Kevin Harvick and Tony Gibson talk the upcoming championship race for NASCAR at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Gibson compares his situation to 1992 with Alan Kulwicki; Stewart-Haas Racing has also made a crew change on the #4 during the NASCAR championship race Homestead-Miami Speedway
This weekend, Kevin Harvick is set to battle for a NASCAR Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Whoever finishes in the best position of the four drivers will be the champion.
2018 Championship 4 Drivers: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr and Joey Logano.
Ahead of the race, Stewart-Haas Racing has made a few changes to the crew roster. The #4 and the #10 will swap one crew member.
Chris McMullen will serve as the rear tire changer for Kevin Harvick this weekend. Previously, he was the rear tire changer for Aric Almirola, Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate.
Michael Johnson was the rear tire changer for Harvick. For this weekend, he will move over to the #10 machine. The change was made as Almirola was eliminated from the NASCAR Playoffs at ISM Raceway.
Kevin Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers is still on a vacation. NASCAR suspended him for the remaining two events after the rear spoiler was discovered to be modified following the win at Texas Motor Speedway.
Last weekend, Childers worked from home base in North Carolina. He communicated with the team in Phoenix, Arizona via the internet.
This week, Childers will make the trip to Homestead-Miami Speedway. A suspension doesn’t ban Childers from the race track completely but it does ban them from any restricted area of the race track.
However, NASCAR will make an exception if Kevin Harvick wins the championship. In that situation, Childers will be allowed to join the team celebration after the race has concluded.
Kevin Harvick on Homestead
Kevin Harvick has eight wins in 2018. Thus far, his starting position is a career best of 8.7. He’s also tied his career best of top-10 runs in a single session with 28.
This weekend, he’ll have the opportunity to tie his career best top-5 marker and set his career best in the top-10 category. And of course, there’s that championship on the line.
Harvick has one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship to his name so far. That came back in 2014.
What kind of driver does it take to win a NASCAR championship?
“I don’t know that it is the driver. I think it’s the team because you can’t drive a slow car fast,” Harvick said in a pre-race release from Stewart-Haas Racing.
“You have to have everything put together on one particular day. Homestead is a track that is fairly unique to a lot of the other mile-and-a-half racetracks we go to. There is really nothing about that weekend at Homestead that is the same just because of the fact everything is different.”
“The track is different. The amount of people is different. The weekend is a championship-winning scenario. You know that you need to go out and win.”
Tony Gibson on Homestead-Miami Speedway
This time has been dominant in 2018. But, in the most crucial part of the racing season, they lost both their crew chief and the car chief.
Tony Gibson was pulled from the race shop and sent on the road with the #4 team. At ISM Raceway, he filled in for the suspended Rodney Childers. He’ll take that role again this weekend.
“When you take two of the key people off you always wonder if the others can step up and do a good job,” Tony Gibson said in a Wednesday teleconference.
“I think that’s where Rodney and this company have done a good job. We have a lot of depth here.”
“The closest thing to this situation was back in 1992 when we were racing for a championship with Alan Kulwicki. I was the fuel guy back then. It came down to a green flag fuel stop.”
“Alan’s coming down pit road. I step over and I realize I’m the only guy on pit road and we’re the only car on pit road. I had to get 3.2 seconds of fuel in this thing to make it to the end. If I don’t get it in there and I don’t do my job then it all rests on my shoulders.”
“That’s probably the last time I’ve been in this situation.”
Do you think the team has something to prove after the penalty?
“No, I don’t think so,” Gibson continued. “They approach every race, to win races. Not to win stages, points or lead laps. It’s about winning winning races.”
“They don’t have a chip on their shoulder about anyone in particular. It’s just they want to show everybody that they are the best and they deserve to be in this position to fight for a championship.”
“I think all these guys want to step up and show Rodney that, ‘ You know what? We are a great team and you have built an awesome race team here. We want to show you how mature we are as a group. And how we can function as a group even when our leader is not with us. We can still follow your lead and still get this done.’ ”