NASCAR Busch Series: Orbitz 300
Topics: Orbitz 300
February 17, 2007
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
HERB BRANHAM: We're joined by our race-winning team, Kevin Harvick, 21 AutoZone Chevrolet, here with his car owner, Richard Childress. This is Kevin's 27th NASCAR Busch Series victory. He's the reigning and two-time series champion. Give us a brief rundown of what happened today.
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, at the beginning of the race we really just kind of took our time and wanted to get through the first couple of cautions. We knew there was going to be a couple cautions, and really make a good adjustment on the car before going forward.
Once we got our car adjusted on, we made good progress, and our car worked really well on the bottom. And there at the end we were able to position ourselves in the front and hold it on the floor from there.
HERB BRANHAM: Richard, another Daytona victory. What's does it feel like?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: It's great to be back in the winner's circle at Daytona. It's a fun deal, and to see Kevin run like he did, they really ran well in practice, and weren't where we wanted to be in qualifying but we knew we'd do well in the race.
Q. Kevin, after your dominance last year, it almost seems like they can handicap you putting you back in 31st place and it really doesn't even matter. Did this one kind of really surprise you that you were able to get back up to the front starting to far back?
KEVIN HARVICK: Not really. Our car was really strong in practice, and I knew we were going to have to go through some tire runs there once they all kind of cleared themselves out at the beginning of the race. Our car handled really good. We really went after handling in practice, and our speed was not great in qualifying, but in the end it was all about holding the thing wide open and being able to keep the car on the bottom of the track is what won us the race.
We started last here in July and wound up second. We've always run really well on these super speedways, just haven't been able to win a race until now. So it's pretty neat.
Q. Were you surprised that even with some of the guys behind you trying to work together, they just really couldn't each you at all at the end?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, there at the end, the lap cars were spread out perfectly. When they got up to me, I was able to get just enough off the guys in front of me. And they would get to me and push really bad behind me. Our car just handled really well and had the pedal on the floor, so that was what we were shooting for, and it worked out in our favor.
Q. Kevin, the last two years you have gotten to Victory Lane after this race as the car owner/winner. How did it feel to go in driving the winning car?
KEVIN HARVICK: A lot better. Anytime you can drive into Victory Lane, what drives me is driving the car, and to drive into Victory Lane is what it's all about. You know, it's rewarding to drive in there as an owner, to watch them drive in, but there's just something different about trying to figure out where you're going and where Victory Lane is and putting the whole day together. Two different perspectives.
Q. I wanted to ask you both what would it mean to pull off the sweep tomorrow?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, this would be about as big as it gets, or this would be as big as it gets. Anytime you can win any race at Daytona, it's pretty special. To get our first one today was really good. And tomorrow our car is handling well, and I think that's going to be the key to the race tomorrow.
Just got to get yourself in position to be able to utilize your handling and clear the cars and not get ganged up on. But handling is definitely going to be an issue before it's all said and done.
Q. You said you kept it flat out pretty much the whole -- that last run there. Was this race really just all about handling?
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. I mean, the cars, there in the middle of the race, everybody's cars were kind of ill. And a lot of guys could run the top and our car was better on the bottom. And a lot of cars would get a run, and you would slide in a hole, and somebody would push you and somebody would dive to the bottom. It was a lot of fun to race.
The cars don't really drive that good, but it really makes -- for a race car driver who likes to drive the car, it makes it a lot of fun to try to maneuver your car and keep it from spinning out or pushing or whatever the circumstance is with your particular car.
Q. We haven't seen the most speed from you so far this week, and we all know that doesn't make much difference in a race like tomorrow. Are you holding something back? Can you give us a little sense of whether you've got more for tomorrow afternoon?
KEVIN HARVICK: Did you watch the Shootout?
KEVIN HARVICK: Four laps. So I think everything will be fine.
Q. Richard, you've been not quiet and clean this weekend, and headed into the race tomorrow can you tell us what you think your cars will do, and how does it set you up for the Daytona 500 coming out of this race?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I think watching all the cars today in practice, and like Kevin said, watch us in the Busch clash, the way he ran and the way Jeff ran, I'm really excited about tomorrow. I've got a great feeling about it. I think we stand a great chance of one of these guys winning tomorrow.
Q. It seemed pretty polite out there today. Is it just because this is the Daytona 500, or is it just that guys will be different tomorrow, that we don't expect it'll be as polite?
KEVIN HARVICK: I would expect tomorrow actually to be better than today, you would think. These cars are hard to drive. And for whatever reason, they move around a lot. I mean, it's because of the wicker bills and the way the air hits them and things like that.
Tomorrow's cars are easier to drive than these cars, for sure. But anything can happen. I mean, one mistake can wipe out a lot of cars. And the handling of the cars is hard to get a hold of, and it's easy to make a mistake. I don't think you're going to see anything worse than what you've seen all weekend, for sure. It's just who's going to get their car to handle the best.
Q. 34 times you've driven here, you've come awful close. Just seems like you're kind of taking an all-in-a-day's-work mentality. Your first Daytona win, has it not sunk in, or it's a Busch race or how do you feel about that?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, we're excited. We kind of just like they said earlier, we just kind of like flying under the radar to tell you the truth. We aren't going to sit here and pound on our chest or do anything like that. This is what we're supposed to do, and we're supposed to be able to be competitive and have chances to win races.
I've got a great team with Shane and all these guys that put together great cars. But tomorrow is what it's all about. I mean, that's what we're all here for and looking forward to.
Q. Carl mentioned that the new tires meant the car is a little harder to drive. You mentioned they were slipping and sliding. Could you expand on that, maybe the role of the harder tire here?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I'd rather have a tire that slips and slides than have -- I don't know that we had any tire problems today. So Goodyear has made the right decisions. I'd rather have hard tires and slide around everywhere. Even though the tires are hard, you want to come in and put tires on to keep the cars handling good. You want to put four tires on to make them handle good.
I'd much rather have slipping and sliding. I think it made for a pretty entertaining race from inside the cockpit. I don't know how it was to watch, but it seemed like everybody was kind of sliding all over the place.
I'd rather have it this way, and I think it's safer on everybody.
Q. You're now within four wins of Jack Ingram on the Busch Series career win list. I'd like your comment on that. Also on becoming a big player in Busch Series history in a relatively short period of time.
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I've been fortunate to drive some really good cars and have teams to be a part of. We started the Busch team back in 2000 and we've had success ever since then in the Busch cars. No matter where we've been or what we've been a part of or who the sponsor was, it's just fun to be a part of.
I think a lot of it goes back to Will and his organization of the shops and everything that goes into it. It's exciting to put your name up there with Jack Ingram and Mark Martin and Sam Ard and all those guys that have been such a big part of our sport. Just to be up there with them is quite an honor.
Q. Two quick ones: How would you rate your -- you kind of answered the first one. How would you rate your Busch Car versus your Cup car? And second, how many Busch races do you plan to run this year?
KEVIN HARVICK: We're going to run I think it's 26 races, and the Cup car is -- it handles really well. Just got to put yourself in the right positions to keep yourself where you need to be, much like it was today. Once we were able to work our way to the front, we could hold that position. Our Cup car handles really well, and like I say, I think that's going to be key tomorrow.
Q. You talked a lot about the handling. Supposed to be really windy tomorrow, gusts of up to maybe 35 miles an hour. Do you expect that's going to have an impact on things?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I think the wind, it played -- it had an impact on things today. It was blowing across the center, one and two, towards three and four. And when you get to the center of the corner, these cars move around a little bit and they kind of take a bite, and the wind would catch them and you'd get a little bit free up off the corner, and then you'd push going into three. I don't know what direction it's supposed to blow, but you kind of have to adjust accordingly and just go from there.
Q. Richard, we were looking this up and maybe something slipped my mind, but is this your first time in Victory Lane at Daytona without Dale, and if so, is that on your mind at all?
KEVIN HARVICK: No, we won with Dale, Jr., in 2000 and 2002 I think it was, we won the 300 here. Yeah, you're sitting here thinking about all the wins that we had in the 125 and the 500. But today was very special to come here and be back in the winner's circle at Daytona again. We've won with Robby, and we had another -- Skinner won and Robby won, so we've won some other races here since then. But this is special. We said long ago -- I want to stand up and scream and jump on the table I'm so happy, but we're trying to be cool (laughter).
In case I don't get the opportunity, I'm excited about going to California, as well. I know there's been a little heat about the racetrack out there. And my opinion is these cars put on a great show, and we're all looking forward to going back out to California next week, and we'd love to go out there and win that race.
HERB BRANHAM: Congratulations, guys. Thank you.
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