ANNOUNCER: The 4 of Harvick goes to the outside for the lead. Kevin Harvick can check Texas off the win-less tracks. He has won at Texas Motor Speedway.
[INTRO MUSIC PLAYS]
ANNOUNCER: So, Kevin Harvick did come up big in Texas. It’s his first win in 30 tries. He may have only led 38 laps, but he is in the championship four in Miami. And Kevin Harvick now joins us from a very warm victory lane at the Texas Motor Speedway. And, Kevin, you know what? You’ve been so close before at Texas, but there really probably couldn’t have been a better time for you to actually get that win and break through on a night like tonight.
ANNOUNCER: Yeah, and, you know, I just really want to thank everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. Our mobile one Ford was fast all weekend. And, really, throughout the playoffs, the mile and half racetracks have been really good to us.
So, it’s nice not to have to go to Phoenix next week and be overly worried about everything that’s going on. And we can really concentrate on just going out there and trying to win a race and not have to worry about whether we’re in or whether we’re out. So glad to get this victory today. And check Texas off the list– it feels pretty good.
ANNOUNCER: Kevin, I think we all knew the change over to Ford at Stewart-Haas Racing was going to be a pretty tall order. Now, you did get that win at the road courses in Sonoma in June. But when did you feel like you guys really turned a curve that you said, we can be a contender this year.
– You know, I felt like Darlington was really where it all started. We qualified on the pole. Kurt ran in the top three all day. And then we went to Chicago and we were competitive all day in the top three. We didn’t lead laps.
But Charlotte was really the place where I thought, man, we might still have a chance to win this championship if everything can go our way on all the different styles of racetracks. Because when you can go out and lead laps– we were leading laps, winning stages, and doing the things that we hadn’t done all year– and racing with the 78 and the 18– you know, back and forth, is what we hadn’t done in the first part of the year.
So to be able to do that, and today, beat the 78, was really something for us that we needed to do from a confidence standpoint. And to do it on a mile and a half racetrack is something that I think is good timing for sure with Homestead lingering out there.
ANNOUNCER: Kevin, this will be your third trip to Miami to be a part of the championship four. Of course, you won the championship in ’14– finished second in ’15. Does it feel any different this year maybe than it did those first two years with two races to go?
– You know, I told somebody this earlier– I think– and, Larry, you’ve done this for a long time– every year you have something that kind of motivates you in a different way. And I think switching to Ford, for me, has definitely been very motivating– just for the fact that there’s so many different moving parts and pieces. Everything hasn’t been perfect. But you see the effort that Ford has put into the race teams. You see the effort in the race shop.
And, really, when we got to Chicago, it was like everybody just flipped a switch in the shop. And at the racetrack it’s always been that way. But everybody just was so switched on all of a sudden– you know, it felt like things were just different.
So it’s taken, you know, all year for us to get to the point– to get back to leading laps and doing the things that we’ve done over the past three years. But I think, in the long run, the opportunity that we have to control so many more things within the walls of SHR– and the backing of everybody at Ford– is something that, in the long run, it’s going to be– going to be already really good– but a lot of potential going forward.
ANNOUNCER: So, Kevin, it’s not just that you passed another very strong car on the racetrack to win this race– it’s actually who you passed. I mean, the 78 team and Martin Truex, they’ve been the guys to beat all season long. And you guys did it at a pretty important time.
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, that’s a huge statement. And I think for our team that’s a huge confidence builder. I know, for me, it was one of those things where I was sitting back there riding behind him. I’m, like, you know– I’m a car and a half– two car lengths– behind him and not really sure what I needed to do different. But I knew I needed to do something different.
And I could tell that he was really having to keep it on the bottom through one and two. And I felt like that was where my strength was. But he wasn’t really making any mistakes. And caught him in lap traffic coming off of four, and was able to get closer than I had been all day.
And I felt like that was my opportunity to at least try to drive in there and get him loose. And he got a little bit loose, and I got a little bit high and wound up laying higher than I wanted to. But I put the throttle down and it– and it stuck. And he was trying to gather his car up a little bit. And we were able to drive off at two.
And I knew that I could get through three and four one lane up if I needed to– but I didn’t want to– but to win the race, you do what you have to do. And I thought– I thought– I thought it was going to be OK, and it worked out. So sometimes you just have to kind of let it– let it go and see what happens.
ANNOUNCER: Well, Kevin, congratulations on a huge win. And best of luck running for the championship
– All right, guys, thank you.