● Event: FireKeepers Casino 400 (Round 25 of 36)
● Time/Date: 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Aug. 22
● Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn
● Layout: 2-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 200 laps / 400 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 60 laps / Stage 2: 60 laps / Final Stage: 80 laps
● TV/Radio: NBCSN / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Notes of Interest
● Kevin Harvick is the apple of one’s eye at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, which is fitting since the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion will race the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang in the FireKeepers Casino 400. In his last six races at the 2-mile oval, Harvick has won four times and finished second once. His worst finish is a mere seventh.
● Who was the last driver not named Harvick to win at Michigan? That would be Joey Logano on June 10, 2019 when Harvick finished seventh. What else was No. 1 on that date? Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road was the No. 1 song and The Secret Life of Pets 2 was the No. 1 movie until being usurped by Toy Story 4.
● Harvick has won the past three races at Michigan, including a sweep of the doubleheader last year. In taking back-to-back checkered flags on Aug. 8-9 at Michigan, Harvick became the first driver to win two NASCAR Cup Series races on consecutive days since Richard Petty in 1971 when Petty won July 14 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, New York, and July 15 at Islip (N.Y.) Speedway.
● Harvick’s sweep of last year’s Michigan doubleheader earned him an accolade no other driver had ever achieved. He was the first NASCAR Cup Series driver in series history to win on back-to-back days at the same track.
● Harvick can tie another record with a win Sunday at Michigan. Bill Elliott holds the series record for most consecutive wins at Michigan with four, as the NASCAR Hall of Famer swept the track’s slate of NASCAR Cup Series races in 1985 and 1986. Harvick has won four of the last five races at Michigan, including the last three. He is one of just 10 drivers who have earned consecutive wins at Michigan, joining Bobby Allison (1971 sweep), David Pearson (1972 sweep-1973 and 1974-1975), Cale Yarborough (1983 sweep), Elliott (1985 sweep-1986 sweep), Bobby Labonte (1995 sweep), Mark Martin (1997-1998), Ryan Newman (2003-2004), Greg Biffle (2004-2005 and 2012-2013) and Kyle Larson (2016-2017 sweep).
● The FireKeepers Casino 400 will mark Harvick’s 41st career NASCAR Cup Series start at Michigan, tying him with Kurt Busch for the most among active drivers. Since making his first start at the track on June 10, 2001, Harvick has scored five wins, 15 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes while leading 699 laps, all of which are series bests. Harvick’s five wins are two more than Busch, Larson and Logano, all of whom are tied with three wins apiece. Harvick’s 15 top-fives are five more than next best Martin Truex Jr. (10 top-fives). Harvick’s 21 top-10s are four more than next best Logano (17 top-10s), as are his 699 laps led, which is 109 more laps than Logano (590 laps led).
● Harvick’s first NASCAR Cup Series win at Michigan came on Aug. 15, 2010. Fifteen races passed before Harvick’s second win on Aug. 12, 2018, but in that span he finished second six times, including a run of four straight runner-up finishes (2013-2014).
● Harvick has flexed his muscles outside of the NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan. In 11 career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the track, Harvick has a win (August 2003), four top-fives and nine top-10s. And in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Harvick has a win (August 2011) and two top-fives and four top-11s.
● If Michigan were a bingo card, Harvick would’ve yelled “Bingo” more than anyone… until Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400. Busch Light Apple is integrating Bingo into the 200-lap race where fans will have the chance to win $1,000 per stage and other Busch Light Apple prizes by playing its version of Bingo on Twitter. All fans have to do is follow @BuschBeer, turn on their notifications, and play along. Whenever anything listed on the Busch Light Apple Bingo board happens, fans have the opportunity to win Busch Light Apple swag. If three spaces connect, they have a chance to win $1,000. Just tweet #BuschLightApple #Sweepstakes when anything on the board happens, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win. Bingo blocks include “Start of Stage”, “Caution Flag”, “Harvick in First”, “Harvick Pit Stop”, “End of Stage”, “20th Lap of Stage”, “Busch Light Apple Commercial” and “40th Lap of Stage”. FYI: The first two stages are 60 laps apiece and the final stage is 80 laps. The FireKeepers Casino 400 starts at 3 p.m. EDT and can be seen live on NBCSN and, of course, those 21 and older can best enjoy it with a Busch Light Apple, a crisp, refreshing, apple-flavored lager with a touch of sweet on the front end and a clear, beer finish on the back end. It is available for a limited time only in 12-, 24- and 30-packs at a store near you.
Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang
What was it like to sweep both Michigan races last year, and on back-to-back days no less?
“The doubleheader at Michigan was a unique situation because we had to run back-to-back races due to COVID and how it affected our schedule. Michigan has always been a great racetrack for us. We’ve been strong every time we’ve been there. Being able to win both of those races was pretty awesome just because of the fact that it’s probably something we might not have the opportunity to do again, especially now since we’re only racing at Michigan once a year. It was a great moment for our team.”
When you swept last year’s races at Michigan on consecutive days, you did something that hadn’t been done since Richard Petty in 1971. Does a milestone like that resonate with you, especially when you’re doing something only achieved by someone best known as “The King”?
“Absolutely. When you start hearing things that are being compared to The King, you have to kind of step back and look and say, ‘Alright, that was pretty cool,’ because if The King’s the only other one who’s done it, that’s a pretty cool stat. And it’s a huge accomplishment for the team and their preparation and the effort that they put into the weekend. It’s something you can always say you did that The King did.”
How satisfying were your back-to-back wins last year at Michigan?
“When you look at being able to do that two days in a row, it says a lot about the guys working on the cars and being able to turn that around. Being able to say, ‘Hey, we need to do this better or that better.’ After you just won the race literally less than 24 hours later, you go back out on the racetrack and be good with those changes to be confident enough to say the track is going to change, we need to make these changes and do that again. There’s an evolution that needs to take place, and the evolution that took place over the course of two days was definitely challenging – to be able to convince yourself that you needed to do better than you did the first day. But you had to know that everybody was going to get better the second day and the racetrack was going to be different. Those guys do a great job prepping the Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang and it makes my job easy.”
What can you take from last year’s success at Michigan and apply to this year’s race?
“With so many stipulations put on the rules this year about what you can and can’t race, you would hope that we go back up there and be decent, as far as the things we did over the offseason and the small rule changes here and there. So much is going to be very similar to what we did in 2020. You want to hope that the results can be as rewarding.”
Considering your history at Michigan, you’re probably the best person to ask this question – what does it take to be successful at Michigan?
“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, in particular, love going to Michigan. Ford, from a manufacturer’s side, loves having the manufacturers’ 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.”
No. 4 Busch Light Apple Team Roster
Primary Team Members
Driver: Kevin Harvick
Hometown: Bakersfield, California
Crew Chief: Rodney Childers
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Car Chief: Robert “Cheddar” Smith
Hometown: Whitewater, Wisconsin
Engineer: Dax Gerringer
Hometown: Gibsonville, North Carolina
Engineer: Stephen Doran
Hometown: Butler, Pennsylvania
Spotter: Tim Fedewa
Hometown: Holt, Michigan
Front Tire Changer: Shayne Pipala
Hometown: Frankfort Square, Illinois
Rear Tire Changer: Daniel Smith
Hometown: Concord, North Carolina
Tire Carrier: Jeremy Howard
Hometown: Delhart, Texas
Jack Man: Stan Doolittle
Hometown: Ninety Six, South Carolina
Fuel Man: Evan Marchal
Hometown: Westfield, Indiana
Road Crew Members
Mechanic: Richie Bean
Hometown: Bradford, Vermont
Tire Specialist: Jamie Turski
Hometown: Trumbull, Connecticut
Engine Tuner: Robert Brandt
Hometown: Mobile, Alabama
Transporter Co-Driver: Rick Hodges
Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Transporter Co-Driver: Stephen Mitchell
Hometown: Woodville, Ohio
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!