KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Latte Ford Mustang – DO YOU FEEL BETTER AT THIS TIME THIS YEAR THAN A YEAR AGO IN RELATION TO THIS EVENT? “Yeah. At this point I wasn’t worried about coming here just because you kind of know everything you’re going to go through. The cars are my cars. I sit in them every week and it’s the same throttle, the same thing and I learned last year that it’s not a late model or something, it’s our own style of off-road racing – much slower pace.
WAS VISIBILITY A PROBLEM TONIGHT? “It was much worse in the first practice than in the second practice. When I have a question, I guess it would probably get better at night. Briscoe tells me it should get better at night and that’s really everything I need so if he tells me to run down, I run down If he tells me to run up, I run up If he tells me to back up on my back right away, I’ll back on my back right away because it’s just not something I know is going on.
DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN HIM? “Oh yeah. I think when you look at him he’s the leader of this whole dirt program so he’s the only one with experience so we kind of have to live and die by what he says and use his experience as a guide for what we do.”
SO WHEN CHASE SAYS THEY SHOULD CONSIDER WATERING THE TRACK MORE, WOULD YOU AGREE WITH THAT? “They tell me water makes dust, so I don’t know (laughs). I don’t know when you water the track.
WATER MAKES MUD. “It’s only at the beginning. Apparently the water makes dust if you water it right now, so I’m totally confused because I thought the water made mud too.
SOMETHING MAKES IT DUSTY. “I don’t know. Water produces dust and mud, so I don’t know. Once I get into a rhythm, I always feel like I’m five laps behind the guys who know what they’re doing because they know where to go on the circuit they know where the humidity is but once I can get into a rhythm it’s ok but you always try to catch up with the guys who know where go on the circuit instantly and you’re always a bit behind because you’re playing to follow the leader.It’s like a really slippery asphalt track once you get there, but it’s just those fast laps, knowing how to how hard you have to attack and things like that, but the rest is fine with me.
HAVE YOU HEARD OF TOE LINK ISSUES AND WHAT IS THE BALANCE NOT TO DAMAGE IT? “Don’t touch the wall. The same guys all hit the wall and they break the toe link. You hit the wall and the car yaws 45 degrees, it’s going to hit the back of the wheel and it’s going to break the toe link. There’s really no way around it, so I don’t know what to tell them other than not to hit the wall.
IS THE FASTEST WAY HERE AGAINST THE WALL OR DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE BOTTOM IS COMING IN? “It depends. It used to be faster up. I never had any luck with the dead bottom, just against those little turtles there. We were on one lane and seemed like the best place for us , but in the first practice what was the peak, I was fine and I could do it, but I never got a good rhythm like just against the wall with the little pad It’s not even a cushion because if you miss it’s dust. It’s just a big pile of dirt. You can’t even call it dirt. It’s a big pile of dust, so that’s what happens You get comfortable and then you get hung up in that dust up there and then it’s just going to grab it and pull it into the wall.
HAVE YOU EVER RUN AT EASTER? “I do not have.”
WHAT DO YOU NORMALLY DO AT EASTER? “We have an annual vacation that we have to go home for three days at the beginning of this year.”
ARE YOU ENJOYED TO BE HERE? “Super thrilled (laughs).”
THEY NEED IT TO BE A NIGHT RACE AND PUT IT ON EASTER SUNDAY TO CAPITALIZE ON THE TV WINDOW. IS IT IMPORTANT THAT THE SHOW IS DECENT? “The only way to succeed is for the ratings to skyrocket. It’s the only way to get it on Easter night. That’s the only reason it’s where it is for a TV rating, so if there’s no TV rating you should never do it again, in my opinion. It’s an experience I’m okay with experiences if it’s beneficial. If it’s good for the sport and good for the ratings and good for a number of things, then I’m all for it, but it’s going to be the real telltale of success if that rating is way above what she was.
WHERE WAS VACATION? “The beach.”
DID THEY STAY AND YOU RETURNED FOR THIS WEEKEND? “No, they left early when I was in Martinsville and then we all came back.”
ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Cummins/Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang – WAS VISIBILITY IMPROVED FROM PRACTICE 1 TO PRACTICE 2? “Not for me. It just depends on how close you are to a car. If you’re about three-quarters distance from a car in front of you, then you’re fine. The closer you get to a car in front of you, and depending on the “Where she rolls, if she runs close to the wall, it creates such a cloud of dust that it’s really hard to see the wall. The wall is painted black. I think that also makes it harder to see.”
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT YOU CAN RUN AGAINST THE WALL, BUT THE BAD NEWS IS THAT IT’S UNSTOPPABLE IF YOU HIT IT? “Yes, I also tried to test those limits. I walked into the fence several times just to try to figure it all out. I’m not a dirt racer and these cars aren’t dirt cars, so just trying to figure out what those limitations are and how much of a cushion it really isn’t a cushion. There’s a bunch of loose crumbs up there but if you get close there’s some grip, but if you barely get past the top you get into all that loose dirt and it sucks you into the wall. ”
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN BUILD FROM LAST YEAR’S DIRT RACE? “No, it’s a totally new car and the track is even different with the corner change and the way they go from the straights to the corners is different to what we had last year. Those turtles, or whatever either basically, are less aggressive than last year, so I think there’s so much different from last year that you can’t take anything away from it.
RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Ford Mustang Dutch boy – WHAT WAS THE VIEW FOR YOU? “It was hard to see, not as bad as last year, but still quite difficult. The sunset definitely helped that which was a bit better. The wall is painted black so you can’t see the wall which only makes it worse. They need to paint those white or neon colors or Easter eggs. I don’t care, but you have to paint it something other than black because you can’t see it when it gets dusty. Overall not as bad as last year. I think the night race will help him a bit. The trail seemed to be ok, pretty decent, so it would be nice to just dust it off, but there’s really nothing you can do about it.
HAS VISIBILITY IMPROVED FROM PRACTICE 1 TO PRACTICE 2? “A bit with the sunset helped, but I think the track got dustier in general in the second practice, so it kind of evened out. It was better than the sun up and dazzled. You could at least squint and see a little.
THERE ARE NOT A LOT OF SIMILARITIES BETWEEN LAST YEAR AND THIS YEAR, BUT IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN TAKE FROM THIS RACE TO THIS ONE? “Yeah, I mean a little. The car is obviously different. The tire is quite different. The tire is much better this year, honestly. It’s got a lot more grip and you can actually ride it more so I don’t know if you can compare a lot like car to car, setup to setup, but just knowing the trends of how the racing has been ran last year maybe it applies to this year so you try to look at the racetrack trends and stuff but the track is much smoother than it was last year , so it’s good. But there’s not much you can compare.
HAVE YOU FOUND A FAVORITE LINE? “It’s the market. The top, where the humidity was, was really small at the end of the workout. Larson and Bell, they were up there and could do it really well, but I think they both hit the fence pretty hard, so I was right in the middle. I’m not good enough to race there regularly like they could, honestly, so I was like in the middle. I thought I had good grip, actually, so it’s going to be tough. I think you will have that option on Sunday night, where it will be a fairly narrow strip of wet mud, but the risk factor will be quite high with no cushion. There’s really nothing to lean on and you’re just measuring where your right rear tire is and will it get wet. And the bad thing is you can’t get close to the wall because the quarter panel is gonna hit before the tire hits anything so I probably won’t be up there because I’m not good enough , so I’m going to be in the middle trying to hunt where the other handle is.
IS TRUCK RACING A BENEFIT FOR JOEY? “I spoke to him and he told me there were so many different things – the two cars. The tire is quite different. He was like, the Cup cars are spoiled because of the tire we have now. That tire that the trucks have and what we had last year was way less grippy than what we have now. I think it will help him, like seeing how the track changes. I think it’s going to help these guys race, but I think the fact that the tire makes such a big difference there can be misleading, but the track time is going to be long for these guys I think.
Ford Performance PR