Watkins Glen: Harvick - GM Top-10 interview


AMD AT THE GLEN - Weekly Top 10


BY RUNNING IN THE BUSCH SERIES AND NEXTEL CUP SERIES, IS IT AN ADVANTAGE TO HAVE MORE TIME OUT ON THE TRACK THAN SOME OF THE OTHER GUYS? "I think it doesn't hurt anything. It helps get you in the rhythm. It helps the driver more than anything. The setups are quite a bit different but all in all I think it's good for me."

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS TRACK? "I enjoy road racing so it's something that I look forward to each year so the couple of races we get to do on the road courses are a lot fun for me. We've been fortunate to have a lot of success here and hopefully we can keep that up."

WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO ROAD RACE? "I started road racing when I was racing go-karts. That's all I did. We didn't have ovals on the West Coast so I raced go-karts on road courses from the time I was five until I was 16. I ran a couple of road races in the touring divisions on the West Coast."

DO YOU WISH THERE WAS A ROAD COURSE IN THE CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "If you're going to determine the champion off of 10 races, I think it needs to be part of the Chase myself."

LEADING THE BUSCH SERIES POINTS AND BEING A TRUCK OWNER, DO YOU THINK THEY SHOULD ADD THE CHASE FORMAT TO THOSE TWO SERIES? "I think it would add a lot of excitement to the series. I think a lot of guys in the Busch and Truck (Series) and I know our team, it takes them a little bit to get going at the beginning of the year. It'd make it a lot more exciting."

ON GOING TO MICHIGAN: "Michigan was good to us the first time. Our car was good and hopefully we've made it a little bit better than it was last time. Michigan is one of those places where you can move around and make your car work really good if it's not handling real good. It's a lot of fun to race on from the top to the bottom so I'm looking forward to it.

DOES THE TRACK CHANGE A LOT OVER 400 MILES? "It does change a lot. The groove kind of gets wore out and then you have to hunt around to find some more grip."

HAVE YOU HAD MEETINGS WITH NASCAR ON FINDING A SOLUTION FOR MAKING THE BUSCH SERIES BETTER? HAVE YOU SAT DOWN WITH NASCAR TO TALK ABOUT COST SAVING IDEAS? "I don't know that they've (NASCAR) specifically met with me but we have talked about it just in general conversation, nothing as far as a specific meeting or anything like that. I know they're working to trying to get the costs down in the Truck and Busch cars to keep it competitive and keep everybody able to participate."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR EXPERIENCE HERE GIVES YOU AN ADVANTAGE OVER SOME OF THE OTHER DRIVERS? "I don't think so. Jeff Gordon has been here quite a bit so there are a lot of guys that have a lot of experience here. I don't think I have an advantage in this garage."

ON A ROAD COURSE RACE BEING SO CLOSE TO THE CHASE: "I think it's another race for us. We know what our schedule is and you have to have them at some point. I think it's good. It breaks the schedule up a little bit at the last part of the year before the Chase."

CAN YOU COMPARE THE RCR HORSEPOWER LAST YEAR TO THIS YEAR AND HOW MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE IT HAS MADE FOR YOU: "Everything has changed at RCR and I don't think it's the engines that make the cars run faster. The engines are better. The cars are better. Everything is a little bit better. We still have some work to do on our engines and our cars and everything that we got but everything is better and everything is running really good. We just got to keep progressing in that direction but it's not just one thing. It's not just the engines that make it run better."

IS THERE A FINE LINE WITH BEING CAUTIOUS WHEN YOU'RE SO CLOSE TO THE CHASE? "I think you just go for it, man. That's what gets you to this point. You just go as fast as you can go because everybody that's in the Chase or outside of the Chase, everybody is fast. You have to run as hard as you can run and try to put yourself in position where you need to be and if you don't you're going to run 20th. You have to go pretty much as hard as you can go to make it happen."

WITH THINGS BEING BETTER OVERALL, DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE IN THE POSITION TO MAKE A RUN FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "I think we're in an OK position. We just can't make any mistakes. As long as we don't do that I think we're OK. There are some things that you can't control and things happen so it's still a lot of pressure on everybody to make it happen and perform and do the things you need to do to get in the Chase. Right now it's going to come down to who is going to make the least mistakes in the next five weeks."

IS THE ROAD COURSE GOING TO THROW SOME DRIVERS OFF BECAUSE IT'S SO UNPREDICTABLE? "Oh yeah. It's going to be interesting regardless just for the fact that it is a road course and there's a lot of chance to get in trouble and a lot of opportunity to break stuff. It's something that definitely throws a twist in it here at the end. You can make a lot of points or you can lose a lot of points so it's real easy to do one way or another."

ON TIME RESTRAINTS WITH BEING AN OWNER AND A DRIVER AND THIS SCHEDULE AND MARK MARTIN SAYING HE DOESN'T HAVE THE ENGERY FOR THAT: "He's older (laughs). It's something that I enjoy doing. I don't have any kids. I don't really do anything else other than race so that's kind of my hobby, what I like to do in my spare time. When I do have spare time I spend it at the shop or (doing) whatever it takes to make it all go around. Driving the Cup car is a huge commitment and then throw in driving the Busch car. There's a lot of things going on but I enjoy it. I feel like I found a good balance with time for everything."

HOW DO YOU AS AN OWNER GIVE YOUNG DRIVERS THE TIME TO MOVE UP YET GAIN EXPERIENCE? "I don't think anybody like Carl Edwards or any of the guys that came up the last few years (like) Kyle Busch have had any problems. If you find the guy that can do it, they can do it and things are going to go good and you're going to see those flashes of brilliance come out of them and know that they can do it once they get the experience. You have to see some shining star of hope. I don't think they saw any signs of hope and that's probably why they made a change. It's definitely possible to get a guy and make him come up and do what he needs to do and get him the experience. You have to take the time in that first year to take the bumps in the road and the sponsor has to be good with it."

WILL THE SPONSOR WAIT AROUND LIKE THAT? "Dollar General has been really good with Burney (Lamar). They let us put Jeff in there one week to let us evaluate the car. They understand that there's going to be some bumps in the road. He's had those flashes of brilliance so they've been very patient.

They're looking forward to next year and doing what they have to do to hopefully be in the top 10 and top five and have a chance to win some more races. They expressed that that's what they wanted coming in so they've stood behind him and stood behind us and it's been fun to watch it grow but you have to take those bumps before you can get to where you want to be."

AFTER THE BUSCH RACE DO YOU HAVE A TEAM MEETING TO DISCUSS WHAT YOU LEARNED FROM THE BUSCH RACE TO GO INTO SUNDAY'S RACE? "Todd (Berrier, crew chief) and I will talk about it. Obviously he's doing the crew chief stuff on the Busch car for the last week here. Most of the time Todd and those guys and the other crew chiefs will be on pit road and talk about it. We won't sit down but we'll pretty much already know what we'll need to do."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch