(Texas) is one of those few race tracks where you feel the speed in the car.
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET met with media and discussed winning the past two consecutive races, his approach in the next few weeks, making it three in a row at Texas, and more.
TALK ABOUT YOUR ABILITY TO BE THE BEST CLOSER IN THE BUSINESS
“Well, I think the last couple of weeks its obviously seemed that way so it’s just one of those things where circumstances have dictated a lot of what has happened the last couple of weeks but for us a lot of it has been that way for a lot of my career. It seems like the last couple laps always have to be a little bit dramatic for us on days that we win. But just a great couple of weeks and the guys have done a great job of getting the cars where they need to be in the second half of the race and we came out on top for a couple of weeks so we will just keep at it.”
DOES HAVING TWO WINS LOCK YOU IN THE CHASE AND DOES THAT CHANGE THE WAY YOU GUYS APPROACH RACES THE NEXT FEW WEEKS?
“I don’t think we will race any different when we are at the race track because we are here to win races and get the best finish that you can that particular weekend and if you are in position to win you try to do and take whatever risk you can to win that race. But I think as a team I think it does allow you to plan and think of things you want to try, cars you want to build….as you go through the next several weeks but you just can’t just switch into that mode because there is just too much planning and too much organization and too much work that goes into developing a new product, or a new car, or a new set up, or whatever the case may be to come to the race track and try something different. So I don’t think it will change anything at the race track but I think maybe six or seven weeks down the road it could possibly change something but right now it’s to just keep doing the kinds of things that you have been doing.”
YOU WON AT AUTO CLUB AND MARTINSVILLE, TWO PLACES YOU HAD NEVER WON BEFORE. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT WINNING AT TEXAS THIS WEEKEND AND MAKING IT THREE IN A ROW?
“That seems to be the trend this year is to win at places that you haven’t won, or that we haven’t won. But this has been…….we’ve had good performances here and I relate this to Martinsville and at California for the last couple years where we have run well here but you look at the stat sheet and they don’t stick out and say this is going to be a track where you should win a race at but as a team standpoint I don’t look at any track as a weakness for us right now. Even last year I think we were strong at a lot of places that we hadn’t been strong at before and this place has been really good to us on the Nationwide side so it’s not like we don’t know how to win here as a company. You know, Burton has won here a couple of times in the RCR stuff so it’s just one of those race tracks where we need to knock that wall down and do as we have the last couple of weeks and hopefully after we do that, the wins will come more often.”
“We feel good about where the performance of our team is, and here the tire is different than what we raced here last year, the nose is different, the conditions are different so there are a lot of variables that we have to weed through as we go through practice this weekend.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT FROM A DRIVER’S STANDPOINT IF YOU CAN FEEL THE SPEED HERE AT TEXAS, AND SECONDLY TALK ABOUT THE ARTICLE THIS WEEK THAT TALKED ABOUT HARVICK VS. ANGRY HARVICK
“I thought Bob Pockrass was on my side but, I learned different (laughs). But it’s one of those things where this is a really fast race track and the banking is where you can really feel how fast you are going. It’s one of those few race tracks where you feel the speed in the car.
The unique part about this race track is that you have that big speed for about three or four laps and as you go through the tire run the speed really drops off a tremendous amount. But from a driver standpoint you have got a lot of options here and the race track has a lot of bumps are great for character and you have to make your car work good and you have to get up off turn two but you can run all over the race track and obviously qualifying will be on the bottom but when race time comes you will be moving around all over the place so it’s fun from a driver’s standpoint.”
YOU SAID LAST WEEK AFTER YOU BEAT DALE JR THAT YOU HAD TO BE THE VILLAN. DID YOU FEEL LIKE THAT THIS WEEK AND DID YOU GET ANY FEEDBACK FROM ANYONE ABOUT BEATING DALE JR?
“Not really. It was no different than the week before. Everybody was just excited to have good finishes and I believe the fans were just excited to see a good race and really it was just a normal week. I was worried about it but I guess I didn’t need to be.”
DID YOU GET A SENSE THAT PEOPLE ARE MORE UPBEAT AROUND RCR AND YOUR SHOP AS WELL?
“Well I think definitely that our 29 team is upbeat and all the guys that work in the shop on a weekly basis are upbeat so……..I know the beer truck has made two stops so everybody is really happy about the Budweiser that has been delivered to the shop so everybody has been happy with that.”
ABOUT THE COMPETITION THIS YEAR FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT
“I think that the series has always been competitive and obviously we started off the year with five different winners and all the different organizations seem to be strong so I think that is just a great sign for the health of the sport to see all the different organizations competitive but really since the Chase has started it’s just been so competitive to get into those top ten or 12 spots whatever the year has been on the Chase has been so competitive and it seems like from race one to 26 has been everything that you can do to get into it so it’s just that everybody is digging from lap one to do everything that they can for their teams and their sponsors to make it happen.”
EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE IN JUST RUNNING WELL FROM WEEK TO WEEK TO WINNING BACK TO BACK RACES
“Yeah, it’s nice to be able to finish off what you think you should be able to do and I think that is win races and being competitive every week is what sets that off. It takes time to be able to put yourself into the top-ten and then consistently in the top-five and having chances to winning races. And I felt like we had been close to winning a lot of races last year but to be able to win a couple this times of the year makes everybody proud to see the progress.”
REGARDING BEING SEEN AS THE GUY WHO HAS COME IN AND STOLEN THE RACE
“Well I don’t talk to Kyle Busch so it’s probably just one of those things that kind of are what it is. But I think after California I think Jimmie was kind of………his comment on Twitter and just the move and he just moved on with it. And that is just kind of how he is and probably is why he does what he does. So it’s just part of it and part of racing and it’s just one of those things.”
HOW WILL YOUR TEAM OPERATE GIVEN THE DIFFERENT PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING SCHEDULE HERE AT TEXAS?
“Well, there are really no good practices really and no good practice times at all for the race conditions that we are going to have to be in. So you have to be in………and kind of look back at where the race track went last year as we went into the night as we went from mostly racing during the day to a little bit of night and try and base the set up of your car from what you did there.
“With the way that the qualifying stuff is, the guys are going to work on the car regardless of whether you don’t have any more practice, or don’t have any more qualifying as long as they will allow it so for us its mostly that we focus on our race trim stuff and that is what we will do today and we will probably start off with a couple of qualifying runs tomorrow and we will just take what we can get there tomorrow as far as qualifying goes and put those tires back on and get back into race mode so we will spend the majority of our time working on race stuff.”
ABOUT BEING THE TEAMMATE THAT IS HOT AND YOUR INTERACTION WITH THE OTHER THREE
“Well, I only sit in on the 29 team competition meetings so they have been pretty good lately. But you look at the 31 and they have run well at several races but they have just had a tough time with bad luck and the 33, obviously those guys have run fairly well the past couple weeks but just talking with them and texting back and forth, and general conversation at the track it’s frustrating when you know you have had cars like Clint has had and you have been off a couple weeks and you want to get the ship righted, and they seem to have done that.
“The bad luck part is the part that you just can’t shake and the 31 is just kind of stuck with that right now and hopefully they can shake it soon. And Paul has just got to keep doing what Paul’s been doing and just being consistent and not just trying to force anything and just keep going. So you are going to have bad luck, you are going to have good luck, and you are going to have things happen and you just have to take it as it comes and roll with it.”
HOW MUCH MECHANICAL KNOWLEDGE DOES A DRIVER NEED TO HAVE NOWADAYS OR DOES THAT MATTER ANYMORE?
“It’s a lot less than it used to be. A lot of those simulation programs have been developed off of what you feel and have been developed for years. I know ours has. It’s off of what you feel in the car, and tendencies and characteristics and your engineers learn those types of things and as we got going with the bump stops, and the new car, and everything that came in……everything that you knew was kind of obsolete so it’s taking……..and I am a little bit slower than I used to be as far as being able to just speak up and say ‘I think we need to do this, or that’. As we have gone through the years and with the bump stops now and with the cars, I felt like we had more input. The biggest thing now is to give input on what is better or worse and go off the feel as opposed to what needs to be tighter or looser and they will run through what does what because they act so much differently than what they used to.”
So you are going to have bad luck, you are going to have good luck, , and you are going to have things happen...
DID YOU REACH A POINT WHERE YOU LEARNED THAT WHAT YOU DID THE PREVIOUS WEEKEND MEANT ABSOLUTELY NOTHING COMING INTO THE NEXT RACE WEEKEND?
“You know, it’s not anything that I learned as I went through late models or anything like that but it’s just really kind of a Cup mentality I guess you could say. Just because there are so many guys in this garage that can win and if you want to sit and gloat on how good or bad you did last week or the week before, you are in trouble. Because there is going to be somebody at home working harder to beat you and somebody at home that gets over doing bad last week and they are going to come out and beat you this week. So it’s just something that this series is so hard that it will beat you right back down to Earth really fast.
“If you want to get up on a high horse and think you are doing really good because it will beat you down instantly. A lot of times the next week.”
WHAT DID YOU LEARN LAST YEAR LIKE AT FONTANA, THAT HELPED YOU BEAT JIMMIE THIS YEAR?
“For me sometimes it’s watching last year’s races, but a lot of that stuff sticks in your mind. And California sticks out like a sore thumb just to what went wrong. But there is little characteristics that you run through in your mind, and in mine, I run laps through it all week as to what the characteristics are and to know and spring thoughts in your mind as to what helped you, what hurt you, and where the bumps are and try to have that visual in your mind before you get to the race track so that when you get on the race track you are ready to go and for us as the 29 team, every Monday we talk about the characteristics from last year to this year, things with our cars handling-wise, things we did in the race, things that we did right, things that we didn’t do right and try to make them fresh in your mind so sometimes I will have to go back and watch the race but usually by the time I leave RCR on Monday, everything is pretty fresh and you have a mental image in your mind of where all the bumps and cracks and crevices are at a particular race track.”
-source: team chevy