KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS
GIL MARTIN, CREW CHIEF, AND RICHARD CHILDRESS, TEAM OWNER – RACE WINNER
Joining us for the winner of our sprint Unlimited at Daytona, Kevin
Harvick, Richard Childress Racing. He's joined by his crew chief Gil
Martin. Kevin has won three of the last five Sprint Unlimited events
here at Daytona and won back to back 2009, 2010. He joins Tony Stewart
and Dale Jarrett as three‑time
winners of the event, Dale Earnhardt all‑time winner of this event with six.
New racecar, winning like that in fine fashion, how does that set you up for the rest of this week?
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, I think the biggest thing is how are we
going to get Danica and Ricky on the front page tomorrow (laughter)? I
missed all you guys because you were all busy being TMZ the other day.
Saw now you all have to talk to me and I can
be a complete prick (laughter).
But, anyway, we knew that the racing was going to be different. We
just didn't know because we hadn't run in a big pack. Honestly,
we still haven't because the pack got narrowed down as we got the race
The front bumpers, it's very small contact patch as far as how you can
push and how you can't. When things don't line up correctly,
you see what happens. You just got to be patient. Reminds me of how
we raced 10, 11 years ago with that type of car and that type of
Anytime you're in Victory Lane here at Daytona, it's a great day.
KERRY THARP: Crew chief Gil Martin, congratulations. Looks like
a strong team this year in the Sprint Cup Series. Talk about tonight's
win and maybe just look ahead to the days ahead here at Daytona.
GIL MARTIN: It just shows that hard work pays off because these
guys have worked long and hard, every team has, because of the things
we've been up against.
Tonight I couldn't be prouder of the job Kevin did, our Chevrolet SS
was strong. The guys on pit road did a great job, coming in
third, taking the lead going out, that set Kevin up. Just looking
forward for the rest of the week.
Thursday is going to be another good race for us, but I think we'll
have enough time to get set up for Sunday and I think it's going
to be really good for us.
KERRY THARP: Richard, congratulations again. Certainly Victory
Lane here at Daytona is a very common place for you to visit. I know
it's got to feel good right out of the gate winning this race.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yeah, to win the first race with the Chevy SS
was a big deal for us all. To win the Shootout like it was with the
fans being involved, I thought that was really great. I'm really proud
of all the efforts at RCR. Like I told Kevin
before the race, You know how to do it. I don't have to tell you
He did it right there at the end of the race, helluva job. The pit
crew, the whole team, couldn't be prouder of the whole organization.
Got a lot more to do. This is just the start of a long, long 10 days
here. We're going to be after it the rest of the week.
KERRY THARP: Questions now for this winning team.
Q. Kevin, you know Danica was fastest in practice today.
KEVIN HARVICK: Didn't see her today, but she must not have won many poles and races in the past.
Q. Was the fact that there were 12 cars on track for most of the race
limiting in how much you could learn about the drafting?
Junior and Joey Logano said the bottom didn't get worked enough.
KEVIN HARVICK: I would definitely agree with that.
I think obviously 19 cars, you knew it was going to be a smaller race
than normal anyway. But when you saw five, six, seven cars,
whatever, got eliminated, you knew the moves, you were going to have to
be pretty precise to make a good move.
Everybody figured out you could really side draft and slow down that
bottom lane. The 20 definitely probably had the fastest car.
He couldn't make it all the way by by himself through the corner and
get on the straightaway because of the side draft.
The side draft is pretty big. We were able to run the top and kind of
keep the bottom line at bay there because there weren't enough
cars because everybody would stay up top except for three or four
cars. Didn't have enough momentum.
The cars are going to be able to move, things are going to move and shift a lot easier.
Q. It seems in years after what appears to be a crisis at RCR, you
come back stronger. Is there some kind of team marriage counseling
you go through in the off‑season? What did you do in the off‑season
to come out of the box looking this strong?
KEVIN HARVICK: We went and hired these psychiatrists to tell us what we need to do. Now we call them engineers (laughter).
No. I think with Eric and all the crew chiefs, the engineering staff,
the amount of effort that Richard has poured in from a financial
standpoint to a people standpoint, getting organized, there's a lot of
effort making sure the cars are prepared better. Not that everybody
wasn't working just as hard. There's a lot more structure and
engineering that goes into these cars nowadays than what
there used to be. He can tell you a lot more about that.
Today when we were struggling with our car, there's people with
notebooks and iPads, computers. They're standing around talking about
what everybody else has on their cars. It's pretty fun to see, see
them all put everything together to try to fix a problem.
Q. Kevin, how did the cars react compared to what you expected? The
long range forecast for the 500 calls for highs in the low
80s. How different do you think that's going to be from tonight?
KEVIN HARVICK: Low 80s will be exactly what we were expecting because there was zero handling issues tonight.
When we were here at the test, there were a lot of handling issues with
the car sliding around. I think that will fit more of what
we were expecting when we went home from the test. That will change
the ballgame a lot if it's not 40 degrees outside.
Q. Kevin and Gil, everyone has heard the talk about lame duck drivers,
their situation. I think you even referenced it on your
radio when you won. Why will you guys be different?
KEVIN HARVICK: I don't think it's been that big of a deal.
Kenseth did a great job with his situation. For us, from his side of
it, his guys, our guys, they don't care. They just want to win.
For our side of it, it's our jobs to control the atmosphere and the
things that go around. The atmosphere is great, honestly. Everybody
is just working towards the same goal. That's winning the races. We
have to be professional anyway, whether it's lame duck or not. You can
call it whatever you want, we're going to have a helluva lot of fun
racing, having a good time, doing our jobs.
That's what we're here to do. His job is to put cars on the
racetrack. My job is to drive them. His job is to make sure they run
as fast as they can. So as long as everybody does what they're
supposed to do, we're all here to do a job and we have a responsibility
to the people that are spending millions of dollars on the side of that
car to do it as best we can.
GIL MARTIN: The same thing. This is too hard to be miserable.
It's too hard of work not to come out and try to win. That's not in his
nature. That's not in our team's nature to try not to win.
Anybody that thinks just because of what the situation is that
anybody's going to lay down, they're sadly mistaken because we're going
to try to win this championship. We're going to put forth the effort.
I know Richard is doing it, everybody at the shop is doing it. We're
going to do whatever it takes to win it. That's pretty well the bottom
KEVIN HARVICK: Pride also comes in there pretty good, too. It's fun to prove people wrong (smiling).
Q. Kevin, when you first came in, you said it was like 10, 11 years
ago. Do you think it's going to be the big pack when 43 cars
get out there? Is it correct that Keelan crawled for the first time
KEVIN HARVICK: He did crawl. DeLana was actually sitting
outside doing an interview. He crawled forward. He was good at going
in reverse (laughter). So he crawled forward for the first time.
Actually steered the car before the race started, too. Standing in the
seat. Left his shoe in there. Maybe that's a lucky shoe.
What was the other question?
Q. When you have 43 cars out there, I heard drivers on the radio, some
didn't like being pushed. What are we going to see?
KEVIN HARVICK: It's going to be a pack, absolutely. I think
it's going to be a pack. I don't think there's going to be too many
chances. You'll see some cars breakaway. I think if you turn on a 2000
race, one of those races, it's going to be very
similar before we went to the wicker bill.
You're going to have a lot more advancing of positions when you get so
many cars out there. Tonight you'd have eight cars up top,
four on the bottom. Eight cars is always going to win over four. It's
a difficult situation with fewer racecars. But they were always in a
pack. Even though tonight they were somewhat in a pack.
Q. Kevin, could you talk a little bit about the block on Biffle on the
last lap. Did you have a sense of how close that was going
KEVIN HARVICK: I knew I was going to have to block one way or
the other. I didn't know which way it was going to be. In the middle
segment, I could tell Biffle was backing up, trying to time what his
move was going to be as we got further into the
segment. I was working on my timing to back up and block that.
With Tony, he was kind of starting to do the same thing. As we went
into the last corner, I wanted to make sure I backed up enough
coming off of turn four where he couldn't dive into turn one and block
that move and make sure I backed up enough to do that.
Those guys were coming on the outside. I don't know if the 14 and the 16 were side‑by‑side,
but I just felt like I needed to move up and try to block that momentum. We were able to block two of those moves.
Everything was happening a little bit slower at that particular point
then. The cars we had in the past, you wouldn't have been able
to move up and make that happen. Everything slowed down enough to
where you could look and be able to block. They're just not coming 20
miles an hour faster than they used to.
Q. Talking about the block, when you're making a move like that, how
committed do you have to be? If he made it an issue and
stuck it in there, do you keep moving it up, eventually you collide?
Is it a game of chicken at that point?
KEVIN HARVICK: I flipped my go‑kart in my backyard on the last lap. When you're coming from white to checkered, it's whatever you have to do to try to
make it happen.
I guess a game of chicken would be kind of the best way to put it.
Q. Can it be like the old days where a guy could make up dozens of
positions in a lap and slice through the field like that?
KEVIN HARVICK: I think everybody who watched the race kind of
saw how tentative everybody was in the middle at the beginning. Then as
the race went on, everybody realized that handling wasn't as big an
issue as they thought it was going to be.
I thought I saw and heard after the race that some of those guys were
making up several positions with runs through the middle. If
the cars are handling okay, you can make up those positions in the
The way it used to be, the middle was kind of the same way. You could
go through the middle, make up some time, but you had to find
a way out when your momentum stopped. You either had to go up or
down. If there's not a hole in one of those lines to get up or down,
you're going to be stuck. All that momentum you had going forward is
soon to be stopped unless you have cars behind you,
I think it's possible, for sure.
Q. Was there something in the previous two days of practice that gave
you great confidence that you had a good chance tonight
to take the win?
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah. Nobody in the whole field had any clue what was going to happen, so we figured we had a good chance.
As we walked out to driver intros, there was not one driver out there
that said, Man, I feel like I can do this, do that, I feel like
my car is fast. Everybody was scared to death because they didn't have
enough cars at the test, then we came back to the Shootout. We have
provisions to have another car. You're just so short on cars, you
didn't want to take any chances.
The first chances you had to take tonight were in the race because you
had to because you finally got to the race. You knew if you
tore that car up, you didn't need it anymore. It was one of those
deals where the time and the amount of cars that you had, you just
didn't want to risk putting the shop further behind for Phoenix and
Vegas, all the places that are coming up, because you
had to have stuff on the racetrack to be at the race.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I think in the practice yesterday, whenever
it was, they kept working on our car and kept making it a little better,
a little better. Like Kevin said, it's a whole unknown for everyone.
The adjustments Gil and his guys made kept
picking the car up a little.
You got to have speed, for sure, to go out and win here.
GIL MARTIN: I agree. We tried a couple of different setups
actually last night because we were anticipating that the cars were
going to move around a lot, were going to need a lot of grip. As it
turned out with the weather the way it is, the cars
had plenty of grip, so we were having to basically race qualifying
setups. That's kind of what we did tonight.
I think that's going to turn around on Thursday and Sunday with the
temperature going up. The cars are going to slip and slide a
little more. Hopefully we're going to be prepared for that for what we
have built in our car.
Q. Kevin, no one has really spoken much about the way the format all
shook out. How was that for you? You were finding out in
the cars. Did it work out okay? Was it a good thing?
KEVIN HARVICK: I think any format like this that you can involve
the fans, I think it makes them appreciate that somebody's paying
attention to them and really appreciates them being a part of our sport.
The only part, I think a lot of people look back and say, when they saw
that wreck, you see the 12 cars, you see how hard it is to
make moves with a limited amount of cars, eliminating cars would have
been a bad deal because it just makes the racing that much harder and
slows things down so much. Because the runs are slower, there's less
people to make the bottom groove be as competitive
as the top groove was.
When you have more cars than one line, that line is going to run faster.
All in all, I think it went pretty good. The trophy's really heavy (smiling).
Q. Richard, a little off topic. Furniture Row has wrecked two cars in
two days. They've indicated they have something in place
with you to maybe give them another car if they need one or fix them.
Can you tell us what the agreement is there? How many do you actually
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Well, each one of our teams, we got eight
cars here, and we got three back at the shop ready to go. We're going
to help them in any way we can. We'll probably have one of those cars
back tomorrow, repaired.
We got two or three more back at the shop.
GIL MARTIN: We have two more back at the shop. Fortunately for
them and us, this car will be sitting there. Cleaned up, juiced up,
ready to go in case it's needed. We got plenty of bullets in the
RICHARD CHILDRESS: As of now (laughter).
Q. Kevin, the wreck yesterday in practice was kind of a misjudgment of
how fast one of the lanes was going. The first wreck today
was Tony somewhat misjudging where the bottom lane was. How confident
were you when you were trying to block near the end? Do you really know
yet how quick the draft can move if you get out of that lane?
KEVIN HARVICK: I think you're exactly right. I think everybody
is trying to figure that out. I think as the night went on, you kind of
started to understand it. I feel like things are a lot slower coming
at you than what we had with the tandem stuff
in the previous years.
Just the way that things are in the car, whether it be something silly
like your side mirror, mine is in a much different spot, much
different shape than what it was.
The first five or six times I looked for the mirror, it was in a
different spot, and I didn't see it because it wasn't there. It's
up here instead of down here, because that bar is straight. The
mirrors are in a different spot, the window nets are a little different.
Silly stuff like that really matters because when you've been driving
something week after week for four years, everything is in the
same spot, and you move one simple thing six or seven inches, things
become a lot different.
You can anticipate where things are going to be. But both wrecks, and I
heard Matt talking about it today, both wrecks have happened
because of that left side mirror, things being different compared to
what they were in the past. I've heard the same response from both of
I know that sounds silly, but you know where all the keys are on your keyboard, right?
Q. Since you knew that guys could get such a run in the two‑car
tandem, there wasn't a lot of hope of blocking, are you maybe ‑‑
KEVIN HARVICK: ‑‑
cutting it a little closer? For sure. I saw the 16 coming tonight. I
looked in the mirror twice. The spotter says I'm clear, I'm
going to keep going. I eased my way up there. Luckily hit the
bumper. He kept saying, Clear up, clear up, clear up. You just have to
have the faith in that guy to hope he's right.
Q. Richard, Austin was really quick this morning in the first
practice. If I'm not mistaken, he didn't go out in the second
What do you have going on with him and what are your expectations for
him this week?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Well, first thing, he's got to make the
race. They got a little advantage right now. All them guys have been
doing is just tweaking, touching, rubbing, doing everything they can to
that car, taking a few extra chances with the engine.
Let's hope it makes it two laps tomorrow.
While Kevin and everybody else has been out testing the downforce cars,
they know they got to go fast to make the race. That's the
first thing you got to do. You got to be in the race to do anything
Q. Is he going to take a shot at the front row tomorrow?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I don't know. He'll be pretty good. But who
knows what will happen. I think Danica right now has the star power.
She's doing good. I mean, she's doing good. They're going to do good.
I think she'll be the car to beat for the
pole. She'll have a run. We struggled today with the 29. It was
miserable as hell.
Tomorrow will be better wherever we end up, right, Gil?
GIL MARTIN: That's what I'm talking about.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: He ran from the back.
KEVIN HARVICK: If Danica sits on the pole, Dillon starts second,
we might have some rumors. Just saying. It will be fun. We'll TMZ it
all the way (laughter).
RICHARD CHILDRESS: It will be fun whatever. I just wanted to make the race.
KERRY THARP: Thank you, guys. Great show tonight. Good luck the rest of Speedweeks.