Kevin Harvick No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet Event Preview: NHMS
NASCAR Cup Series
Track Position Is Key at The Magic Mile
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (July 13, 2016) – Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), knows track position will be key to winning when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon for Sunday’s New Hampshire 301.
Winning Sunday at “The Magic Mile” is the only outcome that will help improve Harvick’s position when he pursues his goal of a second Sprint Cup championship.
The Bakersfield, California native earned the first requirement for entry into the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs in thrilling fashion when he scored a win in just the fourth race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway by .01 of a second over runner-up Carl Edwards. By finishing last weekend’s race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta 382 points ahead of the 31st-place driver in the standings, Harvick is now guaranteed to finish in the top-30 in driver points after race No. 26 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in September. A second win and attempting to qualify for the remaining eight regular-season Sprint Cup events would guarantee Harvick a spot in the Chase.
With one win and his top-30 points position secured, Harvick is now racing for wins and the accompanying bonus points for when the NASCAR playoffs kick off at Chicagoland Speedway in September.
The 2014 Sprint Cup champion knows how to win at New Hampshire, but he also knows that it is easier said than done.
Harvick scored his lone Sprint Cup win there from the pole position in September 2006, when he led 196 of 300 laps en route to victory lane.
In his most recent visit to the Granite State in September 2015, he started second and led a race-high 216 laps but ran out of fuel in the closing laps and finished 21st. In July 2015, he started 12th and was leading the race when he brought his No. 4 Chevrolet to pit road for a four-tire stop late in the race, while several other teams opted for a two-tire stop resulting in a third-place finish. He also had a chance to win in September 2014, when he started third, led a race-high 104 laps and finished third.
Harvick’s plan of attack for the weekend at New Hampshire is to attempt to qualify up front Friday to secure the track position needed to win Sunday as the three bonus points for winning are the only points worth counting for Harvick this weekend.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John's Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What makes the fans in Loudon so intense and so loyal?
“I’ve had a little bit different experience and I’ll go outside of Loudon a little bit. I was fortunate to go up and experience the Oxford 250 in Oxford, Maine and that’s really where you see those grassroots fans. I went up there in 2007 and, to this day, I still see a lot of the competitors and people who come by and say hello. It’s just fun to be able to have met those people. We were fortunate – looking back on it now it was fortunate – but we might not have thought it was fortunate at the time, but to sit around in the rain for two days and talk to the folks, see where they were from and find out what they’re about was a pretty cool experience. It’s a great region for us in terms of fans and competitors, and really a big racing community.”
What is the first thing you think of when you know you’re going to Loudon?
“Usually the first thing that I think of when heading to Loudon is knowing that it’s going to be cool weather. Usually at that particular point in the year in July, we haven’t gone to too many places that are very pleasant as far as the weather goes. I love going to Loudon in the middle of the summer and usually we are able to enjoy a cooler day than what we’ve been around and they have good race fans and a good race weekend.”
What does it take to be successful at Loudon?
“I’d say the most important thing at Loudon is track position just because it’s hard to pass. You want to be up front and on the right strategy no matter what you do. If the caution flag falls in the wrong spot and you lose track position, it usually becomes a longer day than it could have been.”
Chassis Information - Chassis No. 986: Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS built on Chassis No. 4-899 in the New Hampshire 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Built in 2014, Chassis No. 4-899 made its debut in September 2014 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, where it started sixth, led 79 laps and finished fifth. Since its debut in 2014, Chassis No. 4-899 has started on the front row three times, including twice from the pole position, and recorded two top-five finishes, four top-10s and led 686 laps through seven Sprint Cup starts.
New Hampshire Notes of Interest:
- Triple-A Home Run Derby Captain: Harvick spent Monday night at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, home of the Chicago White Sox Triple-A affiliate, attending the Triple-A Home Run Derby as part of Triple-A All-Star Week festivities. Harvick served as one of seven honorary captains for the event, which included: WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter, Charlotte Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson, former Charlotte Panther wide receiver Steve Smith, former NFL player Jason Sehorn, Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford and Charlotte 49ers head basketball coach Mark Price. The event raised $1,000 for the Kevin Harvick Foundation.
- Brickyard Test: Harvick and the No. 4 team spent Tuesday and Wednesday testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at The Brickyard NASCAR Sprint Cup race scheduled for July 24.
- Freaky Fast Since 2014: Harvick is in his 16th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and his third at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with crew chief Rodney Childers at the helm. In their first two seasons together, Harvick and Childers combined to produce eight victories, nine poles, 37 top-five finishes and 48 top-10s; led 4,431 laps; won the 2014 Sprint Cup title; and finished runner-up in 2015 to champion Kyle Busch.
- 2016 Race Winner: Harvick is one of 11 Sprint Cup winners through the first 18 races of 2016. He scored his lone win of the season March 13 at Phoenix International Raceway in one of the closest finishes in series history, when he beat runner-up Carl Edwards to the finish line by .01 of a second. The win should secure Harvick a spot in the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs.
- 2016 Loop Leader: According to NASCAR Stats and Information, Harvick leads all Sprint Cup drivers in 2016 in points (599), driver rating (109.7), average finish (8.9), average running position (8.410), fastest laps run (630), percentage of fastest laps run (14.8), laps run on the lead lap (5,079), percentage of laps run on the lead lap (97.64), laps in the top-15 (4,665) and percentage of laps in the top-15 (89.7). He ranks second in bonus points (22), top-10 finishes (14), laps led (829), percentage of laps led (15.9) and miles led (1,083.7). He ranks third in top-five finishes (seven).
- Points Position: Harvick scored a ninth-place finish at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta in the most recent Sprint Cup race Saturday night to defend his lead in the driver standings. He now leads second-place driver Brad Keselowski by four points heading into the New Hampshire 301.
- First or Second: Since joining SHR at the beginning of 2014, Harvick and Childers have teamed to score 31 top-two finishes, including nine wins and 22 runner-up efforts, in 90 total races. The pairing has finished either first or second in more than 34 percent of the Sprint Cup races since the start of 2014.
- 9,000 Laps Led and Counting: Harvick led 139 laps in the Good Sam 500k at Phoenix to surpass 9,000 laps led for his Sprint Cup career. He is one of only five active Sprint Cup drivers to lead more than 9,000 laps. The others are Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. After leading 128 laps at Kentucky last weekend, Harvick now sits at 9,686 laps led for his Sprint Cup career.
- Leading Laps: Harvick has led 829 laps through the first 18 points-paying races of 2016. The Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, and the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn are the four points-paying races of 2016 in which Harvick did not lead at least one lap.
- Harvick in the Sprint Cup Series at Loudon: Harvick will make his 31st career Sprint Cup start at New Hampshire Sunday. Harvick’s lone win came in September 2006, when he won from the pole and led 196 of 300 laps. He has seven top-five finishes and 15 top-10s with an average starting position of 13.1, average finish of 13.8, 698 laps led and has completed every race.
- Harvick in the Xfinity Series at Loudon: Harvick has made 12 career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at New Hampshire. Harvick has one win (June 2007), four poles (May 2001, July 2003 and 2005 and June 2007), nine top-five finishes and 11 top-10s at the 1.058-mile oval. The two-time Xfinity Series champion has led 677 laps, has an average starting position of 3.1, an average finish of 4.8, and has completed every lap he’s contested there.
- Harvick in the Camping World Truck Series at Loudon: Harvick has made six career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at New Hampshire. Harvick has three top-five finishes and five top-10s at the 1.058-mile oval. The Bakersfield, California native has led 108 laps, has an average starting position of 4.3, an average finish of 6.5, and has completed 99.9 percent (1,158 of 1,159) of the laps he’s contested there.
- Career Totals: Harvick has 32 wins, 144 top-five finishes, 271 top-10s and 15 poles in 556 career Sprint Cup starts heading into Sunday’s New Hampshire 301.
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