Kevin Harvick No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet Event Preview: Kansas
NASCAR Cup Series
The King of Beers Reigns in Kansas City
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Oct. 14, 2015) – Kansas City is a town where sports teams are considered royalty. The city’s home teams have drawn their names from leaders of all kinds, starting with the Kansas City Royals, who are currently competing in the Major League Baseball playoffs, and the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs. And the practice dates as far back as the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro National League, and the former Kansas City Kings of the National Basketball Association.
This weekend, Kevin Harvick will bring his No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race with the “King of Beers” on the hood as the reigning Sprint Cup champion continues the defend of his 2014 crown.
Harvick’s 2015 campaign has made him the favorite to retain his title with only six races remaining in the Sprint Cup playoffs. He heads to Kansas ranked second in the Contender Round on the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup grid, 13 points above the cutoff line to advance to the Eliminator Round of eight drivers.
Thirty races into this season, Harvick has been a model of consistency with three wins and leads the series with 11 second-place finishes, 20 top-fives and 24 top-10s. He’s also led a series-high 2,031 laps with an average finish of 8.9.
Harvick is the first driver to lead 2,000 laps in consecutive seasons since Jeff Gordon in 1995 and 1996. The last three drivers to lead more than 2,000 laps in a single season have all gone on to win the Sprint Cup championship – Jeff Gordon led 2,320 laps in 2001, Jimmie Johnson led 2,238 laps in 2009 and Harvick led 2,137 in 2014.
After placing second last Sunday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Harvick became the 13th driver since 1972 to collect 20 top-five finishes in a season. The others include: Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Benny Parsons, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte and Jimmie Johnson.
The runner-up finish was also Harvick’s 11th of the season, the most since Bobby Allison logged 12 runner-up finishes in 1972. The No. 4 Chevrolet driver boasts 14 top-two finishes this season, double the total of the next-best drivers in that category – Kyle Busch and Johnson, who each have seven.
The reigning Sprint Cup champion leads several other statistical categories: 119.3 driver rating, 42 bonus points, 1,218 fastest laps run, 31.7 percent of fastest laps run, 23.5 percent of laps led, 2,460 miles led, 7,856 laps in the top-15 and average running position of 7.482.
In 2015, the Bakersfield, California native led the 26-race regular season with 978 points prior to the Chase driver standings reset following the 26th round at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Harvick’s point total through the first 26 races was the most under the current system that came into effect in 2011, surpassing the 914 regular-season points scored by Greg Biffle in 2012 and Jeff Gordon in 2014.
Harvick and the No. 4 team have reason for optimism as the series returns to Kansas for the second race of the three-race Contender Round of the Chase. Harvick has scored 512 points in the last 10 races at the 1.5-mile oval – more than any other driver. He also has one win, four top-five finishes and six top-10s with an average finish of 6.6 and 387 laps led. In 19 career Sprint Cup starts at Kansas, he has the second-best average finish of 9.4.
The reigning champions are hoping to continue their dominance in the Contender Round with a win at Kansas Speedway that would automatically advance the team to the Eliminator Round.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
How do you view this weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway?
“I view Kansas as an opportunity, just for the fact of how well we’ve run there over the last two years. We had a great test at Kansas and we felt like we learned a bunch of things that we could immediately apply to a lot of the different racetracks. I think that test has shown up in the performance of the cars. As you look at Kansas, I think the test has applied to what we did at Charlotte and should give us a great starting point for when we get to Kansas to take care of a lot of the characteristics that we already worked through during the test. I’m definitely looking forward to Kansas, for sure.”
How is your experience from the first round of the Chase going to make you better in this round?
“I think as you look at last year, this team dealt with building a new race team and a lot of adversity through the year with a lot of situations that could have torn things apart in a lot of other places, but everybody believed in each other. The one common denominator that we had in all of these situations is really fast race cars. So, in the end, you can make things happen when the car is running like it does and I think that is really what has held everything together – everybody sees the potential and the performance that we have on the racetrack and there is no reason to try and beat that down. We want to make that better. Being in a down situation is only going to make things worse, so we try to avoid those situations and move on as fast as we can.”
Chassis Information: Chassis No. 4-899: Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS built on Chassis No. 4-899 in the Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Built in 2014, Chassis No. 4-899 made its debut last September at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, where it started sixth, led 79 laps and finished fifth. It also served as a backup at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and Homestead-Miami Speedway at the end of 2014. Chassis No. 4-899 made its 2015 debut at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in April, where it started fourth, led 184 laps and finished 38th after being collected in an accident. It also raced at both Sprint Cup races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon in 2015. In July, Harvick started 12th, led 59 laps and finished third in Loudon. He started second at Loudon in September, led 216 laps, but ran out of fuel with less than three laps to go and finished 21st.
Kansas Speedway Notes of Interest:
- 2014 Sprint Cup Champion: Harvick, the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, is teamed with crew chief Rodney Childers in his second season at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). In their first season together, the duo combined to produce five victories, eight poles, 14 top-five finishes and 20 top-10s, and led 2,137 laps on their way to winning the Sprint Cup title.
- Harvick in 2015: Harvick has wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Dover (Del.) International Speedway through the first 30 events. At Dover, Harvick started 15th as Sprint Cup qualifying was cancelled due to rain, but went on to lead 355 of 400 laps en route to his third Sprint Cup win of the season. He started from the pole and led 224 laps en route to his Phoenix win and his third perfect 150.0 driver rating at the mile oval. He scored his first Sprint Cup win of the season the previous week in the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas. Harvick has finished in the top-five in 20 of 30 Sprint Cup starts and has scored 24 top-10s in 2015. He has led a series-high 2,031 laps.
- Harvick in the Chase: Harvick’s win in the AAA 400 Sprint Cup race at Dover clinched his spot in the Contender Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. He has led nearly 45 percent (581 of 1,301 laps) of the total laps run through the first four races. He kicked off the Chase with a 42nd-place finish at Chicagoland before dominating the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon by leading 216 laps, but finished 21st after running short on fuel. He fought off elimination by dominating the race at Dover, where he led 355 of 400 laps to score his first Chase win of the season. Harvick kicked off the Contender Round with a runner-up finish at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and is ranked second in Sprint Cup driver championship point standings.
- Chevrolet Scores 750th Sprint Cup Win: Harvick’s Oct. 4 victory at Dover marked the 750th for Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, more than any other manufacturer. It is the 48th win for the Chevrolet SS since its debut in 2013. Fonty Flock, driving a 1955 Chevy, scored the manufacturer’s first victory in the series March 26, 1955 at Columbia (S.C.) Speedway.
- 2,000 Laps Led and Counting: Harvick led his 2,000th lap of the season Sunday at Dover and finished the day with 2,031 laps led through the first 30 races of 2015. It marks the second time in Harvick’s 15-year career that he has led 2,000 laps in a single Sprint Cup season. He first accomplished the feat by leading 2,137 laps in 2014. He is the first driver to lead more than 2,000 laps in back-to-back seasons since Jeff Gordon in 1995 and 1996. The last three drivers to lead 2,000 laps in a single season all went on to win the Sprint Cup championship – Gordon led 2,320 laps in 2001, Jimmie Johnson led 2,238 laps in 2009 and Harvick led 2,137 laps in 2014.
- Freaky Fast: Harvick leads the Sprint Cup Series in the number of fastest laps with 1,218. The next-closest competitor is Brad Keselowski with 491.Harvick’s 2,031 laps led and 2,460 miles led are also tops in the series. The next-closest competitor in both categories is Joey Logano with 1,090 laps led and 1,407.49 miles led.
- Regular-Season Point Total: The defending Sprint Cup champion closed out the regular season with 978 points prior to the Chase standings reset following the 26th and final regular-season race of 2015 at Richmond. Harvick’s total through the first 26 races was the most under the current points system introduced in 2011, surpassing the 914 regular-season points scored by Greg Biffle in 2012 and Gordon in 2014.
- Eleven Runner-Up Finishes: Harvick became the 10th Sprint Cup driver to score double-digit runner-up finishes in a single season, and the first since Bobby Allison in 1972 when he finished second at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August. Harvick scored his 11th runner-up finish of 2015 at Charlotte Motor Speedway last Sunday. Combined with their three Sprint Cup wins, the No. 4 team has recorded 14 top-two finishes through the first 30 races of 2015.
- Top-Five Finishes: Harvick’s 20 top-five finishes through the first 30 races of 2015 establishes his new single-season best. His 18 top- five finishes through the 26-race regular season is also the most by any driver since the inception of the Chase in 2004. Harvick’s previous single-season best was 16 top-five finishes, which he set in 2010. Harvick surpassed his total of 14 top-five finishes in his 2014 Sprint Cup Series championship season when he finished third at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International last month.
- Inside the 2015 Loop Data: Harvick leads the Sprint Cup Series in second-place finishes (11), top-five finishes (20), top-10 finishes (24), driver rating (119.3), average running position (7.482), number of fastest laps run (1,218), percentage of fastest laps (31.7), laps led (2,031), percentage of laps led (23.5), miles led (2,460), laps in the top-15 (7,856), percentage of laps in top-15 (90.9) and bonus points (42).
- Bonus Points: Harvick has scored at least one bonus point in 23 of 30 races this season. He led at least one lap in 14 consecutive Sprint Cup points races, including the most in 10 races – Atlanta Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Bristol, Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Watkins Glen, New Hampshire and Dover. He also scored an additional three bonus points for each of his wins at Las Vegas, Phoenix and Dover. Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano are tied for second with 34 bonus points.
- The Kevin Harvick Foundation: The Kevin Harvick Foundation hosted its annual charity event Oct. 6-7 at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte. The event kicked off with a dinner, silent auction, live auction and games Tuesday, and ended with a golf outing Wednesday. Proceeds from the events benefit several projects the foundation is working on in partnership with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, including a new athletic field at the Boys & Girls Club in Greensboro, North Carolina and a new athletic field and gymnasium remodeling project at the Kern County Boys & Girls Club in Bakersfield, California.
- Harvick at Kansas since Joining SHR: Harvick has three Sprint Cup starts at Kansas since joining SHR at the beginning of the 2014 season and has won the pole for two of the three races and finished runner-up twice. He won the pole with a speed of 194.252 mph, led 119 laps and finished second to Gordon by 0.112 of a second in May 2014. He won the pole with a speed of 197.621 mph, led 61 laps and finished 12th in October 2014. He started sixth, led 53 laps and finished second to Johnson by 0.487 of a second in May. He has led more than 29 percent (233 of 801) of the total laps in his three starts at Kansas since joining SHR.
- Harvick in the Sprint Cup Series at Kansas: The Hollywood Casino 400 will mark Harvick’s 20th career Sprint Cup start at Kansas. He has one win (October 2013), three poles (October 2013, May and October 2014), four top-five finishes and nine top-10s at the 1.5- mile oval. The 39-year-old driver has led 454 laps, has an average starting position of 16.1, has an average finish of 11.0 and has completed 97.8 percent (4,911 of 5,021) of the laps he’s contested there.
- Harvick in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Kansas: Harvick has made 10 starts in the Xfinity Series at Kansas. He has one win (October 2006), one pole (October 2008), six top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He has led 208 laps, has an average starting position of 9.8, an average finish of 8.7 and has completed 93.8 percent (1,876 of 2,000) of the laps he’s contested there.
- Double Duty: Harvick will run both the Sprint Cup and Xfinity race this weekend at Kansas. Harvick will run the No. 88 Armour Chevrolet Camaro for JR Motorsports in Saturday’s Xfinity race and the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.
- Career Totals: Harvick has 31 wins, 134 top-five finishes, 253 top-10s and 15 poles in 532 career Sprint Cup starts heading into Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas.
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