KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; last week's race at California Speedway; differences in Nationwide Series versus Sprint Cup Series...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; last week's race at California Speedway; differences in Nationwide Series versus Sprint Cup Series cars and other topics:
ON LOOKING FORWARD TO A "NORMAL" RACE WEEKEND": "I am looking forward to the weather being nice. Last week was hard on the teams, finding hotels rooms, to keep the people around and logistically home and back. You end up being home for a couple of days. Really, the cars weren't that big of a deal; they were already on their way out there. It didn't matter on that part of it. Still, everybody wants to get home, just get a sense of what is going on normally and go from there."
ON WHAT HE IS EXPECTING THIS WEEKEND BASED ON TEST: "We had very little tire issues on the Cup side. On the Nationwide (NNS) side, we had a lot of issues. It was 30 degrees cooler; I don't think speeds are going to be what they were at test. Hopefully that will all go away and we will have a good race weekend."
ON HOW MUCH FINANCIAL IMPACT ON HIS NATIONWIDE DID RAIN DELAY CAUSE: "Just in hotel rooms, it was probably about $15,000 a day. Every day that you stay, you have to pay that for rooms. The flight stuff was already all together. They waited on all the teams with the flight system we use. But with the hotel rooms and the rental cars, it was about $15,000 a day impact.
"You really try hard to control the things that you can control. There are just some things you can't control and you try budget accordingly knowing that a few times a year, you are going to have some things pop up that are out of the ordinary, that is just part of our game and how it all goes around.
"I'd say you learn this over time. When you have things like that happen for the first time, you want to force things to happen but there is really nothing you can do about it to force something. You try to plan accordingly and try to work yourself ahead on the schedule to make things better so when those things pop up, that is when the good teams start to shine.
"My first shock as a team owner with a financial impact I didn't expect was when they came up with these new tests and you have to pay several thousands of dollars per car to show up and test at a NASCAR test. There are just a lot of little things that don't publicly come out that surprise you as an owner"
ON HOW MANY GROOVES THERE WILL BE ON LVMS DURING THE RACE: "I think you can run several different lines, I think the race track was pretty neat at the test with the Cup cars. These cars (Monte Carlo SS run in the NNS) are so fast through the corners. They are about 14 or 15 miles an hour faster through the corners than the Cup cars. These cars have a pretty high sensation of speed. I think the groove is definitely going to move up as the race goes on. I don't think you are going to be able to hold the car on the bottom all day. As fast as we are going, in order to maintain that speed, the momentum is the biggest thing. With the NNS car you have to have it to keep them going. I think the groove will definitely move up."
ON RETURNING TO ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY, THE SITE OF HIS FIRST NSCS WIN: "I will be honest with you, that whole first win and that first year was really just kind of a blur. We go back and it just seems like so much has happened since then, you almost forget about it, but every time you go back, you get that reminder of how things went and what went on. It is obviously something you can't do again, win your first race, so just pretty cool and go back and watch the race and see how it all finished and how it all shook out. It is a special place for us to go back every time just because of the fact that was the place of our first Cup win.
"When I watch the race, the only thing I think about is I drove in high and I probably should have went low. I almost threw the thing away in a half of a race track there. That is what I think about every time I watch it is why did I go high and not go low.
"It worked, barely, but it worked. I had gotten to that point by racing on the bottom and for some reason on the last lap, I thought he (Jeff Gordon) was going to go high because I had been going on the bottom but, he wound up going to the bottom and I went to the top. "
ON INCREASED PREMIUM OF QUALIFYING AND PIT STALL SELECTION: "I thing qualifying is important but you know, we went to the back of the pack last week at California and we ran right up through the pack. I felt like we got back to where we were running in two runs, so I didn't feel like it was a very big problem to pass at particular track last week for us. I think the handling on the cars goes a lot of different directions for different people and that is going to make more passes because it is easier to make mistakes. I didn't think it was harder to pass for us last week than it has been in the past, I thought it was actually easier.
"My car was pretty good, we were just a little bit loose. For the most part, the car was very consistent for the whole weekend and was good at the test. It reacted the same way it did at the test. I have been really pleasantly surprised with how well the cars have driven on the bigger race tracks.
"For everything we had going on last week, we went to the back, we went to the back. Got the penalty, went all the way to the back and were overcome that and have a decent day. Statistically that particular race track hasn't been very good for us in the past. We always seem to run well, but I was just glad we were able to overcome some circumstances and rebound with a top-10. That is what you have to do when you are having a bad day is in order to be competitive for the championship, you got to have a bad day and make it in to something. It seems like the guys win the championship always do that year in and year out in the particular year that they win. For us, it was a good weekend. We have had two of those weeks at the beginning of the year where we haven't felt like everything quite went right and we were able to make decent days out of them."
ON WHERE RCR IS WITH INTERMEDIATE TRACK PROGRAM: "I think everybody in the garage is down on horsepower compared to what the Toyotas are. I mean, in the NNS it is almost a joke as to how much more power the make compared to everyone else. I feel good that our team has made gains in the engine department power wise, but it is hard when you are racing almost restrictor plate races every week and you are racing against cars that are making 20-plus horsepower more than you, it is hard to keep up. Hopefully that is the reason that we put these inserts in the motors is so we can keep the fields even and obviously, the whole field is not completely stupid. They have all been here a long time, that particular brand makes substantially more power than anybody else in the garage, so, it has got something to do with the parts and pieces that they have compared to everybody else."
ON IF SITUATION IS THE SAME IN NSCS WITH HORSEPOWER DIFFERENCE: "Absolutely. They have same power advantage they have in the NNS garage; it just doesn't show up as much, because there are more good teams to overcome that. Right now everybody is trying to play a little catch-up on the power side of it to get to where they need to be. Those engine packages are all brand new, so right now it is not good for anybody in the garage unless you have a Toyota."
ON IF NASCAR NEEDS TO LOOK IN TO: "I don't think it is hidden. All the engine dyno numbers are pretty apparent. I think it is all public knowledge if I am not mistake. It is all pretty apparent there is a distinct problem between the both divisions."
ON FINE LINE TO PUSH ENGINES TO FAR TRYING TO CATCH UP: "I feel like we are very good at racing in our parameters and knowing our means and how far we can push things. That has always been something that RCR has been very good at. I don't think we are going to get caught up in trying to win one race here or there. We are going to go out and race and try to put ourself in position to win but we are not going to go and put ourself in jeopardy of throwing away a whole race weekend to try to win one race."
ON PARODY: "Parody is good for the sport. All the other makes seem to be relatively close. You have the other brand really has only two or three good race teams throughout their stuff so I think it really showed how much they were lacking a really experienced race team when they put their stuff in the Gibbs cars."
ON DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NNS CARS AND CUP CARS: "We don't have enough time to talk about all of that. It is from start to finish, top to bottom, everything is totally different from one car to another."
ON ISSUES WITH CALIFORNIA RACE TRACK: "Well, it might have built them in a little excuse for next year. (Chuckles) The races were better there than I thought they had been in the past with the Impala SS. I haven't had a chance to watch the NNS race. It was pretty much the Tony Stewart show. He dominated the whole show. It is not good for it, they are right on the verge of not having enough people, not having enough good things happen to make it positive so, the rain delay didn't do them any favors by any means."
ON DIFFERENCES IN HORSEPOWER FOR OTHER MANUFACTURER BEING MORE EVEN ON SHORT TRACKS: "I don't think any of their race teams are any better than anybody else's. You guys asked what I thought and I just told you based on all the chassis dyno stuff; they have a pretty distinct advantage in that department right now.
"I don't think that advantage will hurt anything anywhere. You want to give me 20-horsepower, I will take it. (Laughs)."
ON RCR SHORT TRACK PROGRAM: "Our short track program has always been good and we like going to get away from the 1.5-mile stigma of the whole sport. It is nice to go to the Martinsvilles and Bristols for a change of pace.
ON LIKING SHORT-TRACK RACING: "Short track racing is short track racing and most of us came from short track racing so everybody likes to go there and get some donuts on their doors."
-credit: gm racing