Buschhhh Is Back For The Clash

Kevin Harvick

The start of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season has a look of familiarity for driver Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion team at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). For the first time in several years, the season will kick off with the same race format, points system, manufacturer, primary partners and series sponsor from the previous season as the team heads to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for the season-opening Speedweeks.

The biggest changes for Harvick and the No. 4 team this year include an updated Jimmy John’s livery featuring a reversed color scheme with a white hood, black fenders and red highlights; new SHR teammate Aric Almirola driving the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion; one fewer pit crewmember over the wall on pit stops; and a new NASCAR inspection process.

There is comfort in familiarity, which is good news for Harvick and the No. 4 team as Jimmy John’s returns for its third season on the hood of the No. 4 Ford for the 60th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. Jimmy John’s, based in Champaign, Illinois and famous for its freaky fast delivery, made its Daytona 500 debut in 2016, when Harvick and the No. 4 team started ninth and finished fourth to start the season in “The Great American Race.”

While Jimmy John’s is on the hood for the Daytona 500, for the third consecutive year Busch Beer returns to Harvick’s No. 4 Ford Fusion at Daytona for Sunday’s Advanced Auto Parts Clash – the 75-lap, non-points-paying race that kicks off the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Busch’s rich racing history began in 1978, when the brand sponsored the award presented to Cup Series pole winners. Busch went on to be the “Official Beer of NASCAR” from 1988 through 1997 and was the title sponsor of the stepping-stone division to the Cup Series – currently known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series – from 1984 through 2007. The last Busch-sponsored driver prior to the company’s return in 2016 was NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough and his iconic No. 11 car during the 1980 season.

Both Jimmy John’s and Busch have reason to be optimistic as Harvick and the No. 4 team head to Daytona.

As Harvick enters his 18th NASCAR Cup Series season and his fifth at SHR with crew chief Rodney Childers at the helm, he is looking to score his second win in the Daytona 500. He won the famed Harley J. Earl trophy in 2007, when he beat Mark Martin to the Daytona 500 finish line by .020 of a second on the final green-white-checkered restart. It was the closest Daytona 500 finish since the inception of computer scoring in 2003. The race still stands as the second-closest finish in Daytona 500 history.

Harvick also has three wins in the Clash at Daytona – 2009, 2010 and 2013 – tying him for second-most with his team owner Tony Stewart and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett.

In the 2009 Clash at Daytona, Harvick survived an incident-filled race that saw a record eight caution periods and less than half the starting field make it to the checkered flag.

The following year, he joined Neil Bonnett, Ken Schrader and Stewart as the fourth driver in event history to win consecutive races, and he did so driving a backup car he was never able to practice, passing Greg Biffle with two laps remaining in a green-white-checkered finish. NASCAR declared Harvick the winner when a multicar incident ended the race under caution.

In his 2013 win, Harvick led 40 of 75 laps, dominating the second and third segments en route to his third Clash at Daytona victory in five years.

If Harvick can add his name to the Harley J. Earl trophy for a second time Feb. 18 in the season-opening Daytona 500 at “The World Center of Racing,” he would be the 11th driver in NASCAR history to win the iconic event more than once. It would also put the No. 4 team in prime position to secure a berth in the 2018 playoffs as it attempts to win a second NASCAR Cup Series championshipin four years.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
SHR has two Daytona 500 winners on its roster. You are one of them. How satisfying is it to win that race?

“You always hear people talk about how winning the Daytona 500 is different than winning any other race. Once experiencing that, I would definitely say that it’s true just because everything you do at Speedweeks during the Daytona 500 weekend is just bigger and different than any other race you go to. So, winning our sport’s most prestigious race is pretty cool and something you would definitely like to experience again.”

Does winning one Daytona 500 make you even hungrier for another one?

“After experiencing everything that comes with the Daytona 500, yes. But, you know, you look back in time and see how hard it’s been to win that one particular race because you only get one shot a year. It’s a tough one to win. So I’m very fortunate to have been to victory lane in the Daytona 500, but would love to get back there.”

How helpful is it to come out of Daytona with a strong run?

“Winning the Daytona 500 almost makes your whole year, just for the fact that it is the Daytona 500 and the amount of notoriety and things that come with it for your team and organization are pretty high. I would not want to do it that way, but it is a race that can make your year. However, I think as far as racing for a championship, it’s much different in 2017 and in going forward than it has been in the past, because that hole can also be helped by stage points. Last year, we wrecked out of the Daytona 500 but led and won the first two stages, and I think we left (Daytona) fourth in the points. So, racing hard is definitely the strategy now to gain as many points as you can early in a race to try and protect yourself from the end. You want to carry momentum as early as you can in the season because it never hurts anything going to the next few races.”

A win for you in this year’s Daytona 500 would be a heck of a party with Busch beer bringing 500 fans to the Daytona 500. This is almost unprecedented activation by a NASCAR sponsor and you are at the center of it. What do you think of this?

“The activation and enthusiasm that Busch has brought back to the sport, a sport they’ve been in since the late ’70s and the activation and the marketing plan that they have brought to the No. 4 team and the sport in general, is something that has not been seen in years. For me, being a part of that is pretty cool because I know how much effort they put in and how good they want it to go. And to see them bring 500 fans to the Daytona 500 this year is something that’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s not like they’re just bringing them and giving them a ticket to the race. They’re giving them the VIP treatment, with paying for the flights, food, hotels, race tickets and a meet-and-greet – all the things that come with making the Daytona 500 weekend fun.”

You will have one fewer person servicing your racecar during pit stops this year. Instead of six crewmembers, you will have five. This is the same for everyone, but how do you think it will change the dynamic on pit road?

“I like change. I like things that are different. A few things were accomplished in the pit crew changes. Getting 40 people off pit road is going to help the bottom line with the race teams. I think the pit stops were in the 10-second range, and I think slowing them down a little bit and keeping those cars on pit road and having a little bit longer pit stop isn’t going to hurt anything. The amount of money we were spending on the pit guns, the R&D and things wasn’t exactly fair for all the teams up and down pit road, so the spec gun is a good change. I’m excited about pit road. When I first started Cup racing, the pit stops were 22 seconds long. If I have to sit there for 12 or 13 seconds, I’m probably still going to think it’s really fast.”

If there is a slow pit stop, are you a little bit more understanding knowing how much your guys now have to multitask during a stop?

As you go through the early part of the season, I think you have to have some patience with pit road because you know how new, fresh and different it is through those first few races. I mean, we’ve all practiced this, but nobody’s practiced it with cars going everywhere and in the heat of the moment. So it’s definitely something you’re going to have to have some patience with. But, as we get toward the end of the year, they should have it figured out, and it’ll probably just be the new norm.”

Jimmy John’s/Busch Beer Racing Team Report

Round 1 of 36 – Speedweeks at Daytona – Daytona, Florida

At-Track PR Contact: Ryan Barry, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388 ext. 812, Ryan.Barry@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)
Primary Team:
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: Mooresville, North Carolina
Engine Specialist: Robert Brandt
Hometown: Mobile, Alabama
Spotter: Tim Fedewa
Hometown: Holt, Michigan
Over-The-Wall Crew:
Gas Man: Justin White
Hometown: Lynnville, Tennessee
Front Tire Changer: Eric Maycroft
Hometown: Algonquin, Illinois
Rear Tire Changer: Daniel Smith
Hometown: Concord, North Carolina
Jackman: Stan Doolittle
Hometown: Ninety-Six, South Carolina
Tire Carrier: Mike “Shrek” Morneau
Hometown: Oxford, Maine
Road Crew:
Truck Drivers: Rick Hodges and Stephen Mitchell
Hometowns: Raleigh, North Carolina, and Woodville, Ohio, respectively
Tire Specialist: Dustin Keath
Hometown: Reading, Pennsylvania
Shock Specialist: Michael 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

Interior Specialist: Matt Custer

Hometown: Bedford, Pennsylvania

Advanced Auto Parts Clash at Daytona Car – Chassis No. 1011:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-1011 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona. Built in 2016, Chassis No. 4-1011 started 22nd and finished seventh in its debut at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October 2016. Chassis No. 4-1011 made its only appearance of 2017 in the Clash at Daytona in February, when it started seventh and finished fifth. It served as a backup for the July race at Daytona and both events at Talladega.

 

Advanced Auto Parts Clash at Daytona Notes of Interest:
· Busch is Bringing 500 Fans to the Daytona 500: The sound of 40 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stock cars rumbling around the 2.5-mile Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway during the 60th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 will be augmented by 500 fans cheering in unison to toast the start of the 2018 racing season. The iconic #BUSCHHHHH harmony will echo throughout the World Center of Speed as 500 guests of Busch Beer take in the Great American Race after meeting Kevin Harvick, the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion and driver of the No. 4 Busch Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing. Winning fans earned their chance to join the exclusive group by finding a checkered flag can in specially marked 18, 24 and 30 packs of limited-edition Busch and Busch Light, taking a photo or video celebrating like they are in victory lane, and posting to Instagram , Twitter or Facebook with the hastag #BuschToDaytona and #Contest from a public account.

 

· #BUSCHHHHH Is Back at Daytona: Busch Beer returns to The Clash at Daytona for the third straight season. The iconic Busch Beer logo will appears on Harvick’s No. 4 Ford Fusion during The Clash – the 75-lap, bonus-points-paying race that kicks off the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season Sunday at Daytona. Busch’s rich racing history began in 1978 when it sponsored the award presented to Cup Series pole winners. Busch went on to be the “Official Beer of NASCAR” from 1988 through 1997, and was the title sponsor of the stepping-stone division to the Cup Series – currently known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series – from 1984 through 2007. The last driver Busch sponsored prior to Harvick was NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough and his iconic No. 11 car during the 1980 season.

 

· Harvick in The Clash: In 13 starts in the Clash at Daytona, Harvick has three wins (2009, 2010, 2013), tying him for second on the all-time list with his team owner Tony Stewart and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett. Additionally, the Bakersfield, California native has seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s.

 

· Invitation Only: The field of 19 NASCAR Cup Series drivers in the Clash will include 2017 pole award winners, former Clash race winners, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full time in 2017, and all 16 Cup Series playoff drivers from 2017. Harvick qualified for the race as a 2017 Cup Series playoff contender, for his four poles in 2017 and as a three-time Clash race winner.

 

Daytona 500 Car: Chassis No. 4-1026
Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 1026 at Daytona in the Can-Am Duels at Daytona and the season-opening Daytona 500. Built new in 2017, Chassis No. 4-1026 made its Cup Series debut at in the Daytona 500, where it started fifth and finished 22nd. It made its second start at Daytona in July 2017, when it started fifth, led seven laps and finished 33rd after being collected in an accident on lap 105.

 

Daytona International Speedway Notes of Interest:
· Jimmy John’s at Daytona: Jimmy John’s will be the primary sponsor of the No. 4 Ford Fusion for 16 Cup Series races in 2018, highlighted by making its third appearance Feb. 18 in the “Great American Race” – the Daytona 500. Jimmy John’s will serve as a major associate sponsor of the No. 4 Ford in the remaining 22 races.

 

· Entering 2018: Harvick enters his 18th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and his fifth at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with crew chief Rodney Childers at the helm. In their first four seasons together, Harvick and Childers combined to produce 14 victories, 15 poles, 68 top-five finishes and 98 top-10s; led 6,665 laps; won the 2014 Cup Series title; finished runner-up in 2015 to champion Kyle Busch, eighth in 2016 and third in 2017. The team qualified for the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in three of the last four seasons.

 

· New Addition: Kevin and DeLana Harvick welcomed their second child, Piper Grace Harvick, on Dec. 28, 2017.

 

· 2007 Daytona 500 Champion: Harvick won the 2007 Daytona 500 when he beat NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin to the finish line by .020 of a second on the final green-white-checkered restart. It stands as the second-closest finish in Daytona 500 history, trailing only Denny Hamlin’s 0.010 of a second advantage over Martin Truex Jr. in 2016.

 

· Wins at Daytona: In addition to his three wins in the Clash at Daytona, Harvick has four other victories at the famed 2.5-mile racetrack – two NASCAR Cup Series points-paying races (February 2007, July 2010), a non-points event (2013 Can-Am Duel) and a win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (February 2007).

 

· Harvick in the NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona: The 60th Daytona 500 will mark Harvick’s 34th career points-paying Cup Series start at Daytona. Harvick has two wins, nine top-five finishes and 14 top-10s at the famed 2.5-mile racetrack. The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion has led 236 laps, has an average starting position of 16.0 and average finish of 16.8 and has completed 89.5 percent (5,177 of 5,786) of the laps he’s contested there.

 

· Career Totals: Harvick has 37 wins, 168 top-five finishes, 307 top-10s and 21 poles in 610 career NASCAR Cup Series starts heading into the 60th Daytona 500.

 

· Harvick in the Xfinity Series at Daytona: Harvick has 19 career starts in the Xfinity Series at Daytona. He has one win, three poles, 12 top-five finishes and 14 top-10s. He has led 230 laps, has an average starting position of 8.8 and average finish of 7.6, and has completed 99.2 percent (2,102 of 2,119) of the laps he’s contested there.

 

· Harvick in the Rolex 24 at Daytona: Harvick drove the No. 90 Flis Motorsports car in the American GT class of the 2002 Rolex 24 at Daytona. The four-driver team consisted of Harvick, Dave Liniger, Rick Carelli and John Metcalf. The team finished eighth in class after a mechanical issue forced the car’s retirement after completing 123 of 716 laps.

 

· Harvick in the IROC Series at Daytona: Harvick, the 2002 IROC champion, made three starts at Daytona in the series with a best finish of seventh in 2003 and 2004.

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

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