Can Harvick Sweep The Road Courses This Year?

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), will make his 34th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at a road course this weekend when the NASCAR Cup Series visits Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International for Sunday’s I LOVE NEW YORK 355k at The Glen.

The Bakersfield, California native is one of only two active drivers to claim a NASCAR Cup Series victory at both Watkins Glen International and Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Kyle Busch is the other active Cup Series driver to make that claim.

Harvick added his first-career win at Sonoma in June, when he started 12th, led 24 laps and finished ahead of SHR teammate Clint Bowyer when the race ended under caution. He also won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West the day before the Cup race.

The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion scored his lone Cup Series victory at Watkins Glen in 2006, when he started seventh and led 28 of 90 laps and beat current SHR co-owner Tony Stewart to the finish line by 0.892 of a second.

In 2015, Harvick started fourth, led 29 laps and appeared to have the race won with a sizable lead on the final lap. But he ran out of fuel in the final turn and coasted to a third-place finish behind race winner Joey Logano and runner-up Kyle Busch.

Harvick also visited victory lane in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Watkins Glen in August 2007. He started 11th and turned in a dominant performance after quickly racing his way to the front, leading 49 of 82 laps and beating runner-up Jeff Burton by 3.529 seconds.

Harvick will get additional seat time this weekend on the 2.45-mile road course as he seeks his second win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at The Glen. He will be behind the wheel of the No. 41 FIELDS, Inc. Ford Mustang for SHR on Saturday afternoon.

Twenty-one 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 seventh in Cup Series playoff points with eight to his credit with five 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 five races, starting this weekend at Watkins Glen.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What is the key to having a good race at Watkins Glen International?

“Watkins Glen is really fast, so the biggest thing there is to get your car good under braking so you can make passes during the race. Usually, where you can gain the most time is in the braking zones.”

Are the road courses still odd-ball races, or do they seem like just another race now?

“They are pretty much just another race now. I think everybody knows that you are going to a road course and you’ve got a lot of different aspects from a driver’s standpoint and the team standpoint that you have to pay attention to.”

What sections or turns are the most challenging at Watkins Glen International?

“It just depends on how your car is handling. I think they can all present problems. As the race goes on, turn one becomes more of an issue because it’s downhill and the brakes start to get worn out. The wheel hop becomes more prevalent as the race goes on. That is the one you’ve got to watch for me during the race, but they all present different challenges.”

How does Watkins Glen International differ from Sonoma Raceway?

“There is a lot of speed difference. At Watkins Glen, you go from turn one, up through the esses and into the inner loop and end up running about 170 to 180 miles per hour down the backstretch. At Sonoma, you’re lucky to get above 100 miles per hour, so speed is definitely the biggest difference.”

Busch Beer Racing Team Report

Round 22 of 36 – I LOVE NEW YORK 355k at The Glen – Watkins Glen

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 Kuebler

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. 4-1034:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-1034 in the I LOVE NEW YORK 355k at The Glen Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. Built new in 2017, Chassis No. 4-1034 made its debut at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June when it started 12th and led 24 laps en route to the victory over SHR teammate Clint Bowyer as the race ended under caution.
Watkins Glen International 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, 62 top-five finishes and 89 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 Watkins Glen International for the I LOVE NEW YORK 355k at The Glen ranked third in the standings with 726 points after his runner-up finish last weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. 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 seventh-most among Cup Series drivers.

 

· Leading Laps: Through the first 21 points-paying NASCAR Cup Series events of 2017, Harvick ranks fourth in laps led with 545 of 5,841 total laps contested – more than nine percent of the total laps. Harvick has led at least one lap in 10 of the 21 points-paying events of 2017.

 

· Harvick in the NASCAR Cup Series at Watkins Glen: Harvick will make his 17th NASCAR Cup Series start Sunday at Watkins Glen. Harvick’s lone win there came in 2006, when he started seventh, led 28 laps and beat Tony Stewart to the finish line by 0.892 of a second. Harvick’s Watkins Glen resume shows three top-five finishes, eight top-10s and 66 laps led with an average finish of 13.0.

 

· Harvick in the Xfinity Series at Watkins Glen: Harvick has made seven Xfinity Series starts at Watkins Glen. He scored his first and only Xfinity Series win there in 2007, when he started 11th, led 49 of 82 laps and finished 3.529 seconds ahead of Jeff Burton. Harvick’s lone pole at Watkins Glen came in 2009, when he recorded a lap at 121.998 mph around the 2.45-mile road course. Harvick’s resume includes one win, six top-five finishes and seven top-10s with an average finish of 3.6 and a total of 80 laps led.

 

· 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 Jimmie Johnson’s 83 career wins, Kyle Busch, who scored his 39th win last weekend at Pocono, and Matt Kenseth who has 38 victories.

 

· 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 SHR teammate Kurt Busch. He ranks seventh among active drivers behind Ryan Newman’s 51, Johnson’s 35, Kasey Kahne’s 27, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch each have 24, and Kurt Busch’s 21.

 

· 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 298 top-10 finishes in his Cup Series career. He needs just two 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 318.

 

· Career NASCAR Cup Series Totals: Harvick has 36 wins, 162 top-fives, 298 top-10s and 20 poles in 595 career Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen.

 

· 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 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 in June. Harvick has made six 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 and July 19 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. 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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