KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER/FOLDSOFHONOR.ORG/RHEEM CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed how restrictor-plate racing has evolved this season, where he feels his team is at this point of the season, what he thinks it will take to secure a spot in the Chase with nine races remaining and much more. Full transcript.
TALK ABOUT THE RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACING EVOLVING AND YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND.
“Yeah, it’s kind of been interesting to see the progression of the way the rules have gone. I think this is probably the least amount that they’ve changed since we’ve gone to this particular rules package. Hopefully we’ve done a little bit better on our cooling system this time and we can push things a little bit harder on the race track. On the race track it’s kind of been split 50/50 as to how the race has wound up. So, it’s been not too bad. I always say a 50/50 chance of having a good day. Usually if you finish, you have a good day on these particular tracks.”
WHEN TRYING TO DECIDE WHO TO WORK WITH AT THE END OF THE RACE, DO YOU GO WITH FRIENDS OR PEOPLE YOU TRUST OR THE PERSON THAT YOUR CAR SEEMS TO WORK THE BEST WITH?
“It’s pretty much impossible to work all that out at this particular point just because of the way that the cooling goes. It’s kind of like it used to be, every man for himself. If you’re first you work with the guy that is behind you, and if you’re second you push the guy that’s in front of you.”
BRUTON SMITH RECENTLY SUGGESTED THAT MAYBE THROWING OUT SOME CAUTIONS TO BREAK UP THE LONG GREEN FLAG RUNS, WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THAT IDEA?
“Same guy that ruined Bristol.”
YOU MENTIONED TEAM MISTAKES AND THAT SORT OF THING, HOW DO YOU WORK THROUGH THOSE?
“Obviously we have to get better. We’ve worked through the pit crew stuff. We’ve worked through the qualifying stuff. We fixed some problems that we felt like we needed to get better on from the previous years. Those two scenarios are definitely better than they’ve been in several years. I think as we move toward the next nine weeks, we’ve basically got nine weeks to try to secure our space in the Chase, and nine weeks to fix the mistakes and make up some ground on the performance side.”
IS THERE A BABY WATCH UPDATE?
“DeLana is here. She’s about two weeks away. She’s feeling uncomfortable, but she’s done really good with it. It’s a little nerve wrecking at this point, but we just go off of what the doctor says and move forward.”
AUSTIN (DILLON) WAS IN HERE EARLIER AND SAID HE WAS PLAYING BASKETBALL WITH YOU AND MENTIONED HE WON THE LAST GAME YOU PLAYED, COULD YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE CAMARADERIE THAT YOU HAVE WITH THE DILLON’S? THOSE GUYS ARE VERY WELL-GROUNDED; CAN YOU COMMENT ON THAT AS WELL?
“Well, they are very well-grounded and as you see them come up through the ranks … I’m a little bit closer to Austin than to Ty because he’s been around longer, but you listen and you watch, and you see the things that he recognizes. When you think about it, those kids have been around racing their whole lives. Austin is just one of those kids that he could go and do anything he wanted to do, but this is what he wants to do. He puts a full effort into it and he’s getting the results out of it that he puts in to it. As far as basketball games go, we’ve got to let him win every once in a while. We do have fun though.”
WAS BRISTOL RUINED ORIGINALLY OR WITH THIS LATEST RENOVATION TO PUT IT BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS?
“Originally it was great. It was our most popular race.”
DO YOU SEE THIS RACE LOOKING DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT THAN THE TALLADEGA RACE DID, OR ROUGHLY THE SAME?
“The spoilers are still really small on the back of these cars. We haven’t had really any handling issues, but I think if that side was going to rare its head it would be here just with the temperatures and the way the cars could slide around a little more. We don’t anticipate that, but it could happen. This race is a lot different than Talladega just because there is not as much room to move around. So you have to press a little bit harder to keep your track position and to keep yourself in position toward the end.”
YOU MENTIONED EARLIER TRYING TO JUST KIND OF WALK YOUR WAY INTO THE CHASE, HOW DO YOU DO THAT?
“As you look toward the next nine weeks, for us we’re trying to avoid big mistakes and give away big chunks of points. The winning side of it, you can’t force those things. As you go through the years you understand that the more you try to force situations, the worse the result gets. Those things go in cycles. Last year we had some things go our way and we won some races, and won a couple that were circumstances. The circumstances we’ve had this year haven’t gone that particular direction so, it’s just something where you ride the waves and you try not to let the lows tear everything down and as you’re in the highs you enjoy them.”
FOLLOWING UP ON THE BABY QUESTION, DO YOU HAVE A BACK UP THIS WEEK?
“We don’t have any back-ups.”
WHERE EXACTLY DO YOU THINK YOUR TEAM FALLS RIGHT NOW?
“I think as much as we’ve complained about the results and the way things have gone, we still have to remember we still have a good chance to make the Chase. We’re sixth in the points with a fairly good size point gap over 11th. We don’t need to go out and do anything crazy. We’ve complained a lot about needing to get the cars better, but we’ve done okay at salvaging while things haven’t been where we think they need to be. So, we have to keep fixing things. Like I said the pit crew is doing a great job. Now we’re consistent but not consistent where we need to be and being able to win a couple of races here and there. That’s the main focus right now, just to get a little bit of speed out of the cars and be prepared and not screw up over the next nine weeks.”