CHEVY NSCS AT POCONO ONE: Kevin Harvick Press Conference Transcript



American Muscle



June 10, 2011

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 OKUMA CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and discussed racing at Pocono, his team owner, fuel mileage and other topics. Full transcript:

TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE AN OWNER THAT TAKES CARE OF HIS GUYS: “Richard (Childress) is one of those guys who has driven race cars and understands what comes with being inside the car and the frustrations. A lot of times Richard sides with the drivers, more times than not, in our competition meetings, on the race track, off the race track and always has our backs. We’ve all got his back. As you can tell, he’s always got ours. It is fun to drive for a guy that has got the passion and the desire to do what you have to do to be a part of this sport. He is a great guy and I love being on his team.”

DO WE NEED THE ‘HAVE AT IT BOYS’ TO THE EXTENT WE HAVE SEEN OR DO WE NEED A KINDER, GENTLER NASCAR? “You are asking me that question? (LAUGHS) Kinder and gentler is boring, so, things happen and there is a lot of emotion that comes with this sport. To have that caged up and have that not seen, let everyone see, how much is involved in this sport and how much everybody cares about this sport would be crazy.”

FUEL MILEAGE HAS BEEN A BIG ISSUE THE PAST FEW WEEKS, HOW BIG OF AN ISSUE IS IT AT THIS TRACK (POCONO)? “I think the fuel strategy, I think you’ve seen. I think the tire strategy, I know the last couple weeks have definitely have been just fuel mileage. I think the few weeks before that have been a lot of tire strategy going all the way back to Darlington. I think the reason that you see so many people taking chances on strategy is because of the importance of trying to make the Chase. With these two Wild Card spots, a win or two and putting yourself in an okay spot in the points might get you in. So you have to be willing to take a risk to win these races right now. Whether it is fuel mileage or tire strategy or whatever the case may be, you have got to have everything go your way on a particular with the strategies and things to work out. So, this race is tough because it is so far around and the fuel window lap-wise is very short. You have to have it all go your way here to.”

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET A WIN HERE? “I felt like we had a car capable of doing what we needed to do at both races last year. We definitely have to keep doing the same things that we did and try to move forward and get just a touch better. I like coming here. It is a fun track as a driver to come to and race and looking forward to the weekend.”

A LOT WOULD HAVE TO GO WRONG FOR YOU TO NOT MAKE THE CHASE WITH YOUR THREE WINS, HOW DOES THAT CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY THE NEXT 13 RACES? “We’ve already been down the experiment road and we have zeroed-in on some things we need to clean up and work on as far as packages at different race tracks and things like that. We’ve already been going down that road. I think as far as winning races is really what it is all about for us right now. Trying to put ourselves in position to do that and hopefully capitalize on a few more before the Chase starts. The way you have to think about these races right now is you can’t think that if you are running in the top-five, you can’t think like a top-five guy. You have got to think like you are racing in the middle of a pack and gambling. You have to gamble and you have to be competitive to win these races right now.”

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO AT MICHIGAN NEXT WEEK TO BE COMPETITIVE THERE? “It all just depends on how your car is working. How you are handling. We were fortunate enough to win the last race we ran there. The tires wear out; you have a lot of options as a driver to move from the bottom of the race track to the top and I think that is why everybody likes going there. It is a fun race track to race on. You have got to have good fuel mileage. You have to have a good handling car. You have to have the whole package.”


WHAT IS THE MATURATION PROCESS FOR A YOUNG DRIVER ON HOW HE MATURES THROUGH THE SPORT? “Well, this is a tough garage to negotiate. There’s a lot of people in this garage that are friends, that have been here for a long time. There is kind of a mindset of how it should all work. Sometimes, I’ve been there, you get outside that mindset and they will just kinda push you to the side and things become a lot harder than they need to be. So, it is definitely hard to find your place. I came in and pushed and shoved and talked and did all the things probably the wrong way, but it will teach you how to do it the right way really fast.”

HOW DO YOU THINK KYLE BUSCH IS DOING? “You know, he’s been here long enough, he should understand.”

WHAT IS THE HARDEST ASPECT OF RUNNING 400 MILES AT MICHIGAN? “It all depends on how your day is going. It really does. If you are having a good day, it’s not very hard anywhere to drive a good handling race car around and tell your guys what it needs and everybody is in a good mood. If you are having a bad day, you can get behind at Michigan really fast and usually when you are hooked up at Michigan, the leader’s in clean air and moving through traffic pretty well and if you are mid-pack, you can find yourself getting behind and a lap down pretty fast because you are going to have a green flag pit stop and you are going to have a whole bunch of green flag laps. You have just got to be going from the time the green flag drops and keep up with your car and keep yourself up in the pack.”

IF YOU WATCH A NASCAR RACEDAY, WHY DO YOU WATCH AND WHAT MAKES IT SUCH A GOOD SHOW? “I just like to see the funny faces and sounds of Kenny Wallace’s face. That is usually the only reason I watch.”

ARE YOU SURPRISED AT ALL THAT YOU HAVE THREE WINS TO THIS POINT IN THE SEASON OR DO YOU THINK YOU SHOULD HAVE HAD MORE? “I think we have been in position. We’ve won some races we shouldn’t have won and we have lost some races we should have won. I think last year we should have won more races and we were able to capitalize on some of the situations that we probably should have capitalized on last year.  For us, the performance has been good for the last couple of years. The capability of the team has been there for a couple of years. We’ve just been able to get off to a good start and make it happen so it doesn’t surprise me.”

DO YOU GET OVER THINGS WITH OTHER DRIVERS YOU HAVE CLASHED WITH IN THE PAST? “You do. You do sometimes. And then sometimes there are just those guys that you just can’t do that with. You definitely can get over things through time, but, situations happen and things happen and conversations come up with guys that you don’t necessarily like. You just have got to let things go. But sometimes there are just people you can’t do that with.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PERCEPTION IS OF KYLE BUSCH IN THIS GARAGE? “I think that is pretty self explanatory.”

WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE FOR YOUR TEAM TO GET TO VICTORY LANE HERE AT POCONO? “I think we just have to do the same things we have been doing here. We’ve had great cars the last couple of times we’ve been here. It is just like anywhere else, we have to put the whole day together and have everything fall your way at the end of the day. Everybody has done a great job and we will just keep at it. You never know. We can win anywhere, you just never know if it is your weekend.”

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