When the 2020 NASCAR schedule came out last year, the race weekend everyone was looking at was the one at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
The triangular layout was designed by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rodger Ward, who modeled each of its three turns after a different track.
Turn one, which is banked at 14 degrees, is modeled after the legendary Trenton (N.J.) Speedway. Turn two, banked at eight degrees, is a nod to the turns at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And turn three, banked at six degrees, is modeled after the corners at The Milwaukee Mile.
But those who work in NASCAR weren’t worried so much about the track’s unique layout, of which they were all too familiar. They were talking about the fact NASCAR was scheduling a doubleheader race weekend for the first time in its modern era. On Saturday, there is a 325-mile race and, on Sunday, a 350-mile race. The same car must be used for both, and the starting grid for Sunday’s race will be an inverted finishing order of the lead-lap cars from Saturday’s race, and the actual finishing order of the cars not ending up on the lead lap Saturday.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, the NASCAR drivers have raced three times in eight days on three separate occasions. But this weekend’s doubleheader will be a new experience for everyone.
Kevin Harvick will drive the No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
Busch, the beer brewed for the great outdoors, has extolled the beauty of America’s landscapes using music and song since its founding in 1955, developing iconic jingles for its ad campaigns such as “Head to the Mountains” in the 1980s.
Today, inspired by the creativity Americans across the country showed while staying indoors this spring, Busch is announcing a new campaign to bring that very song to the fore again, and is enlisting the support of ‘80s rock legend and two-time 2020 GRAMMY® winner Billy Ray Cyrus.
Head to @BuschBeer to learn more.
Pocono Raceway was built in the Pocono Mountains in 1968 and is also one of only two NASCAR Cup Series tracks where Harvick has not scored a victory, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta being the other.
He has one Busch Pole – July 2020 – to go with four second-place finishes, 12 top-fives, 18 top-10s, and he’s led a total of 249 laps in his 38 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono. His average start there is 15.6, his average finish is 12.6 and he has a lap-completion rate of 95.3 percent – 6,452 of the 6,772 laps available.
He is hoping to score his first win at Pocono and number 52 for his career.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountians Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
We have our first doubleheader with the Pocono races Saturday and Sunday. What are your thoughts on that?
“It’s very intriguing, I think, as you look at the weekend and you look at the shorter races, which means shorter stages, and you have the inversion. The car itself having to be raced twice and the things that you’ll need to try to do to the car. And there are a lot of things to digest in order to keep yourself competitive from one day to the next. So it will be interesting to see how we all manage that.”
From a driver’s perspective, there’s both mental and physical preparation.
“You kind of just have to adapt to where you are and how you feel and the things that are going on from your body from that standpoint. Mentally, it’s pretty easy because you break it in half. When one race is over, you wipe that slate clean, you analyze the things that you think were good, the things you think were bad, the things you need to do to your car, in order to make it handle better and make those adjustments and start fresh the next day. I like to have a routine, but my routine will basically be the same from one day to the next and it will just be a much shorter window of how you digest things and when you let them go.”
TIM FEDEWA, Spotter of the No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountians Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Pocono is much like Talladega, where it’s a large track. Where are the difficult spots to see at Pocono?
“Getting into (turn) one is hard, just because you are at the start-finish line and the frontstretch is three-quarters of a mile long, so you are a ways away from it so the depth perception gets a little crazy when they start to fan out four-, five- and six-wide. I tend to use my high-powered binoculars there. Kevin been there enough to know and he’s got his side mirror and he uses that well. A lot of the drivers do. But it is tough to see it down there. It’s a tough place to spot at – we’re not as high as we’d like to be, but it’s still a cool racetrack. I like going there. ”
You drove in two ARCA races in 1992 at Pocono. How challenging is the Tunnel Turn?
“The Tunnel Turn has always been a challenge. It’s a momentum thing. I raced at a racetrack in Michigan (Tri-City Speedway near Auburn), it wasn’t as big as Pocono, but it had a similar turn. That helped prepare me once I got to Pocono. You’re going through there pretty much wide open through there, you just barley breathe it. It definitely gets your attention, especially if you miss your mark a little bit or if someone is below you and you are trapped on the top. Even when you’re handling well or alone, it gets your attention.”
Busch Beer Head for the Mountians Racing Team Report
Rounds 14 and 15 of 36 – Pocono 325 and Pocono 350 – Pocono Raceway
Car No.: 4 – Busch Beer Head for the Mountians 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
Pocono 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 163 top-10s while leading 10,152 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, 372 top-10s and 14,578 laps led in 695 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-Miami Speedway season finale in 2019, Harvick became just the 11th driver to have led 14,000 laps in his NASCAR career. He’s led 14,578 and trails 10th-place Busch, who has led 17,559, and Johnson, who is ninth with 18,933 laps led. Harvick has led 10,152 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 Pocono first in the NASCAR Cup Series standings with 490 points, 23 markers ahead of second-place Joey Logano. He’s led the points since the conclusion of the March 8 race at Phoenix Raceway.
· Pocono Numerology – Harvick remains in search of his first Cup Series win at Pocono as there and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta are the two remaining Cup Series tracks where Harvick has yet to score a win. He has one Busch Pole, four second-place finishes, 12 top-fives, 18 top-10s and has led a total of 249 laps in his 38 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono. His average start there is 15.6, his average finish is 12.6 and he has a lap-completion rate of 95.3 percent – 6,452 of the 6,772 laps available.
· Trucks at Pocono: Harvick has competed in two NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races at Pocono and won the pole and the race in 2011 and started seventh and finished second in 2015.
· Laps Completed: Harvick is 16th all-time in laps completed with 199,079 after Monday’s race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. 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.
· 112 and Counting – Harvick scored his 100th career win in NASCAR’s top three series with his March 2018 Las Vegas Motor Speedway 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 (211).
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!