Chevy Racing–NASCAR00Kevin Harvick

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Chase Media Day and discussed what it will take to repeat at series’ champion, how to beat the Toyota’s this season and many other topics. Full Transcript:

First round of the Chase, everybody is going to do what they’ve been doing all season. You’re like, You have to bring your A game now. Why do you think your approach is different from theirs?

“Probably because I’ve been in it the last two years. I think you aren’t going to just ramp it up as you get to the last round and Homestead. Everybody’s going to come with their best stuff this weekend. It’s going to be pretty thoroughly gone through as far as your team.

“It’s a different level in order to win the championship and compete with the guys that are going to win the championship that particular year.

“You know, just taking the approach much cruising through the first round may work for those guys. I don’t know. I don’t think that’s exactly where our team is going to sit in how you should approach it.

You look at the Toyotas. Won half the races this year, the big races, too. You’ve been able to be competitive with them. Do you have something for them, be able to beat them?

“Our main focus this year is really just to focus on us. I think our speed has been good. I think our team has done a good job of being competitive at all the different styles of racetracks.

“Really for us, that’s been one of the our goals headed into the Chase, is to focus on our team, focus on our garage, our team, the things that we’re doing, just for the fact that I feel like the speed has been there, the competitiveness has been there with our group. If we do our jobs from top to bottom, hopefully that gets us somewhere close to where we need to be.

“Like I say, I feel like we’ve been competitive from week one, and we’re going to really just focus on what we need to do.”

Do you feel like they have a little bit of an advantage, though, or no?

“You know, I think for us, we’ve been able to win races and be competitive week in and week out. We’re just going to focus on that.”

Last year you came in and you had dropped the line about pounding the competition into the ground. There was a lot of talk of mind games the past two years. So far this year no one is really playing that game. Is there a reason for that? Does it go back to what you said about focusing on your own team?

“I can’t speak for anybody else. I can just speak for myself. I just know for us, it’s kind of a one-way street. You do what you have to do for your team, whatever that may be, and worry about the consequences later.

”Really, it’s a one-way street and mindset right now.”

No sound bites this year?

“Not that I know of.”

Question about crew chief suspension:

“I saw all the rule adjustments this week in an email. I got the email and I hit ‘delete’ because it didn’t pertain to anything with driving the car.

“Really just trying to focus on what I need to do. I think everybody else is really focused on their jobs, as well.”

You’re always focused. But last year you were a little bit more vocal coming in, sending a message.

“I think our cars are capable of doing what they need to do. I think our team is capable of doing what we need to do. There’s no reason to worry about anything else. That’s really the main focus just for the fact that there’s nothing else to worry about but doing what we’ve done for 26 weeks. It was way good for 26 weeks. There’s no reason we can’t do it for 10 more.”

You haven’t led as many laps this year. Do you feel this is your strongest shot yet at a championship over the last two years?

“I feel like we’re in a really good spot. I feel like having the experience from the last two years means a lot. I know a lot of people talk about just cruising through the first round, want to do this, want to do that.

“I got news for you. There is no plan because you’re going to have to deal with something that’s going to be unexpected. It’s at a different level than it is in the regular season.

“So I know our team knows that. I know they’re preparing like that in the shop. They’ve been preparing like that for months, trying to be ready for this race. Not only are our primary cars prepared that way, our backup cars are prepared that way. Guess what? When we get to week two, we probably got six more options and six more directions we can go as a team.

“The preparation, detail and focus that is always put there by the team, you know, they were prepared for this Chase, as well. So that to me is exciting.”

Does Keelan know what the Chase is or is this just another race?

“He knows what the Chase is, and it has to do with him chasing me around the kitchen (laughter).

“He has no clue. Really the only thing he cares about are trophies. That’s kind of cool. I showed him all the trophies from Bristol. He has the big eagle in the hallway. It’s just a massive trophy that sits in the hallway.

“He’s like, Dad, that is a really cool trophy.

“I said, Check this out. They have a sword, too.

“He’s like, Can I hold it?

“I’m like, No, you can’t. It’s really sharp.

“So we went to Michigan the next week. We were in the drivers meeting. He’s all jacked up. He wants to see the trophy. We walk in. He looks at the trophy. He’s like, Is that it, dad?

“I was like, Yup, that’s it.

“Note to the racetracks: It’s important to have cool trophies (laughter).”

How difficult is it to keep the team focused on this year? Is there like a parallel track for next year when you make the switch to Ford, all the stuff that’s going to happen with that?

“I know for me personally, it’s been, Don’t worry about it, don’t talk about it. Focus on winning races and a championship.

“So I honestly haven’t asked a question about it. I think these, for me, are rare times. I mean, my car and my team has performed at a high level for three years. We need to try to capitalize on that performance, whatever it may be. It’s been a great almost three years, complete three years now, and we need to continue doing what we’re doing.

“Stewart-Haas has this great way of compartmentalizing everything. It seems like maybe Tony has trained them well through all his circumstances through the years, but they have a great way of sitting everybody down and saying, This is what you’re going to do, this is what we want you to do, go do it, we can worry about everything else.

“Since I started there, We want you to come drive our car. We don’t have a sponsor. We don’t have a crew chief. We don’t have a team.
I said, Okay.

“From that first day, you know, they’ve lived up to everything that they’ve said. So it’s important to finish out this year and do the things that we’ve done all year and try to do that over the next 10 weeks. You just don’t want to let things slip away.

“A lot of people thought we would let it slip away all year, and the performance has stayed exactly where it’s been the last two years. That’s something I’m really proud of our team and company for.”

What is on your playlist? What do you like to unwind with? Any country artists?

“Oh, what’s his name? The new one that I like? Steve Moakler, his new song. What is it? Drunk… You’re supposed to know this. That’s the new one that I like lately.

“Obviously Jake came out with his new album, American Country Love Song. So my favorite one is the Volkswagen song they have on there that he sings. It’s kind of funny.

“Yeah, country music’s fun to listen to right now.