Chevy Racing–Daytona Speedweeks Media Day 12- Harvick

FEBRUARY 14, 2013
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed the off-season, racing at Daytona, what the Budweiser sponsorship means to him, some of his favorite trophies, high school wrestling, and more. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  It feels good.  To be able to get through the winter, be able to relax, not have any new race teams or anything to worry about makes it nice.  You get to enjoy your time off and get ready to go.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah, you know, you kind of get into a routine.  You’re still pretty busy during the week, for the most part, except for around Christmas, to do your photo shoots, production days, stuff like that.  Anytime you can sleep in your own bed, which is most of the time during the winter, I call that time off.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  In relative terms, I guess.  But, you know, for me it was important to spend some time at home with my son and be able to help DeLana and I enjoyed that as well.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  Time at the Super Bowl was very short.  We went on Saturday afternoon and were able to take in a couple meals and went to the game and enjoyed it.  It was a good game.  Obviously I wish the 49ers would have won.  All in all, it was good.
Q.        Do you still get butterflies coming into Daytona?
KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah, I think this race is different than most races.  You come into this race excited just because it’s a new season, a lot of optimism.  Just getting back into the swing of things.  Once you get into the grind, you get towards the end of the season, you can get wore down, especially if things aren’t going well.
To be able to get back down here, get back in the swing, definitely brings a lot of enthusiasm and excitement.  I’m pumped up and ready to go.
Q.        Growing up, what is your first recollection about racing?
KEVIN HARVICK:  I was around racing from pretty early in my life.  Most of my moments came from Mesa, Phoenix, those types of places, watching guys like Rick Corelli, Hornaday, Mike Chase, all the guys from the West Coast.  Those are the guys I grew up watching race.
Every once in a while you’d see a Joe Ruttman or a Davey Allison, Rick Mears, George Snider, some of those guys come in.  We grew up in Bakersfield, California, so a pretty supportive racing town.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  The track has changed.  This is the second style of car we raced since then.  Been a lot of changes.
Anytime you’re at home and you walk past that trophy, you realize the magnitude of the race that the Daytona 500 is, being able to experience that, is something you want to experience again.
So hopefully this will be a good year to do it.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah, there’s obviously different challenges, but I think there’s still always an extreme amount of challenges as you go through the week.  I’ve been through weeks.  I look at this race, the Daytona 500, as weeks just because of the fact that there’s so much that happens leading up to the race.  You go through the Duels.  You can have the fastest car here and wreck it.  I’ve been through weeks where you wrecked every race, get to the 500, have a great day, and the opposite of that.  You just have to maintain an even keel on the way that you approach things and be able to ready for Sunday because that’s when it all counts.
Q.        Do you have a special area for those trophies?  Which ones mean the most?
KEVIN HARVICK:  You never know what size they’re going to be.  Luckily the Harley Earl fits in the middle of that trophy case.  I keep all my Cup trophies at home.
Q.        How much effect has your family life had with your Budweiser sponsorship?
KEVIN HARVICK:  I think having my son has really helped keep a new balance on life that you didn’t really understand until you had a child.  For me, I become so emotional and so attached to what happens on the racetrack, if it’s going good, if it’s going bad.
Now you have this way of coming home and letting all those things go for two or three days, then you come back to the track and you hadn’t thought about it all week and you’re really focused at being at the racetrack.
The same kind of thing has gone for what you do off of the racetrack.  We kind of have to plan things out and trips become really more productive because they’re more well-planned out.  You have to be a little bit choosier about where you go.
Really haven’t changed a lot as far as the sponsorship goes.  We went to Chicago for the UFC fight, went to the Super Bowl.  We’ve done photo shoots, production days.  One of the biggest reasons we got rid of the race team was to balance those two.  Couldn’t do all three.  Couldn’t be dad, team owner and driver on Sunday and be successful probably at any of them.  We had to eliminate one.  That new balance adds to your life, lets you be more focused and hopefully more competitive on the weekends.
Q.        (Question regarding the last 10 laps.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  I think that’s kind of why for me there’s a really high anticipation of getting into Saturday night’s race, getting through the practices on Friday, just to know what you need to work on, where you need to be, what you need to do, how to run your race, really start to plan that out in your mind.
The urgency always builds as you get closer to the end of the race, for sure.  You got to kind of start taking some chances and pushing and shoving a little bit to get yourself in a position that you want to be in.
But I don’t think that’s going to change.  It’s just a matter of how that needs to play out as to where you need to be and how you need to approach getting there. 
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  Well, I think as we’ve gone through the tests, every team’s had a specific test plan, and everybody’s gone back and evolved their cars to what each thought was the best result on the track.
That’s obviously one of his big priorities, is to come in and kind of narrow down the things that need to be tried, find the answers to them without all three teams having to go down different paths to do that.
We’ll get places a lot quicker if we have three people working on it than one.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  You know, for us at Phoenix, I think you could attribute it to that for sure.  After practice was over, we took everything out of the 27 car and put it in our car for the race and were able to adjust on it to my driving style and were able to win the race.
Definitely some parallels there as to things we did at Phoenix.
Q.        How does the 78 play in all this?
KEVIN HARVICK:  I think when you have somebody of the caliber of Kurt, as long as their cars stay similar to the game plan to what we have, they’re not changing ’em up as they get their hands on ’em out there, things will work a lot smoother and easier.
If you can take that from three to four people with somebody
like Kurt that is going to give good information and run up front, you’re basically looking at a four-car team.
Q.        You mentioned earlier going to a UFC event.  Where is your connection with that community?
KEVIN HARVICK:  Well, there’s a couple different connections.  Obviously Tapout has been a supporter of the racing program.  The Jimmy John’s sponsorship first started when we met Brock Lesnar.  Jimmy sponsored him in his fighting.  That’s probably been five years ago.  We’ve just gotten more involved in it, learned to like the sport.
Q.        What was it like being in a corner and what have you learned about the sport?  Have you trained any, got on the mat?
KEVIN HARVICK:  I think I’m past my training days as far as with those guys for sure.  They do it on a daily basis and make a living at it.
It’s just an intriguing sport.  There’s something about that one-on-one type of situation where the other guy just wants to rip your head off.  Being behind the scenes like that, seeing how they get prepared for the fight, seeing the anticipation they have every time they get in the ring, it’s a whole different atmosphere than what you’re used to.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah, definitely called Donald and Brock friends for sure.  Brock has been here the last two or three years to support us during the Daytona 500.  Donald is coming down next weekend.
Q.        Certain mental similarities in how they prepare for a fight and you for a race?
KEVIN HARVICK:  For those guys it’s not getting so pumped up and so overdone that you spend all your energy.  For me it’s much the same.  You don’t want to get yourself over-anxious and do something dumb in the beginning of the race.  There’s a lot of similarities between the two in that aspect of it, especially getting prepared for the race like that.
Q.        The energy level seems to be exciting, too.
KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah, you know, there’s just that anticipation of building up to an event in general.  The Daytona 500 for us is obviously our biggest event that we go to every year.  There’s a lot of similarities in any sport building up to the event.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah, you know, I think I’m a very honest person.  Kind of tells it like I see it, right or wrong.  Obviously in the racecar pretty aggressive and like to drive the car every lap as hard as I can drive it.
So, you know, it’s pretty cut and dry with me.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  I don’t know about ‘evil’.  Yeah, I guess that would be somewhat appropriate.  Depends on what day it is, how I woke up.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  You know, everything is just so much different than what it was then.  Those guys laid a great foundation for us to come in and race.  But there’s so many sponsors and so many different things involved now, you just have to approach it a lot different.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  It depends on what aspect of it.  I’ve worked on my own cars and put them together.  In that aspect of it I guess you could say.
In this day and age, you have to be able to adapt to not only the racing side of it but the marketing side of it with the sponsors and things that come with it.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  I said it earlier.  I think it’s made me more focused because a lot of times the thought process and the thinking during the week, carrying your emotion, not being able to get away from it, being more focused when you come back, letting last week go, that was kind of hard for me to do.
I think with him, for me it’s one of those things where you can come home and let that go for a couple days and come back and really be focused on what you’re doing.
You’re not going to do anything different as far as making a pass, driving the car as fast as you can or anything like that.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  I think that’s not going to happen from anybody.  I think most everybody here has won at every other level and division that they’ve raced in to get to this point.  So pretty much everybody here are winners and are pretty competitive in everything that they do.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  First one was probably five years ago, a troops fight that they had.  I don’t remember exactly where it was.
Q.        How many have you been to?
KEVIN HARVICK:  I don’t know.  Five or six.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  He’s out there riding around.  He’s not in a pedal car.  We had to push him.  First full weekend that he’s gone to.  He’ll be here all weekend.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  I wouldn’t even go in.  Those guys are dangerous, man.  It’s a whole different level.
Q.        Do you have a best memory from going to any of those matches?
KEVIN HARVICK:  I just like competition.  Those guys, I wrestled in high school, so there’s that competition of you against yourself.  Then when you get in there for the competitive side of it in the ring, just something about being one guy against another guy.  The only person you have to blame for making a mistake is yourself.
Q.        (No microphone.)
KEVIN HARVICK:  Brock is a good person.  Obviously we see each other at some Jimmy John’s stuff and talk occasionally, but a good person.
Q.        How about Donald?  Seem to be different characters.
KEVIN HARVICK:  Oh, yeah.  Much different characters, for sure.  They both are very different people.  Donald is quite a bit younger than Brock.  He’s got a few different hobbies.  Brock likes to hunt, Donald likes to wake board.
Q.        Which one do you think you’re more like?  Who are you closer to?  Donald?
KEVIN HARVICK:  I’d say they both have their own different perspectives of what you like about both of them.
All right.  Thank you.