KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media a Daytona International Speedway and discussed his week in Daytona so far, where you want to be at the end of the race, the increased speeds and much more.
TALK ABOUT WHAT KIND OF WEEK YOU'VE HAD SO FAR IN DAYTONA. "Well it hasn't been a bad week. Obviously we would have liked to have won a race of some sort by now but I think as we've gone through the week we've been leading laps and racing in the front of the two races we've run so far and feel like we're comfortable with where we are at with our car and just with the type of racing and the conditions that we are racing in. You just got to put yourself, keep yourself in position to be able to win, so that's what we've been trying to do and hopefully it plays out for us on Sunday."
AFTER THE SHOOTOUT ALL THE TALK SEEMED TO BE YOU DON'T WANT TO BE THE LEADER WITH ONE OR TWO TO GO, THEN THE TWO RACES YESTERDAY THE LEADER WON BOTH RACES SO WHERE IS THE PLACE TO BE AS THE LAPS WIND DOWN? "I think as you come down to the end you've got to kind of see where you're at with your situation. If there's multiple packs coming to the start/finish line and they get side-by-side, obviously you want to be one of the front cars. At the situations yesterday in the qualifying races I don't think either guy in second place did a very good job of doing what they needed to do to try to win the race. I think Clint (Bowyer) pulled out too late and I think the No. 78 was content to just sit there and finish second. I still think if you're coming to the start/finish line and you have a break-away scenario like you did yesterday with the No. 22 and the No. 78 or the No. 33 and the No. 31, both of those cars should have won the race that were running second. I just don't think they did it exactly how they should have done it to win the race. It's all going to depend on the circumstances coming toward the finish line and where you are positioned with a few laps to go.
"I would have loved to been in the position those guys were in yesterday coming to the checkered flag because there's no reason the second-place car should have lost racing either one of those races. They should have at least wrecked. (laughter)."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHY YOU ARE ONLY RUNNING THE CUP RACE THIS WEEK? ALSO CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO PK'S TRUCK IN POST-QUALIFYING TECH YESTERDAY? "I think I'll address the PK thing first. You know as a team you don't ever want to do anything wrong. Yesterday the left front shock got hung up and obviously a piece of debris got stuck in the piston or something really of no fault of anybody, its happened randomly as we've gone through the years. It's real easy to just get a piece of trash, it's an eight thousandths of an inch hole so anything can get stuck in there. Once they took the shock off the heights were all right. So I feel bad for Nelson, obviously coming in everybody had high expectations and they went out and did what they needed to do to qualify well and have run well since they've been here and just kind of one of those freak things that happens so luckily the points are on that truck and they'll do a good job and hopefully salvage a good night out of it. As far as my schedule, just a lot going on this particular week with new sponsors, adding teams on both sides of it just didn't really feel like it was going to benefit everybody to be in the race car this week and Clint wanted to run those superspeedways so we put Clint in the car this week and made him happy and everybody's happy on the sponsorship side of it and able to pay attention to everything outside of my primary job as a Cup driver. I think that was the main focus coming into the week was to try to win the Daytona 500 and that's what we're here to do."
WITH THE TWO-CAR PACKS AND NASCAR MAKING ALL THESE RULE CHANGES TO TRY TO BREAK THAT UP AND ALSO SLOW THE CARS DOWN, WHAT WAS YOUR OPINION AFTER TESTING IN JANUARY AND WHAT COULD NASCAR HAVE DONE TO BREAK THOSE PACKS UP HAD THEY ACTED SOONER? "I think when you look and you sit in NASCAR's shoes and you look at the testing it's never the same as it is when you come back down here for the races. The first Duel yesterday was a little bit boring and the second race was awesome. I mean I watched the second race and it was a fun race to watch at the end. I still don't think that we really know exactly what's going to happen. Obviously the two-car stuff is going to work but we haven't been out there with a whole pack on the race track yet so there's still some unknowns. The two-car thing, I think everybody is just smarter as far as knowing what to do. When you take the race track out of the equation with the handling and the things like that, it allows us to do whatever we want with the race car and it's all about speed and you can push and shove and you can do everything that you need to do there. Six or seven years ago if we had all known this was going to work we would have all probably worked a lot harder on it with the old cars too and it probably would have done the same thing. I remember back at Talladega when everybody was screaming and yelling because Dale Jr. was bumping through the corners with the old car but he was making time and winning a race it didn't click in everybody's mind that that would work all the way around the race track all the time. So it's a new scenario that everybody has figured out and still not mastered but it still works and I think it would have worked seven or eight years ago. It just pops up and all of a sudden you don't really know exactly what direction to go because I think it's just there and it's always been there."
TAKING THAT ONE STEP FURTHER, SOME DRIVERS SAID THEY WERE COMFORTABLE AT SPEEDS OVER 200 THE KEY ISSUE WAS LIFT-OFF, IS IT POSSIBLE AT SOME POINT THAT MORE SPEED COULD STILL BE SAFE TO RACE AT? "I think it's all safe until you hit something. I always tell people you never really realize how fast you are going until you hit something then it hurts. I don't think anybody knows the answer to those questions. I don't think 210 is probably safe for the people sitting in the first 20 rows, I don't think so. So it's just one of those things that you have pop up and you really don't know the answer to. I wish I had some insight on what I can tell you that would work or wouldn't work because Speedweeks it always seems to have a scenario that pops up and you have to adjust to and it just seems like this year this is the Speedweek scenario that you had to adjust to. The ironic thing about this is, I was standing in the garage a couple of days ago and Donny Allison came up and he's like all these people think this is new. I'm like what do you mean. He's like me and Richard Petty lapped the field doing this. So maybe you should talk to those guys because obviously this isn't something that's brand new. He like you know if you move out from the wall it does the same thing, if you do this in the corner if you push the car here it helps the guy in front of you through the corners, so this is not something that just cropped up at Daytona because of new asphalt and new cars, this is something that's always been here it's just much more obvious now and obviously Donnie and Richard and those guys have been in these scenarios before where this stuff has happened with the old tanks they used to race. This is just part of Daytona I guess. There was no aero anything and they could still manage to get to cars together and it's always been that way."
WONDERING WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF THE BRIAN KESELOWSKI STORY THERE. "Well I think as a driver/owner or kid or person that struggled to get the shot that you always wanted I think you look at that scenario and you look at the Keselowski family and everything that they've put into this sport, they'll make more money off of this one race than they probably have made in years. To see that and hopefully that leads to them being able to get better cars and being able to be more competitive. It's just really neat to see a family that's that close and to have his brother be the one kind of pushing him up there because nobody else probably would have got behind him and said alright I'm going to stick with you and we're going to the front, but I think Brad had the confidence in his brother to know that he can drive the race car and get behind him and push him. Usually one thing leads to another so hopefully this leads to good things. Really the Keselowski family, you couldn't ask for better people. They've been around this sport for a long time and are just good people. It couldn't have happened to better people."
TALKING ABOUT WANTING TO BE SECOND TOWARD THE END, YESTERDAY IN THE QUALIFYING RACES AT LEAST A COUPLE OF TIMES SAW FORD TEAMS REALLY PUSHING, IS THERE SOMETHING WITH THE FORD CARS OR IS THAT JUST A COINCIDENCE? "They've obviously got the cooling system a little bit better than everybody else I would say. The thing you've got to remember there is a lot going on with those rear tires. There's a lot of air that moves around on the right rear of these cars and that's why you see the cars pop out to the right. Not only are they getting fresh air from the side of the car but that right rear tire, there's a lot going on right there so you can get a lot of air into the grill of the car right there. The Roush cars definitely have a cooling system that's better than everybody else's. They've got something figured out there that they've done a good job with. I could manage my car. The engine guys don't like how I manage my car so I don't know if that will work for the amount of time that we need it to work for, for the Daytona 500. So there's some scenarios there that we have to make some decisions as a team as to how we want to play things come Sunday. Managing your car is going to be very important because we've already seen a lot of engine problems. Our engine guys are no different than anybody else. The gun is loaded and sitting on the counter and you just don't want them to pick it up because they're terrified of everything that's going on."
DO YOU WANT A ROUSH CAR BEHIND YOU TOWARD THE END? "Well I think it's just a matter of circumstances. I know obviously Matt (Kenseth) and I seem to race together a lot. I helped him to his Daytona 500 win and he helped me to mine and we seem to be around each other a lot yesterday, pretty much the whole race. It's just a matter of circumstances as to who you work with and how you work with them and I think as it all plays out during the day there are just so many things to think about. You've got to make pit stops, you've got caution flags and there's so many things that change throughout the race, you just really have to have a good plan in your mind as to what your plan is as a team, how you want to conserve your car and how hot is it going to be, there's just a million things that
we have to sit down and go through as to the thought process we need to approach the first half of the race with. The ? point of the race and the last quarter of it what the approach is going to be for our particular team. After talking to the engine guys, talking to Gil (Martin) and what we feel comfortable with there's just a lot of things that we haven't had play out because of the mileage of the shorter races. It's going to be warm and I think there is going to be more of a management issue than there has been in the past couple of races."
CAN YOU EDUCATE US ON WHY THE SPOTTER SITUATION IS SO MUCH MORE CRITICAL OR DIFFICULT IN THIS TWO-CAR DRAFT AS OPPOSED TO 43 CARS WHEN YOU THINK IT WOULD BE THE OPPOSITE? "What happens is when you get other cars coming and going you can't really feel where the back guy is and all of a sudden when those cars start to become detached it instantly starts slowing you down but the front guy doesn't feel it nearly as much as the back guy so the spotter is very important to know when those runs are coming and I think everybody has pretty much got it worked out as to what you need to tell the guy next to you. It probably looks like a bunch of ants up there running around as things switch on the restarts as to who is going to try to work with who. There's more strategy and more talking than any race I've ever been a part of."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE EXCHANGE AND SWAP THAT YOU AND MATT (KENSETH) WERE DOING IN YESTERDAY'S RACE? "When traffic comes and goes it's hard for the front car to feel and we just got detached. We weren't planning on making a change, we just got broken apart there."
YESTERDAY WE ASKED JEFF WHAT HE EXPECTED ON SUNDAY AND HE SAID BASICALLY A FAIRLY NORMAL FIRST 400 MILES AND WE'VE SEEN OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS, BUT THOSE LAST 100 MILES JUST REALLY CRAZY, HOW DO YOU SEE THAT? "That's the battle that I have in my mind. We have the track position that we need and I know we have to manage our car, but the thing about the Daytona 500 is you never know what is going to happen. It can go run 300 miles and not have a caution and if you don't pay attention you will wind up a lap down. I know we can talk about the Lucky Dog and the wave arounds buts it's just totally going to screw up the strategy. That's just one of those scenarios that as our particular team, No. 29 team, we've got to decide exactly how we want to race and when we want to race as to is it track position, is it mange the car, how worried are the motor guys, how worried are they about 500 miles at what we've been doings, so that's a decision we have to make. In my opinion, you need to keep the track position that you have and we might need a back-up spotter because I don't know if his eyes will work all day for 500 miles doing the things they have to do because they are the guys that are going to be worn out the most. Just we've got to make some decisions, that's pretty much what it boils down to as to what we think we need to do." -source: team chevy