Reigning champion Kevin Harvick didn’t take long to fire the first shot during Chase Media Day Thursday in Chicago.
Asked about being behind the Joe Gibbs Racing cars heading into the Chase, Harvick responded with confidence:
“I wouldn’t consider us behind the Gibbs cars. I think we’re going to pound them into the ground. That’s what I think. Hopefully they can beat themselves.
Harvick went on to say:
“I don’t know that we’re better than them. I think for us it’s all about having the experience. It’s really not about having the fastest car at this particular point. It’s about having experience to go out and handle the emotions of 10 weeks, and I think as you go into these 10 weeks you have to put it all together and there’s a lot more than racing to handle.”
Told of Harvick’s comments, JGR driver Kyle Busch responded, “I thought that was supposed to be (said on) the Media Day before Homestead, not the Media Day before the Chase starts.”
Busch, who has a history of feuding with Harvick, was asked if he’d heard much trash-talking from the defending series champion.
“Oh no, he won’t do it to our faces,” Busch said with a smile. “He’ll just do it through you guys. I’d really hate to see him blow a motor here the first week. That would be really, really bad.”
Harvick enters the Chase as the fifth seed with two victories but he’s had 10 runner-up finishes. Harvick scored the most points in the first 26 with 978. That was 30 more than the next driver (Joey Logano). Joe Gibbs Racing, though, won seven of the last nine races with Kyle Busch scoring four wins, Matt Kenseth two and Carl Edwards one during that time.
As for Harvick’s plans for the Chase?
“We just go about our business and do our things,” said Harvick, who had a series-best 4.4 average finish at the eight Chase tracks the series ran at earlier this year. “The cars are running good. I feel like we’re in a good spot. We’re in a way better spot than we were last year.
“You don’t have to change anything. You just go about what you’ve been doing. For us the intensity level, we know it changes. We don’t want to change anything we’ve done on the race track.”