Just minutes into the opening event of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup -- a gala media event in downtown Chicago -- Kevin Harvick has fired the first round of the title fight.
The four-car Joe Gibbs Racing squad has won seven of the last nine Chase races and 10 races overall, but Harvick, the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion said he's ready for the fight to begin.
Queried about the success of the JGR teams, Harvick smiled.
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"I think we're going to pound them into the ground," he said. "That's what I think. Hopefully, they can beat themselves."
Asked if he thought his Stewart-Haas Racing team was better than JGR, Harvick said, "I don't know that we're better than them, but I think for us, it's all about having the experience. It's really not about having the fastest car. It's about having the experience to be able to go out and handle the emotions of the 10 weeks.
"That's talk," said Carl Edwards of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We'll go race and see how it turns out, but I think statistics and our performance really speaks for itself. We're pretty fast."
JGR's Kyle Busch laughed when told of Harvick's smack-talk comments.
"I thought that was supposed to be with the media day before Homestead not media day before the Chase starts," said Busch.
Asked if Harvick was talking trash to him, Busch said, "No. He won't do it to our faces. He'll just do it through you guys (the media). ... I'd really hate to see him blow a motor here the first week. That'd be really, really bad."