Pocono Is One Of Three Tracks That Has Snookered Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), will make his 34th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in Sunday’s Overton’s 400. Harvick has won on short tracks, intermediate tracks, road courses and superspeedways, but it’s Pocono’s unique three-turn circuit that continues to leave him puzzled.

The “Tricky Triangle” is one of only three racetracks where Harvick has yet to record a NASCAR Cup Series win. Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta are the other two.

Harvick is hoping it is the fuel mileage, engine efficiency and reliability delivered under the hood by Mobil 1 that should prove to be the biggest advantage for his team at the demanding three-turn, 2.5-mile, triangular racetrack. Mobil 1 touches every major moving part in SHR’s cars and that translates to better lap times.

After all, the last time Harvick drove a Ford Fusion with Mobil 1 on the hood, he raced his way to victory at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway – scoring his first Cup Series victory in 19 starts at the 1.99-mile road course.

The Bakersfield, California, native has run well at Pocono, scoring nine top-five finishes and 14 top-10s in his 33 career Cup Series starts, but has yet to reach victory lane in NASCAR’s top series. He seems to be getting close, however, as he’s scored runner-up finishes in three of his last six Cup Series starts at Pocono.

In August 2014, Harvick started sixth, led five laps and finished second to Dale Earnhardt Jr. by .228 of a second. Last June, he started fifth, led 39 laps and was runner-up to Martin Truex Jr. by 1.346 seconds.

In his most recent attempt, Harvick started 12th and nearly pulled off the victory in the closing laps with a heavily damaged motor after missing a shift on a late-race restart. He finished just .139 of a second behind race-winner Ryan Blaney.

Harvick does have a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Pocono, scoring the win from the pole position while driving for his own team on Aug. 7, 2011. He led 44 of 53 laps to beat Kyle Busch to the finish line by 1.140 seconds.

Twenty races into 2017, Harvick sits third in the Cup Series standings and trails leader Martin Truex Jr. by 97 points. He is also tied for sixth in Cup Series playoff points with eight to his credit with six races to go before the start of the 2017 playoffs.

While Harvick and the No. 4 team are virtually a lock to make the 16-driver field for the playoffs, gaining bonus points for additional stage and race wins is now their top priority through the next six races, starting this weekend at Pocono.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Does having qualifying on the same day as the race change anything for you?

“It does change the approach just because it is an impound race. All of the qualifying stuff that we have in our notebook is going to be different because it’ll be hard to achieve the balance that you normally are looking for on a race weekend for a qualifying setup – to run as fast as you can with every tool in the toolbox – to make the car handle. That’ll be interesting. We’ve done that at Charlotte and it went OK for us. I think, as you look at this race, it’s definitely had everybody thinking how you were going to get the balance right, and what you need to do from a race standpoint, to just qualifying. It’s definitely going to be different, but I like the schedule. For me, I know, sitting around for some of these night races, you have to get ready to race. But having these qualifying sessions will give everyone something to do from a competitor’s standpoint and also from a fan standpoint, to give them cars to see on the racetrack. I think the schedule is very intriguing and I’m excited to see how it works out.”

What makes coming to Pocono fun?

“When you come to Pocono, everything is fun. They make their events fun. It’s fun from the time you go into the racetrack. For a number of years, it was like, ‘Man, I have to go to Pocono this week.’ Then I had Keelan (son) and there is a ton to do. DeLana (wife) likes to bring Keelan to the racetrack, the waterparks, and we like to play golf, so this has definitely become one of our go-to events for the family.”

What was it like to be so close to winning at Pocono in June?

“The June Pocono race was probably our best race weekend we’ve had all year from start to finish – I think the speed of the car and just the flow of everything that had happened this year. We’ve had so much change and so much going on. Luckily, we have the same group of people but, with the switch to Ford, we’ve just now been to all the racetracks for the first time. So, we are really just trying to learn the new rules package, the new aero package, the new manufacturer and everything that goes with that. Every time we’ve been to a racetrack, it hasn’t been exactly smooth just for the fact that we’ve had to change so much in order to get where you want to be. We usually get where we want to be by the end of the weekend, but it’s been a lot of work for everybody to get there. But, Pocono was one of those places that we came to and the weekend was smooth. I think the way the circumstances kind of worked out there toward the end of the race, we had to pass quite a few cars and just ran out of time there. Ryan (Blaney) didn’t make any mistakes at the end. It was a good race and I think I’ve finished second three times at Pocono since we came to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. It was a track that I was never really that competitive at while I was at Richard Childers Racing. So, having those chances to win is a lot of fun because it’s a racetrack that I hadn’t had a lot of success at early in my career. To come back and be that competitive and to feel that we could win at any moment because we’ve run well enough at all of them, it’d be nice to check this one off the remaining list of three.”

Mobil 1 Racing Team Report

Round 21 of 36 – Overton’s 400 – Pocono Raceway

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: Chris Clayton

Hometown: Modesto, California

Chassis Information – Chassis No. 4-1040:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-1041 in the Overton’s 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Built new in 2017, Chassis No. 4-1041 made its debut at Pocono in June when it started 12th and finished second to race-winner Ryan Blaney by .139 of a second.
Pocono Raceway Notes of Interest:
· 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. Since joining forces in 2014, Harvick and Childers combined to produce 13 victories, 14 poles, 61 top-five finishes and 88 top-10s; led 6,360 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 Pocono (Pa.) Raceway for the Overton’s 400 ranked third in the standings with 683 points after his sixth-place finish last weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He trails leader Martin Truex Jr. by 97 points.

· Playoff Bound: Harvick clinched his position in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs as he scored his first Cup Series win of the season at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June. He started 12th, led 24 laps and had more than a five-second cushion when the final yellow flag waved to end the race under caution.

· Playoff Points: Harvick and the No. 4 team have scored one race win and three stage wins to account for eight playoff points – tied for sixth-most among Cup Series drivers.

· Leading Laps: Through the first 20 points-paying NASCAR Cup Series events of 2017, Harvick ranks fourth in laps led with 545 of 5,681 total laps contested – nearly 10 percent of the total laps. Harvick has led at least one lap in 10 of the 20 points-paying events of 2017.

· Harvick at Pocono in the NASCAR Cup Series: Harvick will make his 34th NASCAR Cup Series start at Pocono Sunday. Harvick’s best finish at Pocono is second, which he has done three times – August 2014,  June 2015 and 2016. Harvick’s Pocono resume shows nine top-five finishes, 14 top-10s and 68 laps led with an average finish of 13.3.

· Harvick at Pocono in the Camping World Truck Series: Harvick has two starts at Pocono in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He won from the pole and led 44 of 55 total laps in August 2011 while driving for Kevin Harvick Inc. He also won the pole in 2011 with a speed of 162.684 mph. In 2015, he started seventh and finished second driving the No. 00 Haas Automation truck for JR Motorsports.

· All-Time Wins List: After his 36th career Cup Series win at Sonoma in June, Harvick is ranked 22nd on the all-time wins list. His next Cup Series win will move him into a tie with Bobby Isaac for 21st on the all-time list. Among active drivers, Harvick ranks fourth behind leader Johnson’s 83 career wins, and Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch, who are tied for second with 38 wins each.

· On The Pole: Harvick has scored three Cup Series pole awards in 2017 – all coming on 1.5-mile racetracks. He scored his first of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a lap of 29.118 seconds at 190.398 mph. His second of the season came at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, when he made a lap at 27.217 seconds at 198.405 mph. His most recent came at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 with a lap of 27.918 seconds at 193.424 mph.

· All-Time Pole List: Harvick’s 20 career Cup Series poles has him tied with Benny Parsons and Neil Bonnett for 39th on the all-time list. His next Cup Series pole would move him into a four-way tie with Dick Hutcherson and brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch. He ranks seventh among active drivers behind Ryan Newman’s 51, Johnson’s 35, Kasey Kahne’s 27, Denny Hamlin’s 24, and 21 each by the Busch brothers.

· Closing In on 11,000 Lap Led: Harvick also needs 214 laps led to become the 17th Cup Series driver of all time to lead 11,000 or more laps. Johnson, Kyle Busch and Kenseth are the only active drivers to accomplish the feat.

· Closing In on 300 Top-10s: Harvick has scored 297 top-10 finishes in his Cup Series career. He needs just three more to become the 20th driver in Cup Series history to reach 300 top-10 finishes. He ranks third among active drivers, trailing only Johnson’s 337 and Kenseth’s 317.

· Career NASCAR Cup Series Totals: Harvick has 36 wins, 161 top-fives, 297 top-10s and 20 poles in 594 career Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s race at Pocono.

· Personal Announcement: On Tuesday, July 11, Harvick kicked off his Tuesday-night SiriusXM Radio show “Happy Hours” by announcing that he and wife DeLana are expecting to add a daughter to their family around the first of the year.

· Harvick the TV Broadcaster: Harvick is slated to be a guest analyst for the broadcast ofWednesday’s Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.Harvick served as the play-by-play announcer in the FOX TV booth for the first-ever all-driver NASCAR Xfinity Series race broadcast at Pocono three weeks ago. Harvick has made five appearances in the booth since the start of the season. He also visited the booth on Feb. 25 at Daytona, March 18 at Phoenix International Raceway, April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, May 6 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, as well as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event April 1 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. He also is slated to broadcast the Truck Series race on 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.

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

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