CHEVY NSCS AT MARTINSVILLE ONE — Kevin Harvick Press Conf. Transcript

[media-credit name=”” align=”alignright” width=”272″][/media-credit]NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES



American Muscle


MARCH 30, 2012

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER IS BACK CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed his success at Martinsville, the announced changes at Bristol Motor Speedway, baby-proofing his home and other topics. Full transcript.

TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND AND JUST HOW YOU’VE BEEN RUNNING. “Last year we ran well here and obviously we like to run here being so close to home. We end up with a lot of guys from the shop that put in a lot of time. They bring their families, and then local fans and everybody that comes to the race track. So, it’s a fun weekend and a race track that we’ve run well at as a company over the past couple of years. I felt like we’ve always run well here, we just haven’t always got the results that we needed. It’s fun to finally get that win out of the way last year, and hopefully we can start putting a few more of them in the victory column and go from there. It’s been a good start to the season, and hopefully we can keep it rolling.”

THIS TRACK IS SO CLOSE TO YOUR HOME AND YOU’VE HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS IN THE TRUCK; ARE YOU MISSING AT ALL NOT BEING A TEAM OWNER THIS WEEKEND? “It really hasn’t been on mind at all. As I’ve gone through the weeks, I think its become even less of a thought as I’ve been able to do the things on the race track and away from the race track. I’ve been able to spend time at home and concentrate on a lot of things at home with the big boy coming and the things that are required to change around the house. So there’s a lot of things going on. I really haven’t missed it at all, and really underestimated how big of a relief it would actually be. So, its been great and I still get to drive the cars and trucks, and enjoy that part of it. I get to be more a part of my Cup team off the race track, in the trailer, and at the shop. That part of it is going well.”

ANYTHING SPECIFICALLY THAT YOU’VE BEEN ABLE TO DO NOW THAT YOU COULDN’T BEFORE? “Yeah, we’re going on vacation for a week and a half next week. That’s going to be something that we’ve been able to do several times now. To be able to unwind and take your mind off of what’s going on at the race track is something you really couldn’t do outside of the race track because there’s always soemthing happening on the team ownership side of it. If you let your guard down it will swallow you up really fast, so you can’t let your guard down. I think the biggest thing is just that time with the team at the shop and in the trailer. With all the new stuff like the fuel injection and the data that you have to file through at the race track, it gives you more time to really refine the things that you’re working on and try to get better at the things you haven’t used before. Just that time, whether it be at the shop, going to lunch, competition meetings; I think that’s the biggest thing.”

DO YOU EVER FEEL OVERSHAWDOWED AS ONE OF THE TOP DRIVERS ON THE CIRCUIT? “I’ve been here long enough that it doesn’t matter. You guys can talk about it or you can’t. We’re not make a big deal about what we aren’t doing or what we are doing. We’re going to sit in our little corner of the world and enjoy running well. If we’re running bad, we’ll sit back and fix it. The lower we can fly below the radar the easier it is for me.”

AFTER PRE-RACE INTROS YOU GUYS GET PUT ON THE BACK OF A PICK-UP TRUCK AND YOU’RE PARTNERED WITH ANOTHER DRIVER, WHAT DO YOU TALK ABOUT? IF YOU GET PUT ON WITH SOMEBODY YOU ARE HAVING AN ISSUE WITH, WHAT’S THAT LIKE? “It depends on who is in that truck. It can be friendly conversations about what you’re going to do this week, or last week, or things that have happened. If its somebody you don’t like, you don’t talk. That’s pretty much the jist of it.”

ARE YOU GETTING A LOT OF BABY QUESTIONS? “Yeah, most of the time its just constant conversation. With the baby coming there’s a lot more that you can relate to with the guys in the garage. That’s kind of fun, and fun to talk about experiences that they’ve had, and try to get a little insight on things that are going around. You never know what kind of conversation is going to pop up when you’re riding around. It depends on how long the ride is. It won’t be long here.”

BACK IN THE FALL HERE, THE NO. 14 PASSED THE NO. 48 ON THE OUTSIDE WITH THREE TO GO TO WIN THE RACE; LOOKING BACK, HOW TOUGH WAS THAT PASS ESPECIALLY UNDER THOSE CONDIDTIONS THERE AT THE END? “For whatever reason the No. 14 has been really good on the restarts going into last year. That was really one of those moements where you really kind of raise your eyebrows, because I couldn’t get my car to go on the outside at all on the restarts last year, and we would lose spots. He could make it happen for a couple of laps up there and take the track position. That’s what won him the race. Those guys have been really good on the restarts. That’s probably been our weakest point over the last few months going into last year. The first part of this year is just the first coupel of laps. We’re definitely working on that. The No. 14 definitely has that figured out for sure.”

CAN YOU PUT INTO PERSPECTIVE 400 STARTS? DOES IT FEEL LIKE YOU’VE BEEN DOING THIS LONG ENOUGH TO MAKE 400 STARTS? “Is that this week? Yeah, you know they piled up pretty fast. Obviously the first year was what it was. The second, third, fourth,and fifth year, those weren’t exceptional years. I feel like over the last really three or four years we’ve kind of got our everything together. With all the race teams and everything going together this year at Richard’s (Richard Childress Racing), it kind of feels like a lot of the pieces have fallen together over the past three or four years. Getting that stability and comfort level and understanding where Richard is as a team owner and a person, and where I am as a person and driver. There’s been a lot of changes, and I feel like its taken seven or eight years to get through the Earnhardt transition. There’s a lot of things you look back on now and that effect took a lot of time. Then as the grandkids, Austin and Ty (Dillon) came, you really see that enthusiasm level come back that I first saw in Richard in 1999 and 2000 as we led into the start of my career at RCR. So there’s been a lot of change and I think there was definitely a lull as a company that we had from 2002 to 2009. I believe 2010 and 2011 were solid years and have built into a solid relationship. I think the results are on the race track with more wins and pretty much competitive week in and week out. That’s something you can see that comfort level with everybody, it’s just taken a while.”

WHO DO YOU THINK IS YOUR BIGGER COMPETITION, YOURSELF OR SOMEBODY ON THE RACE TRACK? “As you go through the races on a week-to-week basis, obviously you guys can figure out the rivalry part of it. For the most part you end up racing different guys every week, and sometimes they are the same guys you race for wins. So, the competition is deep and you never know who or when you are going to be in those positions to race for wins, and race door-to-door with somebody on a weekly basis. But everybody on the Cup side is good and they’ve all won races. The competition is pretty deep so you never know exactly who it is.”

WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO BRISTOL’S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THEY ARE CHANGING THE TRACK SURFACE, AND DO YOU THINK THAT’S NECESSARY? “It’s about time. Sometimes you hear the saying that bigger isn’t always better, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, that’s a prime example of the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Sometimes you can’t make things better than they are. I’m proud of them for realizing that they have a problem. A lot of guys would argue that you can change the tire, and you can change this or that, but you’re still not going to have bent race cars and donuts on cars. The things that people expect from Bristol still won’t be there unless they put it back to how it was. After the last race there, I think they finally realized what I’ve told them since the first day after the first race. They didn’t like to hear it, but it just wasn’t Bristol. Hopefully they will do a good job. Don’t get me wrong, they had great intentions in mind and tried to make things better. Sometimes when you can take that kick in the gut and say well we screwed up, and basically that is what they’re saying. Starting to backpedal a little bit is something you’ve got to respect as a business man from Bruton (Smith) and his organization. They just said okay, we’re going to fix this and make it right for the race fans. They know what the fans want to see. They had the most popular race for I don’t know how many years, but for a long time.”

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO BABY PROOF YOUR HOUSE? “Well right now they are working on nurseries, playrooms, and the back yard has been completely dismantled. It’s a pile of dirt now. We’re digging out swimming pools and all kinds of stuff to start working in that direction. Everything from baby gates, to dingers on elevators, you name it. There’s a lot that’s being changed. It’s been fun though. It’s fun to walk up there and see his clothes sitting in the closet and know that its real and coming that direction pretty fast. The time is going by pretty quick already.”

AS FAR AS YOUR PAINT SCHEME IS CONCERNED GOING BACK TO PROHIBITION, HOW WOULD YOU HANDLE THAT IF YOU WERE LIVING BACK THEN, LIFE WITHOUT BEER? “We would have to go get it somewhere else. You’d have to find out where it was. Obviously with the car this weekend and everybody from Budweiser on April 7th celebrates the anniversary of prohibition. It’s pretty cool to be a part of. They go back in history and see how many people were put back in work. The enthusiasm, and the Clydesdales, and everything that 1933 brought back to the beer industry was something that was pretty cool. It’s fun to do programs like this, and to drive a little bit of awareness to it and be a part of it.”

COULD YOU IMAGINE THE CELEBRATION AND BEING A PART OF THAT? “Just stop and think about it. Could you imagine the world with no beer? What would you do? What would you do at night? What would you do period? It’s a good hydrator for you.”

SO WHAT WOULD YOU DO? “What would I do? I’d find something to do. But it wouldn’t be near as much fun.”

WHAT IS YOUR PICK FOR THE FINAL-FOUR WINNER? “My bracket is so screwed up; I don’t even know who is in it. But I know I picked Kentucky, so I know they are still in it. I’ll just stick with them.”

A FEW WEEKS OUT, WE’LL BE IN RICHMOND; WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT RICHMOND? “Richmond has been a great race track for us through the years no matter what vehicle it’s been in. It’s just one of those race tracks. Now it’s really worn out. The asphalt is losing a lot of grip and you really have to manage the tires and get your car consistent through a long run. It’s been a race track that fits my driving style, the package of the engine, the cars, the set-ups, and things we do at RCR. We have been fortunate to have a lot of success through the years there. We’re definitely looking forward to going to Richmond and trying to continue that success and run just like we did the last time, and win the race hopefully.”

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