Monday, Sep 25

Ford Performance - Kevin Harvick Transcript Kansas

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 SunnyD Ford Mustang – WHAT’S QUALIFYING LOOK LIKE FOR YOU TODAY? “Well, I think Kansas is a lot of throttle. Obviously, you have to be comfortable with leaving the throttle down, coming to the green well and doing all the things that you need to do to put the car in the right spot. So, I have no idea how the car will be. I’ll tell you in a couple of hours.”


WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK HEADING INTO QUALIFYING AND THIS WEEKEND? “I think you go through practice and you kind of adjust on the car, and go from there. Really with the way things go now, I try not to have an outlook one way or the other, because you just don’t know if it’s going to go perfect or if it’s going to be way off… or whatever it is. You can obviously fix it between tonight and tomorrow with adjustments – look at all the heights and everything that goes with it. So, I just try to go into it with as much of a neutral-minded approach as possible, to know that you need to be ready to work on whatever.”


DID YOU CHANGE ANY PIT PROCEDURES IN REACTION OF DARLINGTON? ARE THERE ANY RULE CHANGES NASCAR CAN MAKE TO PREVENT A SIMILAR INSTANCE FOR THE FUTURE? “I never even watched it. It was done. I was three… two… one… light’s on. From that point, I just go down pit road and do what you’re told, and go from there. It is what it is. I never even looked at it.”


BEYOND THE ADDITIONAL SAFETY REASONS, WOULD IT HELP HAVING AN INDICATOR OR LIGHT ON THE DASHBOARD WHEN THE CAUTION COMES OUT? “I think the chances of being in that scenario… I mean, that’s the first time I’ve ever been in that scenario in my whole career. I’ve done this for a long time, and I think that the odds of it happening – at that particular time, racing for the lead, and being coupled one or two car-lengths from the line… having it affect your whole race, finish and everything that happened is probably slim-to-none. I think that protecting yourself or changing rules, or something along those lines – I don’t really know. I don’t know what you really do, right? I think if you back the line up and put it in a different spot, it might be the same scenario all over again. I’m not really sure. I think there are a number of ways that you can look at that. It’s just an untimely situation, unfortunately. Happened to be us.”


WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN, FROM A COMPETITION PERSPECTIVE, THROUGH THE YEARS AT KANSAS? THERE SEEMS TO BE MORE SIDE-BY-SIDE ACTION WITH THE NEXT GEN CAR. “I don’t know if I’d agree with you on your last statement on side-by-side racing with the car. I think this particular racetrack has just been racey in general. I think when they redid the racetrack with the progressive banking and the way that the groove has moved around – you can run the middle, top or bottom – it gives you a lot of options from a driver standpoint. I think that’s just a product of the racetrack. I don’t think it has anything to do with one car or the other. So, I think that the other thing that happens here is on the restarts. You have so much room to go into Turn 1 and 2 and go all over the racetrack, and look for empty space to try and make a move. You can be super aggressive with the pushing. I think that usually causes the issues that happen on the restarts – just everyone being aggressive. Because you know that you have to go and do what you have to do, and take chances in order to put yourself in the position to be in a good spot. Ultimately, I think it’s a product of the track. For whatever reason, it’s just been one of our racier mile-and-a-half racetracks with the way that the asphalt has aged and the way that the racetrack has progressed. You can move around the track. So, I think it’s definitely more track than car with what promotes that good racing.”


SOME HAVE CONSIDERED BRISTOL A “WILD CARD” AS A SHORT COURSE. HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU, ESPECIALLY HAVING GOOD RESULTS THERE? “It has been a good racetrack for us. I think that really all these races can be wild cards. There’s not one racetrack that really is any different to me. They can all have something happen to turn into pure craziness. This one has been way crazier than some of the Bristol races, and Bristol has been crazy in its own way. I think that they can all turn upside-down quickly, and you hope that you’re not on the other side of where you need to be. Bristol has been a great racetrack for us, and you just hope that you can go in there and have that continue – capitalize on that. I think that really, these are all good racetracks for us and can be all good racetracks for us on one day or another. It’s just a matter of getting it all together and having it all work out.”


HAVE THE EMOTIONS SET IN THAT THIS IS “IT,” NOW THAT WE ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS AND CLOSER TO THE END OF THE SEASON? “It really doesn’t matter to me. I think for me, we’ve been so set on how this year was going to go. We started planning in November, and I’ve had my arms wrapped around what this whole year was. I think for me, it’s been everything. Even if it’s regular season or playoffs, it really doesn’t matter to me as far as how I approach it or what I feel. I think for me the feelings were, every week, another piece of closure as to what we’re heading toward – wrapping up as far as my driving career. I think a lot of that comes with planning everything that we have, so there’s really no new emotions for me going from one racetrack to the other. It’s been a lot of fun just to be able to hear the fans’ stories and the different moments at the racetracks – to be able to celebrate all those moments and things that have happened through the years, but for me, I’m very content with the decisions that have been made and the path, going forward, that is so far into play. This whole process seems like old news to me, just because of the fact that it’s been happening for so long throughout the year. Not that I’m not going to enjoy the last eight weeks as far as those last moments, celebrations and moments of things that happened with fans, people or sponsors or whatever it is. That’s just how I am. We make a plan. We lay things out. We organize it. Obviously, we can always do some things better, but it’s been just a well-executed plan and a lot of fun to have the fans, friends, people and sponsors – all the things that have been a part of what we’ve done week-in and week-out. It has been pretty cool to see it all executed. For me, it’s a plan. There are a lot of things that go into it, but it’s just not a new emotion for me – like going to Kansas, or Bristol next week. There’s just not going to be anything new that pops up for me, because I’m so far into knowing what to expect.”


HOW IMPACTFUL HAS RODNEY CHILDERS BEEN TO YOU AND YOUR CAREER? “I think that, for us, it’s been a great relationship and friendship. For the guys on the team, it’s been a good ride that a lot of us have been on together for almost 10 years. Rodney and I have a good relationship and have been able to execute and do things well on and off the racetrack – work through good moments and bad moments, and just move onto the next one. I think it’s rare that you see a group of people work together for the amount of time that we’ve worked together and I’ve enjoyed that. It’s worked out well.”


HOW DO YOU RECOVER AND REGROUP AFTER BEING FACED WITH A SITUATION LIKE LAST WEEKEND? “Well unfortunately, I’ve lost a lot of races in my lifetime and that’s what I try to explain to our young kids: You better figure out how to be a good loser. Even if you’re really good, you might win 10 percent of your races. So, it’s just part of it. It’s not, ‘Well, somebody had it out for you,’ or ‘You should have done this or that.’ Sometimes, it’s just the way it works. You’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, and when you’ve been around it for a long time, you go about your business. I’ve just got too many things to do to dwell on one moment because it’s not going to do anything but get me behind. You think about the moment, and if there’s something that needs to be addressed, then you look at that, address that and move on. This one was pretty simple in my mind as far as what you could work on. I don’t know. From that standpoint, there’s really nothing you can work on. I came to pit road, came down pitroad looking at my lights… three… two… one… caution’s out. See the light, look back at the tach… by that time you’re across the commitment line, so there’s really no changes there from my standpoint.”


FANS ARE RALLYING BEHIND YOU, ESPECIALLY THIS SEASON. DO YOU SENSE THE OVERWHELMING SUPPORT, AND HOW SPECIAL IS THAT TO YOU? “I think for me, it’s definitely something that you recognize, feel and try to appreciate, just because that’s what our goal was this year, right? You want to go out and do everything right, as you walk out the door and have everybody respect and like the things you’ve done throughout your career. Really, your first impression is kind of like your last impression, right? As you walk out, you try to do as many things right as possible, and one of our main goals this year was to be competitive and be in contention, and try to have a chance to win races… race for the championship and walk out that way. Obviously, winning the Southern 500, being in that position, and having all those people root for you and want that to happen is exactly what we want. There’s no way to force that stuff. You can’t control so many things that happen, but I can definitely sense the support and it’s really been that way all year – since we started this season. The fan support and the industry support has been over-the-top. I told somebody, ‘You almost can’t screw this up.’ But, it would be spectacular if you could win, and do those things that so many people are coming to the racetrack hoping that they get to witness in person. No matter what market it is. Obviously, that one was right there toward the end of the race –racing for the lead and doing all of the things that you want to do. But, it’s a brutal sport – you win one week, and the next week you’ll be wrecked-out and finish last. It’s been that way for as long as I’ve been around it, but I think it is different this year just because it’s the last year with the fans, the people and everything they have going on. They want you to achieve that moment.”


WAS IT A SILENT DRIVE HOME LAST WEEK? “You guys listen to me every week, and I know everyone wants me to have a different answer, but I have a five-year-old and an 11-year-old in the backseat that are completely delirious from being up way past their bedtime. Just oblivious to the impact of things that go on, and it literally, as soon as you get out of the car and walk into the motorhome and you’re mad, you’re trying to process everything… all the sudden you just go into a different world. I know it’s not the fancy, great story that everybody’s looking for, but it’s the way my life operates. It’s switch on, switch off. I think that makes it better. It’s better for me, personally and mentally, and it’s a way easier way to process things. But, yeah. We drove home, listened to them talk about whatever they did during the day and that was it.”


WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY FEEL YOU STACK UP AGAINST THE OTHER FORDS IN THE FIELD? “We had the fastest Ford last week, so that’s all that really matters until we roll onto the track this week. Actually, we probably had the fastest car last week – in general.”


HOW IS RYAN PREECE DOING? “He seemed fine. I’m not going to answer questions for him.”


IF A WIN WASN’T IN THE CARDS THIS SEASON, WOULD YOU BE AT PEACE WITH THAT? “I think for those who have been here every week know that I’m pretty at peace with everything.”


WERE THERE ANY DIFFICULTIES PREPARING FOR KANSAS THIS TIME AROUND? “I don’t think so. We’ve already raced here this year, so we have a pretty good idea of what we’re looking for.”


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