Budweiser Racing Team Notes of Interest
Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS team travel to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) this weekend for Sunday’s Phoenix Race for Heroes 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
#HolidayBuds… To celebrate the upcoming holiday season, Harvick’s No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet features a special paint scheme for this weekend’s race at PIR. The paint scheme replicates Budweiser’s classic holiday packaging that was introduced this week by the King of Beers. The 12-, 18- and 24-pack bottles available in the holiday packaging feature classic labels from 1918 – the last label before Prohibition, 1933 – the first label following the repeal of Prohibition, and 1976 – the Budweiser brand’s 100th anniversary. In addition, Budweiser has introduced a limited-edition, handmade wooden crate with 18 bottles of Budweiser and two pilsner glasses inside, all featuring authentic classic labels. Only 10,000 of the wooden crates – handmade by Vintage Editions in North Carolina – will be available, hitting shelves across the country this week. The wooden crate is an exact replica of those stacked atop the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdale hitch.
Chase Update… With one race remaining in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, Harvick is ranked eighth in the standings. He sits six points out of the fourth-place cut-off point for the championship round.
Chassis Info… The No. 4 Budweiser team will utilize Chassis No. 843 in Sunday’s race. Harvick has raced this car on several occasions this year, including: Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March (42nd – hub issue); Darlington Raceway in April (won); Pocono Raceway in June (14th); and Dover International Speedway in September (13th – flat tire).
Phoenix Stats... Harvick has 23 starts at PIR and has raced his way to Victory Lane five times at the 1-mile track, including three of the last four races. He has earned eight top fives and 12 top 10s, and has an average start of 17.8 and an average finish of 11.8 at PIR.
Loop Data... Harvick owns a number of impressive marks in NASCAR’s Loop Data scoring system at PIR heading into this weekend's event, including: second in average running position (10.5); second in driver rating (103.9); second in fastest drivers early in a run (127.832 mph); second in fastest laps run (386 laps); second in fastest on restarts (123.436 mph); second in green flag speed (125.868 mph); second in laps led (714 laps); fourth in laps in top 15 (4,646 laps); fifth in speed in traffic (124.991 mph); seventh in fastest drivers late in a run (124.588 mph); and ninth in quality passes (446 passes).
A Look Back… During last year’s fall race at PIR, Harvick started ninth and captured the checkered flag after leading 70 laps. In the spring event at PIR, Harvick showcased his dominance once again. He led 224 laps en route to scoring his first win with the No. 4 team.
Harvick on Phoenix International Raceway
You've competed at Phoenix International Raceway for a long time. What does the track mean to you? "I have raced there a long time. I guess the first time would have been ’95. You had (Rick) Carelli and you had Mike Chase and you had (Ron) Hornaday. I know Carelli raced there for a long time, long before there were any of the current grandstands and any of the buildings, and they used to run the open comp cars. My dad would come over and work on the race track, and if there was a bad storm you couldn't get to the track because the bridge was washed out. There are a lot of things that a lot of people don’t remember about Phoenix. It’s very special to me. They used to have the Copper Classic and the 300-lapper at the end of the year for the Southwest Tour cars. It was our Daytona 500. So, to be able to go back and win races there and be successful means a lot to me.”
Your track record at Phoenix International Raceway really speaks for itself. Talk about racing at Phoenix. “I’ve always liked racing on the flat tracks like Phoenix. It’s similar to the tracks that most of us grew up racing on. Phoenix is a very challenging race track. It has a very unique layout that is different at both ends. I feel like I’ve been racing at Phoenix my entire career, and I feel that what I’ve learned there has helped me be successful on the other flat tracks we race at. The race track continues to change as it ages, so you’re always tweaking to keep up with the changes every time we head out there.”
You’ve had a lot of success at Phoenix International Raceway. In your opinion, what’s the challenge related to the ‘new version’ of the track since the repave? “You really have to have an understanding of the track. Every time we go back, I feel like we learn something different. The track is still racy enough where you can make up time if your car is good, but you need to stay focused on strategy. Like I said, the track has definitely changed since the repave a couple of years ago. The weather really helps wear the track. It’s incredibly hot in the summer and can get really cold in the winter, so there are some pretty extreme temperatures that have helped to age the asphalt. It’s been an interesting track to race on under both configurations, but I think it’s even more exciting now, and most of that comes from having the design right.”