“Freaky Fast” Harvick Needs To Find Victory Lane At Texas

Kevin Harvick and Keelan

The most important number to Kevin Harvick heading into Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth is his number of trips to victory lane in the Sprint Cup Series at the 1.5-mile oval – zero.

The driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) is still looking for his first Sprint Cup win at Texas even though he has had success there in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Harvick has five wins and two poles at Texas in the Xfinity Series. He’s also scored nine top-five finishes, 15 top-10s and led 779 laps. He has an average starting position of 6.9 and finish of 7.8.

In the Truck Series, Harvick has one Texas victory, which came in 2011. He also has two top-fives and led 64 laps in four starts.

In 26 Sprint Cup starts at Texas, Harvick has five top-five finishes and 14 top-10s with an average finish of 12.2.

While he is still chasing that elusive Sprint Cup win at Texas, Harvick’s recent starts there show he may be close to finally breaking through. He has finished in the top-10 in seven of his last nine races at Texas, including four straight dating back to November 2014, and led 111 laps in his last five starts.

Thirty-three races into this season, Harvick has been a model of consistency as he has 15 top-fives and 24 top-10s, and led 1,305 laps with a series-best average finish of 10.4.

While consistency has been key for Harvick throughout the season, his appearance in the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup Round of 8 came anything but easily. The 2014 Sprint Cup champion has an average finish of 17.7 in this year’s Chase.

He raced his way out of the Round of 16 with a win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway following a sub-par 20th-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. He suffered a mechanical failure the following week at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and finished 37th.

In the Round of 12, Harvick finished 38th with another mechanical issue at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, but followed that with a win at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City and seventh at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway to advance to the Round of 8.

The Bakersfield, California native kicked off the Round of 8 last Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway with another 20th-place finish and needs to perform well at the next two races at Texas and Phoenix International Raceway in order to advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

Jimmie Johnson punched his ticket to the winner-take-all championship race at Homestead by virtue of his win at Martinsville last weekend. Harvick trails fourth-place driver Kyle Busch by 16 points in the standings for the final transfer position to the Championship 4 with two races remaining. His goals this weekend at Texas are to at least better his sixth-place position in the point standings or, ideally, automatically punch his ticket to the Championship 4 with a win that would put him one step closer to adding another Sprint Cup title to the one he won in 2014.

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

What are the challenges of racing at Texas?
“I would say the biggest challenge of racing at Texas is just navigating the bumps and the worn-out asphalt while still trying to have a car that’s fast.”

 

What do you need to have to be best at the end of the race at Texas?
“I’d say at Texas you need to have a well-balanced car. It’s a very fast racetrack, but I think as you look at the bumps and the way that the asphalt has worn out, cars drive pretty tough and  become more difficult to drive as you get later in the run. So you need to have a well-balanced racecar to try to make as much speed as possible.”
How has the drama and excitement in the Chase compared to what it was last year?
“I don’t really get into drama and excitement. For me, it’s really about being intense in our own little bubble. I know, for us, it seems like there is more to navigate than there was last year just for the fact that we’ve had so many things go wrong up to this point. We’ve been fortunate to win a couple of races, but it seems like every other week we’ve had to navigate something or work through something to get the best finish we can. Hopefully, we can clean all those things up and do a little better over the final couple weeks.”

 

 

Busch Beer Racing Team Report

Round 34 of 36 – AAA Texas 500 – Texas Motor Speedway

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

Danica Patrick – No. 10 TaxACTChevrolet SS

Tony Stewart – No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 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. 4-1009:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet SS built on Chassis No. 4-1009 in the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Built new in 2016, Chassis No. 4-1009 made its Sprint Cup debut at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, where it started fourth and finished 20th.

 

Texas Motor 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. In the 105 Sprint Cup events since their pairing at the beginning of 2014, Harvick and Childers combined to produce 12 victories, 10 poles, 52 top-five finishes and 72 top-10s; led 5,736 laps; won the 2014 Sprint Cup title; and finished runner-up in 2015 to champion Kyle Busch.
  • Trophies of 2016: Harvick is one of 13 Sprint Cup winners through the first 33 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 on October 16 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, where he started 11th, led 74 laps and beat runner-up Carl Edwards by 1.183 seconds.
  • Missing From The Trophy Case: Harvick has reached victory lane at 19 of the 23 stops on the Sprint Cup Series circuit. The four tracks that he has yet to visit victory lane in the Sprint Cup Series are Texas Motor Speedway, Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
  • Survive and Advance: Harvick’s Oct. 16 win in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas locked him into the Chase for the Sprint Cup Round of 8. He advanced to the Round of 12 by winning the Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Sept. 25. 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 105 total races. The pairing has finished either first or second in more than 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 1,305 laps through the first 33 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 33 points-paying Sprint Cup events this season. Prior to joining SHR in 2014, Harvick’s season-high was 895 laps led in 2006.
  • Harvick in the Sprint Cup Series at Texas: The AAA Texas 500 will mark Harvick’s 28th career Sprint Cup start at Texas. He has six top-five finishes, including top-threes in three of his last four starts, and 15 top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval. The 40-year-old driver has led 116 laps, has an average starting position of 18.4, an average finish of 12.2, and has completed 96.4 percent (8,716 of 9,042) of the laps he’s contested there.
  • Harvick in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Texas: Harvick has made 18 starts in the Xfinity Series at Texas. He has five wins (March 2001, and November 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2012), two poles (April 2008 and 2014), nine top-five finishes and 15 top-10s. He has led 779 laps, has an average starting position of 6.9, an average finish of 7.8, and has completed 99.2 percent (3,500 of 3,527) of the laps he’s contested there.
  • Harvick in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Texas: Harvick has made four starts in the Truck Series at Texas. He has one win (November 2011), two top-five finishes and two top-10s. He has led 64 laps, has an average starting position of 16.8, an average finish of 12.2, and has completed 92.6 percent (573 of 619) of the laps he’s contested there.
  • Double Duty: Harvick will compete in the Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 400 and also the Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. He will drive the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet SS for SHR in the Sprint Cup race and the No. 88 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet Camaro for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series event.
  • 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 AAA Texas 500.

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

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