Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick is known to perform when the stakes are raised – and he is going to have to do it again this weekend in the Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City if he hopes to advance to the Round of 8 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

 

The driver of the No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) finds himself in a challenging position heading to Kansas. He suffered a mechanical failure last weekend in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway that resulted in a 38th-place finish and left him 12th in the Sprint Cup standings, trailing Denny Hamlin by eight points for the final transfer position into the Round of 8.

 

Harvick has overcome the odds and advanced to the next round when facing adversity in the past. In fact, he has already done it once this year. After starting the Chase with a 20th-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, he rebounded with a trip to victory lane the very next week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

 

The Bakersfield, California native faced a must-win situation in 2015 as the Sprint Cup Series headed to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for the final race of the Round of 16 after scoring a 42nd-place finish at Chicagoland and finishing 21st at New Hampshire. He delivered the most dominating performance of his Sprint Cup career, starting 15th, leading 355 of 400 laps and crossing the finish line 2.639 seconds ahead of runner-up Kyle Busch.

 

Harvick faced back-to-back elimination situations en route to his 2014 Sprint Cup championship.

 

After scoring a 33rd-place finish to kick off the Round of 8 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and a runner-up finish at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, he headed to Phoenix International Raceway as the eighth-place driver in need of a win to advance to the Round of 4. Again, he delivered a dominant performance, starting third, leading 264 of 312 laps and crossing the finish line 1.636 seconds ahead of the field to advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

 

Harvick scored the biggest win of his Sprint Cup career the following week at Homestead, starting fifth, leading 54 laps and claiming the 2014 Sprint Cup championship by a half-second margin over runner-up Ryan Newman.

 

Harvick is the only driver since the inception of the elimination-style format in 2014 to avoid an early exit in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

 

Fortunately for Harvick, the Sprint Cup Series is headed to Kansas Speedway this weekend – a place where he has shown consistent speed the last three seasons.

 

Harvick won the Sprint Cup race at Kansas in October 2013, when he started from the pole position, led 138 of 267 laps and beat current SHR teammate Busch to the finish line by 1.140 seconds to score his only Sprint Cup victory at the 1.5-mile oval.

 

The 2014 Sprint Cup champion also owns the Sprint Cup qualifying record at Kansas, which he set May 9, 2014 with a lap of 27.799 seconds at 194.658 in second round of qualifying. That attempt won him his second of three consecutive Sprint Cup poles at Kansas from October 2013 through October 2014.

 

He also has three runner-up finishes in five Sprint Cup starts at Kansas since joining SHR in February 2014.

 

Harvick’s primary sponsor, Outback Steakhouse, continues its popular “Bloomin’ Monday” promotion, allowing fans a free Bloomin’ Onion any time Harvick records a top-10 finish in the Sprint Cup Series. And regardless of the No. 4 team’s performance Sunday, Outback Steakhouse will make race fans feel like winners with a guaranteed Bloomin’ Monday Oct. 17 for Harvick’s win over NASCAR America’s Rutledge Wood in the Bloomin’ Onion challenge.

 

While Outback Steakhouse will make everyone winners regardless of the race’s outcome, Harvick would love to score a win to automatically advance to the Round of 8 and continue his pursuit of the 2016 Sprint Cup championship.

 

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
 

You’ve performed much stronger at Kansas the last couple of years. Is that because of the repave, or did you find something you were missing previously?

“The repave is definitely what changed and turned things around for us at Kansas. Really, I liked the racetrack the way it was before with the asphalt really worn out and cars sliding all over. But, once the repave happened, we were able to really hit on some things and, for whatever reason, it kind of fits my driving style and we have gotten some good results out of it. It has been a really good-performing racetrack for us and one that we look forward to going to and hopefully continue to get good results out of it because it’s been so good for us in the past.”

 

Take us on a lap around Kansas.

“It’s definitely a little bit different just for the fact the (corner) entries are a little different than at most places. Turns three and four remind me of turns three and four at Chicagoland Speedway, but there’s a lot more grip and a lot fresher asphalt than what Chicagoland has nowadays. It’s a very high-speed racetrack. You run the middle to the bottom of the racetrack. But I’m sure, as time goes on, that the groove will move back up. But, for right now, it’s very fast and very sensitive to your line and, with all the speed and how tricky the entrance is into turn one, you can miss your line easily. So, you have to be very specific about where you put your car and pay attention to what you’re doing.”

Outback Steakhouse Racing Team Report

Round 31 of 36 – Hollywood Casino 400 – Kansas Speedway

At-Track PR Contact: Ryan Barry, True Speed Communication (704-500-1553, Ryan.Barry@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)
Teammates:

Danica Patrick – No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS

Tony Stewart – No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS

Kurt Busch – No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS

Primary Team Members:

Driver: Kevin Harvick

Hometown: Bakersfield, California

 

Crew Chief: Rodney Childers

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Car Chief: Robert Smith

Hometown: Whitewater, Wisconsin

 

Engine Builder: Hendrick Motorsports

Headquarters: Concord, North Carolina

 

Engine Specialist: Jereme Jackson

Hometown: Lincolnton, North Carolina

 

Spotter: Tim Fedewa

Hometown: Holt, Michigan

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:

Gas Man: Justin White

Hometown: Lynnville, Tennessee

 

Front Tire Changer: Eric Maycroft

Hometown: Algonquiin, Illinois

 

Second Gas Man: Marc Wulf

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

 

Front Tire Carrier: Matt Holzbaur

Hometown: New Egypt, New Jersey

 

Windshield: Aaron Kuehn

Hometown: Kensington, Connecticut

 

Rear Tire Changer: Daniel Smith

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Jackman: Stan Doolittle

Hometown: Ninety Six, South Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Mike “Shrek” Morneau

Hometown: Oxford, Maine

Road Crew Members:

Truck Drivers: Rick Hodges and Stephen Mitchell

Hometowns: Raleigh, North Carolina, and Woodville, Ohio, respectively

 

Tire Specialist: Dustin Keath

Hometown: Reading, Pennsylvania

 

Shock Specialist: Mike McCarville

Hometown: Kensington, Prince Edward Island, Canada

 

Engineers: Dax Gerringer and Billy Keubler

Hometowns: Gibsonville, North Carolina, and Saline, Michigan,respectively

 

Mechanics: Richie Bean and Allen Mincey

Hometown: Bradford, Vermont, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida,respectively

 

Fuel Runner: Evan Kureczka

Hometown: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Chassis Information – Chassis No. 4-995:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet SS built on Chassis No. 4-995 in the Hollwood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Built new in 2016, Chassis No. 4-995 made its Sprint Cup debut in the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Harvick started first, led 21 laps in the first segment and overcame a mechanical issue related to the car’s steering to finish 11th. It made its second appearance the very next week in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, where Harvick started eighth and finished second. Harvick started from the pole position at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway after rain cancelled Sprint Cup qualifying. He led 214 laps and scored a runner-up finish.

 

Kansas Speedway Notes of Interest:
  • Earning It Since 2014: Harvick is in his 16th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and his third at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with crew chief Rodney Childers at the helm. Since their pairing at the beginning of 2014, Harvick and Childers combined to produce 11 victories, nine poles, 51 top-five finishes and 70 top-10s; led 5,662 laps; won the 2014 Sprint Cup title; and finished runner-up in 2015 to champion Kyle Busch in 102 Sprint Cup events.
  • Trophies of 2016: Harvick is one of 13 Sprint Cup winners through the first 30 races of 2016. He scored his first win of the season March 13 at Phoenix International Raceway in one of the closest finishes in series history, when he beat runner-up Carl Edwards to the finish line by .01 of a second. He scored his second win of the season in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, where he started 24th, led 128 laps and beat runner-up Ricky Stenhouse Jr., by 1.933 seconds. He scored his third win of the season Sept. 25 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, where he started 19th, led eight laps and finished .442 of a second ahead of runner-up Matt Kenseth.
  • Points Position: Harvick sits 12th in the Sprint Cup standings with 3,004 points after suffering an issue with his oil pump at Charlotte that resulted in a 38th-place finish. He sits eight points back of eighth-place driver Denny Hamlin for the final transfer spot into the Round of 8. Harvick advanced to the Chase for the Sprint Cup Round of 12 by winning the Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Sept. 25. He secured the second seed in the Round of 8 by virtue of his win. Harvick finished the regular season with 876 points – more than any other driver. It marked the second consecutive season he has led the Sprint Cup points after the 26-race regular season.
  • First or Second: Since joining SHR at the beginning of 2014, Harvick and Childers have teamed to score 34 top-two finishes – 11 wins and 23 runner-up efforts in 102 total races. The pairing has finished either first or second in over 33 percent of the Sprint Cup races since the start of 2014.
  • 10,000 Laps Led: After leading 214 laps at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Harvick became just the fifth active full-time driver to lead 10,000 laps in his Sprint Cup career. He joins Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. Harvick led 139 laps in the Good Sam 500k at Phoenix earlier this season to surpass 9,000 laps led for his Sprint Cup career.
  • 1,000 Laps Led for the Third Consecutive Season: Harvick has led 1,231 laps through the first 30 points-paying races of 2016. He has now led 1,000 laps for a third consecutive season. He has led at least one lap in 20 of 30 points-paying Sprint Cup events this season. Prior to joining SHR in 2014, Harvick’s season-high was 895 laps led in 2006.
  • Harvick at Kansas since Joining SHR:Harvick has five Sprint Cup starts at Kansas since joining SHR at the beginning of the 2014 season and has won the pole for two of the five races and finished runner-up three times. He won the pole with a speed of 194.252 mph, led 119 laps and finished second to Jeff Gordon by 0.112 of a second in May 2014. He won the pole with a speed of 197.621 mph, led 61 laps and finished 12th in October 2014. He started sixth, led 53 laps and finished second to Johnson by 0.487 of a second in May 2015. In October 2015, Harvick started fourth, led 21 laps and finished 16th.  In May 2016, he started 26th and raced his way to a runner-up finish, trailing race winner Kyle Busch by 1.112 seconds at the finish line.
  • Harvick in the Sprint Cup Series at Kansas: The Hollywood Casino 400 will mark Harvick’s 22nd career Sprint Cup start at Kansas. He has one win (October 2013), three poles (October 2013, May and October 2014), five top-five finishes and 10 top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval. The 40-year-old driver has led 475 laps, has an average starting position of 16.0, has an average finish of 10.8 and has completed 98.0 percent (5,446 of 5,557) of the laps he’s contested there.
  • Harvick in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Kansas: Harvick has made 11 starts in the Xfinity Series at Kansas. He has one win (October 2006), one pole (October 2008), six top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He has led 208 laps, has an average starting position of 9.5, an average finish of 9.3 and has completed 94.4 percent (2,080 of 2,204) of the laps he’s contested there.
  • Career Totals: Harvick has 34 wins, 151 top-five finishes, 279 top-10s and 15 poles in 568 career Sprint Cup starts heading into Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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