Hotter Than A Pistol In Daytona

Kevin Harvick

As difficult as it is to believe, the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season is through 17 points-paying races and number 18 of 36 takes the series back to where it all started – Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

Since July 4, 1959, just before Hawaii became the 50th state, NASCAR has conducted a race around the Fourth of July. But changes to that particular tradition are coming as in 2020 as the race will move to late August, the final regular-season event before the 10-race playoffs begin. Daytona’s July date will move to another historic track, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has won just about every event at Daytona at least once – the 2007 Daytona 500, 2010 Coke Zero Sugar 400, the non-points Clash in 2009, 2010 and 2013, the non-points Gander RV Duels in 2013 and 2018, and the February 2007 NASCAR Xfinity Series race.

But Harvick would love to win this year’s July race, if for nothing else, to get that first win of 2019 and to guarantee a berth in the 2019 playoffs.

And Daytona in July will be different than Daytona in February.

In February for the Daytona 500, the temperatures are usually warm but not overly hot, and the race is run during the day. For the Coke Zero Sugar 400, the temperatures soar and the race is conducted at night.

What’s going to happen? Nobody really knows, because it’s Daytona and pretty much any driver can win.

But for the final time, Daytona will host a July race. And it should be a great final show.

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

How do you feel about the July Daytona race moving to later in the year for 2020?

“That’s one of the best changes to the whole schedule, in my opinion, because you have a built-in story before you get to the race. You can talk about it all year. Everyone has a chance to win at Daytona and that’s the ultimate end-of-the-year story. And it’s usually miserably hot and the tradition is longstanding, but also times have changed and you can definitely look up in the crowd and see it was time to change.”

Is Charlotte around Memorial Day and Darlington around Labor Day more of a tradition than perhaps Daytona and July 4?

“Absolutely. And when you have the Daytona 500 at your track, it’s hard to even come close to measuring up to that. That’s a tough one, but I love the position of where it is next year.”

You’ve worked with Jimmy John’s for a few years. What makes Jimmy John’s unique?

“I’ve known Jimmy since 2009 and I’ve personally seen how driven he is and how his work ethic is embraced by everyone who works at Jimmy John’s. They’re freaks about the details just like he is and want to be the best, period. And he’ll outwork everyone to be the best. That’s the same mindset we have in racing.”

What makes racing under the lights at Daytona so special?

“I think when you look at the night race at Daytona, it kind of marks the halfway point of the year and you know you’re going to Daytona. It’s not the Daytona 500, but it’s still Daytona, and everybody wants to win a race at Daytona no matter what it’s in or what it’s for. Daytona just has that special place in our sport and everybody wants to win there.”

Jimmy John’s Racing Team Report
Round 18 of 36 – Coke Zero Sugar 400 – Daytona

Car No.: 4 – Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang

PR Contact: Joe Crowley, True Speed Communication (704) 875-3388 ext. 808 or Joe.Crowley@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: Mooresville, North Carolina

Engine Specialist: Robert Brandt
Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

Spotter: Tim Fedewa
Hometown: Holt, Michigan
Over-The-Wall Crew Members:

Front Tire Changer: Shayne Pipala

Hometown: Frankfort Square, Illinois

Rear Tire Changer: Daniel Smith

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

Tire Carrier: Mike “Shrek” Morneau

Hometown: Oxford, Maine

Gas Man: Evan Marchal

Hometown: Westfield, Indiana

Jackman: Stan Dolittle

Hometown: Ninety Six, South Carolina

Windshield: Matt Custer (also serves as interior mechanic)

Hometown: Bedford, Pennsylvania

Road Crew Members:

Truck Driver: Rick Hodges and Stephen Mitchell

Hometowns: Raleigh, North Carolina and Woodville, Ohio, respectively

Engineers: Dax Gerringer and Billy Keubler

Hometowns: Gibsonville, North Carolinaand Saline, Michigan,respectively

Mechanic: Richie Bean

Hometown: Bradford, Vermont

Tire Specialist: Jamie Turski

Hometown: Trumbull, Connecticut

Shock Specialist: Michael McCarville

Hometown: Kensington, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Mechanic: Allen Mincey

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Daytona Notes of Interest:

· Dynamic Duo:

While this is Harvick’s 19th year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, it’s his sixth with crew chief Rodney Childers. Since joining forces at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in 2014, Harvick and Childers have combined to produce 22 points-paying victories, a victory in the non-points-paying 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, 22 poles, 99 top-five finishes and 138 top-10s while leading 9,084 laps. They won the 2014 championship, finished runner-up in the 2015 title chase to champion Kyle Busch, finished eighth in 2016 and third in 2017 and 2018. The team has qualified for the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway four times in the last five years.

· Harvick has career totals of 45 wins, 28 poles, 196 top-fives, 347 top-10s and 13,510 laps led in 663 starts.

· His most recent Cup Series win came 20 races ago at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (Nov. 4, 2018).

· His last Busch Pole came six racesagoat Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (May 10, 2019).

· Daytona Numerology – Harvick has two wins, nine top-five finishes, 14 top-10s and has led a total of 244 laps in his 35 career points-paying NASCAR Cup Series starts at Daytona. His average start is 15.1, his average finish is 17.5 and he has a lap-completion rate of 88.5 percent, completing 5,638 of the 6,368 laps available.

· Laps Led: Harvick has led 9,084 laps in 197 races since joining SHR in 2014. That’s an average of 46.11 laps led per race.

· Points Position: Harvick arrives at Daytona fourth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings with 610 points, 67 markers behind leader Joey Logano.

· 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 .010-of-a-second advantage over Martin Truex Jr., in 2016.

· Wins at Daytona:

In addition to his three wins in the non-points Clash at Daytona (2009, 2010, 2013), Harvick has five other victories at the famed 2.5-mile racetrack – two NASCAR Cup Series points-paying races (February 2007, July 2010), two other non-points events (2013 and 2018 Gander RV Duel) and a win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (February 2007).

· Harvick in the Xfinity Series at Daytona:

Harvick has 19 career starts in the Xfinity Series at Daytona. He has the February 2007 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 entry 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.

· Harvick’s Happy Hours on SiriusXM Radio:

Harvick is in his third year as the co-host of Happy Hours on SiriusXM Radio channel 90. The show debuted March 28, 2017 and airs on Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. EDT, 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.

· 106 and Counting – Harvick scored his 100th career win in NASCAR’s top three series when he won the Cup Series race at Las Vegas in March 2018. He now has 106 total victories after his most recent Cup Series win in November 2018 at Texas – 45 in the Cup Series, 47 in the Xfinity Series and 14 in the Truck Series. Only three other drivers in NASCAR history have passed 100 wins in NASCAR’s top three series: Richard Petty, David Pearson and Kyle Busch.

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

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