Ford Performance NASCAR: Las Vegas Media Day (Kevin Harvick)

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Thursday, September 12, 2019


KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Ford Mustang

American Muscle

WAS THERE SOMETHING OFF WITH YOUR TEAM A LITTLE THIS YEAR? “Well, we have covered this a number of times but for us we had to make our cars a little better and had to get our arms wrapped around what we needed to do from the new rules package and things. We just made our cars better and started executing throughout the summer and we were able to finally start going to victory lane and find some consistency.”

LAST YEAR THERE WAS A LOT OF CHATTER ABOUT THE BIG THREE. SEEMS LIKE YOU GUYS ARE HITTING YOUR STRIDE RIGHT NOW. DO YOU AGREE? “We have run better. For us, Bristol we broke a gear and Watkins Glen we didn’t run great but got a decent finish but everywhere else we have been in the mix over the whole summer. I think it is a combination of just getting your cars where they need to be and for us it just took us a little longer than some of the other guys.”

I IMAGINE IT WOULD BE PRETTY COOL FOR YOU DO DELIVER ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP NOT ONLY FOR YOU BUT TO BE ABLE TO SHARE WITH KEELAN AND YOUR FAMILY? “For us, having everybody there last week was really cool. To be able to see Piper there for the first time and not understanding anything and see Keelan super excited and to kiss the bricks and climb the fence, I don’t know which one he liked more. Probably climbing the fence. For me, those are pretty motivating factors just because of the fact that I enjoy him being around successful moments and them being around successful moments but I also enjoy them being around the moments and try to help them understand, especially Keelan at this point, understand what it took to get to that point because it wasn’t that way at the beginning of the year. Seeing him and helping him try to understand how we made it better and why the cars are running faster and working together as a team, there are a lot of great lessons in our sport that can be taught. For me, being able to have him around in the good moments and the bad moments, but Indy for sure was pretty special.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL HEADING INTO THIS FIRST PLAYOFF RACE. YOU HAVE PLAYOFF POINTS NOW AND YOU GUYS ARE PERHAPS EVERYONE IS LOOKING AT YOU AS ONE OF THE TEAMS TO BEAT WITH MOMENTUM AND SPEED. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? “Well, I think this has been a good race track for us and obviously the cars are running better at this particular point and there is still that little progression that always happens with all the teams when you start the playoffs. You hope that your progression is better than everybody else and you can put yourself in a position to have speed. In the end, speed and leading laps is as important as anything else that you can do. The third element to that is just the continuity with the team right now and the way we are communicating and the confidence that everybody has in each other. You never really know how it is going to go or where you will stack up but we had a great summer and feel good about the things we have done but you have to continue executing which for us has been really good over the past few months. With execution comes details and everybody is doing a good job at all of that right now.”

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS TRACK THAT YOU HAVE FIGURED OUT THAT YOUR COMPETITORS IN THE 16 HAVEN’T YET FIGURED OUT? “I think sometimes stats can be misleading. I think there is obviously some guys that run well here that just hadn’t been to victory lane. I know for us through the first several years with Stewart-Haas Racing we would run well enough to win here. For us we are going to look at the things that have happened this year because there are just so many things that have become irrelevant with this particular rules package. When you go back and look at the stats and so many things from setups to stats and you could go on down the list, it is just a different way of thinking with this particular rules package and the way you race and go about things. Who is running good and not running good has been so drastically different this year. The long winded answer to this is, it has been a good race track for us, we have run well here in the spring and I enjoy racing here with the cool element of being able to move all over the race track. The track has some fall off and this weekend it will be hot so I think you have to be careful about all the past stats. I think the most relevant things are the things that have happened this year on this kind of a race track.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK ENABLED SHR TO REALLY TAKE OFF SO QUICKLY WITH FORD? “We are finishing our third year now. For us, we were obviously involved in the new design of the Mustang from a team standpoint, so you got to develop a car with Ford. Ford is very into racing. I think in the beginning, in 2017, there was a very big effort in order to get the company switched over. It all comes down to people. Having good people and we have great owners that let us do the things that we need to do to put the cars on the race track and be competitive.”

HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE PLAYOFFS? IS IT RACE BY RACE? WHAT IS THE GAME PLAN? “We want to just hammer away race by race. I think the backup plan is to survive and advance but we want to win. We want to be racing for the lead and trying to win stages and be aggressive. I think that being aggressive is just going to bite you less than kind of being passive and just trying to mediocre your way into the next round by looking at the points. We want to go out there and try to do the things that we have done all year and lean on our experience of being in these types of situations before there is nothing that is going to surprise us. Anything that happens that is off the wall shouldn’t be a surprise to us because we have been a part of some of those situations and seen them as we have gone through the playoffs. You have to adapt and adjust as the weeks go by but it is definitely an aggressive, one week at a time approach.”

IS THERE A TRACK YOU RACED AT THIS YEAR THAT YOU CAN APPLY TOWARDS HOMESTEAD WHERE THIS THING WILL GET DECIDED AT? “I don’t think so. I think Homestead is obviously a very unique race track on its own and you have to prepare for that race track a little different because it isn’t your normal 1.5 mile setup you need because of the way you enter and exit the corners with the flat straightaways. As a driver you have to be prepared to run up against the wall and do the things that it takes. It is always a challenging weekend because of the fact that things are different and you scramble and it is hot. It will be different, just like everywhere else this year.”

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