KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET met with media and discussed the importance of the final three races in the Chase, his confidence, his comment about the sport needing a new champion, and more. ON THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALIFYING AT...
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET met with media and discussed the importance of the final three races in the Chase, his confidence, his comment about the sport needing a new champion, and more.
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALIFYING AT TEXAS
"We worry more about the race."
YOU AND HAMLIN AND JOHNSON ARE THE TOP THREE. HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU?
"I think you just go do the same things you're doing all year. You go out and you race as hard as you can and try to put yourself in a position to win the race and if you can't do that, then take as many points away from this particular weekend as possible. It's kind of us against ourselves (laughs); we just have to not do anything out of the ordinary that we haven't done all year. So, if we do that we should be fine, just as we have all year."
WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO THE END, AND BONUS POINTS, DO YOU EXPECT ANY HELP FROM YOUR TEAMMATES?
JEFF BURTON SAID EARLIER TODAY THAT YOU ARE COMPLETELY COMFORTABLE AND ENJOYING THE CHASE. YOU HAVEN'T REALLY BEEN AT THIS LEVEL BEFORE, WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM?
"I've probably won more championships than both of those guys combined. It's all the same. The only difference is it's just that it's got a lot more attention about what's going on but I've raced for championships my whole life and we've won a lot of them. And it's just one of those deals where you just race. And it's really no different than what you do on a weekly basis, honestly. You go out and you try to keep yourself from making mistakes and you try to do the things that you've done your whole life. This is no different."
DO YOU DO ANYTHING THIS TIME OF YEAR TO TAKE YOUR MIND OFF THINGS? OR DO YOU NEED ANY DISTRACTION?
"You know, I probably do the opposite. I probably concentrate and think about it more now than I do during the season. I think during the season I can get away from it and have other things that I like to do. But these 10 weeks you want to make sure you don't screw anything up and make a mistake and at least give yourself a legitimate shot to race for it. And every week's a new week. Every week brings a new challenge. It's all in how you adjust to those challenges as you go through that particular weekend."
ON YOUR POST-RACE JOKE AT TALLADEGA ABOUT THE SPORT NEEDING A NEW CHAMPION
"I wasn't joking (laughter)."
WHY DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BENEFIT THE SPORT?
"Well, I think people get tired of seeing the same guy winning; and I think in the end, it would just bring new attention to the spot because it wouldn't be the same old thing as (Jimmie) Johnson won again. So, I wasn't joking."
WOULD YOU FEEL THAT WAY IF YOU'D WON FOUR STRAIGHT CHAMPIONSHIPS AND WERE GOING FOR FIVE?
"If I'd won four straight, I'd be sitting in the same spot he is. I wouldn't really give a crap what anybody thought (laughter)."
ARE YOU NOT IN A GOOD MOOD OR ARE YOU REALLY JUST WEARING YOUR GAME-FACE AND BEING FOCUSED?
"I guess that's for you to figure out."
WITH THE TOP THREE AS TIGHT AS YOU ARE, HOW IMPORTANT IS WHAT HAPPENS TODAY IN SETTING THE TONE FOR SUNDAY?
"You know, coming from the guy and the team who's qualified in the 20's and 30's all year, I mean, Friday's haven't meant squat to us."
IS THERE A PSYCHOLOGICAL ADVANTAGE IN COMING OUT FAST TODAY?
"Honestly we get better pit stalls I think when we qualify bad."
IS THIS FUN FOR YOU?
"Yeah, this is what you want. You want to have a chance for a championship. You want to be in contention and whether we win or lose, this is what we set out at the beginning of the year to do. And I think it's important to work as hard as you can and I think everybody alongside of me is working as hard as they can and we're going to do everything we can to try to win. Whether it's good enough? I don't know. But this is fun. This really is fun. It's not like running bad. It's fun because you're running good and you have a chance and that's really all you can ask for is to have a chance."
WHAT YEAR DOES THIS YEAR COMPARE TO?
"Well, it wouldn't compare to '06 because '06 was so easy; '01 was cool because we had a pretty good rivalry going with Jeff Green and we were able to pull it off as a really young team with myself and Todd and the program was only two years old. So that was definitely the most fun. But this is fun. It's just what you set-out to do each year."
ON NOT QUALIFYING SO WELL, BUT RACE DAY COMPETITION HAS BEEN HIGH
"We race better than we qualify, I guess. I think, for whatever reason, the qualifying thing has just been a kind of question mark really, for everybody. I don't think today is any different than it has been all year. Our cars are just really good in race trim and we can adjust to situations and we're good at scrapping and falling and getting things when we're not supposed to get them. So, that's just what this team has always done."
FANS AND MEDIA FOCUS ON NUMBERS ABOUT HOW WELL THIS OR THAT DRIVER HAS DONE AT THIS OR THAT TRACK. DOES THAT PAST EXPERIENCE MATTER?
"If you want to look at numbers, you've got to look at relevant numbers, and at least go back to relevant numbers in this particular car. We haven't been like the No. 48. We haven't had ten good years, to be honest with you. So, when we were off, we were off. And so the numbers say that we shouldn't even be in contention and we've been up front all year. They're just numbers."
AT TALLADEGA, JIMMIE JOHNSON FELL BACK AND HUNG OUT TO DRY LIKE HE HAD NO FRIENDS. IS THERE ANY CONCERN ABOUT HAVING FRIENDS IN THESE LAST RACES?
"I don't think you need too many friends now. Talladega is over. But it's one of those things where it all just depends on what line and whether your car is fast enough and they ran around in the back all day and nobody really knew what kind of car they had. So it might have been their own worst enemy there."
YOU SAID YOU WOULDN'T EXPECT (TEAMMATES) JEFF BURTON or CLINT BOWYER TO HELP YOU WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP. BUT IN GENERAL, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?
"I wouldn't expect anything different. I have two really good teammates that race hard and they'll do, if it's right for the team and for the company, they'll do whatever. That's just our unwritten code. We've been together for so long that it's not really different. You don't do anything different this time of year.
WHAT'S YOUR SINGLE BIGGEST CONCERN FOR THE NEXT THREE WEEKS?
"I don't even know. I think it's just going to come down to whoever makes the biggest mistake. It may not even be a visible mistake; it may just be a mistake where you have a 15th place day and that's just not going to be good enough. So, I don't know that it's going to be a visible mistake like an accident or something big; honestly, it's one lap at a time. For us, as you saw last week, it's every situation requires something different. We adjusted to the situation that we had with the nose and the accident last weekend and nobody got wound up and you just go out and take what you can get and on that particular day we had a car that was still capable of running fast enough to be up front."
-source: gm racing