Harvick on Racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway
You struggled at this track for a number of years and then won two of the last three 600s. What changed?
"I really tried to stop having a bad attitude coming into this particular race weekend and just trying to get through it. I started trying to figure out what I needed to do to get better at this particular race track. I watched the guys who have had success here in the past and studied a little bit to try and figure out steering, throttle, brakes and different techniques that the guys that were winning the races were using and tried to adapt that. Changing my attitude has helped the most and now Charlotte has become like any of the other race tracks where you enjoy showing up and the challenges of trying to figure out a different style of race track and how to make your car handle."
They say wins change everything, so is it safe to say you love this place now?
“Well, it’s definitely not one of the race tracks that I don’t like coming to anymore for sure. Charlotte has been a good race track for me over the past several years and I’m definitely looking forward to coming back for the 600.”
You have a chance to become one of the drivers who’s won this race three times this weekend. Only eight other drivers have done that. How much would that mean to you to accomplish that?
"That would be pretty phenomenal. The Coke 600 is obviously one of our biggest races every year. I’ve been fortunate enough to have won it a couple times. You see that list of winners and the quality of drivers who’ve won this race, and it’s still a pretty short list, so you want to keep multiplying the times that your name is put on that list of drivers and to win it for a third time would be pretty awesome.”
Is it surprising how good you are this year? Obviously you’re at the top of your game and with Stewart-Haas Racing giving you what you need and the support from Hendrick, it has to be fun when you show up at the track and know you have a chance to win each weekend.
"It’s definitely a different feeling as you go from week to week knowing that your expectation going into the weekend is to win the race. Obviously you’re not going to win all the races. You’re going to have things happen and you’re going to be off on some weekends, but the expectation when we go to the race track every week is that we’re going to go there and we’re going to win the race. We’re going to practice like that and try to qualify on the pole and we know that we have cars that are capable of doing that. I think if you look at every week, we’ve done a good job. I think Rodney has built a great group of guys and SHR has done a great job and given us the resources to come to the track and be competitive every week.”