Kevin Harvick became a NASCAR All-Star back in 2001 and has been one every year since.
He was 26 years old in March of 2001 when he scored his first NASCAR Cup Series win at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was in his third-ever Cup Series race and immediately qualified him for that year’s All-Star Race.
Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has two wins, four second-place finishes, six top-fives, 12 top-10s and has led 157 laps in 19 previous All-Star events.
But those all took place at the 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and, Wednesday night, the event will take for the first time at the .533-mile Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway oval.
Harvick will also have Busch Light Apple on his car for the All-Star Race, as well as on July 23 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, and the doubleheader Aug. 8 and 9 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Busch Light Apple is a refreshing, light lager, which combines the crispness of Busch with the light sweetness of apple flavor. It’s like the sound of refreshment meets the taste of the orchard, and is the first flavor innovation in the history of the Busch Light brand.
The All-Star Race will feature several new wrinkles Wednesday night.
Each driver’s car number won’t be centered on the driver-side door panel as normal. Instead, it will move back toward the rear wheel, giving teams more room for the sponsor logos on the sides of the cars. Also, the cars will feature underglow lighting beneath them that should add a visual effect never seen at a Cup Series race.
Additionally a choose rule will be in effect Wednesday night. When drivers emerge single file after pit stops under caution, a lap or two before the restart they will drive to a designated spot on the track marked by a cone, where they must commit to either the inside or outside lane. Failure to make a clear choice, or changing lanes after the designated spot, will result in a tail-of-the-field penalty. This is different from the current double-file restart system, where only the race leader chooses his lane.
Having the rule for the All-Star Race gives every driver the ability to make his own decision on whether to start in the inside or outside lane, and strategy will come into play in every instance. For example, the second-place driver could choose to start behind the leader or on the front row. Or, if the first four drivers pick the same lane because it is the preferred groove, the driver in fifth might decide to restart on the front row, even though it may be the non-preferred groove.
The All-Star Race will have four stages with Stage One lasting 55 laps, Stages Two and Three at 35 laps apiece, and Stage Four lasting 15 laps. Only green-flag laps will count in the final stage, and the final stage will end with a checkered flag. If the race is restarted with two or fewer laps remaining, then there will be unlimited attempts at a green-white-checkered finish.
It doesn’t matter if a driver has been an All-Star for almost 20 years running come Wednesday night. There is a $1 million first prize is on the line, which means it should be a heck of a show.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Thoughts on the All-Star Race moving to Bristol?
“It’s going to look much different than the All-Star Races we’ve had over the past several years. I think all of us, from the drivers’ perspective and the fans’ perspective, have been itching for our All-Star Race. I think it’s going to be very similar to old Bristol because they are going to spray the traction compound on the bottom of the racetrack and there are very short races that are going to happen (starting with the All-Star Open). What I think is going to happen is the majority of the race is going to be run on the bottom of the racetrack, which means, in order to pass somebody, you’re probably going to have to use the front bumper, which could get pretty exciting. I’m looking forward to it and I’m really excited about the change for the All-Star Race.”
How strange has it been with no fans at any of these races?
“Anything I’ve ever competed in, whether it’s fantasy football, racing or park league basketball, you always had someone to share it with. And right now they really don’t let us be around anybody at the racetrack. And they just abandon us (laughs). Once the TV people leave, I drive the car to victory lane, I take a few pictures and then they make me leave (laughs). You have all that enthusiasm and excitement and it’s the strangest thing, but it’s a good reminder of how much enthusiasm you have to share with the fans and how much you feed off of that after you get out of the car. I’m looking forward to getting back to that, but am I excited that we are racing and that brings some normalcy with what’s going on.”
Busch Light Apple Racing Team Report
Non-Points – All-Star Race – Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway
Car No.: 4 – Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang
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
Spotters: Tim Fedewa and Joe White
Hometown: Holt, Michigan and Norfolk, Virginia
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
All-Star Race 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 30 points-paying victories, a victory in the non-points 2018 NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, 25 Busch poles, 116 top-five finishes and 167 top-10s while leading 10,259 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 53 wins, 31 poles, 216 top-fives, 376 top-10s and 14,685 laps led in 699 starts.
· His most recent Cup Series win came on July 5 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
· His most recent Busch Pole came in November 2019 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
· Harvick’s 53 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 just one win behind Lee Petty for 11th on the all-time wins list.
· Always An All-Star – Harvick has competed in the All-Star Race all 20 years he’s been in the NASCAR Cup Series. As a rookie in 2001, Harvick won at Atlanta Motor Speedway in just his third Cup Series start to gain entry into the All-Star event. In 2006, Harvick finished second to Jimmie Johnson by 1.729 seconds, but got payback the following year when he won the 2007 All-Star Race by holding off Johnson by .141 of a second. He scored his second All-Star win in 2018 when he started fourth, led 36 laps and scored the victory.
· Harvick’s All-Star Stats – In 19 NASCAR Cup Series All-Star race appearances, Harvick has two wins, four second-place finishes, six top-fives, 12 top-10s and has led 157 laps.
· 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 14,685 and trails 10th-place Busch, who has led 17,570, and Johnson, who is ninth with 18,933 laps led. Harvick has led 10,259 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 the non-points All-Star Race first in the NASCAR Cup Series standings with 675 points, 88 markers ahead of second-place Brad Keselowski. He’s led the points since the conclusion of the March 8 race at Phoenix Raceway.
· Harvick in the Monster Energy Cup Series at Bristol: Harvick has two wins, one pole, 12 top-five finishes, 19 top-10s and has led a total of 912 laps in his 39 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol. His average start is 16.5, his average finish is 13.8 and he has a lap-completion rate of 96.8 percent – 18,901 of the 19,527 laps available.
· Xfinity and Trucks at Bristol: Harvick has competed in 29 NASCAR Xfinity Series races with five wins, 15 top-fives and 24 top-10 finishes with two pole positions. He has driven in five NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series events and has one win and four top-10s.
· Laps Completed: Harvick is 16th all-time in laps completed with 199,777 after Sunday’s race at Indianapolis. He should break 200,000 laps completed on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth as the All-Star Race laps are not counted due to it being an exhibition race. Harvick 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.
· Second Place: By finishing in second-place on June 29 at Pocono Raceway, Harvick now has 56 runner-up finishes and passed Buck Baker for ninth on the all-time list. He can tie Darrell Waltrip for eighth with another runner-up finish.
· 114 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 114 total victories – 53 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: Kyle Busch (211), Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (106).
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!