CHEVY NSCS AT HOMESTEAD: Kevin Harvick Post-Race Press Conf. Transcript


FORD 400

American Muscle


November 21, 2010




KERRY THARP:  Joining us is our third place finisher in points and also third place finisher in today’s Ford 400 and that is Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.

            KERRY THARP:  Kevin Harvick, certainly a gutsy effort, gamey effort out there, had a super season, as did the 11 car.  Your thoughts about today.

            KEVIN HARVICK: Well, we just had a good car today and we did almost everything that we needed to do.  We put ourselves in position to run up front, and we ran up front and you know, in the end, we just got beat there on that last restart and they just out ran us.

            All in all, we went downswing and that’s all you can ask for.  They did a great job.

            Q.  Kevin, did you get a thorough explanation on your pit road speeding penalty, and are you settled with it?

            KEVIN HARVICK:  I don’t think that penalty will ever settle in my stomach.  When you read me off of my pit road times of 49.6, 49.4 50.8 and then 49.6; and there’s only a handful people that get to see them, I won’t ever settle for that.

            I don’t know how you can be speeding when you’re on the bumper in front of you if the other guy is not speeding.  So that’s about it. 

            Q.  Kevin, can you reflect on from where you guys came from a year ago to where you are now?

            KEVIN HARVICK:  Well, it’s a 180 for us.  Last year at this time we all wanted to    we all wanted to put a gun in our mouth.  Didn’t know what we needed to do to fix it, and we were running better but we didn’t know if that was going to continue into next year.  The guys, we came out of the gate strong.  We ran strong all year.  And in the end, we came up a little bit short but from where we were last year to this steppingstone, for us to build on is a whole lot better than where we were a year to go to be consistent racing for championships. 

            Q.  Just as a follow up, for Kevin, you mentioned that your team went down swinging but so did Denny’s.  When you are swinging away and he still comes out with the title, do you step away with some degree of not only respect but awe for the fact that he’s done it five times in a row?

            KEVIN HARVICK:  I think you have to respect it for sure, knowing how hard it is to do this, I think that you have to step back and look at it and realize what they have accomplished is pretty remarkable.  But for us, I think you step back looking at they are also vulnerable.  This is the first crack at it.  They have obviously done a great job but there’s a few chinks in the armor and I think everybody has caught up to being more competitive to them.  I think hopefully this is something that    they are going to be competitive going forward, and hopefully we are as competitive going forward as well.

            Q.  I know this is difficult, but the guy    because you wanted to win it but the guy who just won it has won five championships in a row; can you put that in perspective at all?  Do you guys think about where Jimmie Johnson is going to be ranked after this championship?

            KEVIN HARVICK:  I don’t think it’s difficult.  I mean, this is what you race for.  You race for championships and we have raced for the championship week in and week out.  There’s only one winner and there’s a whole bunch of losers.

            We put up a valiant effort and what they have done, I just saw the list of the couple of seven time champions in front of him, so I think that one is pretty easy to put into perspective how much they have accomplished.

As far as the 18 incident, he raced me like a clown all day:  Three wide, on the back bumper, running into me, and I just had enough.

            Q.  For both of you, is there one moment that you could change over the course of the Chase, if you could take it back and do it over again, one moment or one race; you were so close.  Any little thing could have made a difference.

            KEVIN HARVICK:  For me I would take the first five back with the pit crew that I had the last five.

            Q.  You mentioned this earlier, when you look back on the season as a whole, you talked about what a 180 degree turnaround it was from last season.  Do you think you will remember or appreciate that more or coming so close to winning a title?

            KEVIN HARVICK:  No, I remember where we sat when I left this race last year.  You always want to win but I’m not going to be sit here and be disappointed.  We raced as hard as we could race this year, with everybody putting up every piece of effort that they had, week in and week out, and I know what it feels like to run like we did last year.  So I’m more excited about looking to be consistent and racing this way than I am    I’m not going to look back.  This is going to make us stronger.  We have got a good race team that’s going to stick around for a while, and you know, I’m just happy to be a part of it right now.

            Q.  You said just happy to be a part of it, that’s sort of what I wanted to ask you.  You have enjoyed these last few weeks, your personality, you seem like a completely different person and you said you enjoyed a press conference much how much have you just been thrilled to be a part of this?

            KEVIN HARVICK:  This is the easy part is getting to this point.  Last year we weren’t in the Chase.  We got that accomplished by a bunch.  And you know, once you get to the last week, you’re supposed to enjoy that part of it.  You’ve got a shot and that’s really all you can ask for.  How the circumstances play out from there is really kind of    there’s a lots of things in your control but there’s a lot of things out of your control, too, especially with the position that we were in today.

            So you go out and you race as hard as you can and you try to put yourself in position to gain points and do the best you can with that team, and I just wasn’t going to get caught up in worrying about where the 11 or where the 48 was.  We needed to go out and win and put ourselves at the front of the pack to try to do that.

            I have enjoyed it.  I always tell people I would much rather do    I’ll do any press conference you want away from the racetrack because when I get to the racetrack, the switch flips, and it’s not really the first thing on my mind.

            But away from the racetrack, I’ll give you guys all you want.

            Q.  Just about Gil, the changes that they made, what has he meant to you?  You guys have been together earlier in your career and then you wanted changes, but how has Gil really pulled that group together this season?

            KEVIN HARVICK:  That group has been together for a long time, except for my part as a driver.  They have been together for a long time and Gil, he’s very good with the people, which can be my short falls a lot of the times during a race weekend.  So he rallies the troops and keeps everybody upbeat and keeps me upbeat, and really, he’s that guy that is going to wait for somebody else to try different things as they go through the progression of the car.

            So he’s an aggressive racer but conservative on a lot of things.  He’s very smart about what he puts on the car and when he puts it on there and how we go to the racetrack and race.  We may not have the fastest car every week but he’s very confident in the parts and pieces on the car; that they are going to stay on there but he’s definitely the leader of the team, that’s for sure.

            KERRY THARP:  Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, thank you so much for putting on such a great show in 2010 and we’ll see you soon.  Thank you.

            FastScripts by ASAP Sports …

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