Kevin Harvick has shown up at Homestead-Miami Speedway five of the last six years and raced for the NASCAR Cup Series championship. He won the title in 2014, finished runner-up in 2015 to champion Kyle Busch, eighth in 2016 and third in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Harvick enters this weekend’s Homestead 400 first in points, but there will be no championship at stake this time around. The Homestead race was scheduled for March and then got moved to Sunday due to COVID-19.
That doesn’t mean Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), won’t be ready to score a win in South Florida.
He’s had great success at Homestead with one win, one pole, 11 top-five finishes, 17 top-10s and has led a total of 414 laps in his 19 career NASCAR Cup Series starts there. His average start is 11.8, his average finish is 6.4 and he has a lap-completion rate of 99.9 percent – 5,078 of 5,079 laps available. His last finish outside the top-10 was a 19th-place result in November 2007. He has only two finishes outside the top-10 and has finished in the top-five every year since 2014.
Harvick won the November 2006 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Homestead, as well as the Xfinity Series pole in November 2004. He has five top-10 finishes in eight career Xfinity Series starts. And in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Harvick has raced at Homestead six times and won one race – November 2009. He has four top-five finishes in six Truck races at Homestead.
It will be the third race in eight days as Harvick won last Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, finished 15th Wednesday night at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and now heads to Homestead. It’s a stretch of 1,092 laps and 1,164 miles, and the temperatures haven’t exactly been cool, either.
But Harvick is a veteran and will look for career win number 52 at Homestead.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Could you describe your relationship with crew chief Rodney Childers and the success you’ve been able to have?
“You know, to be able to do the things we’ve been able to do and the accomplishments and races, but in the end we have a great friendship, we have a great relationship, like to help each other as people, and that goes a long way in the trust factor that is there between Rodney and myself. But not only us, but the team and the engineers and everybody believes in what we’re doing with all the work and things that go into putting the cars on the track.”
Does the fact that you guys have been able to build such a stable, long-term relationship since about 2014 help you as you continue to navigate the challenges of social distancing in this new era of racing?
“I mean, it’s definitely different. You know, obviously I think our experience is something that goes a long way just because we have to communicate in a different way, but we also know each other very well, and we know that, when we come to certain racetracks, we have to do certain things because those are things I like with the car and things he likes to do with the cars to get there. It’s definitely different not going to the shop and not being in the hauler and not having all the meetings and conversations and things that go with it, so it’s definitely a strange time, for sure.”
With the condensed schedules with no practice and no qualifying, do you feel there’s still a benefit to at-track practice, and how have you and Rodney navigated the path of not having that?
“I would much rather not practice, personally, but you know, it definitely – you can definitely have both sides to that equation. I think for me, the benefit is having an experienced team and being able to get things close is something that our team is really good at. I think when we get done with all of this and we look at our schedules and we look at our on-track time and we look at the way we qualify and the things we do, you’re going to have to look at it. You’re going to have to look at how you function and how you do everything because it’s been a success. It’s been something that is – I mean, it’s very different than anything anybody would have ever thought about, and now you’re forced to try it, and it really hasn’t affected the way the race looks, it hasn’t affected who runs up front. So there’s just a number of things I think we have to consider going forward from not only a cost-saving perspective, but just a time-saving, schedule-crunching, there’s a number of all the – with all the things we’ve done, that have created a number of questions.”
Busch Light Racing Team Report
Round 12 of 36 – Homestead 400 – Homestead-Miami Speedway
Car No.: 4 – Busch Light 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: Shawn Hopkins (also serves as interior mechanic)
Hometown: Chesterfield, Virginia
Homestead Notes of Interest:
· Dynamic Duo: While this is. Harvick’s 20th year in the NASCAR Cup Series, it’s his seventh with crew chief Rodney Childers, which is the longest pairing of any current driver-crew chief combination. Since joining forces at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in 2014, Harvick and Childers have combined to produce 28 points-paying victories, a victory in the non-points 2018 NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, 25 Busch poles, 112 top-five finishes and 162 top-10s while leading 10,150 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, 2018 and 2019.
· Harvick has career totals of 51 wins, 31 poles, 212 top-fives, 371 top-10s and 14,576 laps led in 692 starts.
· His most recent Cup Series win came on June 7 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
· His most recent Busch Pole came in November 2019 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
· Harvick’s 51 career victories put him 12th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. He is third on the active driver list behind Jimmie Johnson and Busch. Harvick is three wins behind Lee Petty for 11th on the all-time wins list.
· At the Homestead season finale in 2019, Harvick became just the 11th driver to have led 14,000 laps in his NASCAR career. He’s led 14,576 and trails 10th-place Busch, who has led 17,552, and Johnson, who is ninth with 18,932 laps led. Harvick has led 10,150 laps as an SHR driver. He led his 10,000th lap as an SHR driver when he took the lead on lap 37 on June 7 at Atlanta.
· Points Position: Harvick arrives at Homestead first in the NASCAR Cup Series standings with 452 points, 28 markers ahead of second-place Joey Logano. He’s led the points since the conclusion of the March 8 race at Phoenix Raceway.
· Laps Completed: Harvick is 16th all-time in laps completed with 198,662 after Sunday’s Atlanta race. He should break 200,000 laps completed in late summer. He is the leader among active drivers and is closing in on Dale Earnhardt, who is 15th with 202,888.
· Already Playoff Bound – Harvick qualified for the 2020 Cup Series playoffs with his win May 17 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
· Harvick in the Monster Energy Cup Series at Homestead: Harvick has one win, one pole, 11 top-five finishes, 17 top-10s and has led a total of 414 laps in his 19 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Homestead. His average start is 11.8, his average finish is 6.4 and he has a lap-completion rate of 99.9 percent – 5,078 of 5,079 laps available. His last finish outside the top-10 was a 19th-place result in November 2007. He has only two finishes outside the top-10 and had finished in the top-five every year since 2014.
· Xfinity, Truck Series Wins: Harvick won the November 2006 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Homestead, as well as pole in November 2004. He has five top-10 finishes in eight career Xfinity starts. And in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Harvick has raced at Homestead six times and won one race (November 2009). He has four top-five finishes in six Truck races at Homestead.
· 112 and Counting – Harvick scored his 100th career win in NASCAR’s top three series with his March 2018 Las Vegas win. He now has 112 total victories – 51 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 (200), David Pearson (106) and Busch (210).
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!