NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Budweiser Shootout
Topics: Budweiser Shootout
February 6, 2010
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
KERRY THARP: We'll roll into our post-race winning team for the 2010 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. This is Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. He's joined by his crew chief Gil Martin. Congratulations for putting on a great show tonight.
Kevin, I know you've been under the weather the last couple days. I'm sure this is pretty good medicine for you.
KEVIN HARVICK: They want to kick me out already and get sick again. Got to thank everybody from the 29 team, Clint and Jeff, for driving my cars, all the guys back at the shop for already fixing our car, having it ready for next Wednesday to be sitting back at the racetrack in case something else happens.
It's a lot of fun to win. I know we started the last year the same way. Tonight we led a bunch of laps, ran at the front all night. To go out and have that car start cold, never have a lap on the racetrack, to have it run like it ran, says a lot for the preparation of the team. It's a lot about the details. Good pit stops all night.
What else do you say? We're going to let Gil draw from now on because I can't draw very good so we're going to let him draw the starting spots.
KERRY THARP: Gil, talk about how the team performed tonight, winning that race.
GIL MARTIN: They did a great job. Like you say, it was a different situation all week long in the way the format of the race was this week or practice on Thursday, trying to get the cars all ready, getting the 500 car ready at the same time. There was a lot of stuff crammed into a couple of days. They stepped up to the task.
The guys at the shop, engine shop, everybody always thanks those guys, but the tremendous amount of work they did this week, to field two cars that were good, that were that good for this race, I'm very proud of them.
KERRY THARP: We're also joined by team owner Richard Childress. I know you have to feel good about starting off 2010 with a victory here for RCR Racing.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yeah, like Gil was just saying, everybody put so much effort into this. I'm really excited about the race Sunday. Thursday and Sunday I think we got some really good cars there. But this one tonight, Kevin Harvick made the right move at the right time. He just knows how to do it here.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions now for either Kevin, Richard or Gil.
Q. Kevin, it's said that sick and injured drivers sometimes perform better, get a great performance out of it. Do you subscribe to that now?
KEVIN HARVICK: I don't know. I was sick Thursday. It was a short sickness. I felt really good when I woke up this morning. Felt good at the second half of the way yesterday. Didn't have a whole lot of time in the racecar. That was probably the only part that concerned me the most.
Before I got to the start/finish line, Newman hit me about three times. I knew I was going to be all right. So whatever we got to do, however it shakes out is good for me. I guess we can skip practice if Gil and Richard are good with it (laughter).
Q. Kevin, can you talk a little bit about how you won this race, the winning move, following Biffle long enough to get yourself broke clear. Was that your plan all along? Was that something that happened?
KEVIN HARVICK: When Biffle chose the top lane, I knew it was going to be up to me to get a good restart because we were off just a touch on the ratios. I needed to roll the start just enough to get to his bumper. It timed out perfect. I was able to get Greg out there. I knew if I could get him out, I was able to get up underneath him with the momentum we carried into one, then at that point I started dragging the brake to make sure we stayed side-by-side so we didn't drag a faster line by him or somebody else. I drug us back to the 9 car. I was hoping that my line would get there before his line. I knew if we would get to turn three, I was going to be in better shape because I had tires and he didn't.
I wanted to maintain side-by-side with Biffle because I thought that I had an advantage over him once we got to the next corner.
Q. Kevin, this is the appetizer for Sunday. What did you learn tonight, if anything, that you'll be able to apply on Sunday?
KEVIN HARVICK: I think the biggest thing that we learned for us is our handling package is fairly good. Obviously it will change a little bit as we go through the week because everything is going to shift to daytime temperatures. It's pretty cool tonight, probably a little added grip from what we'll have during the 500 as rubber gets on the racetrack into Thursday.
Our basic package of car is really good. And tonight, that was what was able to keep us up front. I wasn't pinned to one groove. I could run the top, bottom or middle. Didn't have to be picky about who I followed. I could go wherever I want. That's nice from a driver standpoint to have options like that. Lets you be pretty aggressive. Obviously tonight is an aggressive style race that's pretty forward thinking. There's not a whole lot of 'whatever the consequences are' thinking. So it's all about whatever it takes to go forward.
Q. Kevin, the decision to come in and get tires there at the very end, how much discussion went into that? Is that ever just a black-and-white call where you know you have to do this or is it more often where you don't know how it's going to play out?
KEVIN HARVICK: I saw more lined up on the yellow line than stayed up on the racetrack. I said, Screw it, we're going to come in. Gil said, You can't have any more than two tires. I said, Okay. That wound up being the right call for sure.
Really the won 1 is the only car that got up in front of us in the pits. That's really what won us the race, because Biffle chose the high line. We were able to get going.
You know, it's Daytona. You got to have some sort of tires after you've run them that long. And I think I knew that the 14 was gonna come. I knew that the 24 was gonna have tires. You know, those guys all race. When you run that long, they know these racetracks, like we do, that you have to have some sort of tires. No matter if you're coming to two laps or 10 laps, you're going to have to have some sort of tires.
Q. Kevin, was there any confusion as to whether they were going to do multiple attempts at a 'green-white-checkered' at the end? Did you pretty much know what was coming?
KEVIN HARVICK: I was a little bit off kilter on that one. They knew. But I thought myself, I didn't say a word on the radio. That's why I didn't say a word. I read on something somewhere, it wasn't the entry blank, I know that for sure, but I read race will end under green. Maybe it was on a TV telecast as I was delusional sleeping in bed on Thursday. I don't know. Maybe I dreamed it. But they knew what was going on. As long as they know what's going on.
KERRY THARP: The entry blank was 'green-white-checkered' one attempt.
KEVIN HARVICK: I should have known that because that's how it ended last year. It ended exactly the same as last year.
Q. Kevin, what was functionally different about the cars tonight? Was the throttle response better because of the plates?
KEVIN HARVICK: I don't know how fast we were going but it sure felt like we were going pretty fast, compared to normal. The cars, they just felt fast. But they were very forgiving, as well. You could get the cars really sideways, so you could be very aggressive, I could be very aggressive with my racecar. Even when the thing would get dead sideways, you could stay late in the gas. You could steer the thing and drive the car.
That's probably not the way you want to drive it every lap, but tonight you were just going 25, 50-lap increments so it didn't really matter. But the car felt very forgiving to me. It felt like the speed was there. When you fell behind and had to lift off the gas if you got tight or loose, you could make that ground up pretty fast. Still going to be a handling race, though.
Q. Kevin, now that you've won the Shootout, what is your confidence for winning the 500? Is it more?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I don't think you ever want -- I've been here enough times to know this can be a funny week. It can mess with you time after time. Hour by hour can bring something that's unexpected, just like getting sick to start the week. I mean, that's not something that you plan for or can plan for.
Wrecking a car in the first practice with somebody else driving it, there's so many different variables that you can get thrown -- that can get thrown at you this week. You just got to stay even keel. This is great that we won tonight. We're all really excited about what we want to do. The big picture is on Sunday. It's just take it hour by hour, one day at a time.
These guys have been here enough, they know this place can knock you down as fast as it can pick you up. You got to maintain even keel and you got to be able to keep that focus through Sunday, all the way through the race. I mean, strange things happen.
Q. If you could just talk about what this does for your team to start off like this. There have been some guys that are really getting a good start on Speedweeks. It probably does make a big difference.
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I think it's good for our particular group because, you know, some of us, a few of us, have won together before, but never -- this is a fairly new group still from a team standpoint. For us all to win together, it kind of gives you that team bonding you really need. It gives you a little swagger in your step that everybody knows that they can win. We got beat down a little bit in the middle last year. We kind of built that up as we got towards the end of the year.
There's nothing like slinging Budweiser in Victory Lane that can replace that feeling. It just gives those guys that confidence and gives us that confidence, gives everybody that confidence that we've done it a lot and we can still do it a lot more.
KERRY THARP: Guys, great show tonight. Thank you.
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