Despite having success and making the Chase, Kevin Harvick was “just tired of going to work” while at Richard Childress Racing in 2013.
“I didn’t like my job and that’s not a healthy way to be productive in this environment because it takes a lot of work and effort to be competitive and there’s going to be ups and downs and a lot of emotions to deal with,” he commented. “If you have a bad attitude about the things that are going on, you’re not going to win. You’re not going to beat the guys that we race against unless you have your whole life in order. Whether it’s racing, your attitude or financials, that whole circle has to be together to be successful here.”
For that reason, he made the decision to leave RCR after 13 seasons and head over to Stewart-Haas Racing in search of brighter horizons. Seeing the group of people at SHR and what they had the offer, the California native said that it was refreshing and very motivating.
“To see the support and things that came with that were very good for me,” he commented. “As you look at this group and the management and the owners and the people that are around us, everybody is very similar in age and a similar approach in life. So it’s me, its good to be around that and nothing ever changed. Everything we talked about happened, and everything that was promised was given, and you feel like you have to give everything that you promised as well and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”
One of those promises were the tools to win a championship as Harvick was making the decision for that reason – to win a championship.
Last season, he accomplished that goal as he was crowned the champion at season’s end.
“I think as you look back and everything that builds up to last year, it’s been refreshing to be a part of that philosophy that those two guys (Gene Haas and Tony Stewart) have talked about and have a group of people around you that believe in what you do, and have the results to back it up,” Harvick commented earlier this week. “It’s definitely been a lot of fun as we went through 2014. I feel like everybody has jelled well together and worked well together, and we just have to keep it rolling.”
The theory is simple – go out and try to win every race that they can, and let the points control themselves as going after wins is “the only way to control your own destiny” with the Chase format.
“There were some moments where going for wins and different things may have detrimental to guys that were racing at that point that really allowed the 31 (Ryan Newman) to be in that spot,” Harvick commented. ” To be able to go to Homestead and win the race and put that day together and win the championship, it was great. It was fulfilling for the sport, too. I know everybody that was involved with it. For us, to be on the offence and be able to do what we did was very gratifying.”
Harvick went on to say that the championship simply solidifies his reasons, and shows the strength of SHR as a company with their resources and the commitment that the employees have.
“For me, to be a small piece of that and be able to accomplish what you’ve worked your whole life for and that’s accomplish a championship at this level, that’s something still to me that I don’t know if it’s set in 100% yet just because you work so much to keep things going on a daily, weekly basis,” he commented. “Then you accomplish your goal and now you don’t want to fail in the next year so you don’t want to let your guard down so you want to be better than you were last year. It’s great motivation that Rodney (Childers) and I have talked about, and that’s our motivation for the year – to not let everybody down on the second year.”
Harvick says that he wants to use the championship now as motivation to continue to do well as it’s more fun to be the champion, rather than losing it.
“I think this year is really is why it hasn’t sunk in as much as it needs to be because I’ve never been a big believer in gloating. If anything, you try to move forward and do the best job that you can,” he commented.
That’s why throughout the winter, he stated that he has been getting everything away from the track in as much order as he can so he can totally focus on the racing once the season starts in February.
“I’m fortunate that I have a wife and a son that travel with me, and they are apart of putting life on hold, in a sense, just because they’re with me so I can bring in that family aspect and keep that in order,” Harvick continued. “But as far as everything else or going on vacation, this is the time. When we get to Daytona, it’s about the racecar and focusing on the team and putting it together because you may go to the first race or second race and be out to lunch. That requires a certain amount of extra time putting in to make you sure that you get things in check and much like we had last year, we had a lot speed in the car but a lot of problems to go along with it. So you have to be part of the process to help fix those things whether it be one question, one answer or one conversation away from sending those things in the right direction, you have to make time to be competitive in this garage.
“So the great challenge is managing your time. I’ve always been a true believer in time management. I’m sure they’ll be people that’ll be mad that they don’t get what they want, but in the end, this is about winning races and winning the championship and I feel like we know from a time standpoint how to control it and to continue to win and race for a championship.”