Ford Performance NASCAR: Fontana (Kevin Harvick Media Availability)

by Official Release On Fri, Mar. 15, 2019

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Friday, March 15, 2019
EVENT: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Driver Availability (Kevin Harvick)

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang — WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PIT ROAD RULES IN QUALIFYING? “Honestly I don’t know why we haven’t had them until now. Obviously with the incident we had wherever we were, Atlanta, it became aware. I think it is something that we probably should have had in place from the beginning. We have had pit road speeds, they just haven’t been enforced like they will be now. I think it is a good thing. You have different agendas and different guys. We don’t need anybody hurt.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS WILL RACE LIKE? ANY IDEA? “No clue.”

DO YOU THINK GIVEN ALL YOU KNOW ABOUT TIRE MANAGEMENT AND A LOT OF YOUNG DRIVERS HAVEN’T EXPERIENCED WHAT YOU HAVE WITH WORN OUT TRACKS, DOES IT GIVE YOU VETERAN GUYS AN ADVANTAGE AT A PLACE LIKE THIS? “I think in the last three weeks you have seen the veteran guys shine. I used to tell Danica Patrick this all the time, ‘I have 25 years on you and you will never catch up.” And that is the truth. Experience matters, more so in our sport than maybe any other sport. The knowledge of the race track, things you have been through, things you have done. There will be some guys, let’s use Carl Edwards as an example. He went through the Xfinity Series and caught on really fast, caught on in Cup really fast and it all just happened for him. There is so much change this year. You have to lean on that past experience. For us, I feel like that is why we have had decent finishes the first few weeks. I don’t think as a group we feel like our cars are where they need to be but that experience has led to decent finishes so we can change the things we want to when we get home. Experience is always going to matter, especially here. The cars are faster than I thought they would be here. I qualifying trim you are letting off and it is hard to hit the right spot. When you see the draft and the people grouped up tighter this time when it comes qualifying time, handling will be more of an issue. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. This place is going to put on a good race. You can just run all over the race track. You can put slow cars, fast cars, low downforce and high downforce and this track is going to be racey. It should be fun.”

GENE HAAS THOUGHT THAT HAVING THREE DIFFERENT PACKAGES IN THE FIRST THREE RACES AFTER DAYTONG MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH SHR NOT BEING AS COMPETITIVE AS YOU ARE USED TO BEING. “I think we are seeing some of the unintended consequences of this package because it is a lot of work. It isn’t what everybody expected form the testing with the drafting and low drag and things you are prepared for. The aero balance and all the things that come with that. For us, I feel like we have had top five, top three cars the last three weeks. They are just not quite winning cars. I think as you look at it, I think we have just raced a superspeedway package we aren’t going to race anymore. A package at Atlanta that we might not race much and then the last two weeks. You have had cars all over the country. It is really just a survival game at this point trying to keep up with the schedule. We are learning at such a rapid pace right now that the changes to the car will be extreme but the time you get to Texas.”

DO YOU THINK IF WE WOULD HAVE RUN THIS PACKAGE A COUPLE TIMES LAST YEAR IT WOULD HAVE HELPED THIS YEAR? “It wouldn’t have hurt.”

SO THE TEAMS THAT PLANNED FOR MORE DRAFTING, THEY BROUGHT THEIR CARS ALL TRIMMED OUT AND EVERYBODY GOT STUCK WITH THEIR MINDSET FOR THIS WEST COAST SWING? “Pretty much. I think you will have more packages once you get home. I think you will have more cars – you are going to have five or six different styles of cars and you are going to have to R&D things that are on five or six different packages. It is an extreme amount of work for the teams. I would view as one of the things that caught a lot of people off guard are the differences you will have to have from race track to race track with the things you do to the car and how they work. The workload is going to be absolutely extreme on the race teams this year because of all the different packages. The package is the same but how much differently you have to build everything.”

SO WHERE WE MIGHT HAVE HAD PARITY AMOUNT THE MIDDLE TEAMS HERE, ONCE YOU GET BACK TO WORK THE BIGGER TEAMS WILL PERSEVERE AS NORMAL? “That is never going to change. That hasn’t changed. The time and distance may have changed from where first to last is, but I think the teams will line up the same way. I don’t see the middle tier or back part of the field getting closer to the big teams, really I wouldn’t say it is this package or the last package. I don’t think that is going to happen in any package.”

DOES THE WRECK HERE LAST YEAR EVERY HAUNT YOU? “I honestly had forgotten we wrecked until you brought it up. I could care less. Sometimes I wreck. Sometimes I win. Honestly, I have grown so numb to what people think or the things I have done that I just love going to a race track with a fresh mindset on a week to week basis. I have learned that what I did last week has no merit in what I need to do this week. I don’t know. I guess I have done this for so long that I just have a short memory. I can laugh those things off.”

IS THE STUFF WITH THE DIFFERENT PACKAGES FOR THE CARS ANOTHER REASON TO SHORTEN THE SCHEDULE? “I am always going to agree with you about shortening the schedule. Always. This is the old opinion that you guys have heard 100 times. I think there are race tracks that have two races that don’t deserve two races and I still feel strongly that we need to end the season sooner and get rid of some race tracks and their dates and it would be easy to do. In the end, the race tracks are making so much money that it is a hard argument when you are telling somebody that the best thing for the sport is to take a way a race and they are making 100-180 million or 200 million dollars of profit a year in a publicly traded company. That is the biggest hurdle. We are all here to make money. Everyone in here is trying to run a business. Everyone wants to make a profit. It is just that is a natural business decision that you want to protect your turf. I think we all agree that the best thing for the sport is a shorter schedule, end the season sooner, more short tracks. We all love Nashville and love the idea of rotating the All-Star race around and rotating the playoff races around and rotating the championship race around. We aldl love those ideas but it is a damn hard project to make happen because of the fact that you have two publicly traded companies that own those race tracks.”

WOULD YOU ADVOCATE FOR TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY RACES? “I will race whenever they tell us. If we are going to end sooner, I will race any day they want. The reason that I say that is just because if it gets us out of football season and our TV ratings go up and it is better for the sport, count me in.”

CAN WE DO SOME ONE DAY SHOWS? “You can do one day shows, but that really doesn’t move the needle a lot. That is kind of like the common chassis. There is about $2,000 of tubing in a chassis. You know what I mean? It is just that sometimes –”

IT IS LESS MONEY FOR THE TEAMS THOUGH RIGHT? “You are still going to fly here, fly the airplane, do a lot of the big numbered things. Cutting races out of it, you are looking at $300-$500,000 swing with less races. Less races is the big number. The rest of it is just nickels and dimes. A set of tires is $2,500. $2,500 bucks at a time. It would definitely save some money if you are looking for smaller things.”

THE 2020 SCHEDULE: “I am going to make one for you. I am going to make one this week. That is what we should all do. We should all start making a schedule and see. They have said everything is on the table. Who knows where all that is headed and the conversations that have been had.”

HOW EASY WOULD IT BE TO ELIMINATE THE OFF-WEEKENDS AND DOES THAT PRESENT A CHALLENGE ON THE TEAMS? THAT IS TWO WEEKS YOU CAN GET BACK RIGHT THERE? “In my opinion, we probably won’t have less races because of the TV contract. I don’t think anybody wants to give the money up until the TV contract is up. As you look at the schedule, combining the All-Star race and the clash and getting rid of the qualifying races and getting rid of two off-weekends is four weeks. Move the All-Star race to the middle of the week, it would be great for example at IRP the Wednesday night before the Indy 500. Bet you there are enough people in town to sell that place out.”

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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