Post-Practice session Q&A's with Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender, Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo: On his ambitious schedule this weekend of competing in the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Pocono and the Busch Series...
Post-Practice session Q&A's with Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender, Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
On his ambitious schedule this weekend of competing in the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Pocono and the Busch Series race at Pikes Peak
"This weekend is not really that busy, it's just a long ways away. It's four hours on the airplane each way to Colorado and we're going to start in the back (since he will be unable to qualify the car) and come back Saturday night and race here on Sunday."
What are your thoughts on this uniquely shaped track?
"We just haven't hit anything on the set-up yet for some reason. We've struggled a little bit on this tire and haven't really figured out what it wants. This is a racetrack that experience is going to make you better and better. Right now, I have to say it's not my favorite - because I'm not going around good - but it's not because there's anything wrong with it."
Does having to start in the back at Colorado affect your mindset?
"No, not really. They're paying me extra for every car I pass. So we're looking forward to starting in the back. It's just another challenge in our schedule. We'll just take what it gives us. I think that by halfway through the race we'll be somewhere to be competitive. We're not going out there for any other reason but to win."
With the time difference and 8 hours of flying, are you doing anything different mentally or physically to prepare?
"No. There's no way we can go back and forth to qualify and practice the Busch car, so it's really a pretty easy deal. You just fly out there and race. I think we'll be back around 12 (midnight) or 12:30 Sunday morning and that' a lot better than last week, it was 3:30 a.m."
At the start of the season, you said that July would be your toughest month. Now that it's almost over, how do you feel about it?
"It's gone a lot better than any of us anticipated. We've won in both the Winston Cup car and the Busch car. We've run in the top five in all the races in the Busch car. We've had two out of three top 10's so far in the Cup car. We've been fortunate that everything's gone our way. We've run good and we've had some race tracks to go to on both sides of the fence. It's gone a lot better than I would have anticipated."
With Ed Barrier qualifying and shaking down your Busch car at Pikes Peak, who's going to shake-down your Cup car?
"I don't know. Dale Jr. did it last time so I'm sure he'll just jump in again and do a quick plug check for a couple laps and see what we've got if he has time."
Now that you have a feel for this, would you consider competing in both schedules again next year?
"I don't think so. As well as we've done through the month and the year and as positive as we want to think about it, it's taken away from everything. Any way you look at it, I think that next we're going to run all the companion races in the Busch car with the Winston Cup races. But we'll concentrate on the Winston Cup effort and using the Busch car to help our Cup effort. If we didn't have all this going on, I feel our Winston Cup effort would be a lot different. But this was not the way it was supposed to be. These are special circumstances and we have to do special things. So far, everything's had special results, and it's not something that I'm going to do again."
Will it be any easier next week when you'll be jumping back and forth between IRP and the Brickyard?
"Actually, even though it's in the same town, it's probably more hectic that this weekend because the schedules are so conflicting. We're going to have to go out and qualify first in both cars and we're going to miss a little of Winston Cup Happy Hour and a little of Busch Happy Hour. It's a little bit more hectic than this week."
If you had more time, what would you be doing differently with the Cup car?
"Just being at the same racetrack would be nice. With the companion races, getting in and out of the car is good because everything's at the same racetrack and on the same tires. The biggest thing right now is that we've got 12 tests this year and we're only going to use six or seven of them because we just don't have time. To be able to concentrate more on our tests and I don't want to go test right now. You've got to have some time at home. That's what we've cut out are sponsorship appearances and tests. We tested at Indianapolis because we had to because I'd never been there before. Right now we're not planning on testing either car any more."
What are your thoughts on the Brickyard?
"I'd never even set foot in the Brickyard before. When I drove around it for the first time it was really neat - knowing the history of Indianapolis - that was pretty special. But the racetrack was a lot narrower than I had anticipated. It was a little bit different than I was expecting racetrack-wise, but it was neat to just drive into the place."
How does it feel to be part of this youth movement of Winston Cup racing where you're not just coming into challenge, but you're actually winning?
"It's pretty special because it's a changing time in our sport. I don't think you're seeing anybody that's any better now than anybody in the past, but you're seeing better equipment. That's probably the biggest difference. I'm pretty fortunate to be with an experienced bunch of guys. The experienced guys are sticking it out with us rather than going to an experienced race driver."
With everything going on, are you still moving forward with your Craftsman Truck team?
"I have two Craftsman Trucks being built right now and I'm going to run them at Richmond."
What do you do on the plane rides back and forth?
"After the Saturday races, we usually spend time sleeping. We're just trying to get as much rest as possible. Last week I didn't sleep at all coming back from St. Louis (after winning). I just listened to music on my headphones."