Charlotte Motor Speedway
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER-REALTREE CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed where he ranked his All-Star victory in career wins, being more aggressive in the All-Star race, safety issues and much more.
TALK ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE STEPPING BACK FROM THE REGULAR SEASON AND JUMPING INTO THE ALL-STAR EVENT. “I think for everybody here it’s just one of those weekends where everybody is pretty relaxed and you just kind of take what you get and hopefully by Saturday night you’re in contention to at least have a chance to win the race. We’ve been fortunate enough to do that before and everything just kind of came together on that particular night and really that’s what it’s all about. You’re going to see a lot of strategy and the pit crew has a lot to do with it so it’s a fun night to involve everybody on the team and it all matters. It’s also a good test session for next week as well.”
HOW BIG OF A DEAL IS THAT EXTRA 66 LAPS IN THE 600, DO YOU REALLY FEEL IT IN THE RACE CAR? “I think as a driver you are mentally prepared and kind of just know how long a 500-mile or 400-mile race is, but I think the people who worry about it the most are the engine guys just because everything they do is set off of 500 miles, so they probably worry about it a lot more than we do.”
GIVEN THE FACT THAT THIS IS A MORE RELAXED WEEKEND, IT’S LATE IN THE RACE AND THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY WHERE MAYBE YOU AND KYLE ARE GOING AT IT A LITTLE BIT LATE, GIVEN THE PROBATION WILL YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ABOUT GOING FOR IT LATE IF IT MEANS SENDING HIM INTO THE WALL OR SOMETHING? “I’m still confused whether I am on probation or not on probation so I can’t answer that. I don’t really know. I’m just going to go race and see what happens.”
WHERE DO YOU RANK YOUR ALL-STAR VICTORY IN THE LIST OF RACES YOU’VE WON IN YOUR CAREER? “You know I think it’s probably somewhere at the tail end of the top five just because it is a night where everything is supposed to be your best cars, the best guys on the race track and I think that just knowing this is a race track that we haven’t had a lot of success at for us it was a huge moral victory more than it was anything. So, that lets us know that we can be capable of winning a race here. We’ve just got to put it all together. That was the best part of the night for us.”
GIVEN THE DYNAMICS, NO POINTS, BIG MONEY, HOW MUCH MORE AGGRESSIVE ARE YOU WILLING TO BE IN THIS RACE? “I think it’s one of those races for us if you’re in position to win I mean who wouldn’t want a million dollars. So you go out and do what you need to do to do that. You don’t really need the car and there’s really no consequences suffered to have a mistake be made or have something happen. If you’re in that position you might not get very many opportunities to win that. It’s really about the trophy and having a chance to win a million bucks so you have to take advantage of it.”
WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGES DO YOU THINK ARE FACING KYLE BUSCH TRYING TO TAKE A GUY WHO IS A FORMULA 1 CHAMPION AND GETTING HIM GOING UP TO SPEED, AS A TRUCK OWNER HOW DO YOU SEE THAT? “I think the easiest time we had as team for us was when I was driving the truck and we were competitive every week and you didn’t have to spread the resources out and I knew what I wanted in there every week. As soon as you add that second element to it you have to split up the people, you have to split up the resources and you have to do things differently. Most likely he’ll wreck and then you have to start fixing vehicles and taking away from the other things that you have going with it. You’re just not going to come in here and be competitive right off the bat. You’re going to tear some stuff up and things are going to happen with that and it immediately starts to take a toll on the organization so it will be a new balance as far as the chemistry with the people and the way that things function in the shop.
“It calls for a lot of patience and a big check because with crashes comes costs.”
... the safety side of it is something that I agree 100 percent with.
HOW MUCH DIFFERENTLY REALLY IS THIS RACE COMPARED TO ANY OTHER RACE THAT YOU GUYS RACE? “I think the pressure is more tension than it is anything just because you’ve got to put it all on the line every lap. Not that we don’t put it all on the line every lap, but you’ve got to put it on the line and take chances and put yourself in a position that you probably don’t want to be in at some point during the All-Star race. I would agree that there is definitely tension and it’s just tense and you know you don’t have a lot of time to make something happen. As far as how we would prepare for this race, it’s really not any different. It’s the same car we would bring to a 600-mile race or a 100-mile race, the biggest difference is the engine guys have a little bit of leeway on the mileage of the motors and things to maybe try some things if you need to. It’s a good time to try some different parts on the car that you maybe haven’t had on there before to try to get an initial an idea of where you think you are and as far as what you need to do to the part. It’s a short race so you cannot put a bunch of miles on it and not worry about it breaking hopefully.”
THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS WE’VE SEEN SOME PRETTY INTERESTING WRECKS WHERE (BRIAN) VICKERS HAD HIS WINDOW NET BRACE COMPLETELY RIPPED OFF AND IN NATIONWIDE AT DOVER (CLINT) BOWYER DROVE OVER THE WINDOW NET OF JOEY LOGANO, HOW CONCERNING IS THAT TO YOU AS A DRIVER AND TEAM OWNER? “Well I think there is a lot that I don’t agree on with NASCAR right now but the safety side of it is something that I agree 100 percent with. The strides that we’ve taken over the last several years have been second to none. I feel like we are a leader in the motorsports industry when it comes to safety. It’s like last week when the window net thing happened with Vickers there was an instant recall on some of the window nets and you had to take them off and get them re-stitched. That has really been the progression of this particular race car and the race tracks. When I saw that car take off of Bowyer’s last week I really thought it was going to come over the wall and the things just disintegrated and you go back to the shop and you look in the driver’s compartment and the only thing that is bent inside of the driver’s compartment are the knee knockers. The wrecks just look crazy but from a driver’s standpoint I don’t think from sitting inside the car you could feel much better as a driver than what we do right now in the garage because even as good as it is right now there is a constant push to make it better and that is due to the sport and effort that NASCAR has put into that.”
I HAVEN’T NOTICED ANY CONFRONTATIONS WITH CARL EDWARDS THIS YEAR, HAS HE MATURED, PATCHED UP HIS RELATIONSHIPS WITH GUYS HE’S BATTLED WITH? “Carl and I have sat down and just had a brief conversation in Daytona and talked about some things and just kind of tried to move on from where we were, that’s the best way to do it if you can get to that point. We talked about some things and moved on so it’s kind of been fun just to kind of talk to him and see what kind of person he is. Sometimes that stuff just happens and sometimes it doesn’t. It just happened for us this year. I don’t know about the rest of them.”
Sometimes that stuff just happens and sometimes it doesn’t.
CAN YOU TELL US HOW GLEN WHEELER IS DOING AND DID HE HAVE TO HAVE ANY MORE SURGERY? “I know Mulhern reported that he had surgery but he didn’t have surgery. He didn’t even break his leg. He’s had a lot of swelling in his knee but he’s still being evaluated by the doctors and just trying to get through the first week of being hit by a spring in the shin. His leg is not broke and he’s just kind of one day at a time just seeing how the swelling hopefully reduces in the near future. He chipped the bone a little bit and took some fragments out of his skin but it’s not broke.”
IS NASCAR BETTER TO THE VIEWING PUBLIC WHEN THERE ARE PUBLIC FEUDS AND INCIDENTS LIKE WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN YOU AND KYLE AND OTHER DRIVERS? “Check the TV ratings from last week and check the TV ratings on every racing show for the last two weeks and you’ll see that they are way up. It’s part of it.”
BUT DO YOU THINK IT’S BETTER FOR THE SPORT OVER ALL? “I think that’s just of the opinion of who is writing the story or watching the race. There’s a lot of different opinions on whether it’s good or bad.”
DALE JUNIOR WAS IN HERE A LITTLE EARLIER AND HE SAID HE LIKED THE ALL-STAR RACE BEING SHORTER, HE THOUGHT THERE WERE MORE FIREWORKS, WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON THAT AND THE OFFER FROM MARCUS SMITH TO PAY ANY FINE IF YOU GOT TANGLED WITH KYLE BUSCH, WHAT’S YOUR THOUGHT ON THAT? “I think as the length of the All-Star race, its intense form the very beginning of the race. We’ll just use Talladega as an example, if you could have imagined just a 250-mile race at Talladega there wouldn’t be any laying back or anything, but the thing everybody has to remember is these races are about endurance, they’re about fatigue on your race car, they’re about who can build the best race car, they’re about making your car last and taking care of your equipment through the race, it’s really not just about seeing who can race the fastest and get to the checkered flag first in an all out sprint. This sport was built on guys that could make their car last longer or make their tires last longer, make their engine not blow up. That’s the reason it’s kind of an endurance race as well. The All-Star race is great because that’s just kind of the theme of the night but there’s more to it and a lot of races have been won off of strategy and off of making the right cars and having your car not be broke down half way through the race. As far as paying the fines, I guess that’s okay.”
-source: team chevy