AUTO CLUB 400
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 23, 2012
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 JIMMY JOHNS CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway and discussed his trip to the LA Kings game, the results of the No. 48 penalty appeal, the attendance at Bristol Motor Speedway and more.
TALK A LITTLE ABOUT COMING BACK HOME HERE TO CALIFORNIA AND I UNDERSTAND YOU HAD A GOOD NIGHT LAST NIGHT AT THE LA KINGS GAME. “Yeah, we had fun last night at the game. It was a good game. It’s fun to come home and obviously we have a lot of family and friends that come to the race track. We’ve been on the West Coast a few times now. I think they are all a little bit worn out from coming to the races. All-in-all it’s always fun to see people you haven’t seen in a while. Obviously winning the race here last year was pretty cool, to be able to check that one off the list and put that one away. Hopefully we can do the same thing this year.”
HOW CLEAR DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE RULES AND THE INSPECTION PROCESS AFTER THE NO. 48 PENALTIES? ”I think the inspection process is pretty clear. The tolerances and things they want; I think everybody is pretty clear on that. The one thing that I have expressed before, and I’m glad this situation came up, I still feel like the crew chiefs don’t need to be scared for their life every time they go through the inspection process. This board has had innovation drive it for years, and I think the innovation is what makes it intriguing to people who work on the cars, and know about things that are going on, and try to make your car better than the other guys. It was an interesting process, and I think it’s a fair process. And I think the inspection process is well understood and achieves things that can and will happen, and have happened. You never know what is coming next, but the inspection process is pretty clear.”
THIS SEASON IS STARTING A LOT LIKE LAST SEASON AS FAR AS THE NUMBERS GO. IN FACT IT’S EVEN A LITTLE BIT BETTER; YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED WORSE THAN 11TH THIS YEAR. DO YOU HAVE THAT FEELING AGAIN? “I think all the guys on the team would say we aren’t really crisp, I guess you would say, as far as the first four weeks. I haven’t done everything right from the driver’s seat. We’ve made some mistakes in all areas I would say. Once we feel like we’re in a rhythm, and have all the bugs and kinks worked out of everything, I think it will be even better. The good thing about it is the speed has been in the car at every race track we’ve been to, and that’s really what we were looking for. Speed in the race cars. We can fix and tweak the small things outside of that. It’s been pretty comfortable so far and hopefully we can keep it rolling and make it better every week.”
IF SOMEBODY AFTER THIS WEEKEND CAME UP AND POSED THE BIG ARGUMENT THEY POSED LAST WEEK AT BRISTOL (FANS STATING THEY DON’T LIKE THE RACING AT BRISTOL ANY MORE), YOU BEING A WINNER AND HAVING SUCCESS HERE, WHAT WOULD YOUR REACTION BE TO THAT? ”I think this is a lot different situation than what you had at Bristol. In all fairness, everybody in Bristol was trying to make the race track better, and in the end it didn’t work for them. The tell tell sign of that was standing in the infield and looking at the crowd. It used to be years upon years of waiting lists. So, in my opinion it’s a pretty simple answer. It’s a pretty simple scenario. When you take a risk like they took on changing the race track with engineers, and thoughts, and whatever process they went through, you’re taking a big risk. Now they are going to pay probably the ultimate [price], just because of the fact they changed it. Now they’ve got to change it back. As long as you’re not scared to be able to eat a little crow and reverse your decision, taking chances like that are okay. In the end, they were trying to make it better and it just didn’t work out for them.”
THEY’VE BEEN SAYING THE SAME THING ABOUT THIS TRACK FOR YEARS. “Yeah, and I think just being patient with this race track over the years has been the best thing. The more the tracks wear out, the racier they get. This race track has become really racy over the past few years just for the fact that the groove moves from the bottom to the top. The race track has become a little bit rougher. The asphalt has worn out, and the races have been good. Any time you repave a race track, you’re in trouble in my opinion. Just because it’s going to take a long time for the racing to get to the point where this track is; where you can race all over it.”
AS A DRIVER, DID YOU PREFER RACING AT THE OLD BRISTOL OR THE NEW BRISTOL? “I enjoyed the old Bristol. I like that rough and tumble type of racing. I know a lot of the car owners and some of the drivers don’t like that style of racing. That’s what made Bristol what it was. People don’t want to watch cars ride around with no donuts on the doors, and no caved in fenders at Bristol. They don’t want to see a 200-lap, 150-lap green-flag run. That’s not what they come to Bristol for, and that’s why they quit coming.”
YOU MENTIONED THE CLARITY OF THE INSPECTION PROCESS, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CLARITY OF THE APPEALS PROCESS? WHAT’S YOUR FEELING ABOUT THE APPEALS PROCESS AND WHETHER IT’S SUFFICIENT? “I think it’s fine. It’s a platform for everybody to state your case, and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose just like in the court of law. It’s really no different than that. It’s no different than watching a case like OJ (Simpson), and watching OJ go free. Watching that case, there’s no way you thought that was going to happen. Then you see the verdict, and then it happens. It’s very similar to that. Sometimes you think something is cut and dry, and you think this is going to be the verdict, and the next thing you know it’s not. You move on and you go to the next one. But there is a platform for the teams to present their cases to a board, and obviously to the last step they took this time to present it again. I’ve been involved in it before from the team ownership side, and you prepare no different than you would going to a court case. It’s literally the exact same process.”
SO IS IT FAIR TO SAY THAT YOU WERE SHOCKED BY THE DECISION TUESDAY? “Honestly I didn’t even know about it on Tuesday. They had to call me and tell me because I have learned over the years to not pay attention to anybody but ourselves. I wasn’t surprised, because nothing in this sport surprises me anymore.”
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