A win in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth would lock Kevin Harvick in among the final four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff competitors and the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway two weeks hence.
Sounds daunting, but Harvick has won the last two fall races at Texas to lock himself into the previous two championship races.
To borrow a term from Don Cherry and Ron MacLean from the legendary show Hockey Night in Canada, Harvick is looking for the hat trick at Texas. In 2017, Harvick started third and led 38 laps en route to victory, and then came back in 2018 and dominated by leading 177 laps en route to taking the checkered flag first.
Those were Harvick’s first two career wins at Texas to go with his 10 top-threes, 21 top-10s, and he’s led a total of 495 laps in his 33 career Cup Series starts there.
His average Texas start is 16.2, his average finish is 10.7 and he has a lap-completion rate of 97.0 percent – 10,682 of the 11,008 laps available. Harvick has finished in the top-10 in 10 consecutive races at Texas. Six of those have been in the top-three, with the two wins.
Harvick’s car will have a bit of a different look at Texas as he’ll be driving the No. 4 Busch Beer Ducks Unlimited Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
The partnership between Busch and Ducks Unlimited builds on Anheuser-Busch’s longstanding commitment to creating a cleaner and more sustainable world for future generations. The company works closely with partners like Ducks Unlimited to ensure their commitments and programs drive meaningful change for the environment and contribute to a shared objective of a better world.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, the organization works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.
For every lap Harvick leads Sunday at Texas, Busch is going to donate $1,000 to Ducks Unlimited, up to $25,000.
The No. 4 team always supports Busch Beer and companies like Ducks Unlimited – and are hoping to put them in victory lane – and advance to the championship race in Homestead.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ducks Unlimited Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Is it more difficult to win a championship now with this format?
“I think it’s just hard to get there. It’s not really the same. It’s definitely different, whether it’s harder or easier you could probably debate that. If you look at the old-style points, it’s a pretty good points battle if you did it how it was 15 years ago, but it’s just hard to get to Homestead and put it all together through the nine weeks leading up to that. That’s the most difficult part.”
Did you learn anything about restarts at Kansas that will help at Texas?
“We’ve learned a lot about restarts all year. Restarts are the name of the game to get yourself in a position with the way you have to race. Every week, every restart is important as you go to any racetrack.”
How has the dynamic of restarts changed?
“I’m classically trained over the last 20-some years in NASCAR racing, so my days of short-track classically trained are over. You try to be as aggressive as you can and the restarts are different than they used to be, just because you have to be so aggressive on them.”\
The playoffs are made for clutch moments. What does it mean to be clutch and what moment do you think defines that?
“Clutch moments – there’s nothing like them. It’s one thing to dominate a race all day and win – that’s great. But, making a last-lap pass, an end-of-the-race pass or winning on a day when you’re not supposed to, there is just no better feeling than getting out of the car and looking at those guys. Having the rest of the field asking how was he able to win today. Those are the types of moments that I love to be a part of. We’ve been fortunate to experience a lot of those. That’s the adrenaline rush that comes with what we do. There is no better feeling than those particular moments.”
Busch Beer Ducks Unlimited Racing Team Report
Round 34 of 36 – AAA Texas 500 – Texas
Car No.: 4 – Busch Beer Ducks Unlimited 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
Texas 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 25 points-paying victories, a victory in the non-points-paying 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, 24 poles, 103 top-five finishes and 150 top-10s while leading 9,451 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 48 wins, 23 poles, 203 top-fives, 359 top-10s and 13,874 laps led in 679 starts.
· His most recent Cup Series win and Busch Pole bothcame eight races ago at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Sept. 8, 2019).
· Harvick in the Monster Energy Cup Series at Texas: Harvick has two wins, 10 top-threes, 21 top-10s and has led a total of 495 laps in his 33 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Texas. His average start is 16.2, his average finish is 10.7 and he has a lap-completion rate of 97.0 percent, completing 10,682 of the 11,008 laps available. Harvick has finished in the top-10 in 10 consecutive races at Texas. Six of those have been in the top-three, with the two wins.
· Points Position: Harvick arrives at Texas fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings with 4,058 points, 14 below the top-four cutoff.
· Harvick has made the final eight for the sixth consecutive year. No other driver has accomplished this feat. He’s made the final four every year during that span, save for 2016.
· Harvick’s 48 career NASCAR Cup Series victories puts him in a tie with Herb Thomas for 15th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. He is third on the active driver list behind Jimmie Johnson and Busch.
· Xfinity Wins: Harvick has won five NASCAR Xfinty Series races at Texas and has led 779 laps, while also winning two poles. And in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Harvick has raced at Texas four times and won the event in 2011.
· 109 and Counting – Harvick scored his 100th career win in NASCAR’s top three series when he won the Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March 2018. He now has 109 total victories after his most recent Cup Series win two weekends ago at Indianapolis – 48 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 Busch.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!