KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed racing at Kansas, mental toughness of the Chase and other topics. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS WEEKEND'S RACE IN KANSAS?: "We're ...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed racing at Kansas, mental toughness of the Chase and other topics.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS WEEKEND'S RACE IN KANSAS?: "We're just looking forward to getting going. Obviously we feel like these next two weeks are important for us to have good weeks. We got through Dover with not as good a day as we thought we should have had. We thought that was going to be a tough weekend for us based upon just everything we've done in the past so these next two weeks are going to set the tone for our particular team and they're important. Just have to get off on the right foot here in practice and go through the weekend and race hard."
DO YOU GO BACK TO LOOK AT THE LAST COUPLE TIRE RUNS AT DOVER?: "I think the last two runs just weren't good for us, our car just got loose and we'd been so good for us all day running in the top-10 and felt like we were going to have a decent day. The car just went away that next-to-last run and we really thought that it was just the tires and we didn't change anything and the car reacted the same when we put the second set of tires on so we obviously just lost track of the race track and needed to make an adjustment on our cars. Just made a decision to not make any changes and it just stayed the same."
WHO DO YOU SEE AS YOUR BIGGEST THREAT FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP?: "I think it's just wide open. You look at it and I think there's three or four teams that are far enough back that you can narrow down or count a few of them unless they have spectacular weeks, are probably out of it or are going to have a tough time getting back into it. Everything else is so tight that it's just going to come down to not making mistakes and losing the least amount of points as possible. I don't think there's any clear cut favorite. The 48 (Jimmie Johnson) always runs good at Dover. I really expected the 18 (Kyle Busch) to finish well at Dover where he kind of had the same fall off that we did the last couple runs. I think it's wide open right now. I think you just have to go out and get the best finishes that you can because I think every point is going to matter when you get towards the end of the Chase."
IS THE APPEAL PROCESS IN NASCAR FAIR AND DOES THE PANEL KNOW ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO JUDGE?: "We've been through a couple of appeals processes ourselves at KHI (Kevin Harvick Incorporated) and I didn't even get involved in them to be honest with you so I know how it works, but from the politics side of it, I look at that as the politics side of it and it's not something that I really have gotten too deep into because it's not something that's in your favor as far as, you're already got the penalty and you've already got the outcome so from my standpoint I just stayed out of it and don't really have an opinion one way or another on how the whole process works."
DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO GOING BACK TO CALIFORNIA FOR NEXT WEEK'S RACE?: "I feel like I let one slip away there just getting into the wall there at the end. We still had a good finish and Jeff (Burton) ran really well there too so we're looking forward to going back. Obviously, a lot can change, it's been a hot summer and the race track will be different, but it's been a good race track for us over the last couple years and we're really looking forward to going back. We need to capitalize over the next couple of weeks on making something happen."
ARE THESE RACES KEY BECAUSE THEY ARE THE INTERMEDIATE TRACKS?: "I think this is kind of a lead-in to what the Chase is going to hold as far as the mile-and-a-half race tracks. The biggest key for us is these two weeks leading into Charlotte, which is what we see as our second Achilles' heal in our whole thing. We just have to go into, not defense mode, but just minimize the damage like we did at Dover. Obviously, I don't feel like we got the maximum potential out of what we had in Dover, but it's important for us to keep that gap as close as possible to first, whoever it may be and come out of Charlotte. That's really why the next two weeks are important to us as the 29 team goes."
HOW DOES MENTAL TOUGHNESS APPLY TO YOUR TEAM AT EACH RACE AND IN THE CHASE?: "I think we have a lot of different, Gil's (Martin, crew chief) very good at leading the team and keeping everyone calm because I'm pretty high strung as far as what happens on the race track and things like that. He's good at keeping them calm and he keeps everybody calm really, including myself. That's a good balance between the two of us. I can be myself and not have to worry about back-tracking on what I said and who I need to apologize to for something I said on the radio. He takes care of all that. As you go through these 10 weeks, the mental grind of the whole process is a lot because it's all you think about constantly and this is what we all race for. We all want to win a championship, we all want to be in position to win a championship and this is the time to make it happen. It's just like flipping a light switch when you get into Loudon and you get into the last 10 weeks, it's just a whole different mindset and knowing that every point matters. It's not like the last 10 weeks before that had been where nothing really mattered. It's just two totally different mindsets from where we were to where we are right now."
WAS THE INCIDENT LAST WEEK WITH DENNY HAMLIN PART OF THE GAMES YOU ALL PLAY?: "I don't think there was any games that was all pretty serious. I think everything was pretty serious as far as where we were coming from as a company and where we were coming from as a team. I think where Denny (Hamlin) and I stand is very clear between the two of us as far as off the race track and on the race track. When it comes down to knowing what's right for your company and what's right for your team, those are two different things. Our team is excited and pumped up and we all feel like everything's clear."
DID YOU ANSWER DENNY HAMLIN'S CALL RIGHT AWAY?: "I don't think there was every going to be an issue with myself and Denny (Hamlin). Off the race track, obviously, in the garage it doesn't matter who your friends are or what happens away from the race track, it's all about what's happening at the race track and what's right and wrong for your particular race team. Obviously, it evolved into what it was, but off the race track, it was fairly simple for us to talk."
WERE YOU SAD TO SEE CALIFORNIA LOSE A RACE?: "I want what's best for the sport and what's best for the sport is full grandstands and they always had good crowds when they had one race and I think they'll have a good crowd for one race and some markets are just not two race crowds. I think that the best thing for the sport are full grandstands and people that enjoy our sport and if that requires going to some different markets and shaking things up, I hope we can continue to do that as we go forward. When people watch on TV and the grandstands are full then they want to be there too."
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE TO GO FROM JUST TRYING TO WIN RACES TO THE CHASE?: "It's hard to just flip that switch one week. We rebounded at Loudon and got a good finish and we all knew that Dover could be the place and it always seems to started that way that the second race was Dover and hasn't been a great place for us. Flipping that switch on isn't hard, we all knew what was coming and I feel like everybody on our team flipped that switch when it was time to go and everybody was well-prepared to do what they needed to do with the cars and we scramble well to chase things when they aren't going well and that's been something that RCR is very good at is making something out of nothing. I think you can look back at Richard's (Childress, team owner) whole career, whether it be owner or driver and how he got to this point and he's just installed that scramble mode into all of us to get something when there's nothing there to get. We did that at Loudon and we gave probably three or four spots away at Dover. If it comes down to the last three or four weeks of scrambling then I feel that we can do that as good if not better than almost everybody."
WHAT CAN CLINT BOWYER DO TO HELP YOU AND JEFF BURTON WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP?: "I think it's going to allow him to get out of the box and try things that maybe we don't want to try because we have to be a little more conservative on the performance side of it whether it be an engine that the engine shop may want to put in or parts and pieces that maybe the engineering department finds that they feel are going to be better, but aren't proven on the race track. All those things can go into his car and they can go into just worrying about winning races and really being aggressive and they hadn't got to do that in a while so he can do that and that's probably the best thing he can do."
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF JIMMIE JOHNSON WINNING AT DOVER?: "I don't think it's impacted us at all, just for the fact that at Dover he's going to run really well. I've said from weeks and weeks and weeks ago that the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) was going to be someone that you had to contend with and was the favorite still to win the championship until somebody beats him. Here we are again two weeks in and there they are. You're going to have to beat them."
-source: gm racing