KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed his view on the weekend, the new testing policy, how the economy will affect KHI next year and more. HOW ARE YOU VIEWING THIS...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed his view on the weekend, the new testing policy, how the economy will affect KHI next year and more.
HOW ARE YOU VIEWING THIS WEEKEND? "The way I look at everything is we've been tremendously better than we were in the Chase last year. We were terrible in the Chase last year. We're been very consistent I felt like. Charlotte (Lowe's Motor Speedway) was our weakest link, Atlanta (Motor Speedway) we ran really well and just didn't run good the last two runs of the race and Talladega (Superspeedway) we got caught up and led a lot of laps. Our Chase has been good, Jimmie's (Johnson) has been spectacular and I think right now for us we want to go out and be competitive and try to win a race and see if we can't get to fourth in the points."
AS A CAR OWNER, IN BIG BROAD TERMS HOW WILL THE ECONOMY AFFECT YOUR OPERATION NEXT YEAR? "Well right now we're pretty lucky. A few weeks ago we were kind of wondering what direction we were going to go and how we were going to do things and over the past three weeks things have really gone well so we're going to do the same things that we've done this year. Our company is not really going to be affected a lot right now. I felt like we anticipated a lot of things coming with the efficiency of our company and the way we've structured our business and done a lot of things to get through next year to hopefully be okay."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW TESTING POLICY? "Yeah, I haven't heard the specifics of it. I don't know exactly how it's all going to be structured day in and day out. I know you can't test but I haven't really talked to anybody I know that they just banned it. I think they need to be obviously applauded for helping the teams. When you limit something of that magnitude even if you still go do some things on your own, and I don't know if that's legal or not legal, but it still is going to tremendously affect your budget in a positive way."
WHAT IS YOUR INITIAL REACTION AS A DRIVER ON THAT BAN? "From a drivers perspective I guess we get to be home a lot more. I think all the drivers would say that we tested too much and the crew chiefs would say we didn't test enough. It's a fine line to how much testing and we're still going to probably do things and I think you're going to have to adjust your engineering departments to make up for the lack of testing on the race track to do more things off the race track."
DO YOU THINK IT WILL AFFECT SOME TEAMS MORE THAN OTHERS OR IS IT KIND OF A DEAL WHERE EVERYBODY IS THE SAME? "Well I think obviously if you're behind a little bit. Obviously we need to get a little better. You need to try to figure that out. A lot of the gains we've made this year haven't really been at the trace track. They've been away from the race track and I think that's how your mindset needs to be is taking things away from the race track instead of worrying about burning gas and tires at the track."
DO YOU THINK THE NEW TESTING POLICY WILL ACTUALLY HAVE A REVERSE AFFECT WHERE THE BIG TEAMS WILL STILL GO TEST AND THE SMALLER TEAMS MAY NOT HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY? "I think the big teams and the good teams no matter what rules you put on them and no matter what point system you put on them the good teams are still going to rise to the top. You look at this year, the No. 48 team was terrible for the first four weeks and here they come six weeks to go before the Chase they're winning races and got their stuff together and no matter what rules you put on the good teams are still going to be good and the bad teams are still going to be bad."
DO YOU THINK THE NEW TESTING POLICY WILL BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE SPORT? "I don't think it's detrimental. I don't think it's as detrimental as not having enough race cars on the race track. That's detrimental to this sport. Not testing is not detrimental. I think it's a way for everybody to figure out what they need to do along other avenues. We tested the same amount of day that the No. 48 did within one or two days and we obviously didn't get out of it what they got out of it. They did better on the engineering side. They did a better job getting to those tests prepared. Basically you go to the race track and back up what you did and what you think on the simulation side and see what you like and don't like. Just do it on Friday."
HOW MUCH MONEY WILL THE NEW TESTING POLICY SAVE YOU AS AN OWNER? "To go to Las Vegas at the beginning of the year is the same budget that you would for one race so you're looking at $150,000 that it will save not going to Las Vegas to test. Daytona is the same way. It's one race per test."
DOES IT MATTER TO YOU AT ALL AS A DRIVER WHETHER OR NOT YOUR CREW CHIEF FINDS OUT SOMETHING WHETHER IT'S THROUGH A TEST OR WHETHER IT'S THROUGH SOMETHING YOU GUYS LEARNED AT THE SHOP? DO YOU HAVE JUST AS MUCH CONFIDENCE IN IT REGARDLESS OF WHERE THEY FIGURE IT OUT? "They've become so good on the simulation side. Like I said everything that we have learned this year that has been major basically all we've done is go to the race track and back it up on the track to make sure that my butt felt the same thing that the guys in the engineering department brought with us. I'm sure that we'll beat that side of it up but you're not looking at millions of dollars to beat that side of it up. I'm sure that from a NASCAR perspective if the economy turns and everybody is in good shape and we get half way through the year and we need some tests, I'm sure they will adjust it. They have been very open to adjusting things and with the economy being as unstable as it is I'm proud of them for looking out for the teams. I know some crew chiefs and some drivers might not like it but hey they're doing what they think is right for the sport and they're running their sport. That's a good thing."
EVEN WITH THE TESTING BAN WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE A 43-CAR GOODYEAR TEST AT INDIANAPOLIS NEXT YEAR IN LIGHT OF WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR? "They have already tested so much there if they don't have a direction then they need to find a new tire manufacturer."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MORE PRACTICE TIME IF WE'RE GOING TO GO A WHOLE YEAR WITHOUT TESTING? "Yeah, I'm sure they're looking at that stuff to see what we can do on Friday's to let you try some spindles and let you try some things. I'm sure that will come into effect as we get into the schedule and the race weekend next year you'll probably have a touch more practice."
DOES IT EVER GET CUMBERSOME WHEN YOU'RE IN VICTORY LANE AND ALL THESE GUYS ARE PULLING SO MANY HATS FOR THIS AND THAT AND THE OTHER? "Well that's what makes our sport what it is because the drivers and the team members and the owners understand that it takes the fans and takes the sponsors to make it go around and that's why everybody is as fan-friendly as they are and is willing to do the things that we do to keep everybody involved. It does take a lot to make it go around but it works for a lot of sponsors in their platform as far as from a marketing perspective and as long as we continue to do that and continue to do the things that we do, I think we'll be fine."
WITH SPONSORSHIP BEING AS IMPORTANT AS IT IS, I GUESS KYLE BUSCH SAID SOMETIMES YOU'VE GOT TO TRICK US AND THEY MIGHT FILL THE BOTTLE WITH SOMETHING ELSE TO DRINK IN VICTORY LANE BECAUSE THEY MIGHT NOT LIKE THAT SERIES' SPONSORSHIP PRODUCT. "Well obviously he might need to learn how the game is played. I don't know that you need to be drinking the wrong stuff in victory lane. Of course we drink Coke so it doesn't matter."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU GUYS MADE BIG STRIDES THIS YEAR AND THAT YOU'RE CONFIDENT GOING INTO NEXT YEAR THAT YOU'RE WHERE YOU NEED TO BE? "Half-way through the year we made a big step and we've been very consistent, top-10 car but we haven't had that speed of the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) to go out and lead laps and obviously they don't lay down when they need to go they just keep going and when they don't have to go they keep going. We need to find a little bit. I'm not saying there's one particular area but we all know at RCR we need to work a little bit to find a little bit of speed and get a little bit better."
AS FAR AS NATIONWIDE AND TRUCKS, WHAT ARE YOU PREPARED TO START WITH NEXT YEAR? "We're two trucks and a full-time Nationwide car right now. Unless something turns upside down, we're the same as we are this year and just tightening the belt a little bit."
I HEARD YOU SAY THAT YOU'RE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT CARS BEING IN THE FIELD AND THERE NOT BEING ENOUGH CARS AS OPPOSED TO THE TESTING, I UNDERSTAND FROM AN OWNER'S POINT OF VIEW BUT IF THERE ARE ONLY 38 CARS IN CUP YOU CAN STILL HAVE A PRETTY GOOD RACE CAN'T YOU? "I think so but I'm just saying if we get five years down the road and you've got owner's that are bankrupt and don't want to be here anymore because they're losing too much money. That's all I'm saying. It's more important to have owners and cars than it is to have testing."
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHEN YOU GET ELIMINATED FROM A CHAMPIONSHIP TRYING TO REGROUP AND REFOCUS TO ANOTHER GOAL, SAY JUST GETTING TO THE BANQUET IN NEW YORK, HOW IS IT FROM A DRIVER'S PERSPECTIVE TO BE FULL OF PRIDE? "There is no pride. I mean there's 43 of us that get to do this every week. We're very lucky and I feel very fortunate to be a part of this sport and get to do what we do every weekend. Unfortunately every week there is only one winner and we all want to win and we all want to be better and right now we want to be in the top-five. We want to try to finish fourth. Those are our goals and the main goal is to go out and run as fast as you can every week and try to be competitive enough to win the race."
WERE YOU PRETTY VOCAL WITH NASCAR ABOUT THE TESTING THING? "I'm always vocal, you know that."
HOW VOCAL WERE YOU WITH NASCAR ABOUT THE TESTING STUFF? "I had my opinion as far as which way it would go and I think they went the right direction."
-credit: gm racing