KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET met with media and discussed the new spoiler, racing at Martinsville, the success of the No. 48 team, North Wilkesboro, and more. YOU'VE BEEN HANGING ON TO THAT POINT LEAD AND MUST BE ANXIOUS TO GET...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET met with media and discussed the new spoiler, racing at Martinsville, the success of the No. 48 team, North Wilkesboro, and more.
YOU'VE BEEN HANGING ON TO THAT POINT LEAD AND MUST BE ANXIOUS TO GET INTO VICTORY LANE "Actually it's been a decent start to the year, for sure. Obviously we've had a couple of chances to win and haven't quite gotten that done, but the guys are going a great job. We had a long week of testing. We spent a couple of days at Charlotte and one day at North Wilkesboro so hopefully we're ready to go."
ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BRISTOL AND MARTINSVILLE "It's night and day, that's for sure. You carry a lot of momentum with the new race track in Bristol. You can run all over the race track. Here (at Martinsville), it's pretty much locked into the bottom and you've got to make your car turn, you've got to work on forward bite, and you don't have any banking to help you do that. So it's a lot of mechanical stuff to get right and a fine balance of keeping that forward traction and making your car good on long runs because at some point you're going to have a long run here. But they are two totally different styles. I enjoy both. Both styles are fun. It's fun to race on the short tracks more than anything."
WILL THE TEST AT CHARLOTTE BE ABLE TO HELP YOU WITH THE RACE AT TEXAS COMING UP IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS? "Charlotte is really hard to test at because the race track goes through so many swings with the temperature changes in the middle of the day like that and we won't race in the day any time there with the Cup car. So the biggest thing that we learned from that particular test was just that the spoiler is not going to turn anything upside down or change the cars dramatically from what we were doing and it seems like they've been working down the right path. The next big test is just getting all the cars in a pack and seeing what happens. I don't think this is really going to be something that you see a whole lot of. Texas is going to be the first time that you'll see what the effect of everything is going to be for 100 percent to know for sure."
ON NORTH WILKESBORO, WHAT DOES THE SURFACE LOOK LIKE? WERE YOU THE ONLY CUP DRIVER THERE? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT? "The surface is fine. They've done a really good job of cleaning it up. They have a lot still left to do with some of the facility. Obviously they're working on the surface to fix some of the cracks and things, but we were one of the first ones there just trying to feel out exactly what it would be useful for and things like that. But it still wears the tires out and still drives around like I guess it used to. That was the first time I'd ever been there. But they've done a really good job of cleaning everything up and it looks like any other race track."
WHAT IS THE OVERALL OPINION RIGHT NOW IN THE GARAGE ABOUT HOW MUCH SUCCESS THE NO. 48 TEAM HAS HAD THIS EARLY IN THE SEASON? "I think for us, it just motivates you to keep working on your stuff and keep trying to make it better. They haven't won three out of the first five races by being lucky, though. They win them because they have all their stuff together and when they get a lucky break, they capitalize on it and make things happen. They are the ones that have everything going right now and where you base yourself on where you stand as far as being competitive and doing the details right, they do all that right. So, we definitely don't let it frustrate us like that. You just use it as motivation."
LOOKING AT THE TRUCK RACE THIS WEEKEND, THERE ARE A LOT OF GUYS MAKING THEIR FIRST START HERE. DOES THAT AFFECT THE WAY YOU RACE IN SUCH A CROWDED HOUSE AT MARTINSVILLE AND GOING FOR YOUR FOURTH WIN IN FOUR STARTS "The trucks have been really good for us lately. We won this race last year and ran really well in the second one and got a flat tire. So, I'm looking forward to it. I don't think you approach it any differently. You just try to be aggressive in making things happen and not just sitting there waiting for something to happen. You've got to go after it. For me, it's just to go out and try to win the race and you just to what you have to do to try and make that happen."
DO YOU THINK THE SPOILER GOING TO CHANGE THE ORDER OF THE GARAGE? "I don't think anybody really knows. We have this race this week, which is good for everybody just to see if there are any flaws or changes or what you have to do for inspection and make sure you have all that right because if you're off a little bit on the inspection process here, it's really not going to matter. But I don't think anybody is really going to know exactly what the effect is until we really start racing and it's got to change some things in little details here and there on the set-up. I think Texas is really the first place we're going to see something; whether it's one way or the other and what's going to happen for sure on those high-speed race tracks because that's where we're racing the majority of the time. I think here and Phoenix it's still going to be about a lot of mechanical things like mechanical grip and things that you have to do to the car. I think your good teams are still going to be good and hopefully we can get a little bit better and be better than we have been at the beginning of the season."
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE FROM THE DRIVER'S SEAT BETWEEN A NEW CHASSIS FIRST TIME OUT ON THE TRACK AND A CHASSIS YOU'VE RUN BEFORE? IF THE CAR ISN'T WRECKED, WHAT IS THE TYPICAL LIFE-SPAN FOR A CHASSIS? "It all just depends. A lot of times when you see a car number, usually that's the cage. A lot of times the front clips get updated and the rear clips get updated. The cages on these Cup cars are pretty much locked in from a rules standpoint. So when you see that car number, you'll probably see it used more than probably in the past. But those cars get updated and what happens is when they feel like they've been painted too many times or you have updates from a performance standpoint on your front and rear clips or pickup points or whatever that is, they'll just cut the front and rear clip off and put new ones on. From an owner's standpoint, from my standpoint, it's easier just to build a new one than it is to cut clips off and things like that because you can't ever get the weight back to where it needs to be and weight is such an important issue on a Cup car. So you just build a new one. It's just easier."
IS MARTINSVILLE A TOUGHER RACE THAN IT LOOKS, WAS OVER DRIVING A PROBLEM FOR YOU HERE EARLY IN YOUR CAREER? "Well, over driving for me is a problem every week. (SMILES) You can look that up in my qualifying stats as far as overdriving the car. It is very easy to over drive the car getting in here. If you get on the brakes for too long and don't let the car settle and roll through the center of the corner, this place is very easy to over drive too far getting in to the corner before you get to let off the brakes and let the car roll. There are a lot of race tracks like that but this is just one of those places where the sooner you let off, most of the time, the less brake you use, the better off you are going to be speed wise."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE DIFFICULTY OF GETTING DOWN TO PIT ROAD SPEED AND NOT SPEEDING? "It is pretty cut and dried. That is why when I get caught speeding, it is like, it is what it is because there is no way that anybody can cheat it. The lines are painted clearly on the loops and you are pushing it so close to the limit, a lot of times what happens is you are looking for your pit stall and you are talking 40 or 50 RPMS and you just aren't looking at the tach and a lot of times what happens is you go past that loop and you barely touch the gas pedal and you are going to be four or five mile an hour over what you are supposed to be. You are cutting it that close and that is why you see so many speeding penalties because there is so much to be lost on pit road and track position means so much, you want to take everything that you can getting in to your stall, going through the loops as best you can and you are just pushing it. That is why you see so many more speeding penalties. But really, it is so cut and dried and so simple and it is so easy for them to monitor there is really no way...I mean no one should ever complain about it because it is black and white. Very simple."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT ANYTHING DIFFERENT ABOUT MARTINSVILLE? "It is crowded. With the double-file restarts, it makes things even more crowded than it used to be on the restarts and things. You don't want to be on the outside on the restarts because it is hard to get down. You see a little bit more beating and banging here than you will anywhere else because you just don't want to leave a gap for someone to get int."
DO FIND WHEN YOU RUN THE TRUCK SERIES AND RUN WELL THAT IT MAKES YOU MORE CONFIDENT ON WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DO WITH THE CUP CAR? "I think having fun and running good is something that eases your mind on everything else and there is just no pressure when you are racing in Nationwide or the Truck Series. So, you can go and really push the limits and find those limits and do things you normally wouldn't do just because there is really nothing at stake. It is fun. It eases my mind, it lets me relax. Some people would rather relax by not doing anything. For me, I am at the track, I would rather be in a vehicle on the race track because I feel like there is always something you can learn. It is just a matter of approach as to how you relax and that is how I like to relax."
DO YOU SEE DALE, JR. JUMPING IN ONE OF YOUR TRUCKS ANY TIME SOON AND WHAT DO YOU THINK OF HIM BEING BACK IN TOP-12, IS THAT GOOD FOR NASCAR? "I think, yes, it is definitely good for all of us to see him run good. There is a lot of pressure on him that the rest of us don't have to be under. I'm glad for that. (SMILES). It is a different expectation; I guess you have to say. There is so much involved in chemistry. I think that is hard to come by. It is good for everybody to run good. Obviously you want to beat the next guy. I know how miserable it is to run bad that is not near as much fun as running good.
"We all talk about a lot of things, he knows he can drive."
-source: gm racing