NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MAY 22, 2014
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 BUDWEISER FOLDS OF HONOR CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed what it takes to win the Coca-Cola 600, his season thus far and many other topics. Full Transcript:
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT THE 600 FOR YOU?
“I think it is just keeping up with the car. As you go through the temperature changes it’s going to be a lot warmer than it was last week so you kind of have to take that with a grain of salt as to what we did at the All-Star race because of the much warmer temperatures. We may not even every get to the coolest temperature Sunday night is probably still going to be warmer than the warmest it was last week. You just have to keep up with the car and always try and stay on the lead lap through the beginning part of the race knowing that your car is going to need to handle a lot different as you get to night. It’s an interesting challenge. It’s a long night you are never out of the race unless you are torn up. You don’t want to get yourself torn up or make a dumb mistake early in the race because you can always make your car right by the end.”
WITH THIS RACE BEING SO LONG DOES YOUR MIND EVER WANDER OFF?
“That is a good question. I think for me it’s just about making laps and trying to remember exactly what you did in that corner last time. It never wanders off of racing for sure just for the fact that unless a cable falls out of the sky or something falls in front of your car then you have something else to think about. All in all it’s just trying to relay that information back to the crew as much as you can to try to be as good a piece of information as you can to keep up with the track.”
WHAT IS THE KEY TO GETTING AROUND THIS PLACE?
“The key is just keeping up with the race track. In the beginning just taking what the car will give you and trying to keep yourself in a good position to stay on the lead lap and make solid pit road entrances and exits and into your box. Just try to keep making yourself as good as you can lap after lap. In the end as you get towards the end there is just a lot that can happen throughout the day and night. You just have to be patient to get yourself within at least 100 miles of the end so that you can still be in contention.”
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON A BETTER TEAM?
“I don’t think so. The bottom line is the organization from a whole has given us every resource that we have asked for. You never talk about money, it’s just what do you need and how do we get it for you, how do we get better. They went out recruited Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and he went out and recruited every single person on this team. They all came here for the same reasons. They all want to win races. They all want to win and race for championships and when you put that kind of people together with that determination everybody pushes everybody else. So you just have to ride the wave and try to keep getting better. Everybody is having fun and everybody likes to race. It’s all about racing most of the time.”
WHAT ABOUT THIS RACE SUITS YOU?
“You just have to keep yourself in the race that is the first thing that you have to do. For me I feel like we can always make our car better even if we are leading the race. I feel like we can always find something to work on, but sometimes you can also send it the other way. You just have to make good decisions through the night. I feel like the communication from the driver’s seat to the crew chief and how they interpret that back to the engineers has always been a plus for me. I feel like that is a large part of what happens in this race.”
WHAT IS KURT BUSCH’S CHALLENGE?
“I think the biggest challenge and we haven’t specifically talked about it from anything from a race car standpoint is just knowing what car you are in and remembering how to drive that particular car because they are so different. I hope he has a good weekend he has done a great job in Indy. I know he has the accident this week, but I think that is not a bad thing either. I know it’s probably expensive from a team owner’s standpoint, but I think knowing where that edge is before you get into the race and not having to hopefully experience that during the race is probably good that he got it out of the way. It’s been fun to watch and very fun from a NASCAR standpoint to see him go over there and have speed and be competitive. That is hard to do in late model racing, in go-kart racing to go into somebody else’s territory and be competitive no matter what level it is at.”
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY WOULD BE THE BIGGEST TURNING POINT TO PUT YOU IN THE RIGHT PLACE TO WHERE YOU COULD WIN RACES? WOULD YOU LOOK BACK AT ATLANTA OF 2001 MAYBE?
“I have won races in everything I have ever been in. It’s just I like to race. Winning is a lot more fun than losing I can promise you that. It is way too much work to be a part of this whole deal and not win. That is probably a little bit of my downfall is being frustrated when we lose and a little bit grumpy.”
“It has to bring some interest just from a standpoint that it’s a big challenge from both worlds. Whether it’s coming over here and just racing this race or just going over there. I mean they are huge races. I think it’s good for both series that he is doing it bringing a lot of attention both ways.”
DO YOU LIKE RACING AT DOVER?
“I do. Dover is one of those race tracks that you can be really aggressive at and get away with it. Over driving the car is not such a bad thing there. I’ve been fortunate to run well and I know (Tony) Stewart won the race there last year. We are looking forward to going up there next week. To me once you get past this race is really when you start that grind through the season and into the Chase. This is an important stretch from now until Richmond.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK WE WILL SEE WHEN WE GO TO DOVER?
“I think the cars are going to be lightning fast in qualifying trim, race trim. You hear some of the testing speeds and they were really fast. It’s going to be much warmer hopefully as we go into these next few months. Those speeds will back up a little bit, but the cars are going to be faster than what they were there before for sure.”
A COUPLE OF TIMES YOU HAVE BROKEN THIS YEAR DO THEY CONCERN YOU AT ALL OR ARE YOU STILL PRETTY CONFIDENT IN THE WAY YOU GUYS HAVE UNLOADED OFF THE TRUCK?
“We never really had any problems. We had a couple of parts break, but speed has never been a problem. That is the thing that everybody in the garage searches for and probably one of the parts that keeps us sane. Is our cars are fast every single week. Even if they start practice slow, Rodney (Childers) and the engineers and everybody in this organization they can figure out whatever my problem is in the car they can figure out how to fix it. If we start half a second off the pace by the end of practice we will be able to gain and by race day it will be even better. I’ve just never been a part of something that they have been able to work on the car so much and make it better. That is just a lot of fun.”
YOU’VE HAD WINS SLIP AWAY THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS DOES THAT ADD ANY MORE DESIRE TO WIN?
“We want to win every race. It is such a different mentality than what I have been used to in the past. As far as we have had the speed to run for the win in every race. But you are going to lose some. Everything has gone so well that I think me included we
have kind of lost sight that we are in our 11th race. Which is kind of scary that from race one we have been in contention and have had the speed to win every race we have been in. As we sat down and analyzed things this week of everything that happened on pit road last week that was their 11th race. Sometimes I think our problems are sticking out a little bit more than they would in a normal situation just for the fact you are racing for a win you are not racing for 10th. It’s probably not a bad thing and hopefully we can have all our issues gone through by the time we get to Homestead.”
DID THE SEASON ALMOST START LAST YEAR WITH THE TEST HERE AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY IN DECEMBER?
“For sure we were fortunate that Rodney was able to come over early and all he worked on once he got to SHR was what we were going to do this year with the new rules. I feel like we have been a little bit ahead of the game since that test. But when we had that test here last year the first lap on the race track everybody’s confidence went to about as high as you could put it just for the fact of how well things went.”
“The first minute that I was in that car I haven’t quit smiling since. It’s been so refreshing and so much fun to be a part of it that every day you just kind of leave the race track shaking your head going ‘well we won that one or we could have won that one.’ We raced and led and did all the things that you want to do as a race car driver as a team. I don’t know how you could ask for it to go much better.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES