Kevin Harvick may not remember the 1980s Michigan television commercials that ended with the tagline “Yes, Michigan!”
But as the NASCAR Cup Series rolls into historic Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, he is thinking “Yes, Michigan!”
Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has three wins, seven second-place finishes, 13 top-fives, 19 top-10s, one pole, and he’s led a total of 517 laps in his 38 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Michigan.
A closer look reveals his time at Michigan in SHR equipment since 2014 has been really impressive.
In his last 12 Cup Series starts at Michigan – all of which have come with SHR – Harvick has two wins and four runner-up finishes and only one finish worse than 14th – 29th in June 2015. And of the 517 total laps Harvick has led at Michigan dating back to his rookie year in 2001, 369, or 71.3 percent, have come with SHR despite only 12, or 31.5 percent, of his 38 Michigan starts being with SHR.
He’ll have two chances to add to those totals with a Michigan doubleheader weekend, starting with Saturday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 and concluding with Sunday’s Consumer Energy 400. They are twin 156-lap 312-mile races at the 2-mile oval.
Harvick is closing in on 15,000 laps led in his Cup career. At the Homestead-Miami Speedway season finale in 2019, Harvick became just the 11th driver to have led 14,000 laps. He’s now been in front for 14,740 laps and trails 10th-place Kyle Busch, who has led 17,633, and Jimmie Johnson, who is ninth with 18,933 laps led. Harvick has led 10,314 laps as an SHR driver, surpassing the 10,000-lap milestone with the team when he took the lead on lap 37 of the June 7 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
He’ll race again with Busch Light Apple on his car, as he did in the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. 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.
Harvick is hoping to score his fourth career Michigan victory Saturday. And perhaps he’ll score number five on Sunday. For as the late, great Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs once said, “Let’s Play Two.”
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
You and the team have seven consecutive top-five finishes with two wins. Can you describe this season coming out of lasts Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon?
“We’re just kind of grinding away. We kind of got behind at New Hampshire and were able to make up a lot of ground. Our team is doing a great job and we’re doing what we need to do each week, and we’ve been fortunate to win a few races and we’re ready to get through the final few races before the playoffs start.”
Talk about what it will take to be successful this weekend at Michigan in the doubleheader?
“Well a fast car is the biggest key. Our organization has run really well at Michigan. The Roush Yates folks from the engine side and Doug Yates love going to Michigan. Ford, from a manufacturer’s side, loves having the manufacturing trophy sitting in its facility. So there is a lot of motivation going into Michigan. For us, being at a racetrack we have run well at and won at, the expectations are in the same category. We want to get to victory lane and have two solid races. The races are a little bit shorter so there will be some strategy that will come into play, and putting yourself in a position to get up front and stay up front and do the things you need to do to win the races. That side will be a bit different, but we’re looking forward to hopefully running well.”
Busch Light Apple Racing Team Report
Round 21 and 22 of 36 – Michigan Doubleheader – Brooklyn
Car No.: 4 – Busch Light Apple 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
Spotters: 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
Michigan 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, 119 top-five finishes and 170 top-10s while leading 10,314 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, 219 top-fives, 379 top-10s and 14,740 laps led in 702 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.
· Michigan Numerology – Harvick has three wins, one pole, seven second-place finishes, 13 top-fives, 19 top-10s and has led a total of 517 laps in his 38 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Michigan. His average start is 14.4, his average finish is 11.7 and he has a lap-completion rate of 99.4 percent – 7,335 of the 7,377 laps available.
· Harvick at Michigan since 2014 – The combination of Harvick competing at Michigan in SHR equipment is impressive. In his last 12 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Michigan – all of which have come with SHR – Harvick has two wins and four runner-up finishes and only one finish worse than 14th (29th in June 2015). And of the 517 total laps Harvick has led at Michigan dating back to his rookie year in 2001, 369 (71.3 percent) have come with SHR despite only 12 (31.5 percent) of his 38 Michigan starts being with SHR.
· Closing in on 15,000 Lap Led: 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 closing in on 15,000 led as he has been in front for 14,740 laps and trails 10th-place Busch, who has led 17,633, and Johnson, who is ninth with 18,933 laps led. Harvick has led 10,314 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.
· Already Playoff Bound – Harvick qualified for the 2020 Cup Series playoffs with his win May 17 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
· Points Position: Harvick arrives at Michigan first in the NASCAR Cup Series standings with 803 points, 81 markers ahead of second-place Brad Keselowski. 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 200,680 after last Thursday’s race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. He reached 200,000 laps completed on lap 222 of the July 19 race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Harvick is the leader among active drivers and is closing in on Dale Earnhardt, who is 15th with 202,888.
· Xfinity and Trucks at Michigan: Harvick has competed in 11 NASCAR Xfinity Series races with one win and nine top-10 finishes. He has driven in four NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series events there and has one win and four top-11 finishes.
· Second Place: By finishing second June 28 at Pocono (Pa.) 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!