Kevin Harvick Is Hoping To Break Out Of His Season Slump At Talladega

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick is heading to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for the GEICO 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race hoping to score his first victory of the 2017 campaign and also share in his partner Jimmy John’s appreciation for all things “Freaky Fast!”

The driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing is looking to help his partner celebrate its once-a-year Dollar Sub Day by capping off the week with a win. Jimmy John’s is offering $1 sandwiches from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at all participating locations. The Dollar Sub Day is limited to in-store purchases only. All sandwiches – Nos. 1 through 6 on the menu, as well as BLT, Unwich lettuce wraps and slims – are part of the deal. Jimmy John’s first started Dollar Sub Day with “Customer Appreciation Day” in April 2016.

While race fans have a chance to enjoy their favorite Jimmy John’s sandwich for only a dollar, Harvick will be looking to secure his best finish of the season at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. He has reason to be optimistic that he can finish the race at the front of the field.

In his last 10 restrictor-plate races, Harvick ranks second in points with 320 and top-10s with six. But his last points-paying NASCAR Cup Series win on a restrictor-plate track came at Daytona International Speedway in 2010. He will be looking to add his fourth points-paying NASCAR Cup Series win on a restrictor-plate track this weekend at Talladega.

The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series 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 line to beat McMurray to the finish line by .011 of a second, which still ranks 15th among the closest finishes in NASCAR Cup Series history.

Harvick would like to grab the NASCAR Cup Series trophy in victory lane Sunday like so many people who grab their dollar sandwiches will today. While he has run up front and scored three stage wins this year, Harvick is still in search of his first race win of the season. Since joining SHR at the beginning of 2014, Harvick has never gone to Talladega in May still in search of his first win of the season. He hopes to change that luck with a dominant performance Sunday at Talladega.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Describe the intensity of restrictor-plate racing?

“Plate racing is something you have to be aggressive at just for the fact that, if you’re not aggressive, it always seems like you are not going to be where you need to be. Nine times out of 10, I believe, the aggressor is going to be the guy who comes out on the good side of things just for the fact that you’re making things happen and you’re not waiting for something else to happen. When you wait for something else to happen, that’s usually when you get in trouble because it’s usually someone else’s mess. You can still get in trouble if you’re aggressive, but it seems like, with this rules package and the way that things are, it’s best to stay aggressive and try to stay up front.”

You’ve won at both superspeedways on the circuit – Daytona and Talladega. Do you approach these races with a strategy in mind?

“I think, with the current points system, it’s better to stay up front and try to get as many points in each stage as you can throughout the day. Obviously, if you don’t qualify well, that makes it much more difficult but, with the new points system, I think you’re going to see a much different race. Guys aren’t going to be able to leave 20 potential points and playoff points on the table. They’re going to be racing for every point – that’s a good thing for the fans and should make it an exciting race.”

Jimmy John’s Racing Team Report

Round 10 of 36 – Geico 500 – Talladega Superspeedway

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

Headquarters: Moorseville, North Carolina

 

Engine Specialist: Robert Brandt

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

 

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: Matthew Custer

Hometown: Bedford, Pennsylvania

 

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. 4-814:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-814 in the GEICO 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Built in 2014, Chassis No. 814 finished fifth in the 2014 Clash and served as the backup for both races at Talladega in 2014. Chassis No. 814 finished second in the 2015 Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and fifth in the 2015 CanAm Duel at Daytona. Its most recent start came in May 2015 at Talladega, where Harvick started 24th, led one lap and finished eighth. It served as a backup chassis for the July race at Daytona and the October race at Talladega in 2016, but never saw race action.

 

Talladega Superspeedway Notes of Interest:
· Jimmy John’s Dollar Sub Day: Jimmy John’s Dollar Sub Day was set for 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.Tuesday (May 2), during which customers could buy sandwiches for just $1. The $1 sub deal was limited to in-store purchases only. All sandwiches – Nos. 1 through 6 on the menu, as well as BLT, Unwich lettuce wraps and slims – were part of the deal. Jimmy John’s first started Dollar Sub Day with “Customer Appreciation Day” in April 2016.

· Earning It Since 2014: Harvick is in his 17th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and his fourth at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with crew chief Rodney Childers at the helm. In their first three seasons together, Harvick and Childers combined to produce 12 victories, 11 poles, 54 top-five finishes and 75 top-10s; led 5,815 laps; won the 2014 Cup Series title; finished runner-up in 2015 to champion Kyle Busch and eighth in 2016.

· Points Position: Harvick arrives at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway ranked sixth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings with 286 points after a fifth-place finish Sunday at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. He trails leader Kyle Larson by 112 points.

· Leading Laps: Through the first nine NASCAR Cup Series events of 2017, Harvick ranks first in laps led with 444 of 3,042 total laps contested – nearly 14.6 percent. He leads Martin Truex Jr. by 12 laps.

· Harvick at Talladega since Joining SHR:Harvick has six NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega since joining SHR at the beginning of the 2014 season and has finished in the top-15 and led laps in five of the six 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 started 22nd and finished seventh in his most recent start at the 2.66-mile superspeedway in October 2016.

· Harvick in the NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega: The GEICO 500 will mark Harvick’s 33rd career NASCAR Cup Series start at Talladega. He has one win (April 2010), six top-five finishes and 14 top-10s at the 2.66-mile oval. The 41-year-old driver has led 187 laps, has an average starting position of 22.3, an average finish of 15.1 and has completed 95.9 percent (5,827 of 6,074) 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 NASCAR Cup Series Totals: Harvick has 35 wins, 157 top-fives, 289 top-10s and 19 poles in 583 career Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s 500-mile event at Talladega.

· Harvick the TV Broadcaster: Harvick will serve as a guest analyst in the FOX TV booth forSaturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Talladega. It will mark his fourth appearance in the booth since the start of the season. He also visited the booth on Feb. 25 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, March 18 at Phoenix International Raceway, April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, as well as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event April 1 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. He also will be in the booth for the Xfinity race on June 10 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. He is slated to broadcast the Truck Series races July 21 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Oct. 13 at Talladega.

· Harvick’s Happy Hours on SiriusXM Radio: On March 14, Harvick announced that he will hostHappy Hours on SiriusXM Radio. The show debuted March 28 and airs every Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. ET, featuring Harvick’s distinctive perspective on his sport and life outside the track. Harvick and co-host Matt Yocum take calls from listeners and give NASCAR fans a unique view on the driver’s life and interests when he is away from the racecar. In June, the show will begin airing every other week.

· Busch Bucks Sweepstakes: In conjunction with the launch of Busch Beer’s loyalty program Busch Bucks, one race fan will have the opportunity to win a cool $1 million – matching the first-place prize taken home by the All-Star Race winner – but only if it’s Harvick who takes the checkered flag. Consumers must enter for their chance to take home the grand prize by enrolling in the Busch Bucks platform on BuschBucks.com between now and Sunday (May 7). The potential winner will be invited to Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway the weekend of the All-Star Race to watch from trackside and find out if they’re taking home the $1 million. Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Busch Bucks Ford Fusion with a special paint scheme featuring a “million-dollar look” … literally. If Harvick wins, the consumer winner will be presented with a $1 million check matching Harvick’s winnings.

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

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