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May 6, 2018

Rodney Childers

Kevin Harvick

Tony Stewart

Dover, Delaware

THE MODERATOR: We're going to continue our media availability around the AAA 400 with two members of the race‑winning organization of Stewart‑Haas Racing, crew chief Rodney Childers as well as team owner Tony Stewart. Rodney, obviously a lot has been made about the speed in the 4 car this year, but this is not the first year that you guys have come out of the box strong since you've been together. But it seems like the results have just been different this year, four wins, the strongest start you guys have had on the results side of things. What has made 2018 different?
RODNEY CHILDERS: Well, I think the biggest thing is just having a year under our belt to work with Ford and all that stuff, to get our tools better, to get our cars better, to understand the aero side of it more. I feel like that a lot of it is just confidence. When you have confidence in the cars and the tools and everything going on, I think the biggest thing is just all the cylinders are clicking right now, and they're working together. Somebody asked me a minute ago about this same thing, and the biggest thing is we haven't went back and talked about the races that we've won. We go back and we talk about how to get better every week, and we build better race cars and they build better engines, and we've done better on pit road. To keep this going, we're going to have to get a lot better every single week, and to keep it to where it needs to be when the championship comes around. Like I said, everybody is working hard. All the guys are building great cars, and Kevin is doing a great job here at the racetrack.
THE MODERATOR: Tony, we saw today it's not just the 4 that's been running well. From an owner's perspective, how do you keep that momentum across the organization all season long knowing that teams like the 78 and the Gibbs cars are going to be fast throughout the season? How do you maintain that throughout the whole organization?
TONY STEWART: Well, I think it's days like today that build the momentum in the organization. It's another milestone for us to have three cars in the top 5 today. We're proud of everybody. It's like Rodney said; to be in our second year of building our own chassis and our aero department I feel like is on point right now, just every aspect of it. Everybody is working hard, and it's about evolution. I mean, it's just‑‑ you have to keep evolving and keep pushing the envelope.
The great thing is ‑‑ I think the thing that's really easy for organizations, and I think Brett Favre said this in a quote once, is that success is kind of one of the worst things that can happen to you because some guys feel like they've got where they need to be and they lose that intensity, and that's something that I feel like our group is really good about, not losing that focus on the fact that we're a technology‑driven sport, and we have to keep pushing all the time to keep finding more things to go faster and be better than we were the week before, and Rodney really hit on it there. We go back and we celebrate the wins, but we‑‑ instead of looking behind us at what we did, we look forward at what we're trying to accomplish and what we're trying to do the next week, and that's something that from the ownership side, for Gene and I, we're really proud of our group.
Greg Zipadelli and the aero group and the chassis department and everybody at Roush Yates Engines and Mobil 1 that works really hard with Roush Yates. I mean, it's just a bunch of people that really have‑‑ we kind of have the eye on the prize, so to speak. It's days like today that‑‑ when you can get four cars that are running as well as these four did today, it's an awesome feeling.
We'll high five each other at the shop tomorrow, but at the same time, we're digging for the next week and trying to get ready for Kansas now and trying to do the same thing again next weekend.

Q. Tony, watching Kevin drive this race today, it's hard to believe it took him 30 times to win here. You won here almost immediately when you were driving. Could that have been just mostly about the cars, or does it take even some of the best drivers a while to click in at some tracks?
TONY STEWART: I don't know, you know, when I was driving, this was one of the hardest places I felt like to win at. I mean, especially for a concrete track, you don't think that temperature really means a lot, but it's really big here for some reason. And not so much at Bristol, but it seems like for a concrete track, this place is more temperature sensitive than some of the asphalt tracks we go to. And then especially when you get a rain delay like that where the rubber kind of gets cleaned off.
This track is really hard to maintain the balance on. You know, at times it can get really frustrating. I think for drivers‑‑ really there's no drivers that back into a win here. It's guys that have a lot of experience and figure it out. You know, just Kevin is so good here. He knows what his balance needs to be in happy hour to be good in the race, and like I say, from the beginning of the race to the end of the race, the cars change so much here that you really have to kind of stay two steps ahead of it to be right at the end of the day.

Q. Tony, how big an impact has Tony Gibson had with this new role that he's in, and exactly kind of what is he doing?
TONY STEWART: Well, he's kind of the floor babysitter, so to speak. I mean, kind of joking about it, but he's made a huge impact. I mean, you really need somebody of his caliber on the floor to really tie this all together, and I think that's really what we've seen here is having him tie all four of these teams together at the shop and kind of watching over everything and make sure that we're staying the course. It's easy to‑‑ when you've got four crew chiefs and four engineers, it's easy to kind of get going four different directions if you're not careful, and I think that's something Tony has been good at is kind of tying it all together and making sure that we're all working together as one unit at the shop, and then when we go to the racetrack, it's the same philosophy that I drove under when we were at Gibbs, was that we were one unit at the shop, and when we went to the racetrack, then we were separate race teams, but we still worked together, and I think that's what Tony has really been good about at the shop is kind of tying all four of these teams together and keeping the general focus of what we're trying to accomplish together.

Q. This is now the sixth win in the last 14 races for your team, Tony. You also have three drivers in the top six in the points standings. When you switched to Ford in 2017, is this kind of trajectory what you pictured?
TONY STEWART: Well, I don't know that you really set a benchmark on where you want to be. I mean, the goal is just to go forward. But the hard thing is to set a benchmark of where it's actually going to go. But I think from the ownership side, this is‑‑ days like today are what you dream of. To have three in the top 5 and to have the start to the season that we've had, the partnership with Ford has been amazing so far, and the support that we've been given and their dedication to what they want the results to be. I mean, it definitely shows, and it's the support that we need.
We're proud of that. We're proud of the engine program. Ford has worked with Roush Yates for a long time on the engines, and you know, to have a unique scenario like we have with Doug Yates and to work with Mobil 1 to create our own package is something that we really haven't had that opportunity in the past.
It's a great partnership so far, and I feel like, like Rodney says, it took a year to really get to where we could refine on what we'd built on the first year. I think we were really happy with the way last year went, our first year out of the box with Ford, but to have a winter where we aren't overhauling the entire program and able to sit there and take what we have and refine it, I think it's made this year extremely productive.
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our race winner Kevin Harvick, winner of the AAA 400 Drive for Autism here at Dover International Speedway. Kevin, obviously a great battle towards the end of that race with Clint. You guys battled throughout the entire day. What's going through your mind when you're battling a teammate like that and talk about how you got past him.
KEVIN HARVICK: I'm thinking, oh, my gosh, I've talked so much trash to him all weekend and he's already told me that the karma train is going to run me over when it started raining. But we had a fun weekend, just because when you come to Dover, I feel like when you come to Dover, I feel like Clint is going to be one of the people that you have to beat just because of the fact that he's been so good for so many years here. To be able to race with Clint for a win is‑‑ for me, like I told him, I said, if I'm not going to win this race today, you need to win this race, so get up there and go after it because at that point we didn't know what was going to happen during the pit stop. To be able to race with him is a lot of fun, and I'd much rather keep it within the house than racing with somebody else.
It was fun with Clint, and had a really good battle there with Brad for about 50 laps at the end of the second stage. We went back and forth and finally were able to get by him, but that was a lot of fun.

Q. Kevin, you mentioned in Victory Lane that with the Miles the Monster trophy, you said, hey, Keelan, don't break the arm off of this one. Did he break the arm off the last one?
KEVIN HARVICK: He did. Miles is pretty popular, as you can imagine, with the kids. We took the last‑‑ the first one that we won, we took it home and put it in his play room, and I said, you can keep it in your play room. First day I came home and he had the arm broke in half off of the thing. When we talked‑‑ when I talked to him after the race, he said, "Dad, are you bringing that trophy home?" I said, "I'm bringing it home, but do not break the arm off this one." I have no idea how he broke it, but it is hollow, so he must have landed on it or hit something with it.

Q. Where are you going to put this one so he doesn't break it?
KEVIN HARVICK: Oh, he can break it, it's fine. Yeah, we'll put it in the same spot. We'll put it in the same spot in the playroom for a while. We'll have to go hose it off first because it smells like beer. It's always strange trying to explain to people why his playroom smells like beer.
But no, we'll clean it up and put it in his playroom. We glued the other one back together. It's fine.

Q. The TV commentators were saying they felt you were kind of the team to beat from that first run in practice on Friday. Did you have a similar feeling, and if you did, what's it like to kind of have that feeling and kind of come through and win a race?
KEVIN HARVICK: It's actually a lot harder, believe it or not, because you don't want to screw it up. I felt like we had a really good car from the time we unloaded, and I think you could tell that from when we qualified. That's usually not my strong point, qualifying up here, and to be able to qualify on the front row, we had three great practices and everything just kind of fell into place, and when they dropped the green flag, it was definitely still good.
It was just one of those weekends where the car was spot‑on from the time we got here, and the guys are just doing a great job. Everybody is just so detail oriented right now, and I feel like we're playoff racing on a weekly basis, and if you're going to win a bunch of races, that's what you have to do.

Q. Kevin, obviously everybody looking at the weather forecast, considering the past weekend, did you view really that break, that 40‑minute break as more of a help or a hindrance or really a momentum shift?
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, you really never know how it's going to go after they blow the whole racetrack off and there's no rubber on the racetrack anymore. For me when we dropped the green flag, we got to about ‑‑ lap 12 was just, for whatever reason, it was the button on my car and it would really allow me to start opening the racetrack up and move around the racetrack. I could tell that Clint was loose. My car was at that particular point really good, and I just‑‑ I wanted to move up the racetrack and try to put as much pressure on him as I could because I felt like the more rubber that got on the racetrack, the less the front was going to turn through the center and the corner. At that particular time, it was turning really really good and I could keep the power down and I could see that he was loose. So we wound up being a lot looser than we were the whole race the last run, but it sounded like the whole field was. Yeah, it worked out fine, and we were able to manage the car and take advantage of the first 15 or 20 laps there to get the lead.

Q. Kevin, nobody watching this race would have guessed it took you 30 times to win here. Was that streak more about the cars you didn't have or the circumstances or what?
KEVIN HARVICK: No. I mean, we were just‑‑ we were always just not very good up here, and when I started at Stewart‑Haas Racing, one of Rodney's main goals was to run good up here because he knew how much it frustrated me and felt like that we had a lot to draw from at that particular time with having the partnership with Hendrick and the success that Stewart‑Haas itself had had up here. From the very first day that we rolled in here in 2014, we ran well and have had chances to win pretty much every race since we've come up here.
I like driving here. We just never had the speed that it took at the beginning of my career to do what we've been doing over the last few years.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, gentlemen. Congrats.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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