Kevin Harvick No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet Event Preview: Texas
NASCAR Cup Series
The Elusive Victory Lane
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Nov. 5, 2015) – The most important number to Kevin Harvick heading into Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth is his number of trips to victory lane in the Sprint Cup Series at the 1.5-mile oval – zero.
The driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) is still looking for his first Sprint Cup win at Texas even though he has had success there in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Harvick has five wins and two poles at Texas in the Xfinity Series. He’s also scored eight top-five finishes, 14 top-10s and led 755 laps. He has an average starting position of 6.8 and finish of 8.1.
In the Truck Series, Harvick has one Texas victory, which came in 2011. He also has two top-five finishes and led 64 laps in four starts.
In 25 Sprint Cup starts at Texas, Harvick has five top-five finishes and 13 top-10s with an average finish of 12.7.
While he is still chasing that elusive Sprint Cup win at Texas, Harvick’s recent starts there show he may be close to finally breaking through. He has finished in the top-10 in five of his last seven races at Texas, including back-to-back runner-up finishes, and led 99 laps in his last three starts.
Thirty-three races into this season, Harvick has been a model of consistency as he has 20 top-five finishes, and he’s also led a series-high 2,094 laps with an average finish of 9.2.
The reigning Sprint Cup champion leads several other statistical categories: 118.1 driver rating, 45 bonus points, 1,303 fastest laps run, 33.9 percent of fastest laps run, 21.8 percent of laps led, 2,523.11 miles led, 8,721 laps in the top-15 and average running position of 7.477.
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 laps in 2014.
While consistency has been key for Harvick throughout the season, his appearance in the Eliminator Round came anything but easily. The defending series champion raced his way from the Challenger Round to the Contender Round with a dominant performance in a “must-win” situation at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. He fought off elimination by leading 355 of 400 laps at Dover en route to scoring his first Chase win of the season.
In the Contender Round, Harvick finished second at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, 16th at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City and 15th at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway to advance to the Eliminator Round.
Jeff Gordon punched his ticket to the Championship race at Homestead by virtue of his win at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway last weekend. Harvick finished eighth at Martinsville and holds a seven point cushion over fifth-place driver Carl Edwards in the standings. His goals this weekend at Texas are to at least better his fourth-place position in the point standings or, better yet, punch his ticket to defend his 2014 Sprint Cup championship with a win that would automatically advance him to the Championship Round in Homestead.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
How is the drama and excitement of this year’s Chase compared to what it was last year?
“I don’t really get into drama and excitement. For me, it’s really about being intense in our own little bubble. I know, for us, it seems like there is more to navigate than there was last year just for the fact that we’ve had so many things go wrong up to this point. I think we’ve had one that has gone right and that was at Dover, so every other week we’ve had to navigate something or work through something to get the best finish we can. Hopefully we can clean all those things up and do a little better over the final couple of weeks.”
What do you need to have to be best at the end of the race at Texas?
“I’d say at Texas you need to have a well-balanced car. It’s a very fast racetrack, but I think as you look at the bumps and the way that the asphalt has worn out, cars drive pretty tough and have become more difficult to drive as you get later in the run. So you need to have a well-balanced racecar to try to make as much speed as possible.”
Chassis Information: Chassis No. 4-846: Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS built on Chassis No. 4-846 in the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth. Built in 2014, Chassis No. 4-846 debuted at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in March 2014. It scored its only win at Dover in its most recent appearance where it started 15th and led 355 of 400 laps. It also has three second-place finishes, five top-five finishes and six top-10s in eight starts.
Texas Motor 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.
- Regular-Season Point Total: The defending Sprint Cup champion closed out the regular season with 978 points prior to the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship standings reset following the 26th and final regular-season race of 2015 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. 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 Jeff Gordon in 2014.
- Harvick in 2015: Harvick has wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Dover (Del.) International Speedway through the first 33 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 33 Sprint Cup starts and has scored 25 top-10s in 2015. He has led a series-high 2,094 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. He has led more than 28 percent (644 of 2,266 laps) of the total laps run through the first seven races. He kicked off the Chase with a 42nd-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois 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. In the Contender Round, Harvick finished second at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, finished 16th at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, and 15th at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway to advance to the Eliminator Round. He finished eighth to kick off the Eliminator Round at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
- 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 was 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 at Dover in October. He has led 2,094 laps led through the first 33 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 1,303. The next-closest competitor is Matt Kenseth with 576. Harvick’s 2,094 laps led and 2,523.11 miles led are also tops in the series. The next-closest competitor in both categories is Joey Logano with 1,359 laps led and 1,632.57 miles led.
- 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 in October. Combined with their three Sprint Cup wins, the No. 4 team has recorded 14 top-two finishes through the first 33 races of 2015.
- Top-Five Finishes: Harvick’s 20 top-five finishes through the first 33 races of 2015 establishes his new single-season best. His 18 top- five finishes through the 26-race regular season races 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.
- Inside the 2015 Loop Data: Harvick leads the Sprint Cup Series in second-place finishes (11), top-five finishes (20), driver rating (118.1), average running position (7.477), number of fastest laps run (1,303), percentage of fastest laps (33.9), laps led (2,094), percentage of laps led (21.8), miles led (2,523.11), laps in the top-15 (8,721), percentage of laps in top-15 (90.8) and bonus points (45).
- Bonus Points: Harvick has scored 45 bonus points and at least one bonus point in 26 of 33 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. Joey Logano is second with 44.
- The Kevin Harvick Foundation Event: The Kevin Harvick Foundation, in partnership with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, hosted a ribbon cutting on the new Kevin Harvick Foundation Park at the Boys & Girls Club in Greensboro, North Carolina Wednesday, Nov. 4. The park is a 92,000-square-foot, synthetic-turf, multi-purpose athletic field designed to host youth baseball, girls’ softball, youth soccer and other outdoor recreational and educational activities for at-risk children at the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs in Greensboro. The goal of the park is to provide at-risk children with access to a safe, clean, positive environment to participate in wholesome, out-of- school activities and mentoring programs while positively transforming not only their young lives, but the neighborhood in which they live. The park is complete with a scoreboard, dugouts, soccer goals, bleachers and fencing.
- Harvick in the Sprint Cup Series at Texas: The AAA Texas 500 will mark Harvick’s 26th career Sprint Cup start at Texas. Harvick has five top-five finishes, including consecutive second-place results in his last two starts, and 13 top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval. The 39-year-old driver has led 104 laps, has an average starting position of 19.0, an average finish of 12.7, and has completed 96.1 percent (8,048 of 8,374) of the laps he’s contested there.
- Harvick in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Texas: Harvick has made 17 starts in the Xfinity Series at Texas. Harvick has five wins (March 2001, November 2005, November 2006, November 2007 and November 2012), two poles (April 2008 and April 2014), eight top-five finishes and 14 top-10s. He has led 755 laps, has an average starting position of 6.8, an average finish of 8.1, and has completed 99.2 percent (3,300 of 3,327) of the laps he’s contested there.
- Harvick in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Texas: Harvick has made four starts in the Camping World Truck Series at Texas. Harvick has one win (November 2011), two top-five finishes and two top-10s. He has led 64 laps, has an average starting position of 16.8, an average finish of 12.2, and has completed 92.6 percent (573 of 619) of the laps he’s contested there.
- Career Totals: Harvick has 31 wins, 134 top-five finishes, 255 top-10s and 15 poles in 535 career Sprint Cup starts heading into Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
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