Budweiser Racing Team Notes of Interest
• Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team will kick off the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season with Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.
• Media Availability… Harvick will be available to members of the media at Daytona International Speedway during the afternoon session of Media Day on Thursday.
• Grab Some Buds… Harvick and Budweiser Brewmaster George Reisch will host a private Budweiser Beer School in Daytona Beach for members of the media and NASCAR industry on Thursday. Richard Childress Racing (RCR) team owner Richard Childress and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet race team will also participate. Reisch, a fifth-generation brewmaster will teach the crowd about what goes into brewing the King of Beers.
• Off Season Fun… During the off season, Harvick enjoyed a variety of activities. He started the New Year off by serving as an honorary coach for the Virginia Tech Hokies wrestling team as they took on the University of Maryland Terrapins in Blacksburg, Va., on January 8. A couple weeks later he and New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera presented Gene Monahan, former head athletic trainer for the Yankees, with the William J. Slocum-Jack Lang award for long and meritorious service at the annual Baseball Writers’ Association of America dinner held in Manhattan on Jan. 21.
• Hall of Famer… On Wednesday, February 1, Harvick became the fourth driver to be inducted into the Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame in his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears, off-road champion Roger Mears and Indy 500 competitor George Snider are also enshrined there.
• For the Dogs…Harvick and his wife, DeLana, will film a segment for Nat Geo WILD’s “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan,” with their Chihuahua, Little One (LO), during the Budweiser Shootout weekend. Millan will also tape with driver Greg Biffle and record a third segment at the track with a NASCAR fan.
• Chassis Info…The No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team will utilize Chassis No. 295 in Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout. Harvick drove this car to Victory Lane in the 2010 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona and also scored a seventh-place finish with it in the Daytona 500 that February.
• Budweiser Shootout Stats…Harvick has made seven previous starts in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. He raced his No. 29 Chevrolet to Victory Lane twice in the Budweiser Shootout (2009 and 2010) and has earned four top-five and six top-10 finishes in the event. He’s led a total of 43 laps and completed 88.8 percent of the laps run (454 of 511) in the races he competed in. Harvick’s average finish in the Budweiser Shootout is 6.6.
• The Closer…True to his nickname, “the closer,” Harvick is ranked first in NASCAR statistics Loop Data Closers category, which ranks drivers by the number of positions improved in the last 10 percent of laps in each race. In the past five Budweiser Shootout races he’s competed in, Harvick has moved up 15 positions, gaining an average of three spots per race. He also holds the record for lowest starting position by a winner after scoring the victory in 2009 after starting 27th.
• Last Year…In last year’s Budweiser Shootout, Harvick started the race from the 18th position and drafted with his RCR teammate, Jeff Burton, for much of the race before scoring a seventh-place finish.
• 30 Years of Budweiser Racing…Anheuser-Busch’s involvement in NASCAR spans four decades and includes a number of relationships across the sport, and as 2012 kicks off with Kevin Harvick at the wheel of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet, the King of Beers will celebrate 30 seasons as a primary sponsor at the NSCS level. Budweiser first joined forces with Stratagraph Racing and Terry Labonte in the No. 44 Budweiser Chevrolet in 1983. Since then a number of top drivers have been a part of the Budweiser Racing family, including Darrell Waltrip, Neil Bonnett, Geoff Bodine, Bill Elliott, Ken Schrader, Ricky Craven, Wally Dallenbach, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne. As Budweiser Racing enters its 30th year as a team sponsor at the NSCS level, the program has earned one championship, 56 race wins, 43 pole awards, 278 top-five and 472 top-10 finishes.
• For the online version of the Budweiser Racing media guide, please visit http://www.budracingmedia.com.
• Follow along each weekend with Harvick and the team on Twitter. Check out @KevinHarvick for behind-the-scenes information straight from the driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet. Get live updates from the track each weekend from @Black29Car, the PR team for Harvick. Also, follow @RCRracing and @RCR29KHarvick for additional information about the Richard Childress Racing organization. Fans can also interact with Harvick on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/OfficialKevinHarvick.
Kevin Harvick on racing at Daytona International Speedway:
After the winter off season is it good to run Budweiser Shootout and knock some of the rust off? “I think so. I think anytime you can get on the race track in a competitive environment, it gives you a better idea of what you’re going to have. I think it enables us to kind of knock some of that rust off. As fast as the cars are and as many unknowns as there are, the Budweiser Shootout is definitely something that we’re all looking forward to.”
Is the Budweiser Shootout going to be a good indicator as to what you guys can and can’t do in relation to the two-car pushing after NASCAR has made the rule changes? “To a certain degree; obviously there’s probably going to be a huge temperature change from when we run the Daytona 500 in the afternoon to what we do on the night of the Budweiser Shootout. Mother Nature will definitely play a huge hand in the true effect of things, but the Budweiser Shootout is the closest you’ll get up until the (Daytona) 500.
How different was this past off season for you? “It’s been really good. (DeLana and I) went on vacation a few times and that’s something we haven’t had the chance to do a lot before. It’s been very relaxing. I was really kind of worried about being bored, but we’ve been anything but bored. It seems like you can always find something to do. Aside from my driving duties and the responsibilities that come with that, there’s no longer an absolute deadline and there’s not a 100 questions that you have to answer every day. It’s been very relaxing and good to recharge the batteries.”
What does that do for you going into the new season when you’ve had that type of an off season for the first time? “I think it’s one of those things where we, including myself and everyone at RCR, have made more changes this year than we ever have. I think that’s the type of aggressiveness that you’re going to have to have within the company and the teams, and the kind of mindset that you’re going to have to have to get the championship. We’ve been close the last couple of years. Nobody really did anything wrong, we just needed to get better. In order for the No. 29 to get better, the No. 27 and No. 31 have to get better, too, in order to keep driving the performance to where it needs to be. As a company, I think the attitude and the enthusiasm is good. With the Nationwide Series shop being here there’s just more information, there’s more people and there’s more stuff flowing and that was always something we had in the past when we were winning a lot of races. Right now everything is going good and we’ll just keep plugging away.”
What’s your outlook going into this year? How long do you think it’ll take to develop chemistry with your new crew chief, Shane Wilson? “From here forward the only thing that’s acceptable is to win a championship. Obviously the goal is to go out and win races, but the championship is really what we’re after. We’ve made the changes that we think are going to be better. Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t., but we had to do something to make the whole organization better. Shane and I have worked together in the past and I don’t really have a timeframe in mind for the chemistry to work in. I expect it to work right off the bat. We’re going to plug along as hard as we can. We’ve got some good plans and had some well-organized tests. I expect to go to Daytona and have a chance to win.”