REPORTER 1: Kevin Harvick here with us and we were just reliving that Daytona 500 in 2007. We’re happy you’re here and I can’t come to this place without going to that moment for you. How often do you rekindle the memory bank?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I– we just rekindled it a little bit at home. For whatever reason there was a clip of it that popped up on– on Twitter and Keelan saw it and he’s like what– what is that? Who is that dad? So we went back and watched the– the YouTube of– of the last 10 laps of that particular race and he thought that was pretty cool.
So it was– it was definitely a great moment and I think when you look at winning the Daytona 500 as you know there’s– there’s nothing like winning this race. And– and when you actually experience it you understand why. And so every year I walk by that– that big Harley J. Earl Trophy and you see your name next to all those other guys, and it’s pretty neat.
REPORTER 2: Yeah. There’s nothing like winning the Daytona 500, but there’s nothing like becoming a dad for the second time. A big event at the Harvick household. Daughter Piper Grace born at the end of the year. How’s– how’s big brother Keelan embracing this?
– First two weeks weren’t good. We had–
REPORTER 1: A little jealousy going on.
– We had some serious jealousy going on. And he was– he was a pain in– in the neck, but as– as we’ve settled in over the last month here it’s been– it’s been really good. And to have six, seven weeks to get everything settled at home before we actually went on the road racing was– was really–
REPORTER 2: Your timing was really good.
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah. It was– it was definitely– definitely good timing.
– You look fresh. I mean, are you getting some sleep now? Because I– I know you and I shared a couple of conversations right after her birth and you said it’s– I get it when I can.
– Yeah. We’ve definitely got a lot better balance on– on what’s going on now with– with the sleep. But she’s been– she’s been pretty mild. And– and heck, I don’t sleep more than three or four hours at a time anyway anymore.
– Kevin, hard to believe this is your fifth year at Stewart-Haas Racing with Rodney Childers. But it’s– it’s bared a lot of fruit. 14 wins, the championship in 2014. But does it even remotely seem like this will be the fifth year?
– It doesn’t. And– and Rodney and I were talking about that the other day and– and just how fast it’s actually gone by and everything that’s happened over those– that five year period has– has been a lot of fun and any– and I think a lot of that just goes back to the relationship that I not only have with Rodney. I mean, that relationship is– is like none other that you could possibly ask for in the garage with a crew chief and a driver, but with my team in general. Obviously, when you think of– of Tony as an owner, Brett Frood who is– who is in– in– in charge over there on the competition side, and at Stewart-Haas Racing with Greg Zipadelli. But the relationship that I’ve built with all those guys is– is really good. And I think when you look at all that from an age standpoint and just from the things that we’ve done. Most of us have in families. We have so much in common outside of the race car that it’s made work easier.
– When you get to this stage of your career– this is your 18th season competing in the Monster Energy series. And you get to the Wednesday before the Daytona 500, do you still have the same energy and excitement and anxiety and butterflies that you did 15 years ago?
– Yeah. I don’t know that you have– I don’t think you have the anxiety that you had 15 years ago, but I think you have that– that enthusiasm and excitement still for sure because of the fact that you know how much this race means, and– and especially having won it before you know how important this would be to not only the company and yourself, but to your race team with all the hard work and effort that they have put in.
So you can win this race and have every– it doesn’t matter what you do the rest of the season. Obviously, you want to– you want to go out and– and win a championship and win multiple races. But in 2007 we had an OK year. Nothing great. But everybody knows that you won the– the Daytona 500 that year. So this race can make a season.
– Kevin, going back to last year, we– we know Stewart-Haas Racing made the move to Ford. And I think that was more of a vertical mountain than a lot of us were anticipating. There were a lot of layers to just changing from Chevrolet to Ford. Took you guys all the way to Sonoma to finally find victory lane.
But– but I was– from a Ford standpoint I was pretty encouraged to see the guy– the way you guys perform, especially when you won that race at Texas. When did it seem like maybe you guys turned the curve last year?
– Well, we– we started out the year pretty well and we led 300 laps I think at Atlanta and– and then wound up not winning that race. That– that really should have been the one that we capitalized on first. And– and then we kind of went through a lull. And– and I think as you– as you look at what it takes to make these cars go around a race track.
As we go through the first few weeks, you kind of go through inspection, and you do this and do that. And then there’s things that NASCAR says, well, you don’t need to do this, you don’t need to do that. But for us making those changes and putting that into the production was the hardest part because there were so many moving pieces just to get the cars to the racetrack for the first six weeks.
And then you start adding little things in here and there. And the next thing you know everything’s just in a log jam. So as– as– as you go back and– and look at it, it was a major mountain to climb. And I think the– the biggest thing that it says to me is the amount of good people that we have at Stewart-Haas Racing to overcome that and– and perform well.
– Thanks for coming in. Good luck on Sunday and we will see you Monday on NASCAR race up unless you get your name on that Harley J. Earl Trophy for a second time. That’s right. Then we’ll– we’ll give you a pass.
– We’ll have a– have a good problem.
– Have a great weekend, all right, Kevin.
– Thanks guys.