CHASE FOR THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP
ROUND 2 OF 10
BAD BOY OFF ROAD 300
NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 25, 2016
CHEVROLET’S KEVIN HARVICK WINS AT LOUDON
LOUDON, N.H. (September 25, 2016) – Kevin Harvick took the victory in the Bad Boy Off Road 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in his No. 4 ditech Chevy SS. The win was Harvick’s 34th Cup career victory, his third of the 2016 season and second at the ‘Magic Mile’ in Loudon, New Hampshire. It also earned the Chase contender a position in the next segment of the 10-race championship elimination-style format called the ‘Round of 12’. The victory was the 761st win for Chevrolet in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing and the brand’s 19th win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
TEAM CHEVY FINISHING ORDER (TOP 12)
1st – Kevin Harvick, No. 4 ditech Chevrolet SS
5th – Kurt Busch, No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS
8th – Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS
9th – Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS
10th – Kyle Larson, No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS
POST-RACE CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS (Top 16):
1. Brad Keselowski (Ford) – 2087
2. Martin Truex, Jr. (Toyota) – 2086
3. Kyle Busch (Toyota) – 2085
4. Matt Kenseth (Toyota) – 2078
5. Joey Logano (Ford) – 2073
6. Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet) – 2071
7. Denny Hamlin (Toyota) – 2071
8. Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet) – 2070
9. Chase Elliott (Chevrolet) – 2068
10. Carl Edwards (Toyota) – 2068
11. Kurt Busch (Chevrolet) – 2067
12. Kyle Larson (Chevrolet ) – 2057
13. Jamie McMurray (Chevrolet) – 2052
14. Austin Dillon (Chevrolet) – 2052
15. Tony Stewart (Chevrolet) – 2046
16. Chris Buescher (Ford) – 2027
NEXT RACE: Round 3 of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup takes place at Dover, Delaware on Sunday, Oct. 2.
POST RACE PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 DITECH CHEVROLET SS – RACE WINNER
THE MODERATOR: We will continue our post‑race media availability for the 20th annual Bad Boy Off Road 300, and we are now joined by our race‑winning team, driver Kevin Harvick of the No. 4 Ditech Chevrolet for Stewart‑Haas Racing, and crew chief Rodney Childers. This is Kevin’s 34th career victory in 566 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. It’s his third win and 22nd top‑10 finish in 2016, and most importantly, he has punched his ticket into the next round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
After a disappointing performance last week at Chicagoland, you needed a great performance today, but you’ve got the best performance possible; how does that feel?
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, we needed a solid day, and really our car was good all weekend. As we went through practice yesterday, we just had some little things that we talked about doing this morning, and as we went through the race, made some small adjustments on the car, and there at the end we were able to keep ourselves up front with the track position, and they made a great call to leave us out two or three times. Our car would fire off really good on the restarts on the bottom.
I liked being on the top because it just seemed easier, but for whatever reason, I could get back to the throttle and really run across the first set of dotted lines and were able to get position and get out front there at the end.
THE MODERATOR: Rodney, clearly the 20 and the 78 had the feel today until the very end. How confident were you in the car and the final restarts that you were going to overtake those guys for the lead?
RODNEY CHILDERS: Yeah, like Kevin said, we had a good car all weekend and we kept working on it as the day went, and I could kind of tell by looking at our roof camera that we were starting to get a little more even with those guys watching the lap times. I felt like if we could ever get on that front row and have clean air on the nose, we would be in pretty good shape. He did a great job on that last restart and got us in great position.
Q. Kevin, you said going into the Chase you were already going max effort and you were already going to go hard, but it seems like there’s another way that you can raise your game when you’re in adverse situations like you found yourself in after this week. Do you have another notch? How are you performing so well in clutch situations again and again?
KEVIN HARVICK: I think it’s really the nature of our team. It’s one of those things where you get behind a little bit, and I feel like that’s something I like because you can motivate yourself and you can motivate everybody around you by your actions and the things that you do and the attitude that you carry to the car on practice days and how you present yourself in the meetings. These guys were all ‑‑ they were mad after qualifying. I was kind of laughing, and it was like, it’s going to be fine. I don’t know if you guys have noticed but we passed a lot of cars over the last three years. We can pass.
It’s just that time of year ‑‑ last two years we’ve kind of just worn ourselves out and really stressed out over trying to perform at this level, but we already perform at that level. We’ve just got to keep performing at that level. A lot of times you can talk yourself into being so amped up that you can talk yourself into making mistakes or doing things wrong, and this team has done a great job.
But when you get in these situations, it’s fun to be able to succeed. It’s kind of like an addiction. You just love the rush of being able to be behind and be able to perform and make that happen. It’s something that is very gratifying. Just really proud of everybody on the team.
Q. Can you kind of explain just the difference in emotions today compared to last Sunday?
KEVIN HARVICK: You know, I mean, they’re two different emotions, but I get frustrated and mad because I care. I want to do the best for my team and the people around me. But you’re going to go through some highs and you’re going to go through some lows, and the lows suck, but that’s just kind of the nature of the game that you’re in. I know our cars are running good enough, we just got in spot there where it didn’t all work out for us.
They’re definitely at opposite ends of the spectrum as far as the fun meter. One was at the bottom and one was at the top.
Q. During the drivers’ meeting you had Keelan in your lap and he was squirming around all ‑‑
KEVIN HARVICK: He had to pee. He asked me, Dad, is there a bathroom in here, I’ve got to go. I could tell he was bouncing around, and I’m like, Man, I’m going to have to send him out of the drivers’ meeting to go pee, and he’s like, Dad, I’ve got to go. I’m like, you’re going to have to wait. We don’t want to start at the back.
Q. Was that distracting? When you have him on your lap, and I don’t know when you get into your serious time before a race, but ‑‑
KEVIN HARVICK: It’s better for me to not think about racing honestly, because we think about it ‑‑ we all about it all week, and we have meetings and we have things that go on about racing all week, so any time I can get away from it is better for me, so it kind of adds a diversion, and he likes it. He likes to be in the drivers’ meeting, and he thinks it’s cool because there’s really no other kids in there. He likes clapping for everybody.
Q. Rodney, long green flag run in the beginning there; how did the strategy come into play after the first caution?
RODNEY CHILDERS: Well, I figured it would go pretty long there at the beginning, and I thought our car was really good on the long run yesterday and I thought that would work to our advantage, and it did in a way. He was able to drive his way up through there a good ways. But we got to the point where the car was kind of going away and it wasn’t turning the way it needed to. I think the racetrack almost came to us a little bit. The car actually ended up getting loose later on.
But overall, it was a smooth day. I’ll be honest with you; not only is the Chase stressful and this format stressful, but racing here is stressful. I used to hate coming here, and then we won here with Brian a few years back, and I’ve loved it ever since, especially coming here with him. It makes it a lot more fun.
But you never know what the right thing is. We stayed out a few years ago, and Joey pitted and put four tires on and drove by all of us like we were sitting still. Sometimes you win it by staying out and sometimes you win it by putting tires on, and we talked about it the other day, and we thought tires were the way to go, and then I stayed out and it didn’t look like it was going the way I wanted it to, and I thought I gave it away. It really came down to being in the right spot at the right time and him making it happen on the restart.
Q. Phoenix, Homestead, Dover the last two years, you’ve won races you’ve had to win. You say it’s an addiction, but do you feel different getting into the car in those races? This race wasn’t that magnitude, but it was pretty important to have a good finish.
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I think for us it’s really hard to maintain the level of performance that these guys have maintained in the shop, on the pit box and over the last three years because they really perform at a Chase level throughout the season every year. But I think being able to perform well and win races early allows these guys and everybody at SHR to come up with a good plan and really be prepared and have options and be prepared for the unexpected and have to do things differently than you have ‑‑ this week is no different obviously with the rules changing and having to prepare and go into R&D mode and do things and look for things that you haven’t looked for all year because they weren’t really available. So now you need to go into R&D mode and do those things to make sure that you’re where you need to be. But you’ve got to be prepared for all that because you never know what’s going to happen.
But I think everybody on this team knows that when we get to Chase time, it’s time to put everything else aside. It’s a balance. I talk about balance all the time, and you have to have that circle of life and balance, and for 10 weeks you have to have the circle of life balances enough to be ready to perform at the top level and give everything that you have and make sure you get all the details because this is about organization, detail and people. If you have those three things going for you, with the cars and the performance and the people that we have, if you have those three things going for you, you’re going to be able to perform at a high level.
Q. Just comment on the reversal of fortune from last September’s race.
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, this is ‑‑ that stuff all goes in a cycle. I know you guys hear me talk about cycles a lot. You think about the races that you lost and the races that you win, and it’s nice to be on the side of not leading all the laps and be able to capitalize on a late‑race caution and come out with a win where you didn’t dominate all day and didn’t lead a bunch of laps. We were able to capitalize on that today, and that’s making up for one of those that we lost the other way. You’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some, and that’s the fortunate part about our sport; when you have a lot of experience and been around for a long time, you know how that cycle works, and you just don’t get the highs get too high and the lows get too low and you just keep on moving on.
Q. What’s your opinion on the new digital dashboards?
KEVIN HARVICK: I like it. I think for us it’s added us a lot of options for us. There’s a lot of information that you can gather from it. But I like it because you can make the font a lot bigger on the numbers and I can see them.
Q. You guys have already been asked about the stress of having to win when you are put into a win or go home situation; how is this going to be different going into Dover not needing a win like you did last year, going to have a free weekend pretty much there before you have to focus on the round of 12?
KEVIN HARVICK: I think for me personally, I hope we go to Dover and win again. I think it’s been a great racetrack for us. Everybody is prepared to go up there and be in the same position that we were in last year. So I’m excited. Obviously there won’t be as much pressure, but it’s important to go perform like you need to perform for those guys in the shop and the guys that come on the road and have put the time and effort into these race cars, and they’re detailed out to the max to go to the racetrack and perform. We owe it to everybody, sponsors, people, everybody involved to go there and try to win.
Q. Kevin, Tony is currently in the bottom four. Greg Zipadelli said he’s got to go out and perform next week. Would you bet against Tony trying to get a win next week to stay in the Chase?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, everybody bet against Tony to even be in the Chase, so I think as you look at Dover, it’s a racetrack that ‑‑ he can go to any racetrack and perform. He can go to any racetrack and win. He’s Tony Stewart. I wouldn’t bet against him. I don’t know what his circumstances and scenario are going into Dover, but we’ll do everything we can to help him get to the point where he needs to be to try to move on.
Q. Last year after you won Dover, you talked about Keelan, how he wanted the trophy. Has he seen the lobster yet?
KEVIN HARVICK: Yep, he saw the lobster. He asked mom if she knew how to cook lobster. He definitely talks about the trophies a lot. He thought the lobster was pretty cool. He thinks on the new NASCAR video game they have after you win, they show you the trophies and there’s a very select few racetracks that have the same trophy, so he’s a little ticked that they have the kind of fill‑in trophy for the racetracks that don’t have the consistent trophy. Maybe New Hampshire needs the lobster as their trophy.
Q. Rodney, do you think that anyone can stop ‑‑ obviously you guys have been fighting the Toyotas and doing it well all season long, but can you guys stop them in the course of the final eight races of the Chase?
RODNEY CHILDERS: You know, I think the question is can we stop ourselves. That’s the question. I felt like we had a great car last weekend and put ourselves in a bad position and probably could have won the race just like they did, and we won today. So it’s up to us. It’s up to us to take good cars to the racetrack. It’s up to us to have good pit stops. It’s up to me to make good decisions during the weekend and on pit road, and I think if we do that, we’ll keep advancing as far as we can.
Q. Kevin, you won here in 2006, and Rodney, you won here in 2013 and you’ve had some good runs in the last couple years but you haven’t quite been able to get it done. What was the factor that you think made the difference today?
KEVIN HARVICK: I think it’s just keeping yourself, like he said earlier, keeping yourself in position to have a chance because you just never know how the end of these races are going to turn out, and I think you see that in the amount of different winners that have come at this particular racetrack through the years because it just turns into strategy and restarts, and a lot of times you have a lot of contact and things that happen as you get towards the end of the race. So it’s just a very strange racetrack to finish. You can have a fast race car and you can go through the green flag runs, but it usually comes down to the end of the race with restarts and where you line up and how the restarts go to finish off the win.
The fastest race car I’ve ever had here was the one in the fall last year, and we didn’t win the race with it. You just never know how it’s going to work out.
Q. Kevin, after last week at Chicago with Truex, how confident were you to come here knowing your past and how well you’ve done here?
KEVIN HARVICK: I feel like we can win at any racetrack. I know the Toyotas have run well. We’ve run well. I think it’s just a matter of who puts together a full day and doesn’t make mistakes. This has been a really good racetrack for us. We performed well in the spring. Obviously last year we performed well.
So it’s just a matter of putting the day together, and really today was one of those days where everything went good. Everybody performed. All the pit calls and the pit stops and the restarts and everything that happened, they all went good. You know, that’s not usually something that you can say happened on a particular day, and usually when it goes that way you’ll have a chance to win, and today we did.
It’s just hard to put these things together, and like Rodney said, we’ve had the performance in our race cars, we’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing.
Q. I assume you were still paying attention during the drivers’ meeting, and O’Donnell gave a pretty stern warning ‑‑
KEVIN HARVICK: I was just hoping I didn’t get peed on to be honest with you.
Q. ‑‑ to not circumvent the rules. Do you know kind of what you can and can’t do, and were you concerned how much of a burnout you could do before it might be considered anything fishy?
KEVIN HARVICK: You know, I was just absolutely irate all week about everything that went on, but by the time we had got here, I think we had all calmed back down and just tried to focus on racing the cars, worrying about what the new parameters were, worrying about the things that we had to do to try to get to victory lane and try to perform as well as we could today because it really took me until Saturday morning to get over the fact of just not ‑‑ just wanting to tear somebody’s head off because of everything that went on last week and the way that it all worked out because I just didn’t ‑‑ I didn’t 100 percent agree with it, and there’s never going to be ‑‑ in our sport everybody is never going to agree 100 percent, so I can see it from a lot of different perspectives, but I was having a tough time gathering that one up. I had to put it aside and we had to move on and we had to focus and just worry about what we were going to do, and I think it’s kind of like we talk about the Chase and performing well in situations, at some point ‑‑ I haven’t been good about this my whole life, but over the past several years I think I’ve become a lot better at letting things go. You can hold a lot in and frustrate yourself and you’re just not going to perform at the level that you need to perform and communicate with your team and the people around you. It just really wasn’t ‑‑ I had to move on, and it worked out for us.
Q. Just different rules for ‑‑ you didn’t know what the rules were, the retroactive nature of the rules? Is that what got you?
KEVIN HARVICK: You know, I just ‑‑ I was just frustrated. There really wasn’t any one particular thing. When you step back and look at it, you can look at it from different people’s perspectives and probably say they have an argument. But it is what it is, and we all have to move on and race.
Q. I just wanted to hear from Rodney, at this point like whenever Kevin gets in a situation where his back is against the wall, it just seems like he’s going to perform. Do you see that ‑‑ even when you guys were down, do you have the expectation he’s going to go take care of it and get us in no matter what?
RODNEY CHILDERS: I think sometimes I think that, but on the other hand, just like he said, I think the whole team is kind of that way. You know, the attitude in every morning meeting with the 4 team this week was the different attitude. The attitude when we got here to the racetrack, you have to believe that you can win or you’re not going to do it. We felt like we brought a good car here and thought that we could pull off the victory if we did everything right, and it just really came down to doing everything right. It’s not always going to be that way, but he definitely steps up to the table, and all my guys do, also, and I think it just works out.
Q. For us local guys this is the last time we’re going to get to see your boss up here on the track, and I just wonder if you could comment on his impact on NASCAR and on you personally as your relationship has developed as teammates.
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, well, I’ve been asked this question a lot, but Tony hasn’t had a ‑‑ his biggest effect hasn’t been on NASCAR. His biggest effect has been on auto racing in general, whether it’s NASCAR, IndyCars, sprint cars, late models. This guy has been in them, he’s raced them, he’s had an influence on racing series and people and helped people. He’s just done so much for racing in general, I think it’s hard to put ‑‑ I don’t think that everybody can really put into perspective everything that he touches from the racing world and keeps going and the effort that he puts into it and how much he actually loves doing what he does. He may be retiring, but he’s got more going on in the racing world than you can imagine, so I’m just happy that he’s happy. I’m happy that he’s performed well this year. I’m happy that he’s in the Chase and he’s been great to myself and my team and family and putting together something that we’ve been able to go out and win races and be competitive week in and week out at Stewart‑Haas Racing. That’s just what they do.
Gene brought him in to be his partner, and he’s the type of guy that’s going to sit in your meeting and he’s going to listen and he’s not going to be the guy that’s banging his fist on the table like you’d think he would be. He’s the guy that’s going to listen, and two months later he’s going to say, hey, remember what we talked about with such‑and‑such, we’ve got it handled, it’s all done, and you didn’t even know he was listening. He’s a guy that’s going to listen. He’s good with the people, and he means a lot to auto racing in general.