Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Monte Carlo: How much does all this mean to you? "I don't even know how to put it into words to tell you the honest to god's truth. It took an extra lap afterwards to get the ...
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
How much does all this mean to you?
"I don't even know how to put it into words to tell you the honest to god's truth. It took an extra lap afterwards to get the emotional part out of the way. And then pulling into Victory Lane and seeing all those guys who have put their arms out and supported me through probably one of the hardest times of their lives and the hardest situation of my life. The fans, the people - it wouldn't have been like it was. The guys on the Goodwrench team have made it a whole lot easier every time we've unloaded this thing off the trailer has made my job a whole lot easier. Without them, Kevin Harvick wouldn't be sitting here right now."
Richard Childress, Owner, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Monte Carlo
With three races into this deal, what does this mean to you as a car owner right now?
"With everything that's happened to this race team since Daytona, it's been an emotional deal for all of us. It's been the toughest thing we've all went through. And Kevin has really made it easier for our whole race team. He came over there, it must have been Tuesday or Wednesday night (after Earnhard't accident) when we talked to him about driving the car, and he said he'd do whatever he could to help this race team. He stepped in. It took a lot of the pain as far as not having to worry about how the car was running and how we were doing at the racetrack. It was just a very emotional deal. I didn't think I was very emotional. But I guess I found out how soft I really am."
Kevin Hamlin, crew chief, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Monte Carlo
This is your second back-to-back trip to Victory Lane here at Atlanta. What does this mean to you?
"Just to be back here today in Victory Lane is unbelievable this quick in what's gone on these past few weeks. You know over the winter we talked with Dale (Earnhardt) about a lot of different things we wanted to do to the car to try to be a little bit better here this time. So we put a lot of that stuff into our package today. I think we did win the race by a little bit more than we did last year. So it did work. This will make it better for everybody on the team to try to heal a little bit quicker. We still have one thing in mind and that's that we're racing hard for one reason right now and that's to do the very best we can in Dale's memory. And we did a lot of planning this winter, to try to make this team a little better than we were last year. We thought we had a pretty good shot at the championship last year. We had high hopes for this season and then disaster struck. And now we're having to regroup a little bit. Kevin Harvick gives us a little bit of chemistry. Obviously, maybe we can still be a championship team this year with a little luck.
Question for Kevin Harvick: At the first of the year, you said the one thing you didn't need to work on was your aggressiveness. Talk about going three-wide those last laps
"We'd rode around for 450 miles and it was finally time to give it everything you had. I had momentum. When you're the guy on the bottom, nine times out of 10 you're not going to lose the fight. If we'd have been in the middle of that situation, we probably wouldn't give either. It's never been my nature to give and I never give up. I think that's the biggest thing I've learned at RCR. Even if you're having a bad day, get all you can get. Today, it happened to be for the win. That just goes to show you that you should never give up about anything."
Question for Richard Childress: You obviously didn't expect to have Kevin in this situation this soon. Was there ever any doubt in your mind?
"Well we did plan to have him. This was (going to be) our first race to run him in the AOL car. I never doubted his ability or his talent. I haven't even told him this story. But at Nashville I was watching him run that (Craftsman) truck race and we were running real good and he was racing hard. He looked all over that track, and was hauling that night. And then I saw him ram our truck in the back at Martinsville - these are things I remember about you I haven't told - after the race 'cause I guess they got by him or something. That was the spirit I liked. That's what he's got. For this situation, I don't know of anybody who could be as calm and cool. At Bristol that night, I was panicking when we won our race up there and he was sitting in the car like there was nothing to it."
Question for Kevin Harvick Talk about running through the ranks from Bakersfield all the way to Winston Cup and Busch
"That's all I've ever done is race. I started racing go-karts when I was five until I was 16. And I went through every NASCAR step as they designed it. I went through the Late Models and all the West Coast divisions and then I got an opportunity to drive for Wayne Spears in the trucks and Winston West. And then I decided to move to the east coast and got another truck ride with the 98 truck. Actually I had a three-year contract, but I got out of that. My dad built racecars from 1977 on. I've been around it since I was two years old."
Question for both Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress Talk about all the changes 2001 has brought to your life
Kevin Harvick: "I think that the biggest thing that these guys will tell you is that not much can get me sidetracked. I'm a pretty mellow, laid-back person. I kind of go with the flow. I just got married a week and a half ago to DeLana and we were just talking the other night (and asking), 'What in the world are we going to do next year?' Things have definitely changed in the last three weeks. I wouldn't say it's for the worst, it's just been unexpected. You just have to work with the cards you've been dealt, and it'll all work itself out."
Richard Childress: "He's handled it well. And there's going to be a lot of other changes. I think he's ready and like he said, he's really laid back. I've seen some people come in this sport that success will destroy them. Kevin is focused on racing, that's his number one thing right now - other than his wife -- and that's a goal to being a champion and I think that's what he is."
Question for Kevin Harvick When did they tell you you'd won the race?
"About half-way down the back straightaway I said, 'Who won?' I didn't know. You're all excited and (think) you at least got second. I didn't expect to win in my third time out. I'm still sitting here wondering what to do. Should I jump up and down, or should I jump off the building? I don't know. It's a pretty cool feeling to have, I'll tell you that much."
Question for Kevin Harvick Are you running the cars in the set-up for Dale Earnhardt?
"Kevin (Hamlin) has done a good job of looking at notebooks and seeing what we have over there in the Busch car and just taking what he thinks I need every week. From my standpoint, he's making my job easy every week. I guess he can tell you how he's doing."
Kevin Hamlin: "Kevin tested for us a couple of times last year at Kentucky and he tested for Dale at Homestead at the end of the year and that's actually the car we raced in Vegas. We felt like that wasn't necessarily our best car, but he felt like that was already his car. And we had actually already given that to the 30-car for their operation this year, so we elected to bring it to Vegas. And we kind of went off some of our test stuff from last year's test. For here, we thought we had a pretty good package from last year. And I just read over Dale's comments about what he'd change and tried to adapt that to Kevin. At the last practice, he put the fine-tuning on it and we were good to go."
Question for Richard Childress Did seeing them race three-wide bring back memories?
"You've got to be aggressive to win in Winston Cup and when it gets down to the end you got to know what to do. And yeah it brings back memories all day long. I'm like Kevin was. At the end, all our crew jumped out. And I never jump across until I know we've won. I looked at the monitor and it said 29 and I kept waiting for it to roll and say 24 but it didn't. It was the greatest feeling I've had in several weeks not to see that monitor roll and that we'd won the race."
Question for Richard Childress Do you think you have a shot at the championship?
"We've got a lot of hurdles to cross with this race team and a lot of places that Kevin hadn't been. He adapts to the car. And we're really going to be excited about going back to these places in the fall like here and like Rockingham. Our goal and Dale's goal was to win this championship this year. The whole team wants to win a championship. We're going to give it everything we have but we're going to take it race by race."