Kevin Harvick Hopes For Another Talladega Victory

Kevin Harvick PIt Stop

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is expecting a freaky fast care-free Sunday drive in the Alabama 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

Harvick’s win last Sunday in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City automatically locked him into the Round of 8 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup before arriving at Talladega and now he can have a stress-free Sunday drive around the 2.66-mile superspeedway and concentrate on winning his second-consecutive Sprint Cup race.

The No. 4 team has used a winning strategy to advance to this point in the Chase. The team advanced to the Round of 12 with a victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon before locking into the Round of 8 last weekend at Kansas.

The Bakersfield, California native continues his streak as the only driver since the inception of the elimination-style format in 2014 to avoid an early exit in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

Talladega Superspeedway is known for its unpredictability due to high speeds, close racing and the ever-present threat of “the big one.” Harvick, however, has performed well on the restrictor-plate racetracks of Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Talladega in recent years.

In his last 10 restrictor-plate races, Harvick ranks second in top-10s and fourth in total points scored with 295. But his last points-paying Sprint Cup win on a restrictor-plate track came at Daytona in 2010. This weekend at Talladega, he will be looking to add his fourth points-paying Sprint Cup win on a restrictor-plate track.

The 2014 Sprint Cup champion has one career win at Talladega in NASCAR’s premier series. In April 2010, Harvick started fourth and led just two laps but, in the closing laps, he pushed Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 car and the two pulled away from the pack. As they navigated the tri-oval one final time, Harvick jumped out of the draft to beat McMurray to the finish line by .011 of a second, which still ranks 15th among the closest finishes in Sprint Cup Series history.

Harvick will go for his second win in consecutive weeks this weekend at Talladega, a feat that he has accomplished on two other occasions since joining SHR. In November 2014, he finished the season with back-to-back wins at Phoenix International Raceway and Miami-Homestead Speedway. He won two consecutive races in March 2015 when he reached victory lane at both Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix on consecutive weekends.

A stress-free Sunday drive this weekend at Talladega will provide the No. 4 Jimmy John’s team with a chance to reach victory lane for the fifth time this season, the second time in as many weeks and the third time in the last five races.

 

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

 

Is Talladega the most anticipated race in the Chase?

“Yes, Talladega is, for sure. There are so many things out of your control and you want to control as many things as possible on a week-to-week basis. Sure, there have been a lot of circumstances that have taken wins out of our hands throughout the regular season. But I think, as you look at the things that can be taken out of your hands, and circumstances, you expect those things. But there are so many more things that can happen at Talladega with the odds of getting into an accident way higher. They are usually big accidents and take out multiple cars. Talladega is the one you don’t want to have to deal with.”

 

RODNEY CHILDERS, Crew Chief of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for SHR:
 

What does the win at Kansas do in terms of preparation for Talladega and the next round?

“You always want to go win a race but, on the other hand, you can’t control it. Our focus is going to be on Martinsville and moving forward. We’ve got nice stuff to take to Talladega. We were planning on going down there to have to win the race there. We’ll definitely go down there and race hard. It’s just nice to be able to focus on the weeks going forward. This past week was rough on the whole race team, to be honest. Let those guys go see their kids and families a few nights. It’s going to mean a lot to them. Everybody catch their breath and get ready for Martinsville.”

 

Jimmy John’s Racing Team Report

Round 32 of 36 – Alabama 500 – Talladega Superspeedway

At-Track PR Contact: Penny Fender, True Speed Communication (704-728-7596, Penny.Copen@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)
Teammates:

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

Tony Stewart – No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil Delvac Chevrolet SS

Kurt Busch – No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy 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. 4-1011:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS built on Chassis No. 4-1011 in the Alabama 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Built new in 2016, Chassis No. 4-1011 will make its debut Sunday.

 

Talladega Superspeedway Notes of Interest:
  • Freaky Fast 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 12 victories, 10 poles, 52 top-five finishes and 71 top-10s; led 5,736 laps; won the 2014 Sprint Cup title; and finished runner-up in 2015 to champion Kyle Busch in 103 Sprint Cup events.
  • Trophies of 2016: Harvick is one of 13 Sprint Cup winners through the first 31 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. He scored his fourth and most recent win of the season last Sunday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, where he started 11th, led 74 laps and beat runner-up Carl Edwards by 1.183 seconds.
  • Survive and Advance: Harvick’s win last Sunday in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway locks him in to the Chase for the Sprint Cup Round of 8, the cutoff for which is Sunday’s race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Harvick advanced to the 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 at Kansas. 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 35 top-two finishes – 12 wins and 23 runner-up efforts in 103 total races. The pairing has finished either first or second in nearly 34 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 1,305 laps through the first 31 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 21 of 31 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 Talladega since Joining SHR:Harvick has five Sprint Cup starts at Talladega since joining SHR at the beginning of the 2014 season and has finished in the top-15 and led laps in all five races. He started eighth, led 15 laps and finished seventh in April 2014. He started 39th, led two laps and finished ninth in October 2014. He started 24th, led a lap and finished eighth in May 2015. He started seventh, led four laps and finished 15th in October 2015. He started 29th, led nine laps and finished 15th in May 2016. He has led 31 total laps in his five starts at Talladega since joining SHR.
  • Harvick in the Sprint Cup Series at Talladega: The Alabama 500 will mark Harvick’s 32nd career Sprint Cup start at Talladega. He has one win (April 2010), six top-five finishes and 13 top-10s at the 2.66-mile oval. The 40-year-old driver has led 187 laps, has an average starting position of 22.3, an average finish of 15.3 and has completed 95.8 percent (5,635 of 5,882) of the laps he’s contested there.
  • Harvick in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Talladega: Harvick has made eight starts in the Xfinity Series at Talladega. He has one pole (April 2010), two top-five finishes and three top-10s. He has led 95 laps, has an average starting position of 9.8, an average finish of 18.2 and has completed 82.6 percent (784 of 949) of the laps he’s contested there.
  • Career Totals: Harvick has 35 wins, 152 top-five finishes, 280 top-10s and 16 poles in 569 career Sprint Cup starts heading into Sunday’s Atlanta 500 at Talladega.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILLWORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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