Kevin Harvick Hopes For A Back-To-Back Top 5 Finishes At Michigan

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick is heading to the Irish Hills of Michigan with Busch Light on the hood of his No. 4 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

Harvick and the No. 4 team’s goal this weekend is to score as many playoff points as possible with just four races remaining before the start of the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

The Bakersfield, California native clinched his position in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs with his first 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.

The No. 4 team’s one race win and three stage wins account for eight playoff points – tied for seventh-most among Cup Series drivers.

The good news for Harvick and the No. 4 team is that they have been among the best in the series at the 2-mile Michigan oval in recent years, scoring top-five finishes in seven of their last nine starts there.

Harvick scored four consecutive second-place finishes at Michigan from June 2013 through August 2014. He was runner-up to Greg Biffle by 2.989 seconds in June 2013. In August 2013, Harvick finished 1.018 seconds behind Joey Logano. In 2014, he followed Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon across the finish line in the June and August races, respectively. That’s four races, four second-place finishes, to four different drivers.

Harvick scored back-to-back top-five finishes at Michigan in 2016. In June, he started 29th and raced his way to a fifth-place finish. His next start in August, he started fourth, led 33 laps and finished fifth.

However, Harvick and the No. 4 team started 11th and finished 14th in their most recent trip to Michigan in June.

For his career, Harvick has been to victory lane at Michigan in each of NASCAR’s top three national touring series.

He scored an Xfinity Series win at Michigan in August 2003, when he led 10 laps and beat Kasey Kahne to the finish line under caution. His NASCAR Cup Series win came in August 2010, when he led 60 laps and outran Denny Hamlin to the finish line by 1.731 seconds. He scored a Camping World Truck Series win in August 2011, when he led 13 laps and finished ahead of Timothy Peters as the race ended under caution.

The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion would like to add a fresh Cup Series win to his resumeSunday at Michigan. A win would be Harvick’s second of the 2017 season and would give him much-needed bonus points as the series makes its last push before the start of NASCAR’s 2017 playoffs.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What does it take to have a good finish at Michigan?

“How you finish at Michigan depends on how your day is going. If you’re having a good day, it’s not really hard to tell your guys what you need and everyone is in a good mood. If you’re having a bad day, you can get behind at Michigan really fast. Usually, when you’re hooked up at Michigan, the leaders have clean air and move through traffic pretty well. But, if you’re in the middle of the pack, you find yourself getting behind and going a lap down pretty quickly. You’re going to end up with a green-flag pit stop and a whole bunch of green-flag laps. You just have to be going from the time the green flag drops and keep yourself in position at the end.”

 

Do you enjoy racing at Michigan International Speedway?

“I think we’ve finished really well there over the last couple of years and scored a lot of second-place finishes and top-fives. I learned a long time ago that sometimes those things happen, so it’s better to be on a top-five streak than a 10th-place streak. The good thing about the racetrack is that it has definitely aged and the groove has spread out over the last couple of races, so you have a lot more options than you did a few years ago when they repaved it. Every time we go back there, it gets a little more racey. When we go back this time, there should be lots of room to race and you’ll see lots of speed. As we go through the restarts and traffic and different things, we’ll have to see how it all goes, but it should be interesting.”

Busch Light Racing Team Report

Round 23 of 36 – Pure Michigan 400 – Michigan

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 andBilly 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. 4-929:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-929 in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Built new in 2016, Chassis No. 4-929 made its debut at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in October, when it won the pole with lap of 27.547 seconds at 196.029 mph, led 12 laps, but failed to finish the race due to a mechanical issue. It made its second appearance in the 2016 season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway, when it won a second consecutive pole with a lap of 30.399 seconds at 177.637 mph. In its 2017 debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, Harvick won his third consecutive pole with chassis 4-929 with a lap of 29.118 seconds at 190.398 mph in the final round of qualifying. He went on to dominate the majority of the event, leading 292 of 325 laps before suffering a pit-road penalty that led to a ninth-place finish. Its second race of the season came at Kansas, where Harvick started eighth, led 10 laps and finished third. In its most recent appearance, Harvick started 11th and finished 14th at Michigan in June.

 

Michigan International Speedway 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 Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn for the Pure Michigan 400 ranked fourth in the standings with 746 points after his 17th-place finish last weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. He trails leader Martin Truex Jr. by 135 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.

 

· Harvick in the NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan: Harvick will make his 34th NASCAR Cup Series start Sunday at Michigan. Harvick’s lone win at Michigan came in 2010, when he started eighth, led 60 laps and beat Denny Hamlin to the finish line by 1.731 seconds. He also won the pole at Michigan in June 2014 with a speed of 204.557 mph. His Michigan resume shows one win, one pole, 10 top-five finishes, 15 top-10s and 323 laps led with an average finish of 12.7. He has finished in the top-five in seven of his last nine starts at the 2-mile oval, including five runner-up finishes.

 

· Harvick at Michigan in the Xfinity Series: In 10 starts at Michigan in the Xfinity Series, Harvick has one win, four top-five finishes and eight top-10s. His lone win came in August 2003, when he started fifth, led 10 laps and beat runner-up Kasey Kahne when the race ended under caution.

 

· Harvick at Michigan in the Camping World Truck Series: Harvick has four starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Michigan. In his most recent Truck Series start there in August 2011, he started sixth, led 13 laps and was leading runner-up Timothy Peters when the race ended under caution. In addition to that win, he has two top-five finishes and three top-10s. He has led 24 laps with an average finish of sixth.

 

· 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’s 39 wins, 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 596 career Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s race at Michigan.

 

· 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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