Texas II: Harvick - GM Top-10 interview

BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CARLO SS: ON KHI DRIVER ANNOUNCEMENT FOR NO. 77 DOLLAR GENERAL CAR FOR 2007 "It has been up and down year at KHI and obviously we have tried to put the best situations together...


ON KHI DRIVER ANNOUNCEMENT FOR NO. 77 DOLLAR GENERAL CAR FOR 2007 "It has been up and down year at KHI and obviously we have tried to put the best situations together that we can and having to make some changes throughout the year, but we feel really good about the direction of everything, and with Bobby (Labonte) coming on board the last few races and continuing into next year. We are looking forward to Kertus (Davis) and everything that we are going to have going on with him in the 13 races. Bobby (Labonte) is going to run 18 races, and I am going to run four, and we are just going try and keep learning each week and keep making progress forward. Right now everything is on the right track, and we are looking forward to all of the situations that we have, and from there, we will see where it all goes, but it should be a lot of fun."

ON DRIVING FOR KEVIN HARVICK INC. IN 2007: Bobby Labonte: "Kevin asked me at Richmond a couple of months ago, and asked me about driving the car, and I was like 'Yeah', I didn't have to hesitate because I have always admired what Kevin and DeLana have done with their race team there in Kernersville, and each year they keep getting better and better, and stronger and faster, so there wasn't any hesitation on my part. I just had to get the approval and everything going, and we went to work right away, and really, really excited that Kevin is giving me this opportunity to drive the car for a while this year, and am looking forward to driving the Dollar General Chevrolet next year. It is a great race car. Gene (Nead) is a great crew chief, and there is a great group of guys. I have been over to the shop a couple of times, and it is a beautiful place. It is a pleasure to drive for them, and hopefully we can get it rolling and get that thing into Victory Lane."

ON DRIVING FOR THE HARVICK'S IN 2007: Kertus Davis: "I am really looking forward to it. Kevin and DeLana Harvick, I cannot thank them enough for giving me this opportunity. A lot of people know my story, me and my family has worked really hard to get me to this point in my racing career, and to have two champions, Bobby and Kevin, on my side being mentors and coaching me along the way. Hopefully we can get this Dollar General Chevrolet into Victory Lane pretty soon, if not this year, than next year of course, I hope. I am really excited about it, working with KHI, and all the employees at KHI, and everyone at Dollar General stores all around America. It is going to be exciting for me and I am sure for them also."

ON EMOTIONS ABOUT 2007 AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO FAMILY RACE TEAM: Kertus Davis: "I am just ecstatic to get this opportunity. There are a lot of drivers deserving to get this opportunity and I am very fortunate to get it. I am really looking forward to the 2007 season and I hope I can make the best of it. I think Kevin and DeLana have a great team, and Dollar General is one of the finest sponsors in this series, as far as what my father continues to do, he hasn't really said. I know he has talked about maybe selling out and moving to Florida and retiring, which I think would be great. If not, he might continue in the racing industry in another role, as far as working with another team or something. I really don't know, that would really be a question that you would have to ask him. I don't want to speak and say nothing out of turn, because I know that he has some things in the works as far as next year, and I know that he has been talking to some young drivers that maybe have some sponsorship behind them that couldn't take it to a team at the top-notch level. I guess we would have to talk to Dad about that, but I know that he and my family are really excited, and I wish my mother could be here to see this. She doesn't come to the races that often, but my whole family is really excited and ecstatic for me to get this opportunity with KHI and Dollar General."

ON CHOOSING TO RUN THE GRAND-AM SERIES AND THE BUSCH SERIES; WAS THERE A CHOICE BETWEEN THE TWO? Bobby Labonte: "Not really. Right now we are still planning on running about four races in the Grand-Am Series, and we are going testing in Daytona on Tuesday, so if everything goes right. We are kind of in limbo right now with sponsorship dollars; I think right now we are looking forward to the 24-hour race and then on after that."

ON PLANS WHEN BUSCH SERIES AND GRAND-AM RACES IN MONTREAL AND THE NASCAR NEXTEL CUP SERIES WILL BE IN POCONO, PA: Bobby Labonte: "I think I am staying in Pocono. I worked out a pretty sweet deal with Kevin where I don't have to go far. (Laughs) We can just watch Kertus race together."

ON HOW HARVICK SPOTTED KERTUS DAVIS AND AN UPDATE ON THE No.33 CAR: Kevin Harvick: "I think with Kertus, every time he got in the No.20 car, he was in the top-5 and ran really well, so you kind of start looking around and paying attention to what their current circumstances are with their current situation. I think definitely when he was in the No.20 was when we all kind of stood back and started paying attention. Obviously, they have run well with what they have, and everything that they try to do at the race track week in and week out, and he is going to work in the shop with Cale (Gale), and it is nice to know guys that are going to work on their car and know what the car is doing and also what they want in the cars. So that was the road that we were looking to go down. The No.33 is kind of the same plan that we had this year with Tony (Stewart), myself and Ron Fellows, and Cale (Gale) will drive the rest of them, most of the rest of them."

ON THE BUMP IN THE RACE TRACK OVER THE TUNNEL: Kevin Harvick: "I don't think there is a problem anywhere. I think they do a great job with the facility, and anytime you have you have a race track that has been here for a while; you are going to get some bumps. They really haven't bothered me like they have in the past, and I don't think they are any worse than they have been in the past."

ON TOUGH DAY IN ATLANTA: Kevin Harvick: "You know, it was just another race. I don't think anyone wants to run bad, but that was the first time that we have run bad all year, and it is what it is and we'll go from there."

ON NEW TIRE THAT WAS BROUGHT TO ATLANTA: "I think the whole scenario the last four years in Atlanta has thrown us for a loop, so it has become one of our worst tracks and for some reason, we just can't get it together there the last few years."

ON OF RUNNING NBS RACE IN MEMPHIS AFFECTED PERFORMANCE IN ATLANTA: "You are not going to fix that in forty-five minutes. I mean, as bad as we ran, you are not going to fix that in forty-five minutes, and we haven't been able to fix that in four years, so all the people think that forty-five minutes is going to fix that need to go outside and beat their head against the wall because they are retarded."

ON CONFIDENCE LEVEL GOING INTO TEXAS FOLLOWING ATLANTA: "They aren't even anywhere similar. Our car has been really good in practice and this track has a lot of grip. It is a lot smoother, and the bumps are in different spots and for the most part, they are two totally different animals. You can race all over Atlanta, and we will get to the point when we can do that here during the race, but for the most part, they are two totally different beasts.

ON POINTS DEFICIT WITH THREE RACES TO GO: "You just do the same things that you've been doing, and nothing is going to change. It is the same stuff that you've done all year to get you to this point, and one race didn't get us to this point, so we've been 100 (points) back, we've been 50 back, we've been 5 back, we've been in the lead, we've been all over the place, so it's been an interesting process. It's just that we didn't have one bad week, we had a few back weeks where we just had bad luck, and you can't control those things; just control the things that you can. We are racing as hard as we can and we'll see where it falls."

ON NASCAR.COM SURVEY OF 25 TOP BUSCH DRIVERS OF ALL-TIME: "Obviously, I don't know a lot about the Sam Ards, and the races when the series first started, but Mark Martin has been the best to do things. We have been pretty good at what we've done too, but I don't think we've accomplished nearly as much as Mark as far as winning races, but we've been able to win championships and win a lot of races. I don't know, we're okay, but I think Mark Martin's been the best."

ON RUNNING RACES IN THE DOLLAR GENERAL CAR, AS WELL AS THE No.33 CAR: "Right now it looks like we are going to do 12 and 12; 12 for KHI, and 12 for RCR (Richard Childress Racing).

ON THE POSSIBLE DECLINE OF CUP DRIVERS PARTICIPATING IN BUSCH RACES: "I don't think so. I think the only one I have heard talk about it is Carl (Edwards). I thin everyone else has bailed out for now. Every four or five years you get all worked back up to go after it again, but I think that people doing both is going to be maybe one. I think anytime you can make the guys that are running week in and week out that aren't running on the Cup side, make them a story for their sponsors. You know, if they aren't being talked about and aren't on television, it is hard to sell. From a team owner's standpoint, you have to have sponsors dollars to make it all happen. From that standpoint, I think it is going to make it a lot better, if we can make that happen."

ON RACING AT MEMPHIS AND THE FANS REACTION TO HIM BEING THERE: "That was the biggest reason why we went to Memphis (the fans), because we could have just said 'hey, we're not showing up', but there was 38,000 people there that bought tickets a long time ago, when everyone committed to racing there. We made a commitment to the sponsors, the fans, and we have stuck to our plan from the beginning to do everything that we have set out to do, and we have been fortunate to have been able to have pulled all of that off. The Busch Series has always drawn a reasonably good crowd when all of us weren't there at the stand-alones, but obviously the crowds have gotten bigger and we have hopefully exposed more people to the Busch Series and they keep coming."

ON IF HE WERE A KING FOR A DAY IN THE BUSCH SERIES: "I think the first thing that I would change would be that I would make five races that would be impossible for the Cup drivers to get to. The second thing I would do would be to put Cup rosters in place so that you couldn't use your pit crews from the Cup Series. And then I would seal the motors, so that you would have to run them twice. That would cut the motor bill in half and would save $500,000-$750,000 in motor costs. The fourth thing that I would do would be to cut the number of races back to somewhere around 30 or so, so then you can get it down to four or four and a half million dollars, which I think you could sell. Those are probably the top four things I would do. Sometimes it seems like you voice those opinions and they seem to fall on deaf ears on the NASCAR side."

ON THE IMPALA SS RETURNING TO NASCAR IN 2007: "I think that it's not really a big change. Whatever is best for the Chevrolet brand, and if that is what they deem they need to do, then we are all behind it, and looking forward to it."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kevin Harvick , Ron Fellows , Kertus Davis , Mark Martin
Teams Richard Childress Racing , CIP