Kevin Harvick: Team Chevy Driver Press Conference Transcript

External News Wire | 04/12/12

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Texas Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Texas Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ return to Rockingham Speedway and other topics.  Full Transcript.

TALK ABOUT RACING HERE AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: “It hasn’t been a very good race track for us over the last couple of years.  We have had okay finishes, but hadn’t felt like we have run great.  Obviously, we put a lot of time and effort into the weeks leading up to the race. Just trying to make sure that we didn’t make any mistakes of things that we needed to undo to come here and try to be better.  All in all we will go practice and see where we start and go from there.”

WHEN YOU COME TO TEXAS IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR ORGANIZATION YOU LOOK AS ONE YOU KNOW IS GOING TO RUN WELL AND BE A MAIN CONTENDER? “I think obviously the Roush cars have run well here.  (Tony) Stewart ran well here last time winning the race.  It is just a matter of doing our stuff right and trying to figure out the things that I like to feel in the car and things that we didn’t do right before.  Things that we think we need to do better this week is to just unload better and have a better starting spot to work from.  Last week was a little bit of a wake-up call for us. We had a great weekend altogether and just made some bad decisions race morning as a group.  I felt like that taught all of us as a group that we are still a fresh group together and we made some mistakes and just try not to do that again.”

HOW MUCH OF WHAT YOU LEARN DURING THE NIGHT RACE HERE TRANSLATES TO THE CHASE RACE THAT IS HELD DURING THE DAY IN THE FALL? “I think the practice sessions are at the wrong time that probably a lot more in practice applies.  We kind of are in a position to where you have to go off of previous history as to what you think you have to do to your car to guess at what the track conditions are going to be like in the race.  So much changes during the year.  This race being so early in the year and that race being so late in the year, the cars will give you somewhat of a baseline to start with. The cars will progress so much as we go through the year.  You will have a different place to start by the time you come back here.  Hopefully, we can run well and that will give you just a baseline to talk about with our simulation guys and the engineers that put the stuff together.  They can work with the crew chief to come up with what worked for us this time and what we’ve progressed to at that point.”

HAS THAT CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS? FOUR OR FIVE YEARS AGO WOULD THEIR BE LESS CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON LIKE THAT? “There is always progression in this garage.  I think if you look at the Truck and the Nationwide garages probably not so much.  You just put whatever you raced in and probably come back and be fine.  You constantly have to try to figure out how to move forward. We were kind of a subject of that last week as we tried to move forward and took two steps back. Everything we wanted to do didn’t work out for us.  Now going back to Martinsville you will go back to that same basic baseline that we have had for the last couple of years that has run well.  Same thing will happen here, you will have that baseline and you will try to progress it forward.  If you don’t you go back to where you were.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE LIKE TO GO THROUGH THE SORT OF WINNING DRAUGHT THAT DALE EARNHARDT JR. IS GOING THROUGH?  WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE LIKE TO FACE THE QUESTION OF ‘WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO WIN AGAIN’ EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND? “We went through right at a 100 races.  Over the last few years we have been pretty fortunate to have the success that we have had.  Just to live in his (Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s) shoes on a daily or weekly basis and answer some of the goofy ass questions you guys ask him is one thing in itself (laughs). To have to answer those questions and have to constantly live up to them, he is running good that is the good thing about it.  He doesn’t have to answer them near as much as he did before. Now that he is running in the top-five every week and leading laps and doing the things he is doing.  It’s just a matter of all the stuff falling together.  The pressure that the sport puts on him in general weather he is running good or bad.  The first thing you guys will ask him after he wins a race is ‘when are you going to win a championship’.  It’s like the never ending battle for him.  I feel sorry for him sometimes.” 

DO YOU SEE ANY PARTICULAR REASON THAT IT HAS BEEN RELATIVELY QUIET THIS YEAR WITH DRIVERS RUNNING INTO ONE ANOTHER? “I think circumstances dictate a lot of that.  I think if you look back, the second race last year at Martinsville was just a complete demolition derby.  I’m sure everyone is trying to get off on the right foot and trying to get themselves positioned as teams, organizations to get in position to race to get into the Chase.  Everyone is trying to win races so you need as few enemies as possible at this point.”

AT SOME POINT WILL YOU TURN UP THE INTENSITY?  A LOT HAS BEEN MADE OF HOW LAID BACK YOU ARE CURRENTLY WITH THE CHANGES IN YOUR LIFE, BUT AT SOME POINT WILL THE INTENSITY PICK UP?  “We sat down at the beginning of the year and just tried to figure out how we were going to progress more productively.  That opportunity was there to I guess be a jerk last week and we talked about it as a group. We figured out what we did wrong and we went on vacation. We felt like we had a lot of the questions to the quiz.  I think there is still going to be situations where I don’t do or say the right thing, but that is just human nature.  The good thing is we have had speed in the car every week.  We hadn’t put it all together but the cars have been fast enough.  There will be a point where they don’t run fast enough.  It’s going to be a lot more productive if we can sit down and figure it out as a group. To use the resources that we have at the shop to put the pieces together and solve the problem quicker as a group than it is to fuss and fight for two or three weeks. Then have Richard (Childress, team owner) sit us down and tell us that we need to get along and then all of a sudden we fix the problem instead of in two weeks to fix it in four weeks and then you’ve wasted two weeks.  It’s just trying to be more efficient and more productive.”

YOU HAVE DONE REALLY WELL AT KANSAS WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO GET A WIN AT KANSAS? “A lot of the same things that we have done should work.  As have happened in the past.  It’s a fun race track to race on because it is so wore out.  The cars slide around, that part will be the same.  We just have to put a whole day together.  We have to get on a little bit of a momentum roll with doing all the things that we are supposed to be doing right, not make the little mistakes.  Weather it is in the seat, in the garage or wherever it may be.  The speed has been there we just have to put it all together and it’s just a matter of time.”

WERE YOU ABLE TO GET OUT TO SEE COLBY LEWIS (PITCHER FOR THE TEXAS RANGERS) LAST NIGHT? COLBY HAS SAID THAT HE HAS ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A RACER, DID YOU EVER WANT TO BE A PITCHER?  “You should see him drive.  He has quite the go-kart track.  Obviously, Colby Lewis is a pitcher for the Texas Rangers.  He is from Bakersfield, California (same hometown of Kevin Harvick).  I got to know him a little bit over the last year or so.  He has a hell of a dirt track at his house.  He is probably a little bit braver than I am as to how close the back straight-a-way wall is to the brick wall that he has at his house.  He is into racing.  Those guys are a lot bigger than I am.  They can throw a lot harder.  That was never something that was in the cards for me.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE SPORT RETURNING TO ROCKINGHAM?  “For me that was a weekend of strange things and new beginnings and a lot of mixed emotions that went into that particular weekend.  It’s great that the track is still around and the trucks are going back.  Myself, I never had a lot of success there.  We didn’t race but I think a couple of years there.  It’s good to see an older track get a date and hopefully you will see a couple more of them maybe come back as we go down the road.  Those historic race tracks mean a lot to the sport in my opinion.”

ONE OF THE BIG STORIES IN THE OFF SEASON WAS CLINT BOWYERS MOVE TO MWR (MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING).  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HIS SUCCESS THUS FAR THIS SEASON?  “I’m happy for him.  I wish everything would have worked out and Clint (Bowyer) could have stayed at our team.  Those guys made some big commitments to their team financially with people and drivers and getting everything situated to try to perform better.  It’s worked out for them.  I’m happy for Clint obviously; he is a good friend of mine.  I’d like to see him to continue to be successful and they’ve done well so far.  I’m happy for him.”

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