Ford Performance NASCAR: Kevin Harvick Texas I Transcript

Ford PR

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang – WHERE IS THE BALANCE BETWEEN ENTERTAINMENT AND COMPETITION AFTER THE CHANGES ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK?  “As far as the schedule, in my opinion for the 2020 schedule is a huge step in the right direction and I think those round ends and putting Bristol in there and having Daytona be the last race of the regular season, I think there’s a tremendous amount of really good things that are put in there and I think that will continue to get better as you go into ’21 and you see those track agreements come to an end at the end of ’20.  The one thing I would like to see with that two-week gap in there, I’d love to see that first week include a mandatory shop closure of all the race teams to really rejuvenate the guys, gals and everybody in the sport to come back fresh and really get kind of a midseason break.  You see them do that in Formula 1 and I really think for the morale and just to keep everybody from getting just beat into the ground I think that would be something that would be really interesting to see happen.  But I think from a schedule standpoint we definitely have some really good changes that were in there.  There’s always gonna have to be an entertainment value and there’s always gonna be a balance and I think when you look at the penalties in qualifying it still really doesn’t fix a lot of the things that I personally don’t like about qualifying.  I can’t wrap my arms around being last to be first, but I love group qualifying and group qualifying and this package are just hard to marry together on a lot of these race tracks because you have to draft, so it’s a tough scenario to try to figure out and we go out and try to do the best we can in the scenario we’re in and go from there and if it changes it changes, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.”


HAS THE RACING BEEN MORE PHYSICAL THIS YEAR WITH THE NEW PACKAGE?  “I have not felt that.  I can tell you the center of the corner speeds are up, but I guess ask me that question after next week.”


CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE AT STEWART-HAAS?  ARE YOU GOING TO BE TRADING IN YOUR DRIVER SUIT FOR A THREE-PIECE SUIT SOON?  “As you guys have probably heard a lot, that’s fake news (laughing).  So whoever wrote that is speculating on a lot of rumors.  I’m not getting out of the race car.  I feel really comfortable with where I’m at as far as how I feel in the race car, where my home life is as far as balance with my kids.  I feel fairly confident that being a part of the TV side of things is something that I want to do in the future, but it’s not gonna happen in the next couple of years I can tell you that, and it’ll be evaluated to sit in the seat first before at the end of those next couple of years before it’s even considered 100 percent to do something different.  We have a lot of things that are going really well and the race car is one of them, so that’s just somebody looking for a headline there and there’s no way that happens.  I have contracts and things that are already in place through 2021.”


IS THIS A PLACE WHERE A TEAM OTHER THAN GIBBS OR PENSKE CAN WIN?  “That’s a good question.  Right now, we have no clue with the way that the rules are right now.  Friday is so drastically opposite of what you need on Saturday and Sunday that you don’t really learn anything about your car.  I think for us we’ve had fourth, fifth-place cars at a lot of these styles of race tracks and so it’ll be interesting to see how the track progresses with the PJ1 on the race track.  I think tonight will start to tell the story of what’s gonna happen with those grooves.  Turns one and two are still gonna be the key to this race and that’s really been our moneymaker since they’ve repaved the race track is getting through the centers of one and two and being able to make passes and carry speed and do that in traffic and out of traffic.  I think that it’s gonna be that same key, but turns three and four will be easy.  You can run the bottom.  You can run the middle.  The cars are slow down the straightaway, so they’re gonna be easy, wide-open on that end.”


DOES HAVING OTHER THINGS IN YOUR LIFE MAKE THE EVENTUAL TRANSITION EASIER ONCE YOU DECIDE TO STOP DRIVING?  “I think as you look at the management company side of things that’s much different than what it was ever intended to look.  I didn’t expect it to be doing the things that it’s doing and be a profitable business and be doing something that I like to do.  I like sports in general.  I like being in this garage  I like racing, but I also like other sports so that’s been encouraging for me to see it build and be able to start to build something that you didn’t really expect to be building from that side of things.  I enjoy the TV side of it, but there’s still really nothing that really replaces the competitive side of things from being in there holding that steering wheel and making decisions.  I still get a big kick out of situations like we’re in right now of being able to make changes to the cars and talk to your engineer and crew chief and walking through the garage this morning with the car through inspection, so I love that part of the racing as much as I do the driving and being a part of the team and helping solve a problem that is sometimes broken, sometimes really good and sometimes bad.  That, for me, especially with this group of guys and the more you talk to people who retired and did things it’s always like, ‘Man, I just wish I would have stayed in the competitive situation that I was in and not tried to do something different or quit too soon.’  You hear a lot of talk about the schedule getting shorter, condensing things and as you look at that, that makes life easier to manipulate how you make things function at home too.  Things get shorter, I feel good in the race car and I just don’t understand why a lot of people think you should get out because there’s so much to do with being competitive in this sport is so much to do with experience and if it’s going good why wouldn’t you want to just keep going?  There’s too many things I still enjoy about it.  There are only a couple of things I really don’t like, but it’s not mine.  If it was mine, I would do some things that I don’t like differently, but I really like my race team and I like my people that are around me and, for me, that’s just something that would be really hard to replace by watching somebody else do it.”

Greg Engle