Talladega II: Harvick - Friday media visit

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET met with media and discussed upcoming team plans, strategy at Talladega, winning at Talladega, and more. ON SPONSORSHIPS FOR 2011 "Yes that is really just the beginning of a lot of things that ...

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET met with media and discussed upcoming team plans, strategy at Talladega, winning at Talladega, and more.

ON SPONSORSHIPS FOR 2011 "Yes that is really just the beginning of a lot of things that are going to happen over the next few weeks. Really excited to have Rheem and Menards on board really for myself and Clint and Paul, and Austin to have some fun in the Nationwide car so we are excited to get all that going and obviously RCR is going to be a big part of that and those are things that took so long in the contract negotiating phase really from the driver's side on the Cup side was to just get a lot of things situated that would make both companies better and I believe that with everything we have at KHI and everything that happens at RCR it's just going to make things better and easier."

WITH YOUR DOMINANCE IN RESTRICTOR PLATE RACES THIS YEAR IS THIS RACE SORT OF YOUR CHANCE TO TAKE COMMAND OF THIS CHASE RACE?\ "We have gone through so many.......what we thought were speed bumps in this Chase.......with the first one being Dover and the second one being Charlotte and the third one being Martinsville. We feel really comfortable about the next four weeks but obviously at this place anything can happen whether you are leading the race or running last you can wind up in somebody else's mess but I enjoy the restrictor plate racing and its obviously something you have to think about a lot, there is a lot of strategy involved in it, and you have to have fast cars. We have been able to put all those things on the race track this year and if this was the last race of the year, I would be pretty excited about it."

YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE TO LET IT ENTER YOUR MIND THAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF RUNNING UP FRONT WHILE YOUR COMPETITORS COULD GET BEHIND IN THE MESS AND GET COLLECTED? "You have the possibility of having a breakout or having a disaster. We go into this race with the same attitude that we have had for the rest of them. Just go out and race as hard as we can and try and put ourselves in position to win the race and if you are not going to win, take the most points that you can.

So if we wreck, we will come in and fix the car as fast as we can and take the most points we can and when we get done we will see where everybody else is at and assess what we need to do for the next week. So it's just one week at a time, one lap at a time, and otherwise it would be just way too stressful."

ON HOW RACE STRATEGY COMES INTO PLAY AT TALLADEGA DIFFERENTLY THAN OTHER RACE TRACKS "A lot of it is going to depend on today and how we think our car is performing. How we feel like our car is pushing people and how we feel like we get pushed. And then the second thing that will dictate that is qualifying. So we really won't have a firm decision on how we will race until Saturday afternoon and Gil and I will sit down and decide on how we want to approach the race. How we approached it last time............we may approach it that way or we may not. It just depends on the performance of the race car and where we qualify."

JEFF BURTON SAID THAT YOU AND HE MET ON TUESDAY ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEKEND. HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE THAT MEETING? "Well, a lot can be made out of things that we say on the radio and obviously neither one of us did a very good job at that. The thing about Jeff and I is that there is a lot of respect there and we have had those spats before and we can handle those things in about five minutes. So it's very easy for the two of us to talk about those things and figure out how we can make that situation better for not only us but our race teams and try to do better next time. So very simple, very convenient, very easy meeting and that was it."

WHAT'S THE DYNAMIC FOR HAVING THREE RCR TEAMMATES IN THE CHASE? "For us right now, as a team, everybody wants to win. Everybody knows that right now we all want to win the championship. I think obviously with Clint (Bowyer)and the Cheerios team move to help us out with the pit crew showed how badly they want the whole company to win. I think Jeff (Burton) is the same way. He wants to win a race but everybody wants to do the best they can but we want to win the championship too. They're going to do whatever they can do to help us and I don't think there's any question about that."

IS WHAT YOU DID WITH THE PIT CREW CHANGE LIKE FOOTBALL CHANGING OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE? "Yeah, you have guys that are performing better than others right now on pit road. And those guys happen to be the group off the No. 33 car and we were having trouble on pit road and Richard (Childress) made the call to change those things around and that's what we did."

WITH ECR ENGINES BEING DO DOMINANT ACROSS THE BOARD AND IN PLATE TRACKS THIS YEAR, DO YOU EXPECT THAT YOU WOULD GET HELP FROM YOUR OWN TEAMMATES AND FROM THE NO. 1 (MCMURRAY) AND THE NO. 42 (MONTOYA)? "I think if you go back and look at history, Jamie McMurray and I have drafted together a lot and we wind up at the front of a lot of these races and usually together. I feel comfortable around certain guys and he's one of those guys that I feel comfortable with him pushing me and pushing his car. More of it is just coincidence than it is anything, but there has to be something to the fact that I know those group of guys that I'm comfortable with and you look for those guys during the race and hope that they're around the same spot you are."

ON SUNDAY, HOW AWARE ARE YOU GOING TO BE OF WHERE JIMMIE JOHNSON AND DENNY HAMLIN ARE ON THE TRACK AND WHERE THEY ARE RUNNING? "Well I think the only thing that would change how we race is if something happens to both of them. For us, we're going to run our own race and how we feel is the best way for us to win. There is really no other way to do that. I'm pretty sure that I know what their strategy probably is going to be and I don't know if I fall into that category quite yet. So, it's just a matter of doing what we think is right for our race team and we'll have that decision come Sunday morning."

ON THE TRUCK SIDE, WHAT WAS THE DECISIVE FACTOR FOR YOU TO PUT BUTCH (HYLTON, CREW CHIEF) AND RON HORNADAY TOGETHER? "They just need to win. That's really about it. That was our most solid team and Ron's the guy we have that's racing for the championships year in and year out and we tried a lot of different things and I felt like we had built the two-truck team with Butch and those guys into a winning team and I had been a part of that all year and as we go to the end of this year we need to be ready to go when we drop the green flag at Daytona. So it was time to start working on next year and try to get some wins this year, but really, to build the foundation for 2011."

OVER THE COURSE OF TIME, HAD YOU NOTICED ANY CHANGES IN EITHER OF THEM THAT WOULD LEAD YOU TO BELIEVE THEY'D WORK TOGETHER SO WELL NOW? "They've definitely both changed a lot. Butch worked for us back in 2005 and his approach to things is a lot different than it used to be. I like to, a lot of times, take the things that happen on the other truck that I drive on occasion to build things, and in this particular instance we built the whole team and just put it over there."

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT TALLADEGA? "A lot of luck and a fast car (laughs). No, I mean it's just one of those places where it definitely takes a fast car and you have to have a little bit of luck on your side to be successful here. But it's just a big, high-speed moving chess game and you have to put yourself in position for the last couple of laps to try to be able to make the move that you think is right to win the race. it all worked out just as you would planed it out in the spring. I don't know that it will ever work out that smooth again, but for us we were able to dodge the wrecks and put ourselves in position for those last couple of laps to make that slingshot move but you just never know if it's going to come down to a big pack or if it's going to be a two-car breakaway or are you going to be racing another two-car breakaway; so a lot of it is circumstances as to how you adjust. But a fast car makes things a lot easier."

IN THE CLOSEST CHASE EVER, DO YOU FEEL LIKE JIMMIE JOHNSON CAN FEEL PRESSURE? "He's got to feel pressure. There is more to it than there has been in the last couple of Chases. The thing that has happened this time is we haven't let him get too far away and the No. 11 (Hamlin) is right there with him. It's not just put it into cruise-control and just get decent finishes and finish up front, you have to finish in the top five if you're going to keep touch with the three cars that are up front. it's just the way that this Chase has shaken out. If we don't, one of those two guys are going to and I think it's probably a good possibility over the next four weeks, that somebody will finish in the top five every week. So, if you're not that guy, you're probably going to lose ground."

HOW WILL THE ALLIANCE THAT YOU HAVE WITH RCR IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES IMPACT YOUR TRUCK SERIES TEAMS? "Right now it's the same type of deal. It's chassis for all of our teams and they already share all the information that they have as far as wind tunnel. We use the same engines and they share notes every week. So that stuff is already taken effect on the truck side and has for several months actually, as they've gone through the season. So that'll just stay the same.

TO A LARGE DEGREE THEY'RE ACTING ALREADY AS ONE TEAM EVEN THOUGH MAYBE ON PAPER THEY'RE NOT. "Exactly. That was the whole intent of everything was to run more laps on the race track when you have more people; you have more parts and pieces. You keep the money in the same house as far as chassis and engines and things like that. It should make everybody stronger."

ON THE DAYTONA TESTING IN JANUARY "I've got to find somebody to drive my car. That'll be boring (laughs). No, I think it's going to be a necessity. I'm not a huge fan of testing but that's going to be one that you're going to have to go to because the track's going to be so smooth and so much different I'll apply to a lot of the things that happen here as far as set-ups and the way that you do things. The track is going to be the same Daytona, but a lot different. It's definitely going to be necessary to go down there and test to make sure the tires are right and make sure the things that we thing will apply from here actually apply there."

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE WITH THE RCR TRUCK CHASSIS FROM WHAT YOU HAD AT KHI THAT WOULD MAKE IT BETTER; THAT'S CAUSING YOU TO SWITCH? "Really it was just about keeping the financial situations under the same roof. Nothing wrong with a Ronny Hopkins chassis like we ran. We've won with both of them this year. Obviously for us it's much more convenient because it's so much closer to our shop. But really, it's a matter of keeping the funding in the same house."

-source: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jamie McMurray