Kevin Harvick will be part of a wild 500-lap race Saturday night at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
The driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will be one among 40 competitors on the high-banked .533-mile oval. And with this being the final race in the Round of 16 in the NASCAR playoffs, four drivers will not advance to the next round.
Thankfully for Harvick, he has already guaranteed his spot in the Round of 12 via his Sept. 6 victory in the playoff opener at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. So while it may be wild around him, he won’t be as worried as those still fighting for a spot to advance in the playoffs.
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 there 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.
He has competed in 29 NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Bristol 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 at Bristol and has one win and four top-10s.
If Harvick gets to lap 274 at Bristol, he will pass the late Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Cup Series laps completed. Harvick is 16th all-time in laps completed with 202,615 after Saturday’s race at Bristol.
He reached 200,000 laps completed on lap 222 of the July 19 race at Texas. Harvick is the leader among active drivers and could pass Earnhardt, who is 15th with 202,888, this week at Bristol.
Harvick is having a stellar year as he has led the points since March 8 after the race at Phoenix International Raceway. He has a series-high eight wins, 18 top-five finishes which are the third-most in his career, behind the 23 he had in 2015 and 2018. Harvick also has 23 top-10s, which continues his streak of more than 20 top-10s since the 2013 season. He has also led 1,190 laps, which is the fifth time in the last seven years he has accomplished that feat.
While Harvick won’t be part of the wildness this week, he’d love to get victory number nine – and more points.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Is it difficult to communicate inside the racecar at Bristol because everything happens so fast?
“It’s definitely loud and hard for the teams to hear. One of the hardest things at Bristol is just to see what’s going on. I have crashed at Bristol and gone back to watch it on TV and you’re like, ‘What in the hell were you doing? You just ran into four or five cars that have been sitting there for two seconds.’ But, Bristol is a very demanding racetrack. It’s very hard because things happen so fast, communication is hard. It’s easy to make a mistake or pile into a wreck. It’s easy to wreck somebody or to get into a fight. It’s easy to do a lot of things because there is just so much happening. It’s a tough place to race, to put it all together, and it’s mentally and physically exhausting.”
Back in May, did you think we would ever get to this point where we would be all caught up on the schedule starting the playoffs and actually start having fans back at races?
“You know, I think back in May, I probably thought that, but as we went through so many different situations of things happening, and you see all the things in the world that are happening and just the way that so many things were changing so rapidly, as we got those last five or six races announced, you didn’t really know if you were actually going to get to go to some of these racetracks. And then you see Watkins Glen pulled, and then we go to Daytona. I think it says a lot about the plan that we actually have – has NASCAR done a great job of navigating everything and having backup plans? I don’t think it’s over yet, either. I think there are still some things to navigate – it sounds like as we go forward, so it’s just, ‘You just kind of roll with the punches.’ And honestly, I just quit paying attention because it’ll wear you out. But everybody has done a great job to get us back on schedule and had a great plan, and it’s pretty unbelievable to see where we are today.”
Busch Light Racing Team Report
Rounds 29 of 36 – Bass Pro Shops Night Race – Bristol
Car No.: 4 – Busch Light 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
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
Bristol 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 34 points-paying victories, a victory in the non-points 2018 NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, 25 Busch poles, 124 top-five finishes and 176 top-10s while leading 10,798 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 57 wins, 31 poles, 224 top-fives, 385 top-10s and 15,224 laps led in 710 starts.
· His most recent Cup Series wins came Sept. 6 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
· His most recent Busch Pole came in November 2019 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (Poles have not been won since May 23 at Charlotte due to the abbreviated weekend schedules during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
· Harvick is ninth on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list with 57 victories and is 19 wins behind the late Dale Earnhardt, who is eighth with 76 checkered flags. Harvick is second on the active driver list behind Jimmie Johnson, who has 83 victories.
· More than 15,000 Laps Led: On Aug. 23 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, Harvick led the 15,000th lap of his NASCAR career. He is 11th all-time, has led 15,224 laps, and trails 10th-place Busch, who has led 17,680, and Johnson, who is ninth with 18,936 laps led. Harvick has led 10,798 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 Motor Speedway.
· 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.
· Let’s Win Two: When Harvick won the doubleheader in August at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, he became the first driver in more than 50 years to win NASCAR Cup Series races on consecutive days. Richard Petty won the Albany-Saratoga 250 on July 14, 1971 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, New York, and the next day won the Islip 250 at Islip (N.Y.) Speedway. Islip closed in 1984, but Albany-Saratoga is still in operation.
· Points Position: Harvick arrives at Bristol first in the NASCAR Cup Series standings with 2,143 points, and with his win on Sept. 6 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, he automatically qualified for the Round of 12 of the Cup Series playoffs, which start Sept. 27 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 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 202,615 after Saturday’s race at Bristol. He reached 200,000 laps completed on lap 222 of the July 19 race at Texas. Harvick is the leader among active drivers and could pass Dale Earnhardt, who is 15th with 202,888, this week at Bristol.
· 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.
· 118 and Counting – Harvick scored his 100th career win in NASCAR’s top three series with his March 2018 Las Vegas win. He now has 118 total victories – 57 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: Busch (212), Petty (200) and David Pearson (106).
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!