Earning It Under The Lights At Bristol
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (Aug. 17, 2016) – Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is looking to reclaim the Sprint Cup Series points lead Saturday in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Harvick held the lead in the Sprint Cup standings for 13 consecutive weeks before falling to second following a 32nd-place finish two weekends ago at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. He now sits nine markers back of points leader Brad Keselowski heading into Saturday night’s race at Bristol.
The best news for Harvick coming into this weekend may be crew chief Rodney Childers’ record at the .533-mile bullring. He’s led four different Sprint Cup drivers to top-five finishes at Bristol. In addition to Harvick’s runner-up finish in August 2015, Childers has led Scott Riggs, David Reutimann and Brian Vickers to top-five finishes at the track affectionately known as “Thunder Valley.” Childers led Riggs to a fourth-place finish in August 2006 while both worked for Evernham Motorsports. While at Michael Waltrip Racing, Childers led Reutimann to a runner-up finish in August 2010 and Brian Vickers to a fifth-place finish in March 2012, as well as fourth-place finishes in August 2012 and 2013.
It also helps that Harvick is no stranger to victory lane at Bristol. In fact, he has won there in each of NASCAR’s three touring series.
The 2014 Sprint Cup champion won at Bristol in NASCAR’s top series in April 2005, when he started 13th and led 109 of 500 laps and beat Elliott Sadler to the finish line by 4.652 seconds. He has five NASCAR Xfinity Series wins there with his most recent coming in March 2009, when he started 13th and led 46 laps to beat runner-up Carl Edwards by .798 of a second. He also visited Bristol’s victory lane in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in August 2011, when he started sixth, led 103 of 200 laps and beat Johnny Sauter by .434 of a second.
Harvick would like to add his second Sprint Cup win of the year at Bristol Saturday night. He scored his first in the season’s fourth race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Harvick clinched his spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship playoff field with his fourth-place finish Aug. 1 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, guaranteeing a top-30 finish in the driver points after race No. 26 Sept. 12 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. He only needs to attempt to qualify for the remaining four regular-season Sprint Cup events to make it official.
While Harvick and the No. 4 team are locked into the Chase field by points and a win, gaining bonus points for additional wins is now their top priority through the next four events, starting this weekend at Bristol.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What is it that makes the Bristol night race so special?
“The Bristol night race is one that has always been circled on everybody’s list as a race that they want to win. I think when you look at Bristol, it’s probably become harder than it used to be to pass, just for the fact that you run up against the wall. Plus, you add that short-track element. It’s hot and it’s frustrating, as well, just because it’s hard to pass and you know that you have to make time. It usually ends up that you have guys who run into each other and then we all get mad. It can definitely be a place where the tempers flare.”
Do you remember your first time racing under the lights at Bristol, and do you still have that same feeling when you go back?
“Bristol has never been one of those places that you think about that much, to be honest with you. It just seems like all the action and everything happens during the night races there, for whatever reason. It’s a fun place to race. It’s been a place where we’ve had a lot of success. And, sometimes you go there and you have no success because you run into something. It’s kind of feast or famine as you go there and that’s kind of where we are right now at this point in our season. We want to win races and, really, nothing else matters at this point except for wins. Hopefully, when we go back to Bristol, we will be on the right side of having some success.”
Chassis Information - Chassis No. 884: Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet SS built on Chassis No. 4-884 in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event Saturday night at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Built in 2014, Chassis No. 4-884 made its debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where it won the pole, led 12 laps and finished eighth. It also won the pole in its second appearance at Atlanta Motor Speedway in August, when it led 195 laps and finished 19th. It won its third appearance at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in October, when it started seventh and led 162 laps. Harvick drove it for his 500th career start at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth in November 2014, when he qualified fifth, led two laps and finished second. It has scored one win, five top-two finishes, six top-fives and eight top-10s in nine Sprint Cup starts.
Bristol Motor Speedway Notes of Interest: