Ford Performance NASCAR: Atlanta (Kevin Harvick Media Availability)

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Ford Performance Notes and Quotes Page 5

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Friday, February 22, 2019


EVENT: MENCS Driver Availability (Kevin Harvick)


KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Mustang — WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK FOR WINNING BACK-TO-BACK AT THIS TRACK? “I don’t really know other than the fact that it is obviously a lot different than what it has been in the past. We didn’t practice any. We had some steering issues, so I don’t really have a lot of answers for direction. We will be able to tell more tomorrow.”


FOR QUALIFYING, HOW WILL YOU GUYS DETERMINE EACH WEEK WHO GOES FIRST IN YOUR DRAFT AND WHO GOES LAST? “We haven’t qualified yet, so I don’t know. It is kind of like the weather. Everyone speculated that it was going to be pouring rain today, so I would say that the group draft will probably fall under the same category.”


WITH SPEEDS DOWN, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WILL HAVE A LOT MORE CONTROL IN THE CAR? WILL YOU BE ABLE TO DO MORE WITH THAT SPEED REDUCTION? “Based on the lap times and everything that we saw today, handling is still going to be a pretty big part of the weekend and things that you need to put in your car. I think it is more along the lines of that truck mentality. You can fall into the hole from the speedtrap or you can work on your car and make it handle well and have decent speed. It is definitely a balance to see where all of that falls at all the different styles of race tracks.”


INSIDE LANE VERSUS OUTSIDE LANE HERE ON RESTARTS, WHERE DO YOU FALL? “I think there is some merit to some of that. I think as you look at the Xfinity races and the lower horsepower vehicles in the past, the inside has still been the dominant lane. I don’t know if that is 100-percent the case. A lot of it will depend on if you have new tires, used tires, a lot of things that can contribute to that. My suggestion in the past was to take the traction compound and put it throughout the straightaway to try to even up both lanes but I don’t think they thought that was a good idea. Just to try to make the lanes even. The PJ1 and the things that would go being in the restart zone so that all the cars could have a chance to launch and try to make the racing a little more side-by-side. We will have to see what the power does to the side-by-side piece of it on the restarts and see if that lane is still super dominant. That was my suggestion a couple years ago.”


OVER A FULL FUEL RUN, TIRES SHOULD DROP A COUPLE SECONDS EVERY LAP. WILL IT BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO OFF-CYCLE THIS THING? “We don’t know the tire fall-off at this point so it would be hard to figure all that out. As you look at tomorrow and see where the fall-off is from a consecutive lap standpoint and understand where the end of that fall-off is from where you are at lap 20 or 25. There is really no way to tell that until you actually know what you are trying to calculate.”


WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THE AVERAGE RACE FAN OF WHAT TO LOOK FOR AT ATLANTA THIS WEEKEND? “We really don’t know either. That is the question. We don’t have that answer. I can tell you that it will be drastically different than what we have done before. We have not raced this package. That is the bottom line. You don’t have any idea of what you need because we haven’t had all the cars on the track and last week was a great example for a lot of you who wrote stories about the racing and the way that the Clash and qualifying races were and the drastic difference when we dropped the difference at the Daytona 500 with all the cars on the race track. Other than being drastically different, I would hate to speculate on what the direction of it is going to be and what we are going to do because we don’t know. That is good for everyone watching. Once the engineers all wrap their arms around what they need it becomes more of a system and you start to build the notebook and things that go with that to start to evolve the program and what you do and what you work on. Right now we don’t have anything to evolve because we don’t have any answers. We have more questions with zero answers actually.”


YOU HAD JIMMIE JOHNSON ON YOUR RADIO SHOW THIS WEEK. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE? “It was great because I feel like, in my opinion, Jimmie is one of the most disrespected great drivers that have every come through this garage. Jimmie Johnson is just a good old fashioned great guy. He helps people and has done great things in the garage and in a race car, out of a race car, and sometimes I feel like we forget that he has won seven championships and all the races that he has won and all the great things he has done. It isn’t like he came from a rich daddy or family that had a lot of money. He came all the way up from the bottom to the top and worked hard and had a lot of success and has won as many championships as Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty. I never feel like he is on that pedestal next to those guys appropriately. SOmetimes I feel like as a group, from a fan standpoint, I feel like you are just letting it go by and not even realizing that you are watching one of the greatest careers that will ever come through the garage. So, we talked about the basic things. Where did you start? How did you start? How did you get here? Because I feel like a lot of times the fanbase changes to much from the majority of our fan base that you almost have to re-introduce yourself every five or six years. Once you hear the Jimmie Johnson story and how he got to where he is, a lot of people know what he has done here, but it isn’t like it was handed to him. Our goal was to do something different and I don’t want the fans to not realize what they are watching with Jimmie because he has done so many great things, is such a great person, and a fun guy. He gets a knock for not being super fun. He is buttoned up, tight-laced guy. That couldn’t be further from the truth actually, more so than anybody could understand. We only had 20 minutes. It isn’t easy to explain all those things in 20  minutes, but I feel like we touched on those things and it is fun to hear guys talk about stuff like that.”


DID YOU TALK TO STENHOUSE AT ALL ABOUT THE WRECK LAST SUNDAY? “I don’t really feel like Stenhouse did anything wrong. I feel like the 42 pulled a block that was like three seconds too late and smacked him down into the side. I don’t feel like he really did anything wrong in shooting that gap that was wide open. It was just a really, really bad block by the 42. That is why you should always watch before you complain and make a fool out of yourself, like I have done in the past. Initially that is what I would have done. I would have been mad at him but then you go watch the video and that wasn’t the case.”


Greg Engle