KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: NOTE: Harvick earned the pole for the 10th running of the Brickyard 400. It is his second career pole position, his first pole of the 2003 season and his first since July 4, 2002 when...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: Harvick earned the pole for the 10th running of the Brickyard 400. It is his second career pole position, his first pole of the 2003 season and his first since July 4, 2002 when he won the pole for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. It is Chevrolet's 11th pole in 21 races, the first since Chicagoland on July 13. It is GM Racing's 12th pole this season [Boris Said won the pole at Sonoma in June].Harvick's lap of 48.822 seconds, 184.343 miles per hour shattered the previous record of 49.191, 182.960 mph by 1.383 miles per hour. "It gives us a lot of confidence, that's for sure. I'm not the greatest qualifier in the world, and to get a lap like that and sit on the pole at the Brickyard is pretty cool. The guys are all pumped up. We struggled a little bit in Happy Hour, at the beginning of it, but we got our car really good at the end. We're looking forward to tomorrow. You can't get any better track position than what we've got at the start of the race. We'll try to lead a lap early and get those five points, because right now that means a lot. Trying to put ourselves in position to win the race is the ultimate goal."
THIS HAS BEEN AN UNCHRACTERISTICALLY QUIET SEASON FOR YOU SO FAR. IS THAT BY DESIGN?
"It's too much work to cause a lot of commotion. We just have to take all the energy that I have and channel it toward the right things. I'm racing a lot more this year in the Busch car and I'm fortunate to have the IROC car and I've raced my truck a few times. I've just learned how to enjoy my everyday life, not to focus so much on one thing. I just focus on what I need to focus on during the weekends and don't dwell on things during the week and really just try to live my life during the week. It's really important to me what happens on the weekends, but it doesn't make my life stop during the week. That's the main thing I've tried to focus on this year."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE STATURE OF THE BRICKYARD 400 VERSUS THE DAYTONA 500?
"It's pretty much the same emphasis we put on the Daytona 500. For myself and the guys, to sit on the pole here is a total team effort. I had nothing to do with sitting on the pole at Daytona and Talladega. Those were strictly race cars and power and tricks here and there. When you come and do something here and you know everybody has put as much emphasis on this race as they do for Daytona or anything like that, it really makes you feel like you've really accomplished something. I grew up being an open-wheel fan, and being from Bakersfield, I grew up a Rick Mears fan. I always thought I was going to race Indy cars and my father said no. He wouldn't even let me drive a midget. So he focused on stock cars and that was the direction I headed in. It's right there. Stock cars always have a small advantage at the Daytona 500, but it's close."
IS YOUR CAR THAT GOOD FOR TOMORROW, AND HOW DO YOU TRANSLATE THIS POLE TO TOMORROW'S RACE?
"The biggest thing that translates from the pole is track position. The whole day is trying to decide between two tires and four tires and really trying to be able to keep that. Our car was terrible at the beginning of Happy Hour and we made two little, small changes and man, did it take off. I'm excited about the race tomorrow, just for the fact that our car is running good and we were able to adjust on it in Happy Hour. We haven't raced this car since Las Vegas and I think it's on its third body and we've never even taken it to the track. It's the same chassis we raced here last year and had a lot of success with, and we won Chicago with this car last year. The chassis itself has always done us good and it's just working out the small characteristics of the body."
COMMENT A LITTLE MORE ON HOW BEING ON THE POLE WILL HELP YOU IN THE EARLY PART OF THE RACE.
"The biggest thing I'll capitalize on is leading a lap right off the bat and getting that out of the way. Obviously, pit stalls come into play and getting a pit stall, either the first stall or the one in the middle. When you start up front it makes your day. Usually, it makes your day a lot easier unless you have problems. If you're off a little bit during one or two runs, you usually fall back to seventh or eighth. If you're starting 25th or 30th, it seems like it takes forever to make up three or four spots. We need to make sure we capitalize on it all day."
WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT TWO TIRES, HOW DOES THAT AFFECT THE CAR AS OPPOSED TO TAKING FOUR TIRES?
"The biggest thing is it usually tightens the car up, makes it not turn as well. If you make a real long run and you have 10 or 15 laps on your left-side tires, it's probably going to fall off more than it would with four tires. Timing is pretty key on when you put two tires on and how many laps you have on the left-side tires. If you have to put a second can of fuel in, there's no reason not to put four tires on. If you can come in before most of the field, you can usually put four tires on and come out ninth or 10th. Sometimes it's worth it."
SO MUCH OF TODAY SEEMED TO BE WHAT PART OF THE DRAW YOU WERE IN OR WHETHER THE SUN POPPED OUT. IS THAT A GOOD THING OR A BAD THING?
"Today is probably the best I've seen in the three years I've been here. The clouds came back over at the end of qualifying, and in the middle the sun popped out a little bit. I was hoping it would just stay out. The clouds came back over and the breeze picked back up. The first year I was here, the sun came out, it got really hot and the guys at the end didn't have a chance. Part of it is the luck of the draw, but we've had a lot of things not go our way this year, and for one thing to go right feels good."
WHAT DO YOU AND TODD BERRIER TALK ABOUT REGARDING STRATEGY FOR TOMORROW?
"The main thing is to keep the car in front, with track position. If our car is off, we're going to have to make some adjustments. Is it worth making the adjustments on the race car and losing two or three spots in the pits pulling a spring rubber out or something like that. Those are the things we'll kind of have to kind of weigh out. If we knew how the yellows were going to fall, we could plan it right out, but it's kind of trial by error as you go through the race and see how it all falls. We can map it out if it goes green all the way, it's pretty easy. But if there's yellows, you just kind of have to adjust."
THE POLE WINNER HAS NEVER WON THIS RACE. IS THERE ANY REASON FOR THAT?
"As much as track position is important here, that sounds kind of funny. I don't like that stat. You shouldn't have told me that. I don't know why that is. Usually if you can get yourself positioned in the front of the pack, that's where we need to be, in the clean air. I hope that ends tomorrow. I don't have a logical answer for it."
DID YOU AND CASEY MEARS GROW UP TOGETHER, SINCE YOU'RE BOTH FROM BAKERSFIELD?
"We grew up racing go-karts, myself, Casey and Clint [Casey's brother]. Roger [Casey's dad] was doing the off-road stuff at the time and Rick was racing Indy cars most of the time. Most of my time was spent around Clint and when Rick and Roger would come to Mesa Marin and race late models, my dad would work on one or the other. I think. That was a long time ago. I have a tough time remembering what I did yesterday. We did grow up around each other, not a lot, but we did race around each other for a few years there."