Harvick Could Score His 100th Victory This Weekend

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is heading to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in search of his 100th career win in NASCAR’s top three series and his 100th top-10 result since joining Stewart-Haas Racing in the Cup Series.

Harvick scored career win No. 98 Saturday in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Atlanta, and No. 99 Sunday in the NASCAR Cup Series event.

As the 2014 Cup Series champion heads to Las Vegas looking for win No. 100, he also will be looking for the 100th top-10 result since joining forces with crew chief Rodney Childers at SHR.

The Bakersfield, California, native has collected 75 points through the first two Cup Series events of 2018, which ranks fourth in the series but, more importantly, last weekend’s Cup Series win at Atlanta secures the No. 4 Jimmy John’s team’s position in the NASCAR playoffs. The team has collected a series-best six playoff points through the first two events of the season – five points for the win and one for winning Sunday’s first stage.

Harvick has also led a series-best 181 of 532 total laps through the first two Cup Series events of the year. Ryan Blaney is second with 118.

Thus, there is reason to believe Harvick’s strong start will continue at the 1.5-mile track in Las Vegas this weekend.

He dominated the Las Vegas 400 in 2015 to score his first win in only the third race of the season and his first at Las Vegas. His No. 4 car led five times for a race-high 142 laps en route to his 29th career Cup Series win.

The 42-year-old driver also has two wins in Xfinity Series competition at Las Vegas. His first came in March 2004, when he started 11th, led 14 laps and raced his way to victory by .119 of a second over runner-up Kasey Kahne.

Harvick’s second Xfinity win at Las Vegas came in February 2010. Driving his own No. 33 car for Kevin Harvick Inc., he started second, led 82 laps and beat runner-up Denny Hamlin to the finish line by 1.361 seconds. It was the sixth win for Harvick’s team in the Xfinity Series.

He is still searching for his first Cup Series pole at Las Vegas, but he did win the pole for the Xfinity race in 2007, when he turned a lap at 181.111 mph.

Harvick’s goal this weekend at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway is to score his second win of the 2018 Cup Series season, the 100th win of his career in NASCAR’s top three series, and his 100th top-10 Cup Series result since joining SHR.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
 

What’s it like to sit here with 99 wins in NASCAR’s top three series and to be chasing win No. 100?

 

“It’s crazy that you can sit here and think that I’ve won 99 races in NASCAR’s top three series. I’m honored to say that I’ve gone to victory lane – ever. To be able to live out and get paid to do what you used to do for a hobby and now call it your job is pretty incredible. For me, it’s really taken up until I went to Stewart-Haas Racing to have an appreciation of how much you actually love sitting in this racecar. I am so lucky to be able to do what I do, drive around in circles, travel to all these places – there really isn’t ever a day that my job isn’t fun. To be able to have won that many races with some great people at different teams and different racetracks is something I really don’t ever think about it. I don’t ever look at stats a lot. I like to look at stats, but I like to look at everybody else’s stats when I’m doing the TV stuff. For me, it’s my job. It’s what I do. We’ve been fortunate to have so much success at it.”

 

What was it like to have all four Stewart-Haas Racing cars perform well at Atlanta?

 

“Everybody was really pleased with the performance at the first 1.5-mile race. The thing I took away from it was the No. 10 car and Aric Almirola were more competitive for us and that is important for us to have that extra set of notes that we really hadn’t used the last several years because that car hasn’t performed well enough. It hasn’t been competitive enough to really bring anything to the table. To see that No. 10 car running well is great for myself, Kurt (Busch) and Clint (Bowyer) and, really, everybody at SHR. To see Kurt up there leading laps. To see (No. 10 car crew chief) Billy Scott with a car up there that was winning the race with Kurt driving it had to be great confidence for him and his abilities. It was a great first weekend on the 1.5-mile tracks for SHR.”

 

Compare Atlanta to Las Vegas.

 

“The size of the racetrack is about the only similarity. Atlanta is so worn out and the surface is so abrasive. You go to Las Vegas and it’s newer and doesn’t have those huge rocks in the surface that wears the tires out. Las Vegas does still wear the tires out and you’ll have quite a bit of fall-off, but there is a really, really high pace. The hardest thing about that pace is the bumps in the middle of turns one and two on the bottom of the track. A lot of the guys will run the middle of the racetrack as the weekend goes on, and the groove will move all the way up against the wall. The other thing we’ll have to deal with is 20- to 25-mph winds at Las Vegas. A couple of years ago, we were in the middle of a sandstorm there at the beginning of the race. Vegas is really fast, and we deal with some fall-off, but we still carry a lot of speed.”

Jimmy John’s Racing Team Report

Round 3 of 36 – Las Vegas 400 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway

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: Chris Rock
Hometown: Steubenville, Ohio
Road Crew:
Truck Drivers: Rick Hodges and Stephen Mitchell
Hometowns: Raleigh, North Carolina, and Woodville, Ohio, respectively
Tire Specialist: Chris Rock
Hometown: Steubenville, Ohio
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

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Car – Chassis No. 4-1041:
 

Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-1041 Sunday in the Las Vegas 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Built new in 2017, Chassis No. 4-1041 made its debut at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in June, when it started 12th and finished second to race-winner Ryan Blaney by .139 of a second. It made its second appearance in July at Pocono, where Harvick started sixth and finished runner-up to Kyle Busch by 6.178 seconds. It made its final appearance of 2017 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in October, where Harvick started third, led a race-high 149 laps and finished third.

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Notes of Interest:
 

Overwhelming Start – First Sprint Cup Win: Following Dale Earnhardt’s death on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, Harvick was named the driver of the No. 29 car for Richard Childress Racing and made his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway, where he finished 14th. The following Wednesday, as the series headed west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Harvick married his wife, DeLana. The following Sunday, Harvick scored his first career Cup Series top-10. Then, on March 11, less than one month since his debut in NASCAR’s top series, Harvick won his first Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

 

Freaky Fast Since 2014: 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. Since joining forces, Harvick and Childers combined to produce 15 victories, 15 poles, 69 top-five finishes and 99 top-10s; led 6,846 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.

 

Points Position: Harvick arrives at Las Vegas Motor Speedway ranked fourth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings with 75 points after last week’s win in the Fold of Honor 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

 

Playoff Qualifier: Harvick qualified for the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series playoff with his win at Atlanta. He will enter the playoffs with a minimum of six playoff points. He gained five playoff points for the win and picked up another by winning the first stage at Atlanta.

 

99 and Counting: Harvick scored his 98th and 99th career wins in NASCAR’s top three series last week at Atlanta when he won the Xfinity race Saturday and the Cup Series race Sunday. He has 38 Cup Series wins, 47 in the Xfinity Series and 14 in the Camping World Truck Series. Harvick and crew chief Rodney Childers also have 99 top-10s since they joined forces in 2014.

 

Harvick in the Monster Energy Cup Series at Las Vegas: The Las Vegas 400 will mark Harvick’s 18th career Cup Series start at Las Vegas. He scored his lone win at the 1.5 mile oval in 2015 when he started 18th, led five times for a total of 142 laps and beat Martin Truex Jr. by 1.640 seconds. He also has four top-five finishes and seven top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval. The 42-year-old driver has led 224 laps, has an average starting position of 19.6, average finish of 14.8, and has completed 94.9 percent (4,326 of 4,560) of the laps he’s contested there.

 

Harvick in the Xfinity Series at Las Vegas: Harvick has made 11 starts in the Xfinity Series at Las Vegas. He has two wins, one pole, six top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He has led 364 laps, has an average starting position of 7.0 and average finish of 9.3, and has completed 95.6 percent (2,120 of 2,217) of the laps he’s contested there. Harvick’s first Xfinity win at Las Vegas came in 2004, when he started 11th and led 14 laps, and his second in 2010, when he started second and led 82 laps. His lone Xfinity pole position came in 2007, when he ran 181.111 mph.

 

Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) at Las Vegas: In 27 overall starts at Las Vegas, SHR-prepared cars have earned two wins (Tony Stewart in 2012 and Harvick in 2015), five top-five finishes and nine top-10s, one pole (Kurt Busch in 2016), have been atop the leaderboard for 494 laps, and have completed 95.5 percent of the laps contested (6,921 of 7,245).

 

Career NASCAR Cup Series Totals: Harvick has 38 wins, 169 top-five finishes, 308 top-10s and 21 poles in 612 career NASCAR Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s Las Vegas 400.

 

Jimmy John’s: Jimmy John’s, maker of gourmet sandwiches with “freaky fast” delivery since 1983, is the primary sponsor of the No. 4 Ford Fusion for 16 NASCAR Cup Series races in 2016, highlighted by the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 

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

 

New To The Crew: Chris Rock from Steubenville, Ohio, joins the No. 4 team as a tire specialist. Rock replaces tire specialist Dustin Keath on the No. 4 team roster.

 

Harvick’s Happy Hours on SiriusXM Radio: Harvick is entering the second year as the co-host of Happy Hours on SiriusXM Radio channel 90. The show debuted March 28, 2017 and airs on Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. ET, featuring Harvick’s distinctive perspective on the 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.

 

Harvick the Broadcaster: Harvick will once again appear in the television booth for FOX at select Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series races in 2018. He is set to make his broadcast debut in the Xfinity race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway on April 20 and will join the all-driver broadcast onApril 28 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. He is also slated to broadcast NASCAR Truck Series races at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta on July 12, Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, on July 18 and Talladega on Oct. 13.

 

Homecoming Race: Harvick announced on the Feb. 6 edition of his SiriusXM Radio show Happy Hours that he is scheduled to compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West opener on Thursday, March 15 at Kern County Raceway in Bakersfield, California. Harvick, a Bakersfield native, will field the No. 4 Ford for Jefferson Pitts Racing with sponsorship from FIELDS. This will mark Harvick’s first-ever appearance at the racetrack in his hometown, since he grew up racing at the now-closed Mesa Marin Raceway. Harvick has won his last two appearances in the West Series – 2007 at Iowa Speedway and 2017 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.

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

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