“Freaky Fast” Harvick Makes His 600th Cup Start At Richmond

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), may have started his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career under the most difficult circumstances of any driver in the history of the sport – circumstances that might have broken others under the scrutiny and weight of the situation.

Just eight days after the untimely passing of seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt on the final lap of the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, team owner Richard Childress made the decision to place a 25-year-old Harvick at the wheel of what became the No. 29 car after its original number was changed from No. 3 in honor of the fallen champion.

Harvick made his first career NASCAR Cup Series start on Monday, February 26, 2001 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. It was a race delayed until Monday afternoon due to rain the previous day. He qualified 36th and recorded a 14th-place result in his first time behind the wheel of the No. 29 car for Richard Childress Racing.

At Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Harvick will make his 600th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start.

In the 599 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts since his first, Harvick has accomplished a legacy all his own. He went on to become the 2014 NACSAR Cup Series champion, and he’s recorded 36 wins at NASCAR’s highest level, which ranks 22nd all time.

In addition to his 36 wins, Harvick has 50 runner-up finishes, which ranks 10th all time. His 21 Cup Series poles tie him for 37th all time. His ninth-place finish last week at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway gave him an even 300 top-10 finishes for his Cup Series career – 20th-most all-time. He also ranks 17th in series history with 10,808 laps led.

As Harvick heads into his 600th Cup Series start Saturday night at Richmond, he finds himself in unfamiliar territory at this point in the season. For the first time since 2014, he will enter the race without a chance to score the most points during the 26-race regular season.

In 2016, the Bakersfield, California native scored more points than any other driver through the first 26 races, finishing 42 markers ahead of runner-up Brad Keselowski. In 2015 he finished the regular season 30 points ahead of second-place Joey Logano. The only difference is that this year’s regular-season champion, Martin Truex Jr., received an additional 15 playoff points for his effort as the scoring system was changed during the offseason to reward the regular-season champion.

With only Richmond remaining before the start of this year’s Playoffs, Harvick still would like to add his second Cup Series win of the season Saturday night. He scored his first of the year at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June, and picked up an additional three stage wins to secure eight playoff points to start the playoffs next week at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.

He only needs to attempt to qualify Friday at Richmond to make his playoff status official.

While Harvick and the No. 4 team are locked into the playoff field by points and a win, gaining playoff points for a race or stage wins is now their top priority this weekend at Richmond.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Do you have a favorite win at Richmond?

“I remember the ones I lost more than the ones I won. The first one, where Ricky Rudd and I were racing in 2001, was pretty cool. But, as you look back at the last one we won in 2013 as part of a green-white-checkered finish, I think we came from seventh to win, so I didn’t really expect to win that one. The other two were probably fairly strong nights for us.”

Is there a special energy racing under the lights at Richmond in the last race before the playoffs.

“The second Richmond race each year is especially intense just because you know there’s a lot on the line. There are a lot of people racing for different things. It’s the end of our regular season. If you’re not in the playoffs, it’s your last chance to win a race. There are some guys who will probably be fighting for points spots as you go in there, but Richmond is kind of your perfect short track. It has good speed, a short-track feel to it, and the tires wear out. That’s kind of what we all grew up racing on. It’s got a little bit of everything and that makes it a fun place to race.”

Jimmy John’s Racing Team Report

Round 26 of 36 – Federated Auto Parts 400 – Richmond

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. 4-899:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-899 in the 400-mile Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Built in 2014, Chassis No. 4-899 made its debut that September at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, where it started sixth, led 79 laps and finished fifth. Since its debut, Chassis No. 4-899 has started on the front row three times, including twice from the pole position, and recorded six top-five finishes, eight top-10s and led 697 laps through 11 NASCAR Cup Series starts.
Richmond 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, 62 top-five finishes and 91 top-10s; led 6,382 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 Richmond (Va.) Raceway for the Federated Auto Parts 400 ranked fourth in the standings with 867 points after his ninth-place finish at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. He trails leader Martin Truex Jr. by 133 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.Harvick and the No. 4 team have scored one race win and three stage wins to account for eight playoff points – tied for eighth-most among Cup Series drivers.
· Harvick in the NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond: The Federated Auto Parts 400 will mark Harvick’s 34th career NASCAR Cup Series start at Richmond. Harvick has three wins (September 2006 and 2011, and April 2013), one pole (September 2005), 12 top-five finishes and 21 top-10s at the .75-mile oval. The 41-year-old driver has led 1,061 laps, has an average starting position of 14.4, an average finish of 10.3, and has completed 99.1 percent (13,098 of 13,216) of the laps he’s contested there.

 

· Harvick in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Richmond: Harvick has made 27 starts in the Xfinity Series at Richmond. He has seven wins, three poles, 18 top-five finishes and 21 top-10s. He has led 1,387 laps, has an average starting position of 8.4, an average finish of 6.8, and has completed 99.9 percent (6,754 of 6,763) of the laps he’s contested there.

 

· Richmond Sweep: Harvick won both the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series races at Richmond in September 2006. In the Xfinity race, he started fifth, led 154 of 250 laps and beat runner-up Greg Biffle to the finish line by .925 of a second. In the Cup Series race, he also started fifth, led 54 laps and beat runner-up Kyle Busch to the finish line by .153 of a second.

 

· 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 40 wins, and Matt Kenseth who has 38 victories.

 

· On The Pole: Harvick has scored four Cup Series pole awards in 2017 – three 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 third came at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 with a lap of 27.918 seconds at 193.424 mph. The most recent came last weekend at Darlington when he posted a lap of 27.669 seconds at 177.730 mph.

 

· All-Time Pole List: Harvick’s 21 career Cup Series poles has him tied with SHR teammate Kurt Busch and Dick Hutcherson for 37th on the all-time list. His next Cup Series pole would move him into a five-way tie with Dale Earnhardt, Carl Edwards, Ernie Irvan and Marvin Panch for 33rd all-time. He ranks seventh among active drivers behind Ryan Newman’s 51, Johnson’s 35, Kasey Kahne’s 27, the 24 each by Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, and Kurt Busch’s 21.

 

· Closing In on 11,000 Lap Led: Harvick also needs 192 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.

 

· Career NASCAR Cup Series Totals: Harvick has 36 wins, 162 top-fives, 300 top-10s and 21 poles in 599 career Cup Series starts heading into Saturday night’s race at Richmond.

 

· Personal Announcement: On Tuesday, July 11, Harvick kicked off his 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’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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