Hank Stram always liked Kansas City. The Gary Lew Wallace High School and Purdue University graduate was head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs from 1963 to 1974.
Stram led the Chiefs to two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl IV 23-7 over the Minnesota Vikings.
He was made famous by wearing a microphone for NFL Films during the winning Super Bowl and telling the offense, “Just keep matriculating the ball down the field, boys.” And, with the Chiefs on the goal line, calling for his favorite play, “65 toss power trap.”
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the 2019 Chiefs duplicated the efforts of Stram’s team from 1969 by winning Super Bowl LIV this past January.
Stram and Mahomes are winners. So is NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick, especially at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has five poles, three wins, three second-place finishes, eight top-threes, 15 top-10s and has led a total of 855 laps in his 28 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kansas.
He is one of only three drivers who have participated in all 28 Cup Series races held at the 1.5-mile oval. The others are Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.
Harvick is coming off his 700th career Cup Series start, which took place Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, during which he also completed his 200,000th career lap, and he went on to raise his total to 200,112 by race’s end.
With his four wins, 11 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s in 18 races this season, Harvick leads the points by 91 over Joey Logano,.
He’ll race again with Busch Light Apple on his car, as he did last week in the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. 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.
Similar to the All-Star Race, Busch Beer will again be running a social promotion throughout the race. Busch Beer will be giving away a case worth of beer every lap of the race, so fans have a chance to win during all 267 laps. Make sure to check Busch Beer’s Twitter to learn how.
Harvick is looking for win number five of the season and number four at Kansas, which would keep him matriculating toward another great season.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and you are the only drivers to start all 28 races at Kansas Speedway. You’ve been racing there since 2001. Can you talk about the track as it approaches its 20-year anniversary?
“It makes you feel old (laughs). I did one of the first PR days at Kansas Speedway when it first opened and there was not one single thing around that racetrack other than the highway. So, what’s been built has been neat to see and how it’s all developed and how it’s all changed. It’s a fun racetrack because there is just so much to do around the racetrack and it’s been a successful racetrack for us.”
Why have you been so successful there recently?
“I don’t really know. It’s a racetrack where I’ve won a couple races and, for whatever reason, it just kind of fits my style and what we do with the cars. We’ve had a lot of good racecars there to capitalize on the good characteristics that fall into my driving style and we’ve been able to have some good results with it.”
Take us on a lap around Kansas.
“It’s definitely a little bit different just for the fact the (corner) entries are a little different than at most places. Turns three and four remind me of turns three and four at Chicagoland Speedway, but there’s a lot more grip and fresher asphalt than what Chicagoland has nowadays. It’s a very high-speed racetrack. You run the middle to the bottom of the racetrack. But I’m sure, as time goes on, that the groove will move back up. But, for right now, it’s very fast and very sensitive to your line and, with all the speed and how tricky the entrance is into turn one, you can miss your line easily. So, you have to be very specific about where you put your car and pay attention to what you’re doing.”
Busch Light Apple Racing Team Report
Round 19 of 36 – Super Start Batteries 400 – Kansas
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
Kansas 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, 117 top-five finishes and 168 top-10s while leading 10,299 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, 217 top-fives, 377 top-10s and 14,725 laps led in 700 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.
· Kansas Numerology – Harvick has five poles, three wins, three second-place finishes, eight top-threes, 15 top-10s and has led a total of 855 laps in his 28 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kansas. His average start is 14.3, his average finish is 9.8 and he has a lap-completion rate of 98.5 percent – 7,329 of the 7,440 laps available.
· Three Left – Harvick is one of only three drivers who have participated in all 28 NASCAR Cup Series races held at Kansas. The others are Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.
· 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 14,725 and trails 10th-place Busch, who has led 17,581, and Johnson, who is ninth with 18,933 laps led. Harvick has led 10,299 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 Kansas first in the NASCAR Cup Series standings with 721 points, 91 markers ahead of second-place Joey Logano. He’s led the points since the conclusion of the March 8 race at Phoenix Raceway.
· Already Playoff Bound – Harvick qualified for the 2020 Cup Series playoffs with his win May 17 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
· Laps Completed: Harvick is 16th all-time in laps completed with 200,112 after last Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. He reached 200,000 laps completed on lap 222 of that race. Harvick is the leader among active drivers and is closing in on Dale Earnhardt, who is 15th with 202,888.
· Kansas Record Holder – Harvick’s lap of 27.304 seconds at 197.773 mph on Oct. 3, 2014 during qualifying for the Hollywood Casino 400 set the track record at Kansas that has yet to be broken. Harvick broke his own track record at the 1.5-mile oval that day, bettering his previous mark of 27.799 seconds at 194.658 mph set on May 9, 2014.
· Pole Position at Kansas – Harvick leads the series in Busch Pole Awards at Kansas with five. Harvick and Jimmie Johnson are the only drivers to have scored consecutive poles at Kansas – Harvick in the fall of 2013 followed by a sweep of both 2014 races, and Johnson in 2007 and 2008.
· Xfinity at Kansas: Harvick has competed in 11 NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Kansas and won the September 2006 race while winning the pole in September 2008. He has six top-five finishes at the 1.5 mile oval.
· 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 (212), Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (106).
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!