The return to restrictor-plate racing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Talladega this weekend is widely expected to mark a return to the two-car drafting seen at Daytona in February, but Kevin Harvick thinks things may be a bit different this time around. The Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet driver
“Well, when the green flag dropped at Daytona I think the race was different than what a lot of people thought, because as time has progressed since this race last year everybody has really figured out the two-car draft and how it works and what you need to do to keep it – what you need to do to keep the cars connected," he said. "So I think that the style of the race is gonna be very similar to what you saw at Daytona – but when they dropped the green flag at Daytona it was hard to race in the pack and it's hard to keep the cars connected and we saw a lot of wrecks because of the fact that the cars were pulling up on groups of cars and you didn't have anywhere to go. Here you have a lot more space, so it might be easier for that – but I still think it's going to be very similar to Daytona.
"This has always been a little bit different than Daytona with the way that the asphalt was before, because there was so much handling at Daytona you couldn't do the things there that you do here. But now it's very similar because of the asphalt, the styles are virtually the same. Well, they are the same. The way that it is now, if you are the second car you are 100 percent committed to the guy in front of you and if he piles into something, you are just going to pile in with him. It just takes a lot of commitment at this place to take the chances and do the things that you need to do to stay up front. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes you wind up on the hook, but that's just part of it.”
Harvick says despite the high likelihood of multi-car wrecks at the massive 2.66-mile superspeedway, he has no special qualms about Talladega, and says his aggressive approach serves him well here.
“Not really. I enjoy this type of racing," he said. "We prepare well for it. We come into it ready to race and push and shove and do the things we need to do to race here. I learned a long time ago it's better to be aggressive here than it to just sit around and wait for something to come your way, because in more times than not it's going to not come your way – things are gonna just happen around you and you're going to get tore up. You can be smart but at some point you're gonna have to get up in there and get after it to make something happen. It's just an aggressive style of racing now, but it doesn't bother me at all.
He added that that style of racing places a premium on getting concise information from spotters.
“I just want my spotter to be loud and clear on the radio," Harvick said. "That's really all that I care about here. I know my spotter is going to give me the information that I need. We've been together for a long, long time and he knows what I want to hear. That's just how it is. It's a lot tougher job for those spotters than it used to be. I look at my Nationwide car and I have 20 people (with the ability to chat with him). I don't even know how to keep track of that. It seems like everybody has just gone that way.
"My Cup car (radio) is just still very simple. It's got my teammates in it and that's it. I'm still not comfortable with it (wider radio chat), to tell you the truth, but I'm going to try it just to see if it works. If it works on Saturday, then we'll implement it on Sunday. We'll see.”