally wouldn't think of to change on a (race) weekend. So basically what you do is you come with a checklist and you start at the top and you basically run down that today; and then tomorrow we'll pick up the pieces and put all the information together tonight as to what direction you think you need to go tomorrow for a particular package. So basically today we're doing things that we normally wouldn't be able to do at a specific race weekend in an 1.5-hour practice or an hour 50 minutes before the race practice and so that's really the best thing about testing is you don't have to get in a rush and you can try a lot of things that you normally don't get to try. That's why you'll see some cars not run a lot. For me, it's better I think to go down that list as you have them written down."
YOU'VE SAID IN THE PAST THAT YOU DON'T REALLY LIKE TESTING. DOES THIS TEST EXCITE YOU MORE OR MAKE IT MORE INTERESTING FOR YOU BECAUSE OF THE NEWNESS OF THE SPOILER? "Yeah, I think when you really have something that's really new and you don't really have any information, it makes it kind of fun because you get to answer a lot of questions that you normally wouldn't. It's the R&D testing that you're looking for. You're kind of shooting in the dark to try to find new packages and different things that you normally wouldn't do that make me excited. It's the just making lap stuff that I don't really like. But this stuff is pretty fun just for the fact that you get to try a lot of different things and come up with different packages and try different pieces and parts that you normally wouldn't see at the race track."
IN A BROADER SENSE, DO YOU LIKE THE LOOK OF THE WING? AND BEYOND THE TECHNICAL ENGINEERING WORK THAT YOU HAVE TO DO, HOW IS IT GOING TO CHANGE THE RACING FOR FANS? "Well, I think the car looks a tremendous amount better. It looks more like you'd expect a car to look in NASCAR racing I guess you could say. That's what our sport has been built around and what our fans are used to looking at. So, I think we have a good timeline as to when the spoiler is getting put on. The look of it is better. I think there are a lot of things in the process to make more changes on the car as we go forward in the next year or two. So, for us it's not a huge change. I think a lot of us will probably say that today, from a driver's standpoint, because they're already done a lot of the work, the big pieces that needed to be changed here and there at the shop and from the engineering side. As far as the racing is going to go, I think there is really no way to tell. I think the first real answer to that will be at Texas and I think the biggest variable we have in our sport is still the tires. About the time you want to figure things out, and Goodyear has done a very good job at making the tires better, but the tire changes affect so much of what we do because it affects the bump-stop load and it affects the heights of the cars. A tire compound change can pick up the car a second. And that changes a lot of things. I think you saw that at Bristol. But the tires dictate a lot of what we do from a team standpoint, and I think that's a lot of what dictates how the racing is on the race track."
YOU DRIVE THE TRUCKS, THE NATIONWIDE CARS, AND THE CUP CARS. WITH THE SPOILER BEING ADDED, ARE THERE OTHER SPECIFIC THINGS THAT YOU SEE SHOULD BE CHANGED WITH THE CAR? IF SO, WHAT ARE THEY? "Well, to me it sounds like the biggest thing that we're going after from a general perspective in the sport is it's a race car. So first we need to make it look cool and fast so it's appealing to the eye. I think that's the first thing that everybody went after is to get back to the basic look of a race car in the NASCAR world. Probably the first thing, after we do the spoiler, is just to make sure that we figure out why the cars turnover like they do and what do we need to do to fix that. So I think the appearance process is already in place to take place at the beginning of next year with some more on the car and the spoiler going on and I think it's sounds like everybody is working hard to make sure that we figure out the things that we can to make the cars turnover better."
FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE NEVER DRIVEN A STOCK CAR AND HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT FEELS LIKE BEHIND THE WHEEL, YOU KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE WITH THE WING AND NOW WITH THE SPOILER. ARE THERE APPRECIATIVE 'FEEL' DIFFERENCES TO THE DRIVER AND WHAT HAVE YOU NOTICED ABOUT THAT? "We never have driven this car without the wing; or I haven't. I know some people did in the very beginning, in the early stages of this car, and I think there was a lot of confusion on what we needed in the cars and things like that. But there's not a lot of characteristic difference from the driver's seat because they did a good job making sure from an aero standpoint that they got the balance back to the same before we even got to the race track. But I still think that the biggest question mark is still going to be when you drop the green flag at Texas and how they race around each other and there's really no way to tell until we get to that point."
-source: gm racing