KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, is in third place in the standings, 46 points off the pace, heading into Sunday's season finale' at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Harvick met with media prior to Friday's practice session, and discussed,...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, is in third place in the standings, 46 points off the pace, heading into Sunday's season finale' at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Harvick met with media prior to Friday's practice session, and discussed, among other things, the points race and Sunday's race.
WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET NOW THAT THE RACE WEEKEND HAS BEGUN? "Most exciting thing is that I get to see you guys twice in less than 24 hours. I'm pretty pumped about that. No, really, it's been a great week. The fan support has been just a little bit overwhelming. Obviously, the whole week has been a lot of fun, and our whole team is having a lot of fun. Everybody is loose and relaxed, and just really looking forward to getting to Sunday, and getting into the race and seeing how it all unfolds. For us, last year at this time, it was a total disaster. This year is just a 180 from everything that we've done, so I've tried to make sure that everybody is enjoying it and having fun, because win or lose it's been a great year for us, and that's pretty much the whole point of the whole weekend is to have fun and try to win a race and see where it all falls after that.
ARE WE GOING TO SEE A RACE ON SUNDAY WHERE THREE CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS ARE GOING TO GO ALL OUT TO WIN THE RACE? "From listening, that seems to be everybody's plan. I think that's the only way you can control your destiny is to go out and win the race. Those guys have a lot of scenarios; our scenario is very simple -- you go out and win the race and they have to have a fourth and a seventh, and that's the best-case scenario. So, for us, it's simple. And I think those guys are talking that way -- whether they do that or not awaits to be seen."
AS GOOD AS YOU AND THE ENTIRE 29 TEAM FEELS THIS WEEKEND, DO YOU HAVE SOME SYMPATHY FOR YOUR TEAMMATES -- ESPECIALLY FOR CLINT BOWYER, GETTING THROWN FOR A LOOP AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CHASE, AND TO SOME EXTENT JEFF BURTON. THEY ARE AT THE OTHER END OF THE STANDINGS. "Obviously, the way that the 33's Chase got started where it had to deal with some controversy. As far as the pit-crew thing with that particular team, that was actually the pit crew that I had started with and had been with for a number of years. When Clint was trying to make the Chase, they moved those guys around. So that's not the first time that that's happened within our organization to try to make something happen. Obviously, the 31 has run great and just had a lot of crashes and things go wrong. Those guys have run just as good, but they hadn't had the results at the end of the days to make it happen. It's been kind of a different year for everybody from different ends of the spectrum."
JIMMIE JOHNSON WAS ASKED HOW WELL HE SLEPT LAST NIGHT AND HE SAID FINE, BUT WASN'T SURE THAT DENNY HAMLIN DID. HOW DID YOU SLEEP LAST NIGHT? ALSO, LOOKING AHEAD, HOW IMPORTANT IS TODAY -- PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING? "I slept fine, by the way. I don't usually have a problem doing that. The first part of the practice session for me is the most important -- to see where we are as far as our race trim stuff. And that always tends to lead us into a good direction for the second day, to get started with the first practice and then on to Happy Hour. It seems like we all kind of drew around each other in qualifying, so I don't think the qualifying draw is going to be a huge difference. I'd love to sit up here and tell you that we were going to qualify better, but, I don't know, I think our average is 27th, 26th, whatever it is, for the Chase, so qualifying hasn't been our strong point. Our race cars have been really good to get to where we need to be relatively quickly. Hopefully, we can buck that trend today and have our one good qualifying session of the Chase and go on with it."
THIS SCENARIO IS SIMILAR TO THE 1992 SEASON FINALE. DO YOU REMEMBER THAT RACE? YOU WERE PROBABLY STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL. "I was in high school. The '92 season obviously had a very interesting end to the season, with Alan [Kulwicki] winning the championship -- and I think he finished second in the race that today, led the most laps and finished second. But a lot happened. They had the accident with Davey [Allison]. Those things happen. We came down here in 2007 for me, the best scenario that I can put it up against is [Ron] Hornaday coming down 56 points behind, so I've lived that one. I was a part of that race. I was part of all of the emotions that we went through for two or three weeks as Ron led up to the championship, and we came down and the wheels literally fell of the 5 truck and Ron went on to make up 56 points and win the championship. It's not a lot of points, and we've made well over 46 points on several occasions throughout the season on both cars."
(QUESTION NOT RECORDED). "I think everybody's prone to mechanical problems. The 11, obviously, has had more mechanical problems than either of us, several times during the season. So, I think that's a realistic scenario. Anything can happen at any given moment in this sport, and that's the great part about it. You can have mechanical issues, you can have wrecks, penalties, you can lose your mind, you can do all kinds of things. It's just going to be fun to see it unfold, and I think '92 is a good example of how it could unfold. There's no telling what's going to happen. We may all run good enough to run in the top five and win the race, but there's a lot going on."
WITH ALL OF YOUR ACTIVITIES -- DRIVER, TEAM OWNER -- DID YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO KEEP COOL? "There's a lot of different scenarios that I guess we've been through. How we handled them the first time, probably, some of them were right and some of them were wrong, but I think as you go through all of these different scenarios, whether it's team owner, driver, in trouble, out of trouble, whatever the case may be -- usually we don't make that mistake twice. And I think we've been through enough things to -- obviously, there's new situations that creep up all of the time, but we've been through enough to understand how things work and understand what we should do.
"I'm as aggressive on the team ownership side. I want results. I want to see the results on the race track. If you're not doing your job, I'm going to get in your face and tell you you're not doing your job. I'm going to do it politely now, I'm not going to tell you that you're just dumb. I'm going to ask you to do it our way, and if you don't want to do it our way then you're going to have to go somewhere else and do it. We have a very specific routine that we want to see things run through, and I think a lot of that has come from the driver's side of it and bled over into the owner's side of it. In my mind, I have a way that I see things running."
HOW DID THE DEEP-SEA FISHING EXPEDITION GO FOR THE TEAM, AND IS THAT AN EXAMPLE OF HOW LOOSE AND RELAXED YOUR TEAM IS? DO YOU THINK THAT CAN PLAY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE THIS WEEKEND? "I have a very experienced team. Those guys are not going to get wound up about much. It's not the first time they've gone on the fishing trip; obviously it's a much more public fishing trip than it has been in the past. I haven't been to the trailer yet, but I assume they all had fun, based on the pictures I've seen. So it looks like everybody's having fun. And, it's just good for them to get out of the shop. They're as intense about this as anybody and want to go out and do the best job that they can. It's good that they had a day and a half there, just to get their minds off of everything and just relax."
YOU MADE A COMMENT A WHILE BACK THAT SOMEBODY ELSE NEEDS TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP. IT WAS FUNNY AND KIND OF WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE WAS THINKING, BUT YOU'VE MADE A PERSONAL INVESTMENT IN THIS SPORT. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE MERITS OF A DYNASTY VERSUS THE NEED FOR A FRESH STORY? "Sometimes my filter is not strained very well. But, yeah, I think it would be great for the sport to see somebody else win -- let me back up. I think this whole scenario is great for the sport, and that's what makes me more excited than racing for the championship. I think to see the championship come down to three guys and the hype and the talk and the activity, and I see it on my Twitter page, I see it on the phone calls that come through the shop from the fans, you see it on the website and you just see the activity the last three weeks has been something we haven't seen in several years.
"So, to me, as a team owner, as a driver, as a fan of the sport, it's been something that's fun to see and exciting to see. You see a lot of fans talk about not being interested in racing over the past couple of years and all of a sudden they're popping up on Twitter, they're popping up on your website, they're calling the shop, and those are the people that we need back interested in the sport. I vote for somebody else to win. Jimmie's a friend and I think that they've had a great run and done a great job, but there's nothing more than anybody else wants to do, and that's beat them right now, and it might as well be us."
YOU SPOKE EARLIER ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF SOMEONE EVEN LOSING THEIR MIND. WHEN YOU CONSIDER THIS SEASON -- "BOYS, HAVE AT IT," EVERYTHING WE'VE ALREADY SEEN THAT'S TAKEN PLACE ON THE TRACK AT DIFFERENT TIMES, HOW DENNY HAMLIN REACTED LAST WEEK AND YESTERDAY -- IS THERE POTENTIAL HERE FOR SOME REALLY BIG MOMENT, SOMETHING WHERE SOMEBODY'S GOING TO LEAVE WITH THEIR FEELINGS HURT OR SOMETHING? "I know from our standpoint, as a driver and as a team and as an organization, I know what they expect out of me, and that's -- like I told you guys yesterday, we'll do whatever we have to do to win the championship. And if it winds up hurting somebody's feelings, so be it."
-source: gm racing