KEVIN HARVICK -- NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET IMPALA SS met with media and discussed fuel mileage, the importance of Chevrolet to his race program, Bristol and leading into the Chase, California, Ryan Newman joining Stewart-Haas Racing, and ...
KEVIN HARVICK -- NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET IMPALA SS met with media and discussed fuel mileage, the importance of Chevrolet to his race program, Bristol and leading into the Chase, California, Ryan Newman joining Stewart-Haas Racing, and more.
WITH ALL THE FUEL MILEAGE GAMES AND WEATHER FROM THE JUNE RACE, ARE YOU ABLE TO TAKE MUCH FROM THAT EXPERIENCE AND ROLL IT INTO PREPARING FOR THIS RACE? "I think for us its probably a lot different than the last time we were here just because all our cars are different, our engines are different and our whole package is different from what we raced here in June. We ran okay here last time and kind of got caught last time here with that rain because we pitted and came back through and then it started raining again. But I think we should be in good shape this week."
DO YOU GUYS PLAN ON RUNNING A LONG RUN IN PRACTICE WITH THIS NEW ENGINE JUST TO SEE WHAT THE FUEL MILEAGE IS LIKE? "No, we ran them at Pocono so we should have a pretty good idea of where we should be on fuel mileage and the things that we have done the past couple of weeks, so we should be alright."
HOW IMPORTANT IS CHEVROLET AND ANY MANUFACTURER TO THE SPORT THAT THEY GIVE YOU? "Well, I think different teams vary at different levels of manufacturer support and our particular team at RCR, we've obviously had good support from Chevrolet for a long time and they are a big part of everything that we do from an engineering side and really from a little bit of all sides I guess you could say just for the fact that they give us technical support and engineering support and all the things that make our cars better not necessarily at the race track but away from the race track."
HOW WOULD THE TEAM GO ON IF THEY HAD TO PULL AWAY FOR SOME REASON? "I think everybody is prepared for that to some extent. Obviously its something that nobody wants to see and I think there is still a lot of benefit for the manufacturers to not go away. And the world the way it is right now I think all businesses have to clamp the belt down a little bit and make things a little bit tighter. I think there are definitely ways to do it without (the manufacturers) if it ever came to that but I don't think it ever will.
TALK ABOUT YOUR MINDSET GOING INTO BRISTOL AND GOING INTO THERE LOOKING FOR A SPOT IN THE "CHASE". "Bristol is a good track for us and we had a good run at the beginning of the year and obviously we are excited about going there. It will be the first weekend that I haven't run the Nationwide car since I started racing there but when we laid the schedule out this year we felt like we would just be better to run the Cup race and to concentrate on that. I might be a little bit bored but other than that Bristol has always been a good place for us and we've been fortunate to be successful there."
HOW ABOUT CALIFORNIA COMING UP AND THE HEAT YOU EXPERIENCED LAST YEAR OUT THERE? "Its not very warm out there right now but I am sure its just waiting a week and hopefully its nothing like it was last year because it was the most miserable race we went to on the whole circuit last year.
WHAT CAN YOU TAKE FROM THIS TRACK AND USE AT CALIFORNIA? WE ALWAYS HERE THERE ARE CERTAIN SIMILARITIES BUT NOT EXACT. "Yeah, one and two at California is so much different than anything we do here. Its low on grip and then you wind up with the front tires pushing and its just a unique corner. In (turns) three and four you can take some of the things you do here and do there but there are some things like engine packages and half the race track is similar to California but the asphalt is different and not quite as worn out as it is here so you don't get that same type of feel that you do here from inside the car."
YOU AREN'T DOING THE NATIONWIDE RACE HERE OR AT BRISTOL. WOULD YOU RATHER BE RACING IN THOSE EVENTS OR NOT CONSIDERING WHERE YOU ARE IN THE CHASE? "We really kind of laid it out that way at the beginning of the year to hopefully be involved in having a chance to get in the Chase at this point of the year. We just tried to be as fresh as we could be going into the Chase and that is what we felt was the best thing to do so I'm happy that Cale (Gale) is going to get a chance this week and glad I don't have to do it."
ARE YOU NERVOUS ABOUT THIS CHASE THING? YOU DON'T SEEM SO? "Not really. It is what it is and you just go out and race as hard as you can. It wouldn't be anything we do any differently if we were first and if we were twentieth so we go out and where it falls is where it falls, and not a lot we can do in between."
ARE YOU FRUSTRATED OR ARE YOU GUYS CONFIDENT THAT YOU ARE MAKING STRIDES TO BE A CHASE-CALIBER TEAM? "I think its pretty obvious that we've made strides over the last couple of months and I am pretty happy with the performance of the cars and where everything is at right now so I'm pretty confident with everything that we've got going on."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT RYAN NEWMAN JOINING THE STEWART-HAAS TEAM? DO YOU CARE? "I think its pretty neat to see the progress that Tony has made with his team. Ryan is obviously a friend of mine and Tony is a good friend of mine so its neat to see them come together especially with similar backgrounds and having a lot of the same interests. I think it will be a good combination with Ryan getting in there and being able give his opinion and help Tony. I think he is someone that Tony will listen to and value his opinion. Its interesting to watch it take place because we've done that with our Nationwide teams and Truck Series teams and put it all together. "
CAN THEY CONTEND RIGHT AWAY? "Well here is the hard part about when you start a new team. The hardest part of starting a new team is usually you come out of the box good, but its when you get into the summer months and you start crashing cars and things start going wrong -- its how you rebound from that. So I will say they'll come out of the gate strong because they'll have a lot of time to prepare and get things situated but the character-builders come in the middle of the year."
HOW FAMILIAR ARE YOU WITH THE TERM HYPER-MILING? "I have no idea."
IT'S LIKE SOME WAY TO SAVE GAS ON THE HIGHWAY FOR REGULAR DRIVING FOLKS. SO WHEN (TODD) BERRIER COMES ON THE RADIO AND TELLS YOU, 'OKAY MAN, YOU NEED TO SAVE GAS'. WHAT PROGRESSION DO YOU GO THROUGH MENTALLY AND IN THE CAR TO DO SO? "Well, for me its all about slowing down and staying off the break and we kind of have done some testing for what you do under caution and what you don't do so it's a pretty basic routine that we go through that we've done for years and just feel like its our best case scenario and most of that work is done in the shop and in the engine department. So they have done a good job at that and I feel most likely that at some point this race will come down to fuel mileage because it just always does."
IS IT EXASPERATING AS A DRIVER WHEN YOU HEAR THAT YOU NEED TO SAVE FUEL? "Well at that point, you want the fuel mileage to work out but we've been around it long enough to have been on both sides of the fence. A lot of times your fuel mileage doesn't work out the way that you calculated it or want it to and you wind up running out of gas or pitting and coming up short, or whatever the case may be but you work on it as hard as you can and usually fuel mileage will pay off for you several times a during a year if its good."
-credit: gm racing