NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Air Guard 400
Topics: Air Guard 400
September 11, 2010
KERRY THARP: Kevin Harvick, seeded third in the Chase, he drives the number 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing, and he is joined by Kurt Busch, he drives the No. 2 Miller Lite for Dodge Penske, and we have Jeff Burton, Richard Childress teammate of Harvick, he drives the number 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet. Kevin, points leader for much of the season, you're seeded third and many point to you as the man to beat in the 2010 Chase. Your thoughts?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I'm really excited about the turnaround that all of our team has had from last year to this year. I think that's probably the best thing that we could have ever imagined happened, to see that turnaround. But the guys have done a great job. The cars have run great, all, but I think about two races I can put my finger on. I know I complained a lot tonight and we came home ninth. So if I'm complaining about ninth, we are doing okay.
KERRY THARP: Jeff, last year, no Richard Childress drivers in the Chase; this year, all three. Your thoughts about that and being in the Chase again.
JEFF BURTON: Feels good to be in the Chase. Last year was a frustrating year for all of us and proud of what Richard did to get more prepared for this year, our sponsors and our employees and our fans and everybody deserves the kind of effort that was given. Hopefully one of us can pull it off. It's been a long time since Richard has won a Cup championship and it mean a great deal to get one back for him. He's a good man and has meant a lot to the sport and it would be great to get it done.
KERRY THARP: A solid year for you this year, you're the fifth seed in the Chase, and your thoughts about contending for your second championship.
KURT BUSCH: We have got a lot to be proud of on the Penske team, the way that we started off the season with a new crew chief, to get him built into a solid foundation and comfortable; it was great to win in Atlanta early on, and then get a couple of poles and then to sweep the Charlotte race weekend was a huge morale boost for our team to let us know we were doing things the right way. We had a great, consistent regular season with 15 Top-10 finishes. It's a lot to be proud of, and we have our work cut out for us in the Chase. We have to really just bare down and get after it these next ten weeks, not make mistakes and not take ourselves out of contention by doing some things that would stretch ourselves thin.
So just getting into the groove of the Chase. I can't wait for things to fire up on Friday.
Q. Kevin and Jeff, could you talk about your teammate making it in and as strong as he ran tonight; that a good statement by that team?
KEVIN HARVICK: It's great for the company to have all three cars in there. That says a lot about everybody who works there.
As far as Clint's standpoint, were it not for a few goofy things happening and some late-race incidents happening, it would not even have been close, because they have performed well enough to be right up in the Top-5. So they have done a good job and alls he had to do was pretty much fire the thing up tonight and not have a meltdown. They did a great job and I think it's good for the company.
JEFF BURTON: It's great for us. This is the third year we have put all three in, and the one year that we didn't have all three was the year that Clint was a rookie and that was a brand new team.
It's one of the cool things about RCR is I think in the garage, we are the most consistent running team as far as all the teams running pretty close together. And that's good, when we are running well; last year it wasn't so good because we all ran bad. But one of the things, a clear sign that our program works and the way that we share information. We can always be better at that but it's pretty good the way we all run similar because we can learn from each other. When a company is doing things right, all of the teams will run similar to each other. That's something that's really good, because it helps us become better race car drivers. I can push Kevin, Kevin can push me, if we are similar-running cars.
Q. For Jeff, you and only one other driver, Matt Kenseth, finished the first 26 races all running at the finish. Everybody else had DNFs. How important do you think it's going to be to be able to repeat that over these next 12 races, and how important is it going to be to get a win during that time?
JEFF BURTON: It's important, for sure, to be able to be running at the end of all the races, but that alone is not going to win the championship. You're going to be running well at the end of the races.
You are going to have to do both. I don't see a team having two or three bad finishes and winning the championship. One of the strengths historically of RCR is having finishes and not having DNFs. I think Kevin had an incredible streak a couple of years ago where it was unbelievable the number of races they ran and I think that's a very important part of what RCR about, but that alone is not going to win a championship.
Q. We know that there have been personnel changes that you credit a great deal of change to this turnaround; from a mechanical, technical point of view, what has changed since last year in y'all's building?
KEVIN HARVICK: Everything but the engines. (Smiling). That's basically it.
JEFF BURTON: We are not going to talk specifics. That wouldn't be very smart. But Kevin is right, last year the engines were awesome and we ran terrible. This year, the engines are still awesome and we are running better. That's not one thing that you change that makes these cars change. If you're running fifth, you might change one thing that get it to win, but if you're 15th, you're not changing one thing and getting it to run in the front. It was everything.
Q. Kevin and Jeff, you mentioned that this is the third time that all three drivers have been in the Chase, and Clint has repeatedly said that while he's been at RCR, he thinks this is the best chance the organization has for a championship, you guys have actually been there longer; do you agree with him that this year is the best year?
KEVIN HARVICK: I think it's the best, from our team standpoint, I think it's the best we have ever been prepared. It's definitely the most -- probably not the most races we have run up to one point in the year. But as far as the plan and the performance and everything leading up to this point, I think it's the best chance that we have.
How it all plays out, I don't know. But it's the most -- I think it's the most competitive that we have ever been as far as speed and the things that you need to race for wins, and in order to win the championship, I feel you're going to have to finish in the Top-5 a lot and you're going to have to win a race or two to make that happen. And this is the first time we had not just been coming and going seventh, eighth, ninth place finishes. We have been able to run in races in the Top-5.
KERRY THARP: Good luck in the Chase and thank you.
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