Phoenix II: Harvick - GM Top-10 interview

BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 REESE'S COOKIES MONTE CARLO SS ON STRATEGY FOR THESE LAST TWO RACES: "You just have to do the same things you have been doing all year. Go in and try to put yourself in position to win the race.


ON STRATEGY FOR THESE LAST TWO RACES: "You just have to do the same things you have been doing all year. Go in and try to put yourself in position to win the race. If we can't win, we can't finish out of the top-five to have any chance going in to Homestead. We need to win one of these next two races to put ourselves in that position and that is all you can do, is all you can do. That is what we are going to do, stay focused on the things that we have been doing and try to continue doing those going forward. "

ON THOUGHTS OF CHASE IN CURRENT FORMAT AND WHAT, IF ANY, CHANGES THAT SHOULD BE MADE: "I think it has been good for the sport. I think, obviously, who would talk about race 26 if it weren't for the Chase. It adds a lot of excitement to the final 10. I think it has done what it needs to do. As far tweaks, I really haven't, to be honest with you and it sounds bad to say, I really haven't paid attention enough to analyze it. I know from our standpoint, it has been very up and down but it seems like it has been very up and down for everybody and kept everybody in the mix for a long time during the Chase. I think it has been pretty exciting the way it is."

ON SATISFACTION OF RESOLUTION BY ALL PARTIES OF POST-RACE INCIDENT AT TEXAS: "By the time I could get to work on Monday, I think Ray (Evernham) had called three times. I have never dealt with Ray at all, but he is by far one of the most professional individuals I have ever spoken with. I think everyone handled it as professionally as we could for as unprofessional as the situation was. All parties involved, NASCAR, Ray, us, everybody handled it as professionally as they cool.

"Obviously emotions run high after a race when things don't go your way, I don't think they ever need to venture that far out of the drivers handling things themselves. It was just unfortunate, but luckily everyone is all right and we will go on."

ON LAST NIGHT'S FINAL SOUTHWEST SERIES RACE: "This is the Daytona for the West Coast stuff in the Southwest Series cars, or whatever they call them now. I grew up racing here, started in 1995, came to races here a lot before that. Watched Carelli (Rick), Hornaday (Ron, Jr.) and all those guys race here a long time. You don't ever want to see something go, but I think the direction of the East and West Series is a good direction just for the experience of the younger drivers to have the opportunity to get more adapted to the cars they are going to race as they move through the ranks. On that side of it, I think the direction is right. You just don't ever like to see change like that and do away with a division. It has been a big part of West Coast racing for a long time."

ON POSSIBILITY OF TYING ALL-TIME SEASON WINS IN NASCAR BUSCH SERIES: "On the Cup side, we have had a great year. If we had all sat here last year at this time and said 'Hey, are you going to be two races to go and still in contention for the Cup championship', you guys would have all probably snickered a little bit and said, 'Yes, that's a long-shot'. We have to keep track of how far we have come on that side. But the Busch side had just been one of those years that all of us might not get to be a part of again, just for the fact of how the whole year has gone. The record is a reality for us to get and have all been talking about. Who ever thought we would get a chance at one of Sam Ard's records, the all time win record for one year. In this day and age, it is kind of unheard of. We are really excited to have the opportunity. Our year has been great, we will see what happens from here, but it is something we are definitely shooting for."

ON NOT CHANGING CHASE FORMAT TO ALLOW HISTORY TO COMPARE CHAMPIONS TO CHAMPIONS WHO HAD SAME PATH TO GET THERE: "There is always something to be said for consistency and you can compare. I don't really know what exactly there are thinking about changing, so it is hard to understand whether it will affect it in that way or not. I think all in all, the Chase format is good for us, until they say what they are going to change, it is hard to say what the reaction would be."

ON DIFFICULTY OF MAKING THE DECISION TO GO FOR A WIN AND LET CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY: "That isn't hard for us. We just do that every week when we are in position. It is all about putting yourself in that position and with wins as hard to come by as they are in this sport, when you get the opportunity, you have to go for it. If that is the wrong mindset, I don't know. But if we are in that position, we are going to go for wins. Tony (Stewart) is a classic example of what the Chase creates though. Those guys went outside the box, started changing their cars, changing some of the things that they did and have hit on something that they like, and they are winning races. It is kinda neat to see the guys outside the top-10 go outside the box and they become the story at the end of the year, so it kind of balances things out on you guy's side of things just because they are out performing well and winning races. It keeps it exciting when you have those top-10 guys are racing for a championship and the other guys doing things they normally wouldn't do."

ON DIFFERENCE OR FINE LINE OF PUSHING THE FINE LINE OF THE RULEBOOK TOO FAR: HARVICK - "What is the difference?" REPORTER - "I don't know." HARVICK - "I don't know either and I don't want to know, I don't want to know the difference." "You take your areas that are gray and you try to push them harder there than you would than if you had less rules. The box is small and you have to take those areas, work as hard as you can within them to find out what those limits are. The only way to find out is to go too far. That is kind of the balancing act I guess you could say. But that is hard to balance in this sport because you don't want to get in trouble, but you also have to push it as hard as you can."

ON POINTS DIFFERENCE NUMBER LEAVING PHOENIX TO HAVE A REALISTIC SHOT AT CHAMPIONSHIP IN HOMESTEAD: "I think we need to be within 30 points. 30 or less, that is what I think, but what do I know."

ON WHOEVER WINS THE CHASE BEING CONSIDERED THE SEASON'S BEST DRIVER: "I think so. We all knew the rules coming in. Tony (Stewart) probably doesn't win Kansas if he was in the Chase, he wouldn't have won there and they probably wouldn't do some of the things that they have done developmental-wise on their cars or whatever they have done, I don't know. They probably wouldn't be where they are, though I don't know for sure, winning this amount of races. That is a unique situation the Chase creates."

ON SAM HORNISH, JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, A.J. ALLMENDINGER COMING TO NASCAR: "Since I have been in the sport, I have never seen the amount of drivers come from the open wheel side until now. Obviously, I think Juan started something that everybody paid attention to because his coming is pretty well publicized. It seems like he has a good respect for how hard it is and understands, like last week at Texas, going to the mile and one half race tracks was a struggle for him. But he is going to get it. He is really good. I don't know anything about Sam or A.J. and I haven't gotten to race against Allmendinger yet, but I think they will do fine. But it is going to take some time to get to where they need to be. They aren't used to being inside cars, banging on the sides of each other, bouncing off the wall, just doing all the things that happen here that are so much different compared to what they do. I think it is going to take some time for them to get used to. I think they can all drive, it is just a matter of getting that last couple of tenths out of the car you need to get out of it. It is just a matter of how much time it takes. Chip (Ganassi) has made a commitment to Juan to take that time, whatever it is, to get him to the point of where he needs to be -- letting him test and race, and all those things that we all got to do when we started. It is just a matter of how patient the other ones are going to be with those guys. They are going to tear up some stuff, they are going to wreck, they are going to run good, they are going to not run good, they are going to do all kinds of different things. It just isn't going to be consistent for a while."

ON PHOENIX BEING LAUNCH OF GOOD SEASON WITH WIN IN THE SPRING: "It definitely got the ball rolling for us. When we won here, the momentum shifted our way and we were able to carry it away from here all the way to the Chase. It got it going for us."

ON CHALLENGES OF PIR: "The hardest part here, is the ends are so much different. It isn't as bad since they moved the wall out, but one and two are a lot tighter than three and four. When you get your car working down in one and two, it usually to loose in three and four. It is kind of a balancing act to get your car where it needs to be to work at both ends. A unique race track is a good thing. It creates a few different challenges than normal to get both ends right."

-credit: gm racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup