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Friday Q and A: Kevin Harvick

| , RacinToday.com Friday, June 11 2010

Kevin Harvick talked at length about his feud with Joey Logano on Friday. (File photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

RacinToday.com

On Friday morning at Michigan International Speedway, Joey Logano answered questions about his post-race confrontation with Kevin Harvick. On Friday afternoon, Harvick took his turn and answered questions.

Here is a portion of that question and answer session:

Question: HEARD THAT YOU’VE SOLD THOUSANDS OF THOSE T-SHIRTS, SO OBVIOUSLY YOU’RE MAKING IT A GOOD THING. BUT WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION THE FIRST TIME YOU HEARD JOEY LOGANO’S COMMENTS FROM POCONO?

Kevin Harvick: “I think you look at it a couple of different ways. Being brought into this sport when I was 23, I started and said a lot of things that you look back and you go, I probably shouldn’t have said that. But, it’s right on the edge of making it personal, and personal is not something – I don’t think he really wants to get into that. That would be a lot worse for him than just handling it man to man and doing it the right way.”

Q: HAVE YOU TALKED TO JOEY YET? “Let me break this all down for you. We had the issues at Bristol. He was fired up, we raced for 40 laps – chop, chop, chop, chop, chop. And that one ended up the way it ended up. We go to Nashville, we get done with Bristol, his dad has physical contact with one my PR people. I go to Nashville, I tell him, I say, ‘Alright, Joey. The best thing you can do is get your dad under control,’ and he turned around, laughed at me, and said, ‘Do you really think that was a big deal?’ Obviously, now it’s a pretty big deal. So at that particular point, I said obviously he really doesn’t want to take any advice and doesn’t want to talk about things any further than what he thinks is right. So, we go to Phoenix, crashes in the back of me, tries to put me out down the straightaway, blow it off. Go to Richmond, last restart, dumps me out of the way, lose four or five spots. So at that point I get out of the car, tell him how I feel. Go to Pocono, and race hard. Same thing happened. That’s how you’ve got to race him from my standpoint. I tried to break the ice at Nashville at driver intros, and basically he turned around and told me that his dad having problem with my PR person was not a big deal and pretty much laughed in my face. So at this point, it’s up to him. I’d love to work it out. Normally you have every opportunity to work it out with anybody in the garage. I feel like I can go to pretty much anybody in the garage and work something out. It’s just at that particular stage that it’s up to him to what he wants it to go into and how he wants to play the game. I’m fine with the game. I’ve been on both sides of it.”

Q: NOBODY LIKES TO BE LAUGHED AT, BUT IS THIS A SITUATION WHERE HE’S A YOUNG DRIVER AND SHOULD JUST SHOW MORE RESPECT TO A VETERAN DRIVER?

A: “It all depends on how you want to race. Racing hard is one thing, but not chopping and blocking and not giving somebody a lane to race is a different thing. Joey Logano is a good race-car driver. He deserves to be here. He’s going to have a long career at this level. The hardest part to figure about this sport is how the politics work, how the on-track stuff works, and how to handle yourself as a race-car driver, and unfortunately he’s 20. So, there’s a big step that has to be taken from, obviously, shedding the dad. Obviously that was the biggest issue last week. After the race, same thing. Dad’s up in the motorhome driver’s face, chanting and hollering, and those things don’t need to happen. And that this particular point, he’s responsible for his own career and everybody’s actions around him, so he can either fix it and go about things the right way, and in my opinion, he gets bad advice on how he needs to race. He’s not Tony Stewart. The team guys, obviously, all miss Tony Stewart and the way he raced in the 20 car and race winning, championships, and he can handle everything himself. Now he’s getting pushed, and it’s very evident who’s pushing him the most, and that’s his dad. I mean his dad shoved him into a pile like a dog chasing after a bone last week to go over there and want to fight. And that’s okay, too. And the good thing about it is, my guys did a great job in handling it. I felt like the way that we all handled it was good because that could’ve escalated into something that it really didn’t need to be.”

Q: WHERE IS HIS FATHER’S PLACE IN ALL OF THIS?

A: “His father has no place in his. His father needs to stick back and act like all of the rest of the dads, and be happy that his kid’s here. This isn’t Little League baseball anymore. He just needs to stay away and act like a 50-year-old man, or however old he is.”

Q: EARLIER TODAY MARK MARTIN WAS ASKED ABOUT IT AND SAID THAT IF HE WERE KEVIN HARVICK HE’D FIGURE THAT HE’S GOT ONE COMING. DO YOU FEEL THAT WAY? DO YOU FEEL THAT THIS ISN’T OVER?

A: “You’ve got to figure Mark Martin, him and the Loganos are buddies, so he’s on whoever’s side that’s most convenient this week. It’s just one of those things where you go out and you race and, like I say, he’s had two opportunities and tried to take them and you guys didn’t even notice until I told you. However he wants to play it, I’m fine with it. These things are a lot easier to work out amongst yourselves in the motorhome lot, telephone, in person, however you want to work them out.”

Q: IS THERE A STANDING INVITE FROM YOU?

A: “Standing invite. But I tried to break the ice once and help him with his dad and he laughed at me and now look at where he’s at.”

Q: ARE YOU SAYING THAT SUNDAY WAS NOT A MATTER OF HIM BLOCKING YOU?

A: “It is pretty evident that we were both just going for the same spot Sunday. But you have to race him two inches apart because you have to get everything you can otherwise it will take you all day to get by him.”

Q; WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE RIGHT ROLE FOR A FATHER IN THIS GARAGE?

A: “I’m probably on the total opposite of where this situation is. I like to leave my family at home because I think this is my job. Obviously, they come and watch and are part of it and DeLana is part of it on a weekly basis. But, my Mom and my Dad, sister and all of them, they don’t even like coming to the race track. They like staying at home and would rather me come to their house. They are always 100% supporters, so I think the proper role is to be a 100% supporter and try to give reasonable advice. It is hard for a guy like that to get advice from somebody who’s never even experienced. That is where I think my family sits, they’ve never experienced anything at this level and it’s hard to take that advice from people who haven’t ever experience anything like that. The advice that they give and that we need to get are from people who have experienced the things. For me, I was fortunate to have Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett and those guys. They were always able to give me advice and do things when I needed things, those were the guys. Rusty was probably the biggest one that I went and would talk to. He caused as much trouble as I did in the beginning of his career and I feel like I caused a lot of trouble in the beginning of my career but still have an understanding for all the things I did wrong and still do a lot of things wrong so it’s not like the Angel sitting up here, I think we all know that.”

Q: CAN YOU EXPLAIN A LITTLE FURTHER WHAT HAPPENED AT PHOENIX?

A: “The situation at Phoenix was in the Cup race and the situation in Nationwide was at Richmond. He (Logano) just ran in to the back of my car. I’m sure they have them on tape if you want to watch them.”

Q: WHEN DID YOU GO FROM THE GUY COMING UP THROUGH THE RANKS TO THE DEFINING MOMENT THAT SAID DON’T MESS WITH ME?

A: “I don’t know that you ever…I think you are just here for a while when you finally get that. I don’t think…you keep hearing people talking having to go out and earn your stripes. You have to do this and you have to show people that you have to stand up for yourself. I think that comes with time. I don’t think that comes with one particular instance. I don’t think trying to cause a ruckus on pit road last week…I don’t think that is going to define him not taking any more crap. After while, you just earn that respect and you do things right on the race track and I think you earn that respect with your competitors.”

Q: YOU SAID YOU AREN’T AN ANGEL, DO YOU RELISH THIS CONTROVERSY?

A: “I’ve dealt with this kind of stuff since I was racing go karts. It is just on a much bigger scale now. There is an easy way and there is this way. It is not something that I let affect me very much. I don’t worry about what people say. I don’t worry about what people do, you just have to go out and worry about your team and your sponsors and the people that are immediately around you because really in this garage, those are the only people that really care about what you do.”

| , RacinToday.com Friday, June 11 2010
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