After attaining a lifelong goal with the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, Kevin Harvick said this week that he is raising the bar even further this season, in an effort to maintain his motivation.
“You always reestablish new goals,” said Harvick at Daytona International Speedway. “When you're able to accomplish goals, that's very rewarding. But it also makes setting new goals that are (equally rewarding) very realistic. Knowing that you can do the things we did last year is very rewarding, but it's also a great confidence builder for our race team, our guys and everybody that's a part of the No. 4 team.
“We know we can drive in those situations and be successful in those situations. We know we can win races if we put all the pieces together correctly, and we have done all that. It's easy to set new goals, and we all thrive on the competition. The competition is what drives us and makes coming to the race track fun.
Harvick also spoke specifically about his “To Do List” for 2015.
“The new goal is, `how do you go out and do that again?’” he said. “(Circumstances) will never be the same. It’s a new year, new rules, new situations. How do you overcome those?
“It has always been fun to me to try to put the pieces together, trying to fit as much in as possible, managing your time and being able to be good at what we do, be good parents, be a good champion and progress forward with your race team. Because in the end, we changed our whole life to try to accomplish everything that we did last year. We were able to pull that off and in three years, change everything that we have done. So, that's very rewarding for all the people, (not just) DeLana and myself, but everybody who has been involved in it.
Harvick said he appreciates his position as Sprint Cup Series champion, more than he would have earlier in his career.
“I think it was better that I won the championship later in my career,” he said. “I think I respect it a lot more and understand how hard it is to get to this point. I really know the work and effort and how many people it takes to be a part of it. With Rodney (Childers), all the guys on my team and SHR in general, it's just such a unique place to work. It’s an environment where you have hundreds of people (who) support and push and care about what everyone’s doing in a very relaxed atmosphere.
“To be a part of a team and see every piece pulling in the same direction and supporting the other, whether the chips are up or down, is something that is just so amazing to be a part of. I owned my own race teams, I drove at RCR and you always are trying to mix and match the pieces, but it's just so different with what I have at SHR and on the No. 4 team.”
Harvick called his championship team “a collection of individuals…drafted together” who are free to express their opinions and disagree, all for the betterment of the organization.
“I think disagreements are healthy, as long as they're handled correctly,” Harvick said. “Internally, some of those conversations were healthy for the company and evolved into changes that were made over the off season, in the way that SHR functions on a daily basis and how the cars are put together. Bringing the teams together, working closely together and having the same hands and parts and pieces is going to make us all better.”
He also candidly assessed the difference between SHR and his former team, Richard Childress Racing.
“A lot of times (at RCR), a lot of the things you would talk about maybe did or didn't happen. (At SHR), they were received with open arms. Tony was like, `Look, you need to help us as much as we help you on the competition side.’ That's the culture Gene and Tony have created up there. It’s `We're not going to tell you what to do. We're going to let you guys function in your own way and if you see something working on this side, you're going to have the capability to go over and put this together. And shame on you if you don't.’”