An interview with: KEVIN HARVICK
THE MODERATOR: Kevin, could you walk us through tonight’s third place finish.
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, we had to start 20th, battled kind of an ill balanced car tonight. The track conditions were just a lot different. We made some adjustments going into the race. Just couldn’t get the front of the car to turn.
Every time we tried to adjust the back, it would just take the back out. We never could get the front of the car to turn. Had to use a lot more throttle tonight. The things I could do with the car Sunday, I couldn’t do tonight.
They kept clawing and fighting. In the end we had a great pit stop on the last pit stop, were in position to have a chance to win the race there, and it rained.
The whole night we wound up restarting on the bottom of the racetrack. We’d lose three or four spots every time we’d restart. Definitely didn’t get the good end of the draw on the restarts.
In the end our Mobil 1 guys did a great job of just battling. Sometimes you have great nights, sometimes you have nights you have to battle. It was a good two days in Darlington for us.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll open the floor for questions.
Q. What did you see on the Kyle Busch Chase Elliott deal there? Kyle said he just made a mistake. Is that what it looked like to you?
KEVIN HARVICK: He wanted to get back in line so quick. Kyle was on the bottom. He had a hole between myself and Chase. I’m sure he had one eye in the mirror, glanced forward. It looked to me like he completely misjudged and got the 9.
Q. Did it look intentional at all?
KEVIN HARVICK: I just said he just misjudged and got the 9.
Q. Do you think we’re on to something here? Wednesday night NASCAR looked pretty good on TV. Maybe in future schedules we can build this into the summer schedules where some tracks are close to another, have a full season in fewer weeks?
KEVIN HARVICK: As long as the TV ratings are good. That’s what drives our sport, the amount of people watching TV. If the TV ratings are good, it’s good for everybody.
Q. Obviously you winning Sunday and driving to a third place finish today, what’s the biggest difference between a day race and night race at Darlington?
KEVIN HARVICK: For us the lap times were up a little bit. Obviously the cars were a little bit faster than the lap times from Sunday.
For us the front tires just didn’t turn as well. The back just every time we’d try to adjust the back, it didn’t help the front turn. Carrying that extra speed made our car push the front tires a little bit worse. That’s really all I have to go off of.
Q. You’ve talked before trying different things with the schedule. Does this show you that Wednesday night midweek races can work going forward?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, we did it. Like I said before, we can make it work. From a team standpoint and from competitors, it’s great if we can shorten the schedule, do all those things…
In the end, the telltale sign is going to be when those TV numbers come out. If they’re good, that’s what drives everything. That’s what everybody sells their sponsorship on, that’s what we all want to see, is great TV numbers.
We’d love the fans at the racetrack, but in the end the biggest stick comes from how many people turn on the TV.
Q. Your 50th win. Broke a tie with your boss, Tony Stewart. Have you talked with him since Sunday since today is his birthday?
KEVIN HARVICK: I sent him a text and he’s never responded. I haven’t heard from him since his birthday, so I hope he’s okay (laughter).
Q. What does it mean to you to break the tie with him?
KEVIN HARVICK: You know what, as I went through Sunday night and into Monday morning, went through Tuesday and got to the racetrack today, just the amount of people that have called. 50 was great, obviously to get 50 wins. I’m not knocking that by any means. Being next to Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett is quite an honor. I don’t want to degrade that at all.
But the impact that Sunday had on the country, as I got text messages from speaker of the house Kevin McCarthy talking about how great it was for America, Joe Girardi talking about how great it was for sports, how it gave them hope for baseball. The PGA called today, talking about how the sports world was watching NASCAR to see what they needed to do to get their players back safely.
The impact was way bigger than 50 wins. It was way bigger than breaking a tie with Tony Stewart. The impact of that race on Sunday meant so much in so many different directions. Totally on my part underestimated the impact that Sunday’s event had.
Being the winner of that really, really drove it home for me, not only after the race with the fans not being in the stands, the lack of enthusiasm that you didn’t have to share all your enthusiasm with everybody. There were just so many moments that were just so much bigger than anything that had anything to do with my stats.
I was just really proud of our sport at that particular point for putting on a safe event and doing the things we did.
Q. What is the difference between the track Sunday night versus tonight?
KEVIN HARVICK: Temperature is just a huge difference for our cars. Obviously with the rain all day, the low temperatures, it just affects the cars differently.
It affected ours with the front tire not turning, the way the car traveled when it hit the ground off of turn two. We never could get the balance of the car like we had on Sunday with where the car was tonight.
That was magnified, starting 20th, in traffic. Every time we’d restart on the bottom, we’d lose four or five spots. We were very slow gaining the track position to get a better handling car till the end of the race.
It was a battle. Definitely different tonight than it was Sunday.
THE MODERATOR: Kevin, appreciate you taking the time. Congratulations on the run tonight. We’ll see you in Charlotte.
KEVIN HARVICK: All right, guys. Thank you.
— NASCAR —