Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS met with members of the media at Infineon Raceway and discussed road course racing; thoughts on possible changes to the Nationwide Series cars next year; his KHI teams in Nationwide and Truck Series...
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS met with members of the media at Infineon Raceway and discussed road course racing; thoughts on possible changes to the Nationwide Series cars next year; his KHI teams in Nationwide and Truck Series and racing at New Hampshire.
DO YOU LIKE ROAD COURSE RACING? "I enjoy the road races. I was fortunate to grow up racing sprint go-karts on all the road course stuff. I enjoy coming out here and doing something different than what we do every other week."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW THE FUEL MILEAGE PLAYS IN TO THE FINISHES HERE? "I think the cautions have to fall your way and you have to get the right amount of fuel mileage. You definitely have to play the strategy but your car has to be fast enough to maintain what you have. You can turn a 30th place car in to a 10th place car if you wind up getting lucky and are on the right strategy. But, if you are going to win, you still have to have a car fast enough to be good."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS RIGHT NOW? "It doesn't really matter; you just race as hard as you can every week. We have had a bad six weeks, we have crashed constantly, ran out of gas at Phoenix, we just have had a lot of things go wrong. Nothing you can do about it, you just go out and go as fast as you can."
DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH SPEED TO TURN IT AROUND? YOUR TEAMMATE SAID HE FELT LIKE THE RCR CARS MIGHT NEED A LITTLE MORE SPEED, IS SPEED AN ISSUE? "I think speed would help everybody. Obviously the speed isn't hurting him (Jeff Burton) too bad. They have been consistent and finished every week. That is why we are where we are, we haven't finished as many races where we have been running, but I think we have top-10 cars, we just don't have the dominating speed to win races right now."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE ROAD COURSE RINGERS SOME TEAMS BRING IN TO SONOMA? "They are really fast, but the usually end up running in to something for the day is all said and done."
HAS THE ATTITUDE ABOUT RACING ON ROAD COURSES CHANGED AMONG THE TEAMS AND DRIVERS? "I think the biggest thing is that you can lose so much ground here if something goes wrong. It can be a bad weekend, just like it can anywhere else. You need to work at it and try to make things as good as you can. Whether you are good or bad at it, you got to try to keep getting better at it to try to improve as everybody else is improving. We have always focused on the road races to try to be as good as we could, some people don't. We always go test, go practice and try and get in to a rhythm."
WHERE ARE SOME OF THE KEY SPOTS TO PASS HERE? "There are really only two spots to pass on the whole track. One is going in to the back esses, what most of us call seven, which is probably turn four if you are just counting. The other coming in to eleven, the last corner here. Those are really the only two spots to pass, unless somebody has a pretty big mistake."
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF NASCAR'S DISCUSSION WITH THE DRIVERS ABOUT THEIR "WHINING"? "Last week is over."
DO THEY WANT YOU TO EXPRESS YOUR OPINION OR NOT WANT YOU TO EXPRESS YOUR OPINION? "If they wanted you to know that, they would have invited you to the meeting. It is none of your business, how about that, is that better? (CHUCKLED)
WHAT DOES IT SAY TO YOU THAT NASCAR IS PUTTING C02 AND HEAT TESTING DEVICES IN THE CARS? "There are a lot of things that we can do. Since we switched to the unleaded fuel, the heat in the cars has gone up. There have been a lot more fumes than what we had before. This car kind of builds a lot more smoke than what we had before, so that is good to know that they are monitoring it. We have always taken as many precautions as we can with the WIX filters and things inside. They are a lot heavier than a lot of the filters other people run, but they do a lot better job than the smaller filters. We've run those for several years. There are definitely things you can do to make the inside of the car better. We will see where it goes."
WHY DO YOU THINK THE INSIDE OF THIS CAR IS HOTTER? "I really don't know, to be honest with you. It just seems like there is less air getting in to the cab for whatever reason. I don't know exactly why."
HOW MUCH DOES CLINT (BOWYER) COME TO YOU ABOUT ROAD RACING? "We have been talking about it quite a bit as far as where you shift and what you do. They took kind of the opposite approach to it and didn't go test at all anywhere and kind of left it up to us to tell them where to start. We will find out if we did a good job here later."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT NEW HAMPSHIRE NEXT WEEK? "The flat track stuff has always been really good for us. Clint obviously ran really well there at the last race. We look forward to going to those types of race tracks. We ran well at Phoenix, so good part of the season race track wise for us coming up.
"The new style race track has made more side-by-side, much more so than you could when it was completely flat. They have done a good job in keeping up the race track, but still you have to have a really good car to make some ground."
AS A TEAM OWNER IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT NASCAR CHANGING CARS FOR NEXT YEAR? "We are evaluating all of that right now, trying to decide what we are going to do going forward."
HOW IS THE KHI DRUG TESTING PROGRAM GOING? "We are done setting it up. We go through our whole month of drug testing, the randoms that come out every week. We are all set there; we are just waiting on NASCAR's final investigation and see where they go with it. We will give them the six weeks that they asked for, then we will put the heat back on."
HOW ARE YOUR KHI TEAMS DOING? "I think they are good. The Nationwide team hasn't run the last few weeks as good as they did at the beginning of the season so they need to get their act together. But the trucks have been great week in and week out. In the Truck Series you get some stuff tore up, but as a fan and an owner, it is fun to watch.
"I am a Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague fan so I sit there and get my snacks and my water and maybe a Coke or whatever it is and sit and watch the races. I enjoy it, it is fun to watch."
ARE YOU GLAD YOUR VETERAN DRIVERS HAVEN'T MELLOWED OUT WITH AGE? THEY WERE BOTH TICKED OFF AFTER LAST WEEK'S RACE, IS THAT NICE TO SEE AS THEIR OWNER? "They are both driven, they like what they do, they like racing in the Truck Series, they like the schedule and the things that come with it. They definitely have the drive to make it happen."
-credit: gm racing