Kevin Harvick No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Event Preview: Charlotte
NASCAR Cup Series
Survive and Advance
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (Oct. 4, 2017) – Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), survived the first round of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and advanced to the Round of 12 starting with Sunday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion got off to a fast start in the Round of 16 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, by finishing second in the opening two stages and third in the race, but did not finish the second race of the Round of 16 due to a crash at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. He then finished 17th at Dover (Del.) International Speedway after suffering a loose wheel that trapped the No. 4 Ford a lap down at the checkered flag.
The Bakersfield, California native is hoping he can get off to the same fast start in the Round of 12 with a strong showing at Charlotte.
Harvick has shown speed at Charlotte – especially on Fridays. He has won the pole in the last two points-paying races there.
In October 2016, Harvick won the pole for the Bank of America 500 with a lap of 27.547 seconds at 196.029 mph around the 1.5-mile oval. Unfortunately, Harvick and the No. 4 team fell victim to a mechanical issue in the race and finished 38th.
They rebounded in May 2017 by capturing Harvick’s second consecutive pole award with a lap of 27.918 seconds at 193.424 mph. He went on to lead 45 laps and capture an eighth-place finish in the 600-mile race.
Harvick has reason to believe he can turn his speed Friday into a win Sunday based on past performance at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In fact, he has three NASCAR Cup Series points-paying wins at Charlotte, with one coming in the 2014 Bank of America 500.
In that October 2014 race, Harvick started seventh, led 162 of 334 laps and beat runner-up Jeff Gordon to the finish line by .571 of a second to secure his position in the Round of 8 of the NASCAR Playoffs on his way to winning his first NASCAR Cup Series championship.
The goal is to lock up a win early in each of the first three playoff rounds, but Harvick has also shown that he can win at each of the next three racetracks that make up the Round of 12. He owns three NASCAR Cup Series wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, one at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and two at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
Charlotte represents the first race of the Round of 12 in this year’s playoffs and Harvick would love nothing more than to race his way to his second win of the 2017 season and lock up his position in the Round of 8 early as he pursues NASCAR’s ultimate prize – the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John's Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
You have won at each of the three tracks in the Round of 12. What does that do for your confidence?
“It’s nice to know that you can go to any of these racetracks and win because we have. They’re all hard to win at. I think as you look at going to Charlotte, really trying to put the car back in victory lane is the first goal. If you can’t, then really try to get the best finish you can. That comes with no mistakes and really trying, if you do have a mistake, to overcome it and capitalize on the moment if you have it to actually get to victory lane.”
Between Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega, which track are you looking forward to most?
“I think Charlotte, just for the fact that we’ve had so much success there. We’ve run well there, really, every time we’ve been there with our Stewart-Haas Racing cars. Going there this weekend is definitely something that I’m looking forward to. Any racetracks that you’ve had some success at, you definitely want to go back. Charlotte is probably the one I’m looking forward to the most, and then obviously Kansas and Talladega will come after that. Hopefully, we can get off to a good start.”
What are the challenges Charlotte presents?
“Charlotte is a really finicky racetrack and temperature is a huge factor in how the racetrack changes, how the pace changes, so you have to try to guess a little bit on that. If the weather is an issue as we creep into the weekend, you have to try to plan and balance all those things, but you have to be ready to abort that plan and come up with a new one at any given point.”
Chassis Information - Chassis No. 4-1041: Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-1041 in the Bank of America 500 Sunday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Built new in 2017, Chassis No. 4-1041 made its debut at Pocono in June when it started 12th and finished second to race-winner Ryan Blaney by .139 of a second. It made its second appearance in July at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, where Harvick started sixth and finished runner-up to Kyle Busch by 6.178 seconds.
Charlotte Motor Speedway Notes of Interest:
- Earning It Since 2014: Harvick is in his 17th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and his fourth at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with crew chief Rodney Childers at the helm. Since joining forces in 2014, Harvick and Childers combined to produce 13 victories, 14 poles, 63 top-five finishes and 92 top-10s; led 6,441 laps; won the 2014 Cup Series title; finished runner-up in 2015 to champion Kyle Busch and eighth in 2016.
- Points Position: Harvick arrives at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500 ranked sixth in the driver standings with 3,015 points after his 17th-place finish at Dover (Del.) International Speedway last Sunday. He maintains a seven-point advantage ahead of ninth in the standings heading into the first of three Round of 12 races this weekend.
- Playoff Qualifier: Harvick clinched his position in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs as he scored his first Cup Series win of the season at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June. He started 12th, led 24 laps and had more than a five-second cushion when the final yellow flag waved to end the race under caution.Harvick and the No. 4 team scored one race win and three stage wins to account for eight playoff points and finished fourth in regular season points to pick up an additional seven points to earn the sixth seed for the 2017 playoffs.
- Harvick at Charlotte since Joining SHR: Harvick has seven Cup Series points-paying starts at Charlotte and four non-points starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race since joining SHR at the beginning of the 2014 season. He scored runner-up finishes in 2014 and 2015 in the All-Star Race. Harvick has one win, two poles, three second-place finishes, an eighth-place finish, ninth-place finish and a 38th-place finish in his six points-paying starts at Charlotte since joining SHR. His lone win came in the Bank of America 500 in October 2014, when he started seventh, led 162 laps and beat Jeff Gordon to the finish line by.571 of a second. He finished runner-up to Jimmie Johnson in May 2014, Joey Logano in October 2015 and Truex in May 2016. Harvick won the pole in October 2016 with a lap of 27.547 seconds at 196.029 mph. He won the pole at Charlotte in May 2017 with a lap of 27.918 seconds at 193.424 mph to score his second consecutive pole in a points-paying race at Charlotte.
- Harvick in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte: The Bank of America 500 will mark Harvick’s 33rd career points-paying Cup Series start at Charlotte. He has three wins (May 2011 and 2013, October 2014), two poles (October 2016 and May 2017), seven top-five finishes and 15 top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval. The 41-year-old driver has led 379 laps, has an average starting position of 15.7, has an average finish of 15.2 and has completed 96.5 percent (11,443 of 11,854) of the laps he’s contested there. Harvick’s three Cup Series wins at Charlotte trails only Johnson’s eight and Kasey Kahne’s four among active Cup Series drivers.
- Runner-Up Finishes at Charlotte: Harvick is tied with Matt Kenseth among active Cup Series drivers with four runner-up finishes at Charlotte Motor Speedway. They both trail NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty’s nine for most all-time.
- Harvick at Charlotte in the Xfinity Series: Harvick has 27 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Charlotte. He has three poles (May 2001, May and October 2003), seven top-fives, 17 top-10s, and has led 293 laps with an average finish of 10.7. He has also scored top-fives in five of his last seven Xfinity starts at Charlotte. His best Xfinity finish at Charlotte was second in October 2012, when he took the checkered flag 2.760 seconds behind race-winner Joey Logano.
- Harvick at Charlotte in the Camping World Truck Series: Harvick has three starts at Charlotte in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He started third, led 70 of 136 laps and finished fifth in his first start in May 2003. He started sixth and finished fourth in May 2004. In his most recent Truck Series start at Charlotte in May 2007, Harvick started 24th and finished 28th after he suffered a mechanical issue.
- On The Pole: Harvick has scored four Cup Series pole awards in 2017 – three coming on 1.5-mile racetracks. He scored his first of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a lap of 29.118 seconds at 190.398 mph. His second of the season came at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, when he made a lap at 27.217 seconds at 198.405 mph. His third came at Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600 with a lap of 27.918 seconds at 193.424 mph. The most recent came five weeks ago at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, where he posted a lap of 27.669 seconds at 177.730 mph.
- All-Time Wins List: Harvick scored his 36th career Cup Series win at Sonoma in June, which is ranked 22nd on the all-time wins list. His next Cup Series win will move him into a tie with Bobby Isaac for 21st on the all-time list. Among active drivers, Harvick ranks fourth behind leader Jimmie Johnson’s 83 career wins, Kyle Busch’s 42 and Matt Kenseth with 38 wins.
- Closing In on 11,000 Lap Led: Harvick also needs 133 laps led to become the 17th Cup Series driver of all time to lead 11,000 or more laps. Johnson, Kyle Busch and Kenseth are the only active drivers to accomplish the feat.
- Career NASCAR Cup Series Totals: Harvick has 36 wins, 163 top-fives, 301 top-10s and 21 poles in 603 career Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s race at Charlotte.
- Personal Announcement: On Tuesday, July 11, Harvick kicked off his SiriusXM Radio show “Happy Hours” by announcing that he and wife DeLana are expecting to add a daughter to their family around the first of the year.
- Harvick’s Happy Hours on SiriusXM Radio: On March 14, Harvick announced that he will host Happy Hours on SiriusXM Radio. The show debuted March 28 and airs on Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. ET, featuring Harvick’s distinctive perspective on his sport and life outside the track. Harvick and co-host Matt Yocum take calls from listeners and give NASCAR fans a unique view on the driver’s life and interests when he is away from the racecar.
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