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Jul 26, 2014 - 07:27 PM
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2014 Indianapolis (Brickyard 400): Kevin Harvick NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying Press Conference
Posted by: ASkyler on Jul 26, 2014 - 07:27 PM
NASCAR News
2014 Indianapolis (Brickyard 400): Kevin Harvick NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying Press Conference


KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS - POLE WINNER

KERRY THARP: Our pole winner for tomorrow's 21st annual Crown Royal presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard powered by BigMachineRecords.com is Kevin Harvick with a track record out here today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kevin drives the No. 4 Jimmy John's Chevrolet. Congratulations on your performance, and just talk about what it's going to be like to lead the group tomorrow afternoon here to the green.

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, after the first lap I was probably more nervous than I have been in a while for qualifying. Just wasn't really expecting to have the car run that fast, and then from there, they're all looking at you, all right, if you screw this up, it's on you, buddy. It's great to have fast cars. They do a great job preparing the cars and just being able to come to the racetrack and know that the car is going to be fast just takes a huge burden off of everybody's shoulders just to get the balance right.

It's been a unique few hours of practice with the racetrack being green this morning. We concentrated on qualifying and felt our race stuff was in the ballpark yesterday and still kind of up in the air, but we made a lot of good decisions today to get the car right, and hopefully tonight we can talk through it and see where this Nationwide race goes and go from there.

 

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It's been an interesting weekend so far, but everybody has done a good job in scrambling to get the balance right.

Q. I know you probably don't like to project these things, but with this being a place where track position is so important, do you think this is going to be yet another one of those races we've seen out of the 14 where the 14 is entirely capable of dominating this race except for the possibility, the luck y'all have had? Is it going to be one of those that you could dominate or get bitten? Is it one of those either‑or kind of races?

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, whether something goes wrong or a mistake or whatever it may be, it's time to ‑‑ we've all talked about it, and it's time to get into Chase form, and this is where it all starts. Everything is capable and everybody has been working hard and making adjustments and doing the things they need to do to get better, and I feel good about where everything is at. Having the first pit stall is going to take some pressure off the guys for sure, and if we get behind, I think our car is fast enough to make up for it, but the track position is definitely important, and we just have to make good decisions throughout the day and as few mistakes as possible and see if it all falls our way, but the car is capable of doing what it needs to do.

Q. You feel confident that you can focus on eliminating those of those mistakes?

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, I just don't think we need to worry about the mistakes anymore. If you make a mistake, you just need to try to finish where you need to finish. You're going to have mistakes, and you're going to have mistakes happen in the last 10 weeks, and now is a good time to go through those exercises. We've been through some problems and feel like we've fixed all the problems with our cars, and the pit crew has been working hard, and I feel like that's kind of the last thing we have to overcome to put ourselves in 100 percent championship form.

I feel like they've done a great job with ‑‑ when you come here, you feel like you're racing against everybody's latest and greatest stuff, and they're progressing nicely. I'm ready. They're ready. We're ready to go.

Q. You talk about being in Chase mode. I know the other day you talked about making sure that you have good finishes and everything. Have you noticed anything different yesterday and today versus maybe the last four weeks as far as your team or your car or anything?

KEVIN HARVICK: No, we've always done a good job all year of if a car is off, adjusting the balance and doing the things we need to do, and feel like we've made a lot of good decisions throughout practices and overnight and what direction the balance needs to go. The overcast was not really what we expected today, and I think we're all kind of expecting a little bit of a greener racetrack in the morning, so we just have to go and be able to adapt to the track changing because I believe it's going to change if it rains tonight and they get the little air blowers out and blow the dust out of all the cracks. There's a little bit of a window to screw the balance up if you're not aware of the situations tonight.

Q. Following up on that latest and greatest thing you were talking about, Hendrick engines have been really strong. Have you been able to tell over the last two days or from qualifying today, are teams starting to close the gap a little bit?

KEVIN HARVICK: I mean, the engines are so good that we don't even think about them. It's like we don't even pay attention to where we are because 99 percent of the time you're going to be where you need to be down the straightaway. I feel good about it.

Q. You kind of touched on this a little bit, before the season you weren't regarded as the greatest qualifier. This season, though, four poles. Is it because of the change in the qualifying format? Is it the new team? Or is it contributing other factors?

KEVIN HARVICK: I think some of that ‑‑ I think all of that comes down to the car. Obviously my confidence is a lot higher knowing that you don't have to over‑drive the car or hit a perfect lap to qualify well. The engine department and the effort that these guys put into the car is different than what I had in the past.

Q. Given this track being so narrow and being so flat, is there anything that can or should be done to maybe increase the amount of passing during the course of the 400 or anything that can be done to make it a better show on Sunday?

KEVIN HARVICK: I think you should argue with somebody to see if you can get anything changed around here. When you've got 100 years of history and you know that you don't have to have as good of anything when you come to the Brickyard just for the fact that it's the Brickyard and history is history, and it's a very unique racetrack. I think as you look through time you've had some ‑‑ you know what the circumstances are going to be here, so it's just a unique race from what we do on a week‑to‑week basis.

Q. With the format you've got here, is this one of the better tracks to get a clean lap?

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, I felt like I got too close to the 55 in the second session and hurt our lap a fair amount coming off of Turn 4. It's definitely one of those places where for us a clean lap was better than being too close to a guy in front of you.

Q. Rodney had said that part of the reason he ultimately decided to leave MWR and come to SHR is this race last year he saw Hendrick horsepower and what it was capable of doing. Do you talk to him at all about how meaningful this would be or is that kind of an unspoken thing with you guys?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, you come to the racetrack every week hoping you have a chance to win races, and I think we're both fortunate to put ourselves in a position to have great engines and great cars and great support and feel like everybody works together well and has escalated the cars and competition within the things that we have access to. So it's been great, but I don't know that we would ever have a conversation like that.

Q. If you were to win this race, how would you rank winning at Indianapolis on this track with other victories you've had?

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, we've been fortunate to do that, and in our sport, the Daytona 500 is the biggest race that we go to from a NASCAR standpoint, but for me, I grew up in Bakersfield, California, and watched Rick Mears win four Indianapolis 500s, and that was my childhood hero. For me coming here and being able to have won and be on the pole a couple times now is something that's pretty special. It's not very often that you get to somewhat fulfill your childhood dreams and just really enjoy coming here and feel lucky just to be driving around the track.

KERRY THARP: Kevin, congratulations. That track record you set in the first round of qualifying today, 188.889 miles per hour. Congratulations, and good lucktomorrow.


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