Kevin Harvick No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Event Preview: Indy
NASCAR Cup Series
From Bakersfield to Indianapolis
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (July 19, 2017) – Kevin Harvick grew up racing go-karts in Bakersfield, California, dreaming of his turn to one day emulate his childhood hero Rick Mears, the four-time Indianapolis 500 champion and three-time IndyCar Series champion who also hails from Bakersfield. His dream was to win the historic Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But the driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) saw his career take a different path that led him to NASCAR instead of IndyCar.
The path that led to NASCAR meant that Harvick would have to slightly amend his dreams of winning at Indianapolis. Instead of winning the 500, he would instead try to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Brickyard 400.
In 2003, in just his third attempt at the Brickyard, Harvick made his dream of winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway a reality, and he did so in grand fashion. Harvick won the pole with a speed of 184.343 mph, led 33 laps and beat runner-up Matt Kenseth to the finish line by 2.758 seconds.
Since 2003, the 16-year NASCAR Cup veteran has come close winning again at the Brickyard. In 2006, Harvick started 10th, led 18 laps and finished third. In 2010, he started ninth, led five laps and finished runner-up to Jamie McMurray by less than two seconds.
In 2014, Harvick set the NASCAR Cup Series track qualifying record with a time of 47.647 seconds at 188.889 mph in the opening qualifying round. He went on to win the pole with a time of 47.753 seconds at 188.470 mph in the final round, then led 12 laps in the race, but he finished eighth.
Harvick started sixth and led a race-high 75 laps in 2015, but his bid for a second Brickyard win was foiled by a late-race restart when runner-up driver Joey Logano pushed race-winner Kyle Busch past Harvick to the lead. Harvick would go on to finish third.
The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion would like nothing more than to score his second Cup Series win at Indianapolis in Sunday’s Brickyard 400. A win Sunday would be Harvick’s second of the 2017 season and provide additional playoff points heading into the postseason.
Since Harvick scored his first Cup Series win of the 2017 campaign at Sonoma, he now looks to build on his playoff points heading into the championship run. His eight playoff points are currently tied for sixth in the Cup Series, 13 behind leader Martin Truex Jr.’s 21 playoff points. In total, the 2017 season has produced 12 different winners through the first 19 Cup Series races.
While Harvick and the No. 4 team are ready to advance to the playoffs and pursue their second Cup Series championship, gaining playoff points for additional stage and race wins continues to be their top priority through the next six races starting this weekend at Indianapolis.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John's Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What makes Indianapolis unique or special to you?
“Indianapolis is a very unique track. For me, it’s kind of a cool place to go to as I grew up always wanting to race Indy cars. With Rick Mears being from Bakersfield (California), he was a hometown, childhood hero as we were all racing go-karts. So, to win there back in 2003, and be able to kind of achieve your childhood dream in a sense, but in a stock car, was a great moment. Going back to Indy is just knowing it’s a very historic racetrack where it’s a lot of fun to be a part of the event. It’s always a place where you want to win, but it’s fun to just go there and race to be a part of the next era of its history.”
What is your favorite Brickyard moment?
“My favorite Brickyard moment is definitely the win. I always tell people that the best part of the win is not kissing the bricks or taking the checkered flag, but the best part of the win is driving around in the car after the race. You can tell who the fans are who have been at Indy for a long time and know about the victory lap. So just driving around and reminiscing about what you just achieved with the team owner and DeLana (Harvick, wife) is just a cool 15 minutes.”
What does it take to be successful at Indianapolis?
“Indianapolis is a very hard racetrack to pass on. Obviously, with how narrow the racetrack is and how fast the cars are going, you have to try and maintain your track position all day. It takes really everything – you have to have great motors, good handling and all the things you hear about at a lot of racetracks. You can’t overcome a lack of horsepower or a lack of downforce and I feel like we’ve done a good job with both of those things all year. Hopefully, we can find the right handling package to go with the great pieces and parts that we have to go on the cars.”
Chassis Information - Chassis No. 4-010: Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-010 in the Brickyard 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Built new in 2017, Chassis No. 4-010 will make its NASCAR Cup Series debut Sunday.
Indianapolis 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, 61 top-five finishes and 87 top-10s; led 6,360 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 Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 ranked fourth in the standings with 639 points after his fifth-place finish last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. He trails leader Martin Truex Jr. by 119 points.
- Playoff Bound: 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.
- Playoff Points: Harvick and the No. 4 team have scored one race win and three stage wins to account for eight playoff points – tied for sixth-most among Cup Series drivers.
- Leading Laps: Through the first 19 points-paying NASCAR Cup Series events of 2017, Harvick ranks fourth in laps led with 545 of 5,514 total laps contested – nearly 10 percent of the total laps. Harvick has led at least one lap in 10 of the 19 points-paying events of 2017.
- Brickyard 400 Qualifying Record Holder: Harvick set the Brickyard 400 track qualifying record with a time of 47.647 seconds at 188.889 mph in in the first round of qualifying July 25, 2014. He went on to win the pole with a time of 47.753 seconds at 188.470 mph in the final round.
- Brickyard Wins from the Pole: Harvick is one of only four NASCAR Cup drivers to win the Brickyard 400 from the pole position, which he accomplished in 2003. Jimmie Johnson (2008), Ryan Newman (2013) and Kyle Busch (2016) are the others.
- Harvick in the NASCAR Cup Series at Indianapolis: Harvick will make his 17th career NASCAR Cup Series start at Indianapolis on Sunday. He has the lone win from the pole in August 2003, in which he led 33 of 160 laps, and he has two career Indianapolis poles in all to go with five top-five finishes and 10 top-10s with an average starting position of 14.1, average finish of 9.9, 181 laps led, and he’s completed every race.
- All-Time Wins List: After his 36th career Cup Series win at Sonoma in June, Harvick 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 Johnson’s 83 career wins, and Matt Kenseth and Busch, who are tied for second with 38 wins each.
- On The Pole: Harvick has scored three Cup Series pole awards in 2017 – all 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 most recent came at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 with a lap of 27.918 seconds at 193.424 mph.
- All-Time Pole List: Harvick’s 20 career Cup Series poles has him tied with Benny Parsons and Neil Bonnett for 39th on the all-time list. His next Cup Series pole would move him into a four-way tie with Dick Hutcherson and brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch. He ranks seventh among active drivers behind Ryan Newman’s 51, Johnson’s 35, Kasey Kahne’s 27, Denny Hamlin’s 24, and 21 each by the Busch brothers.
- Closing In on 11,000 Lap Led: Harvick also needs 214 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.
- Closing In on 300 Top-10s: Harvick has scored 296 top-10 finishes in his Cup Series career. He needs just four more to become the 20th driver in Cup Series history to reach 300 top-10 finishes. He ranks third among active drivers, trailing only Johnson’s 337 and Kenseth’s 316.
- Career NASCAR Cup Series Totals: Harvick has 36 wins, 161 top-fives, 296 top-10s and 20 poles in 593 career Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s race at Indianapolis.
- Personal Announcement: On Tuesday, July 11, Harvick kicked off his Tuesday-night 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 the TV Broadcaster: Harvick is slated to be a guest analyst for the broadcast of Wednesday’s Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.Harvick served as the play-by-play announcer in the FOX TV booth for the first-ever all-driver NASCAR Xfinity Series race broadcast at Pocono three weeks ago. Harvick has made five appearances in the booth since the start of the season. He also visited the booth on Feb. 25 at Daytona, March 18 at Phoenix International Raceway, April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, May 6 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, as well as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event April 1 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. He also is slated to broadcast the Truck Series race on Oct. 13 at Talladega.
- 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 every Tuesday 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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