Kevin Harvick NNCS teleconference, part 2

Continued from part 1 Q: If it's true that all the stories out about Dodge and Chevy changing new models for the NEXTEL Cup competition, that the technical bulletin went out and that Chevy would change to the Impala SS, although that would be...

Continued from part 1

Q: If it's true that all the stories out about Dodge and Chevy changing new models for the NEXTEL Cup competition, that the technical bulletin went out and that Chevy would change to the Impala SS, although that would be the car of tomorrow, and they may change models in the Busch Series perhaps as soon as 2010, putting a smaller, sportier model like a Chevy Camaro into the play, how does that affect you and what are your thoughts about that?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, to be honest with you, I really don't know the ins and outs of all of it to know exactly what's going on. But obviously I've heard rumblings of the Busch stuff going to a different name, and I would say that the model change will probably be just next year will probably be just stickers on the car and that will be about it.

Q: If you were racing finally a smaller, sportier model in the Busch Series, do you think that would give it its own identity? Would you find that interesting?

KEVIN HARVICK: It would give the manufacturers another Avenue to help support the series, and right now we have the Monte Carlo on Sunday, so the Monte Carlo on Saturday isn't as appealing to everybody as it would be as if you had another brand to support. I think it would add a little bit of spice to the Busch Series to have another brand in there just from a manufacturer's standpoint to help support it.

Q: I was wondering a little bit forward to the Phoenix race. That was a race earlier this year that you won at, and if this Chase was going to come back to who has the best race last. Is that a race you're anticipating, and what are your thoughts about racing at Phoenix and the fact that you've won there already once this year.

KEVIN HARVICK: We've always run really well at Phoenix, and to have won the race there earlier in the year is something that we're obviously looking forward to. I have always I've run a lot of races at Phoenix, and the Trucks and the Busch cars and South West Tour cars and all the different divisions. It's close to home and it's one of those places that I really enjoy going to and we've been fortunate to have success at. So that's good for us, I guess, in the end with being the next to the last race.

Q: Do you think there is anybody in the garages these days who's not come to like the Chase?

KEVIN HARVICK: I don't think so. I think from a sponsor's standpoint, I'm sure if you're if you would have won the points by 200 points in the traditional style you might question it a little bit, but I think even now you have to look at it not selfishly. And from a sponsors' standpoint and a media standpoint and a NASCAR standpoint, I think it's been a benefit all the way around. Who would have been talking about the 26th race at Richmond if we wouldn't have had the Chase? To have eight guys left who are 100 points apart with four races to go, that's a huge story. It's done everything it's supposed to do, and I think this year is a testament to how it was intended to happen.

Q: Not literally, but is it now kind of hard to remember what racing was like before there was a Chase?

KEVIN HARVICK: Not really. I've lived it on the Busch side this year, so I've kind of got to race it both ways. I know the mindset from how we race in the Chase to how we've run in the Busch Car. There's really no pressure left in the Busch Series to race for the last four races other than to go out and win a race, which is how we try to approach it all year, but now you don't have a second thought in your mind.

Q: I guess Claire Lang sort of asked the same question so I don't think I have too much to add. I'm kind of wondering about the idea of points racing. Maybe that's a lot easier said than done. But looking at how the Chase has sort of played out here and you're sort of talking about how maybe luck is going to play a big factor into it, is it possible that you could sort of take maybe that factor out of it by points racing, take the luck factor out of it by points racing, and conceivably if you're points racing you'd probably be leading the Chase right now? Again, it might be easier said than done, so I'm wondering your take on that.

KEVIN HARVICK: Way too much thinking for me. That's way too complicated. I don't know how I could make myself do that other than you go to the race track and you try to go as hard as you can and you try to pick it up one notch to try to step up when you get in a situation like this to race for a championship. I don't think there's I just don't think if you would have ran around 15th you're still going to get beat by the guy who can win two or three races or win one race and run in the Top 5 week in and week out even if you ran 15th every week, and that kind of blew up. I don't think you're going to come out ahead if you wound up doing it that way.

Q:

: Kevin, it was announced this morning that A.J. Allmendinger is going to immediately move from Champ Car to the NEXTEL Cup Series, to attempt to qualify this weekend. I'm just wondering what your general reaction is to the growing list of open wheel racers who are joining the sport. And also, I was just curious if he makes the field, when you come up behind him, someone who's brand new on the track and in the Series, does anything go through your head?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, he's done a good job in both of the truck races that he's run. At Talladega he did an extremely good job. Obviously I don't think he wants to get started off on the same foot that David Regan got started off on at Martinsville and running into everything on the race track and spinning out and causing half the cautions that the race had. I don't think that's the right way to do it. It's going to be tough. I mean, they're starting a new team and they had Bill Elliott in the car at Charlotte and missed the race, and the learning curve is going to be pretty steep. I think the best thing he can do is just go out and try to gain all the experience he can and concentrate on just trying to make the races for the first little bit.

Q: There's so much parity within Chase this year where it seems like no one is really able to get any set racing and pull ahead. Have you ever been in anything similar to this before that can really prepare you for something as tight as this thing is so far?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I think not really on the racing side of it, nothing has ever been this close. I mean, obviously racing for the Busch championships and in 2003 running for the Cup championship and kind of losing ground at the end of the year, but never anything this close. I'd say that the most intense thing that I've done like this in my life is probably back in high school when we wrestled week to week and you wrestled match to match just to try to keep going in tournaments. That would probably be the closest relation that I could come to in the current situation.

Q:

Has there been anything that's really surprised you with this deal so far the last couple weeks?

KEVIN HARVICK: To be honest with you, not really. Just knowing the mindset of all ten guys going in and knowing how well everybody is running, everybody just seems to be pushing everything so hard that there's been some failures and just seems almost coincidental that all the guys, we've all had bad luck at one week or another. Whether it's a coincidence or not, I don't know.

Q: This is, I guess, the most solid lineup of drivers at RCR in years and you've been through a lot of teammates there. What's your comfort level working with Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer?

KEVIN HARVICK: Obviously the comfort level is pretty good. Obviously Jeff has been there for I think two and a half going on two and a half years now. Clint has been there in the Busch program since '04, and I've been there since end of '99, 2000. I get along with both guys really well and we all communicate really well together. Clint is a good friend Jeff is a good friend, too. So everybody gets along, the teams get along, and that's something it's the first time I've had that since we've been at RCR. I think it really helps to have all three cars running well and being able to compete week in and week out. I think all three cars aren't going to be good when they unload off the truck every week, and when you have one or two running well you can get stuff out of that car and usually it elevates the level of performance to the next car where it needs to be. I think all three cars running good definitely helps everything go forward.

Q: Kevin, I know a lot of hype has been given about Atlanta, but for you back in 2001, Atlanta had to be a very special track for you. Going back there in 2nd place in the points with a chance to win your first championship, what's been going through your mind about Atlanta this weekend?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I think for most of the people that ask those questions, most of them probably don't even remember back in 2001. That's kind of the ironic thing. We have had some fairly good success in Atlanta, obviously winning our first race there. Under the circumstances that we did, and performed as a team, we won't ever forget that moment just because of everything that went on. I think when you start thinking about it, it brings those same chills back to you that you got at that particular time of winning my first race and knowing that you can't do that again, and then obviously you go back to the circumstances. For us I think it lights that fire back up because you want that feeling. I think this situation is very close to that situation, just in a whole lot different way. Those are the kind of situations as professionals that you dream about and you look for the opportunity to take those moments and try to capitalize on them. That's how we're trying to approach it. Good question.

Q: If you don't mind me following up a little bit, I know in 2001 I remember you finished 2nd in the points that year. The performance of the GM Goodwrench car was outstanding the whole season. What has been the difference to turn the team around in that little lull that RCR went through?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, we went through a couple different periods. The end of 2001 really we started to taper off the last probably eight or ten races of the year and that carried over into 2002. 2003 we struggled for the first five or six weeks. That's when Todd came back on board and we actually made 400 or 500 points up on Kenseth and got back as high up as 2nd on points and kind of fell off the last couple weeks, and I think we finished 5th in the points. 2004 was much like 2002, and 2005 was as up and down as any year you could have. This year I think that the strongest thing that we have are just we have all three cars running good. Everybody is communicating well and really I don't think you could point at one thing as making the turnaround for the company. I think our bodies are better, I think our engines are better, I think our crews are better. I have the same team that I've had for the last few years for the most part, but most of the other people are different on the other teams. Having all of those three teams perform well have elevated the level of everybody.

MODERATOR: Thanks for joining us today and spending some time answering questions. We appreciate it. Good luck this weekend.

KEVIN HARVICK: Thank you

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bill Elliott , Kevin Harvick , A.J. Allmendinger , Clint Bowyer