Ford Performance NASCAR: Kevin Harvick Pocono Media Session

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Saturday, July 27, 2019

EVENT: Gander RV 400 Media Availability

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Beer Gen X Ford Mustang – WHAT’S YOUR THOUGHT ON RESTARTS THIS YEAR?  HAS THERE BEEN MORE GAMESMANSHIP?  “I think you’re probably referring to last week at a certain point.  Here’s the thing, I don’t know if it’s gamesmanship this year anymore than last year.  I think a lot of what it comes down to is we’re going to a lot of these race tracks for the first time and faster and slower and being off on your restarts and the things that are different compared to what you have last year, I think you have to do some things differently and sometimes you get in a box that you can’t get out of unless you go faster or slower.  The second thing is there are a lot of race tracks that we go to some cars have first gear, some cars have second gear.  I think a lot of guys listen and see what the car next to them has for gearing, and if you know that they guy next to you has a first gear or the guy that’s leading the race has first gear and the guy next to him has second gear, the guy with first gear is gonna slow it down and the guy in second gear is gonna bog.  So I think there’s a lot of that going on.  I think that some of that comes from all the differences in things that we have this year, but there are differences, especially when you get to places like this of guys that have first gear and guys that don’t.”

CAN YOU HAVE THE SAME KIND OF RIVALIRIES WITH OTHER DRIVERS TODAY THAT THERE WERE 15-20 YEARS AGO?  “You look at other sports and I think we’ll use the Yankees and the Red Sox.  Does it seem the same that it was 15-20 years ago?  No, and I think a lot of that comes down to – no offense – but to the media, to social media, to guys growing up together and playing together.  There’s just more people who know each other and, for us, it’s harder to carry a grudge in the garage today than it was 20 years ago just because of the fact that if there’s a major beef going on it’s a major hassle and it affects your team and it affects the things that you do, and everybody knows that, so it’s best to just move on, have a short memory and that’s the approach that I try to take to it is to have the shortest memory possible, whether it’s a good weekend or a bad weekend, a good moment or a bad moment, and you move on with it.  It’s just super-hard to carry a grudge and be able to function and not spend your morning coming in here answering questions about that.  That would be what it would be about this morning if last week was something where you had a moment, so that’s frustrating and distracting.”

IS THERE A RIVALRY IN YOUR CAREER THAT STANDS OUT BETWEEN YOU AND ANOTHER DRIVER?  “Oh man, I wanted to rip Kyle Busch’s head off for a long time, and now I enjoy being around Kyle and racing with Kyle and the reason I think that is, for me, there’s a respect that comes with what he does on the race track, so I enjoy beating Kyle.  I know Kyle enjoys beating me and I enjoy racing Kyle, but I also understand that when it’s all said and done, he’s gonna be one of the greatest that goes through the sport.  Jimmie Johnson is gonna be one of the greatest, but I never had a beef.  Did Jimmie Johnson have a beef with anybody?  I don’t think so.  That’s probably why he won seven championships.  He had this grudge thing figured out long before I did, so it’s a different world.”

I KNOW THE DRIVER’S COUNCIL DOESN’T EXIST ANYMORE, BUT DO YOU FEEL NASCAR IS LISTENING TO YOU GUYS MORE LATELY?  WE’VE SEEN PJ1 PUT DOWN HERE THIS WEEKEND AND THE UNCONTROLLED TIRE RULE HAS BEEN CHANGED.  “I think the PJ1 is a good example.  I guess it depends on how far you want to poke your nose into things from a driver’s standpoint and how involved you want to get into the politics of it.  I think when it comes to the racing side of it everybody knows that it’s in our best interest to find other lanes with the rules and the racing and the way that it is, so it has evolved into putting PJ1 on the race track and it’s been very effective at a lot of place.  It’s been laid down much better than we have done it in the past, and I think as you look at that it just opens the door to other places and when we first started it was a complete disaster of how it was applied and where it was applied and why it was there.  So I think that Jay Fabian and the garage and everybody has every week he comes over and asks, ‘What do you think?  How is it?  What would you do different?’  And a lot of times you just have to wait and see how it evolves and it’s just those little pieces, but when you have everybody kind of chiming in and you have NASCAR listening, especially on the PJ1 side of it, it’s an evolution and it continues to get better.  Obviously, this is the first stab at it here.  I think when you get done with the weekend you’ll be able to apply it better and differently next time, and there’s a lot that goes to it and how they put it down and where they put it down.  It’s a science project.  How far out in the corner?  Should it be tapered into the corner?  Should it be the second groove?  The middle of the first groove?  There are just a number of things and when you get all of the drivers involved and Denny has kind of spearheaded a lot of the PJ1 evolution from the driver’s side of it.  It becomes easier when there are one or two guys, and he’s really the guy that is communicating on that side of it to try to get things moving forward.  You can just throw out your two cents in the group chat and he can compile all the information from all the different types because everybody looks at it differently, and when you have a number of guys that are chiming in to throw out their ideas it evolves quickly, so that part is good.”

WHAT’S YOUR MINDSET COMING HERE TO POCONO?  ARE YOU FRUSTRATED HAVING NOT WON HERE?  “I don’t get frustrated.  I just want to win.  I think we’ve been in position to win and I think I said this last week, there’s not a race that we go to that we don’t think we can win even though we’ve never won here, but we’ve been in position a number of times to win here and it’s just like last week, finally we knocked that wall down and things will go your way and you’ll be on the right side of it as long as you keep the performance where it has been here.  We’ve had a lot of things go wrong here over the past several years and in contention to win races, so if you stay in contention to win races long enough, you will.”

DENNY FEELS THE WAY HE RACED YOU LAST WEEK MIGHT BE A DEPOSIT TOWARD THE FUTURE WHERE IF HE NEEDS TO RACE MORE AGGRESSIVELY HE MIGHT GET MORE LEEWAY IN THE FUTURE?  DO YOU FEEL THAT WAY?  “I think as you look at last week everybody was trying to do everything they could to win a race for their team.  I think as you go back to the year before (at New Hampshire), I wanted to move Kyle out of the way and not wreck him.  I think that was done well and I think Denny tried to do the same thing, which he should, it was the last lap, and from there it was both of us just trying to do anything that you had to do to try to win, so you try to race as hard as you can without absolutely dumping a guy.  You go back to he and Chase (at Martinsville).  I’m sure he tried to move him out of the way, and I know that was a couple years ago now, but that’s the kind of thing I was talking about earlier, it just festers and it dwells and you talk about it.  It’s in all the highlights, but I think when it came down to the Playoffs, that’s what he thought he had to do to try to put himself in Victory Lane, and I think he’d probably do that again and take all the grief and take that chance.  So you try to do everything you can for your team, and I think Denny and I have always raced well together.  We’ve always raced each other hard, but using the front bumper and sides and everything on the last lap, whatever you’ve got to do to win is the way you’ve got to do it.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

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