NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPTS
OCTOBER 4, 2013
HARVICK CAPTURES POLE POSITION AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY
Three Team Chevy Drivers Qualify in Top Six
KANSAS CITY, KAN. – October 4, 2013 – Kevin Harvick ran the fastest lap of the field in his No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS with a speed of 187.516 mph to capture the pole position for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas City Speedway. This marked Harvick’s sixth Sprint Cup career pole and first in 16 races at the 1.5-mile track. It also snapped a 254-race pole drought. His last number one starting spot came at New Hampshire in Sept. 2006, a race he also won.
“When you win that few of poles you can remember the things that happen on those particular days,” said Harvick. We unloaded this morning and the car was really fast right off the truck and comfortable to drive. Went through a couple good runs, a couple bad runs and just kind of went back to where we started and had a good qualifying lap.”
Jimmie Johnson posted the third fastest qualifying lap in his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS and will line-up right behind Harvick in the starting order. Dale Earnhardt Jr., put his No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS in sixth place in the starting order. Harvick is fourth, Johnson is second, and Earnhardt Jr. is 10th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings with seven races remaining.
Other Team Chevy Chase contenders will start in the top 20 in the 43-car field. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Axalta Chevy SS qualified 14th, Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Time Warner Chevrolet SS qualified 15th, Ryan Newman, No. 39 Code 3 Associates Chevy SS qualfied 17th, and Kurt Busch, No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet SS will start 19th.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Ford) qualified second, Brad Keselowski (Ford) will start fourth, and Joey Logano (Ford) qualified third.
The Hollywood Casino 400 takes the green flag on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET and will be aired on ESPN.
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – POLE WINNER
POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
TALK ABOUT YOUR POLE WINNING RUN TODAY?: “When you win that few of poles you can remember the things that happen on those particular days. It’s been a good day for us. We had an okay day yesterday. I think everybody is fighting a lot of the same issues with the cars to figure out the tire and what you want in them. We unloaded this morning and the car was really fast right off the truck and comfortable to drive. Went through a couple good runs, a couple bad runs and just kind of went back to where we started and had a good qualifying lap.”
WHY HAS IT BEEN SO LONG SINCE YOU WON A POLE?: “Just throughout my career for whatever reason we just hadn’t qualified well and we always definitely seem to race a lot better than we qualify. That’s a good question. I think today we had speed right off the bat and I think when you have the confidence in the car to go ahead and push it, it’s always hard to understand how to make it go two or three tenths faster whether it’s just the speed in the race track or how much harder you need to drive the car. There’s a lot of things that you have to run through. We’ve always had better race cars than fast speedy cars.”
CAN YOU WIN FROM THE POLE?: “I hope the stats stay exactly like they have been for the last few races where we sat on the pole. We’ll see.”
DID NOT WINNING POLES UPSET YOU?: “It really doesn’t. These races are so long so it matters, I shouldn’t say it doesn’t matter because it definitely helps to have the first pit stall and have the track position, especially on a weekend like this where track position is going to be probably king as we go through the weekend. Never been really something that honestly we put a lot of effort into to try to figure out what we needed to do and we’ve always just been able to make it work by not qualifying well and winning races. It’s just kind of been that way for a long time.”
IS THIS A STATEMENT TO PEOPLE SAYING THE CHASE IS A THREE MAN RACE AND HOW IMPORTANT IS PIT STALL ONE?: “The first pit stall is definitely important. It’s obviously not going to hurt anything to be down on that end of pit road so that when it comes down to the end of the race and everybody has the two-tire strategy, no tire strategy, four tires or whatever the strategy may be to be able to get off pit road pretty well. That part of it is good. To be honest with you, walked into media day this year and there was two people standing in line to conduct interviews so from day one of this year everybody has kind of written us off. We’re three races into the Chase and it kind of is what it is so we’ve done our thing and put our self in position to just go out and race and enjoy it.”
DID YOU KNOW YOUR LAP WAS FAST ENOUGH FOR THE POLE?: “I thought we had a good one and two. Standing out there watching the laps as you are getting ready to qualify, you see a lot of those guys went in kind of a group there that ran in the high 28s and then everybody kind of started backing up a little bit so I didn’t know if the race track still had the speed in it that it had earlier, but you’d see a car 29 flat or so here and there as it got to us. The one thing for me that always when I see (Ricky) Stenhouse go before me and he has a good qualifying lap and I know how far he drives it into the corner so I knew there must have been some pretty good grip in turns one and two. We had been struggling I think everybody has been struggling into turn three all weekend with the wind. I just wanted to get through there on the entry and not have any big mistakes. I’ve run a lot of qualifying laps that I thought were really good and had them not be so good. You just try to go out and do what you did in practice and see where you fall.”
WHAT DO YOU SEE YOURSELF DOING AT AGE 79?: “Not racing cars. I can promise you that. I hope that I’m sitting on a golf course somewhere playing golf with my son. That would be kind of cool and hopefully he’s been successful in life and just hanging out having a good time and enjoying the good times that I’ve had leading up to that point. It won’t be racing cars.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 3RD
POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING LAP: “I felt like the lap I ran was a huge pick up and pretty dang solid. Then Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.) got me and I knew Kevin (Harvick) had a little more left. Solid effort, but the conditions today were tough to get right with the wind blowing as hard as it is. You feel real comfortable and confident in turns one and two and then three and four you can see the lap tracker on everybody just falling off. You build a lot of confidence with how your car felt in one and two and then get to three and four and in most cases over drive the car. I did not do that and got a good three and four. Felt good about it.”
ARE YOU SURPRISED IT HAS BEEN SEVEN YEARS SINCE KEVIN HARVICK WON A POLE?: “That’s the first I’ve heard of it, wow. That’s a long time, no way. I didn’t think that was the case. He’s going to be a happy guy when he gets in here (media center).”
DID YOU LEAVE ANY SPEED ON THE TRACK?: “We all come in and think that if we would have known that we would have handled that situation a little different and the exit I had on turn four was a little uncomfortable and a little slow to wide open. I sat at like three-quarter throttle for too long. Mig
ht have been a little there, but at the time and when I heard my lap time, knowing what I had run in practice, I was like, ‘Okay, that was good.’ It’s hard to be too greedy, but you sit there with confidence and then you get beat and you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, yeah I totally messed up turn four.’ Then if you get beat again, well maybe turn two could have been a little better also. It’s just tough. It’s easier to analyze after. Especially when you see what the lineup is now and what kind of speed was out there. At the time I felt good and even the 24’s (Jeff Gordon) lap. I thought the sun had been out so long, a lot of rubber went down from the Nationwide cars. I was expecting the speeds to slow down versus practice and the 24 ran as fast as anybody did in practice and I thought that was a strong lap and he ended up in the teens somewhere.”
DID YOU DIAGNOSE WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PRACTICE SPIN?: “The spin was just me being real aggressive on my first lap in qualifying trim and on sticker tires. Just made, I don’t know if it’s a mistake necessarily, but high effort and now knowing that we needed to scuff tires, it was the wrong time to head out there with all the bravery that I had. Spun and thought I was going to hit the fence and I down shifted to third gear, you can see on the video the wheels spin pick-up and that was the deciding moment where the car changed directions and missed the wall. I don’t know if that had anything to do with the oil cooler issue. My guys haven’t been talking about that. Separate later issue something with the oil cooler happened that it started leaking.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES