Pocono II NASCAR Media Visit with Kevin Harvick

Pocono II NASCAR Media Visit with Kevin Harvick

Pocono Raceway

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and discussed RCR teammate Paul Menard’s win last week at the Brickyard, Nashville Superspeedway coming off the Nationwide schedule for next year, racing uncharacteristic and much more .

I think we have a good plan for the Chase...

Kevin Harvick

WE’VE GOT SIX RACES LEFT BEFORE WE START THE CHASE, YOU’VE GOT THREE WINS, OBVIOUSLY YOU WANT MORE THAN THREE WINS, TALK ABOUT THAT A LITTLE BIT AND TALK ABOUT YOUR TEAMMATE PAUL MENARD WINNING THE BRICKYARD. “The whole dynamic of the way that the wild card situation works I think has really made it exciting leading up into these last few weeks because you have a situation like Paul’s last week that leads you into not only your first career win and a great moment for him and his family and the team but it puts you in the championship contention of making the Chase with that win. It really revitalizes the enthusiasm in the team. A lot of the other guys are in the same situation and when you look at how many people have won this year I don’t think anybody would have thought as many people, different drivers have won races and its made it really interesting to see how it’s all going to play out. When it comes down to one win its going to come down to who is the highest in the points. For us it’s a little bit different. We’re trying to make our way through a lot of scenarios with our set ups and taking too many chances and sometimes they’ve worked out and sometimes they haven’t. Right now I still feel really good about where our team is. I think we have a good plan for the Chase and some good R&D projects that are coming up over the next couple of weeks and we’ll see how it all plays out. So far so good and we’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing and keep trying things.”

YOU AND CARL EDWARDS HAVE COME TO TERMS AND MADE PEACE, WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THE DRAMA THAT’S PLAYED OUT OVER THE LAST MONTH OR SO WITH HIS CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS; IT’S OBVIOUSLY BEEN A DISTRACTION TO HIM. “Being in that situation before it’s a tough situation to be in with your team just because all the guys look at you like man why are you leaving, things are going pretty good. Really the way he’s handled it has been very quiet and kind of his own way and it looks like it all worked out. So I think the guys that it effects the most, you know as a driver it really doesn’t affect you, it’s kind of just part of it and you kind of just do what you do but the guys on the team and the part that you affect the most if you’re in a situation where you don’t have sponsors, it’s impossible to get a sponsor, so I think that’s probably what it came down to more than anything, was when it’s time to resign your sponsors and you don’t have a driver you’re not going to sign a sponsor.”

YOU TALKED ABOUT R&D PROJECTS, THE NEXT SIX RACES ARE PRETTY UNIQUE TRACKS, WHAT CAN YOU LEARN THROUGH THAT THAT YOU CAN USE IN THE FINAL 10 RACES? “I think everything applies. No matter where you go. It may not be exactly the right bump stops or this or that, the little detail things that you do at every race track but overall you have the basic car and set ups and aerodynamics and all the things that come with that, they’re going to apply everywhere. You’re not going to have that fine tune, you’re not going to have the right travels with the front of the car and things like that but overall if it’s better at one place it’s going to be better at the next.”

CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE DIFFERENCE YOU WILL FEEL FROM THE SEAT DRIVING THE TRUCK IN THAT VERY SHORT RACE VERSES THE CUP CAR THIS WEEKEND? “I just assume the truck is going to feel like driving a six-cylinder by yourself but a lot of fun to race because they draft so well. It was a lot of fun to watch the race last year and very entertaining. We decided to run this race this year. The Cup cars are just really fast down the straightaways and with the shifting there is a lot going on. Looking forward to both events, this has been a good race track lately for us and looking forward to the weekend.”

Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing RheemTankless.com Chevy
Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing RheemTankless.com Chevy

Photo by: Bob Heathcote

DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS ON NASHVILLE? “I have an opinion on the whole thing, the grandstands at Nashville haven’t been full since the first day that we went there and I’ve preached for a long time that the race tracks need to be responsible for something in the whole matter here. They have the responsibility of filling up the grandstands. It’s the same show that goes every week and the crowds have been terrible. It’s just one of those deals where they couldn’t make it work for whatever reason and we need to be at places that can fill up the grandstands. There’s a lot of race tracks on the circuit that have been able to fill up the grandstands and they couldn’t and it didn’t work out for them. It’s a great race track and it has a great racing history from the small race track to that particular race track. We went to Iowa and the first thing they did was fill up all the grandstands, Milwaukee used to have great crowds. There’s places to go that can put 30,000 or 40,000 people in the grandstands I promise you.”

THE CROWDS AT INDY HAVE NOT BEEN GOOD ARE YOU SUGGESTING THAT INDY AS A SPEEDWAY NEEDS TO DO MORE OR ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT YOU MAY QUIT GOING TO INDY IF CROWDS KEEP GOING DOWN? “You are not talking about 10,000 people in the stands. You’re still talking over 100,000 people in the grandstands in Indy.”

THAT’S ONLY HALF A CROWD. “Half a crowd for what the Super Bowl? Super Bowl gets about the same thing. It’s all in perspective and the bottom line is we made a mistake in Indy and pissed all the race fans off. Everybody’s done a great job in trying to fix that situation going forward. Goodyear has done a great job with the tires. There was just a huge mistake made there several years ago and you look at the grandstands and the way that they’ve been since that particular day it’s been not as good as it was before that. We’ve still got some work to do in Indianapolis. You are talking about over 100,000 people in a Cup race, not 10,000 or 12,000 people at a Nationwide race that pays $30,000 to win. There’s different circumstances for different situations and I think there is a lot of responsibility that you can spread out at Indy. You can’t just blame it on the race track there.”

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO FOR TRUCKS AND NATIONWIDE TO REPLACE THOSE TWO NASHVILLE RACES? “Nowhere. There’s too many races for the Nationwide Series. I think the truck schedule needs more short tracks. I think it needs to go to some of those bull rings that it used to go to back in the day. Richmond would be a great place for a truck race but I still think that the Nationwide schedule is too long.”

INDY IS A ONE-GROOVE TRACK, BUT YOU GUYS REALLY NEED TWO GROOVES TO MAKE A GOOD RACE NO MATTER WHERE IT IS, IF YOU WIDEN THE CORNERS ON THE INSIDE MAYBE THAT WOULD HELP OUT A LITTLE BIT, IF YOU SLOW THE SPEEDS A LITTLE IT WOULD MAKE THE TRACK A LITTLE WIDER AND WHAT ABOUT GETTING RID OF THIS WAVE AROUND RULE SO IF YOU’RE THE LEADER AND HAVE THIS CLEAN AIR AND BLOWING EVERYBODY AWAY YOU ACTUALLY WOULD HAVE TO PASS A LOT OF CARS TO GET BACK TO THE FRONT, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THOSE THREE IDEAS? “I think the wave-around rule is a great rule. I like that particular rule. When you’re talking about chopping corners at Indy, that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s the same way that the Indy 500 is every year. Racing is racing and some of the race tracks and Indy in particular are different to race at. They’re hard to race on but it’s been there for 100 years and it’s the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and you can’t go chopping corners.”

COMING UP TO MICHIGAN IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS, HAVE YOU GUYS FIGURED OUT ENOUGH TO GET ANOTHER VICTORY THERE? “Michigan has been a great race track for us in the past. From the driver’s standpoint it’s a lot of fun to race on because the car slides around and you have the options to move all over the race track. I believe this will be the last race on that particular pavement so that’s never exciting to hear but we’re excited about that race and got a long of things that we are working on going into that particular race as a team. Should be a good weekend.”

WHEN YOU GUYS COME DOWN THE FRONT STRECH AND YOU ALL FAN OUT, CAN YOU LOSE TRACK OF SOMEBODY THAT YOU’RE TRYING TO KEEP TRACK OF? “I have a hard enough time keeping track of myself so I just kind of go with the flow and wherever you wind up, you pull that thing back up and try to make the next corner.”

Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT RACING UNCHARACTERISTICALLY; YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD BEEN CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHETHER YOU HAVE CHANGED THAT OR THOUGHT ANY MORE ABOUT THAT? “I think you have to just race by the seat of your pants and I told them on the radio last week you were really gonna have to take a chance to win the race and go way out on a limb and that’s just the way it’s been. With the guys that are looking for a win and the guys that are in a good position into the top-10, you have to take chances to win the races and you have to do things that are uncharacteristic. That’s not going to change right now. It’s not the way that we like to race as a team but right now you have to keep up with the Jones’ to have a chance to win races and take those chances to put yourself in that position. They had a great strategy last week and the guys in front just took a bigger chance than we did and we were kind of in the second group of strategy but the guys that took the biggest chance had the biggest result.”

BUT ISN’T RACING BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS YOUR FORTE? “Well it all depends. The guys on the pit box have a huge responsibility of keeping up with what’s right and what’s wrong and what you can do and what you can’t do. Sometimes what you can’t do you have to make a bigger window of the things that you can’t do. You have to shorten that window and make your window of opportunity a little wider even though you don’t want to.”

ARE YOU A FAN OF RACING ON CONCRETE TRACKS LIKE BRISTOL AND DOVER? “We’ve had good success on really most of those race tracks. Dover is a great race track. It’s a very fast race track and a lot of fun to driver as a driver, you can be very aggressive but it’s got a lot of banking. The Bristol track was a lot better before it was redone. That’s one of the things that you talk about crowds and how you can affect something. The design of the race track at Bristol has affected the people that sit in the grandstands. You’ve got to be careful what you do and if you want it to be right you can’t always blame it on everybody else. They went in and tore the race track up and affected what they did in the grandstands.”

YOU SAID THAT GOING THROUGH CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS DOESN’T REALLY AFFECT YOU AS A DRIVER, BUT ONCE THAT DEAL WAS DONE LAST YEAR DID YOU NOTICE ANY CHANGES WITH THE TEAM? “The guys on the team that don’t know anything is going on those are the guys that it’s hardest on. They don’t want to ask any question but they ask them to you kind of under their breath and in odd ways just to see if they can figure out what is going on so that goes away as soon as everything is announced.”

By: team chevy

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Paul Menard , Bob Heath
Teams Richard Childress Racing
Tags chevrolet, childress, harvick, long pond, nascar, nscs, pennsylvania, pocono, sprint cup