Harvick: Johnson 'really helped me get through the week'
By Jessica Ruffin
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was not the driver celebrating under a shower of confetti or doing victory burnouts at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday.
But according to 2014 Cup champion Kevin Harvick, Johnson’s involvement in the final race was still prevalent.
“Jimmie was in my trailer as much as many of my teammates, and calling me and on the phone – doing all the things that it takes to tell me what I needed to do today,” Harvick said after the race.
But Johnson and Harvick’s friendship isn’t anything new. It was cultivated before either one had even dreamed about winning a Cup championship.
“We slept on those same couches at [Ron] Hornaday's house adjacent to each other in the game room,” Harvick said. “He'd go race his ASA cars, and I'd go race the trucks for the Spears bunch, so we spent a lot of time together as friends and have grown to be better friends as we've gone past the last few years for sure.”
Over the weekend, Johnson met with Harvick after every Homestead practice, working through any issues on the track.
“This week ate me up,” Harvick said. “If it wasn’t for Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart, I would have been in bad trouble this week. Those guys really helped me get through the week.”
This season, Harvick began racing for Stewart-Haas Racing, a partner of Hendrick Motorsports. The four Stewart-Haas Cup cars all use Hendrick Motorsports chassis and engines, and according to Harvick, the eight teams also work together frequently off the race track.
“Well, I think you talk about rivals, and Tony will have to speak for this, but I think that the way these eight cars have worked together this year, I've never seen anything like it,” said Harvick of his team’s partnership with Hendrick Motorsports. “It's like nobody questions anything about, we're sharing this or we're talking about that, so that part has been pretty awesome.”
Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, also offered his thanks to Hendrick Motorsports drivers on Sunday after the race.
“When you're around people 120 days a year, you become friends with most of them, some better than others, obviously,” Stewart said. “But we've got a great partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, and like Kevin just mentioned, when you've got eight drivers that are sharing information, it's a lot easier to race seven guys than it is to try to worry about racing 34 or 35 guys.”
“Having your friends and having that advice – people that you know, your equals, having that advice from them – sometimes that's just the calm voice or word that you need to get through the day.”
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) November 17, 2014