NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 7, 2011
KEVIN HARVICK, NO.29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed his Championship run, the Phoenix test, racing at Martinsville and other topics. Full transcript:
ON HIS MINDSET ABOUT BEING AT THE FOURTH RACE OF THE FINAL 10-RACES OF THE YEAR
“We’re pretty relaxed; and have not done anything spectacular or anything really stupid yet, so we are just kind of middle of the road, grinding away, and that is really what you have to do at this point. I really feel like the second half of the races are better for our race team than the first half so, we will just keep doing what we’re doing.”
CAN YOU EXPAND ON YOUR COMMENT” IT’S NOT ABOUT WINNING, IT’S ABOUT WINNING A CHAMPIONSHIP?
“I think you have seen a couple of guys totally shoot themselves in the foot, and you can take yourself out of this thing pretty easy, by making big mistakes or doing something that gets you a 30th place finish. If you can avoid those things you can keep yourself in it and I think that was one good thing about winning four races at the beginning of the year, it gave us a few extra points to have a little bit of cushion here at the beginning. Not to say that we do not need to go out and win a race in the chase or get more consistently in the top-5 over the next few weeks, not to say that we do not need to do that but, it is a lot easier to take yourself out of it right now, than it is anything else by making mistakes that get you those 30 some place finishes. Just got to control the things that you can control and minimize the damage on the days on the days when things aren’t going well.”
WHAT ARE YOU FELLINGS ABOUT TALLADEGA AND PHOENIX WITH THE RULE CHANGE AND REPAVING?
“There are a lot of questions for sure. I think we can address the Phoenix thing right off the bat. I think if they get the second grove burned in, it’s going to be a really good race. I think that the way the race track has turned out and every time the groove got a little bit higher the speeds got a little bit faster. I really think that if the groove was another line up the speeds are going to be even faster but you are still going to have that bottom groove burned in. If they do not get the second groove burned in, it is going to be hard to pass and it could be another fuel mileage race. As it ages and the potential ware in on the racetrack of weather and asphalt loses a little grip, it is going to be a great place to race. Talladega is just Talladega. We have a few new rules and a few things to work out; we have the fuel injection test the day before the race that is probably not about fuel injection testing anymore. It is one of those things where there are a lot of questions but we also have a lot of answers. We have spent two days in Phoenix, we are going to have a full day in Talladega, and you know I guess Martinsville, would probably be the other one right? Where you can get in somebody else’s mess, gonna keep it exciting.”
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU HAD TO LEAVERN ABOUT MARTINSVILLE TO RUN IN THE TOP 10 AS YOU HAVE SO MANY TIMES
“Are we talking Martinsville or Charlotte? Ok well Martinsville it was just one of those places where we could not put a whole day together for a long time. The first couple of years I just crashed. Actually I think the first year, I got black flagged for spinning Bobby Hamilton out, with about ten laps to go but, I think Martinsville is just one of those places on the CUP circuit that just takes some time to figure out exactly why you do not need to charge the corners so hard and let the car roll and work on your car up off the corner. After the first couple of years I felt like we were able to, I don’t know, just kind of figure out what we needed to do set-up wise but we never could put the whole day together to get the finishes. Over the last couple of year I felt like we are finally getting some finishes to running fairly well.”
HOW MUCH OF YOU CAN TASTE THE CHAMPSIONSHIP? HOW MUCH DIFFERENT ARE YOU DOING TO TRY TO GET THERE?
“ I don’t know that it feels a lot different than last year did, you hope you can figure out to stay a few further points closer or ahead would be the great way to do it but, I feel like everybody is more comfortable with the situation this year than we were last year. I look at this as really probably only the third real opportunity that we have had to win the championship but we have only raced three weeks. This is week four and we could get to the end of week five and have things not have gone great or have been in a bad spot and have something happen and be way behind. It is still pretty early to have the pressure ramped up to where it would be to at Phoenix and Homestead if you are still in the championship. Right now it is really just kind of business as usual; don’t shoot yourself in the foot.”
AT WHAT POINT IN THIS CHASE DOES IT NOT BECOME BUSINESS AS USUAL?
“I think as you get closer, I really think that once you come out of Martinsville and Talladega, I think you know where you stand as far as those last few weeks. I think that is where everyone is at. You try to keep yourself close and see how you come out of those couple races and then the last three the pressure will ramp up pretty good.”
WHEN THE ENTIRE RACE ORGANIZATION IS AFFECTED BY A CHANGE, HOW ARE INDIVIDUAL TEAMS AFFECTED?
“It will probably make our teams better. If we are only three teams, just for the fact that there is more “A” people to move around the shop, some of those “C” people get shuffled out. If we do go back to three, you take the best of all the people and you put them in the positions that need to be filled. I have been there and we have made chases and raced for Championships with three teams and we are racing for a championship with four teams this year. With the Nationwide stuff coming on, still going to do the truck stuff over there, it is really going to be the same amount of people.”
TALK ABOUT THE QUALIFYING SCHEDULE, QUALIFYING ON FRIDAY VS. SATURDAY AND HOW THAT AFFECTS YOU:
“Well you can’t go home and assume that qualifying is going to be on Friday next week because I don’t think the qualifying times have been the same so far in the chase. I would rather qualify on Friday after we get done practicing and it is fresh in your mind. The biggest thing we need is consistent weather. That helps us a lot. Last week the weather changed a tremendous amount from Friday when we practiced in race trim it was 12-13 degrees cooler on race day, misting and cold. I think as we went through the race last week, we didn’t keep up with the race track, and didn’t adjust far enough to keep the car as good as it was on Friday. I think with that Saturday practice it will allow us to get the car closer with more rubber on the racetrack more current conditions than just showing up on Friday and doing all your practice and then getting there for one maybe two laps on Saturday is tough on everybody to try to get your car right.”
HOW DO YOU LOOK AT BATTLING JIMMIE JOHNSON FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
“We have two battles right now. One is against ourselves and the other is against the guys in second in points. That is the way we look at it. Don’t care where Jimmie Johnson is; don’t care where anyone else is. We are concerned about the No. 99 and what we have to do to beat that particular car right now. Controlling the things that we can control as a race team, I feel like if we do that we are going to maximize the potential that we have on that particular day and not try to add more to it than is really necessary.”
HAS THE PHOENIX TRACK CHANGED, IS IT WIDE OPEN OR IS IT STILL BASICALLY THE SAME?
“You didn’t watch anything did you? From practice at Phoenix. (Laughs) you did? Ok well if you watched, you didn’t pay attention, because the track is not even close to the way that it used to be. I think the asphalt was 30 years old. Now it has progressive banking in the corners and the straight-a-way has more banking than either corner. It is a tremendous amount different; I think everybody had a good couple of days to figure out what it needs to be. If the second groove comes in, it is going to be a really good race. If the second groove doesn’t come in, it is going to be a fuel mileage, single-file, tough to pass.”
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