Kevin Harvick Seeing Double at the Tricky Triangle

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is going into the Pocono 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race looking to add to his series-best win total this weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.


However, fans may do a double-take as Harvick’s SHR teammate Clint Bowyer will have a similar look this weekend when he gets behind the wheel of the No. 14 Busch Light Ford Fusion.


Bowyer and Harvick are longtime friends from back when they both broke into the Cup Series at Richard Childress Racing. The two friends were reunited at SHR in 2017, when Bowyer joined the team to drive the No. 14 Ford after brief stints at Michael Watrip Racing and HScott Motorsports. The two drivers plan to compete against each other in social media this weekend and will be on stage together Friday at Pocono’s Infield Block Party.


The driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford is looking to rebound after last Sunday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, where he started 39thand raced up to fourth by lap 83, when he cut a tire and retired to the garage for the remainder of the event to finish 40th. The result marked the first time in Harvick’s national series career that he finished last in an event, ending a streak that lasted 23 years and 1,089 starts without a last-place finish.


While a rebound is expected after his Coca-Cola 600 finish, Pocono makes the challenge that much more difficult.

The 2014 Cup Series champion has been fast nearly everywhere throughout his career, scoring wins  on short tracks, intermediate tracks, road courses and superspeedways, but it’s Pocono’s unique three-turn circuit that continues to leave him puzzled.


A trip to the “Tricky Triangle” has always proven challenging for Harvick. In fact, it is one of only two racetracks where Harvick has yet to record a NASCAR Cup Series win. Kentucky Speedway in Sparta is the only other Cup Series track where Harvick has yet to reach victory lane in the premier series.


However, his performance in recent years could be an indication that the time has come to finally cross Pocono off the list. The driver of the No. 4 Ford Fusion has finished runner-up in his last two Cup Series starts at the 2.5-mile triangle and he has four runner-up finishes in his eight starts since joining SHR.


Harvick has raced up front and has scored a Cup Series-best points-paying five race wins, a win in the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, six stage wins, and he’s led 820 laps this year through the first 13 events of the season.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
What are your thoughts on heading to Pocono this week?

“As we go to Pocono, we obviously want to win there, especially since its one of the two tracks we haven’t won at. I know that Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and the organization itself has put a lot of effort into that particular weekend trying to get to victory lane and take that race off the list. It’s a place I enjoy going – not so much the place I enjoyed going in my previous life before I came to Stewart-Haas Racing. It was never a track we ran very well at, but we’ve come to find out that if you have the cars where they need to be and the people around you, things are much different. So, Pocono is a place that I’ve learned to enjoy more than I did in my previous life at RCR.”


What will it be like having your teammate Clint Bowyer racing in the No. 14 Busch Light Ford?

“I’ve been with Clint Bowyer since the first time he sat in a stock car at RCR and used to go test with him. We’ve enjoyed a lot of beers together and have had a lot of fun times. Clint is a huge asset to the race team. He’s already scored a big win at Martinsville and is sitting in the top-10 in points. It’s great to see him performing well, but we also love to give each other a hard time. Having Busch and Busch Light on our respective cars this week is just another opportunity to have some fun and compete against each other like we do every week.”


The group at Pocono has done so much to improve the infrastructure and fan experience. What does that mean for the racetrack?

“Well, people see effort. When you go to Pocono, you see effort from the time you turn into the tunnel and see the waterfall – going through the tunnel to the guardrails all the way to the campgrounds. Everything there has been in a transition. You feel like you’re having more fun when you go to Pocono now than you did, say, six or seven years ago.”

Chassis No. 4-1041:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-1041 in the Pocono 400 Sunday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. 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, where Harvick started sixth and finished runner-up to Kyle Busch by 6.178 seconds. It made its final appearance of 2017 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in October, where Harvick started third, led a race-high 149 laps and finished third. The chassis visited victory lane in its only start of 2018 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, when Harvick started second and dominated by leading 214 of 267 laps and finishing 2.906 seconds ahead of runner-up Busch.


Pocono Notes of Interest:
· Dynamic Duo: While this isHarvick’s 18th year in the NASCAR Cup Series, it’s only his fifth with crew chief Rodney Childers. Since joining forces at SHR in 2014, Harvick and Childers have combined to produce 19 points-paying victories, 17 poles, 77 top-five finishes and 108 top-10s while leading 7,485 laps. They won the 2014 championship, finished runner-up in the 2015 title chase to champion Kyle Busch, finished eighth in 2016 and third in 2017. The team has qualified for the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway three of the last four seasons. The duo also won the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.


· Back-To-Back – Harvick first scored back-to-back wins this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and made it three wins in a row the following week when he reached victory lane at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. He also scored back-to-back points-paying wins at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. He scored a third straight win in when he won the non-points paying Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte.


· Three-Peat Notes – Harvick’s three consecutive wins at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix markedonly the 24th time in NASCAR’s modern era (1972 to present) that a driver won three consecutive races. In nine of the 23 previous times a driver won three consecutive races in a season, that driver has gone on to win the championship. Prior to Harvick’s three-peat, Busch was the most recent driver to win three in a row – in 2015, when he went on to score his first and, so far, only championship. Ironically, Busch has also won three straight races this season – April 8 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, April 16 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, and April 21 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.


· DYK? Seven of the last 16 NASCAR Cup Series races have been won by a driver over 40 years old. Harvick, age 42, is responsible for six of those victories.


· Harvick has career totals of 42 wins, 23 poles, 177 top-fives, 317 top-10s and 11,911 laps led in623 starts.

  • His most recent points-paying Cup Series win came on May 12 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
  • His last Busch Pole also came that weekend at Kansas.

· Five Points-Paying Wins for No. 4 – Harvick’s five points-paying wins in 2018 is tied for his most wins in a season. He also won five races in 2014. This is the sixth time Harvick has scored at least four wins in a season. Harvick also scored a non-points-paying win in the Monster Energy All-Star Race for the second time in his career.


· On Point – Harvick arrives at Pocono third in in the championship with 485 points after his 40th-place finish at Charlotte. It ended a streak of seven consecutive top-10 finishes.


· Pocono Numerology – Harvick remains in search of his first Cup Series win and Busch Pole at Pocono. Pocono and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta are the two remaining Cup Series tracks where Harvick has yet to score a win. He has four second-place finishes, 10 top-fives, 15 top-10s and has led a total of 68 laps in his 34 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono. His average start is 16.2, his average finish is 13.0 and he has a lap-completion rate of 94.8 percent, completing 5,806 of the 6,125 laps available.


· Harvick at Pocono since 2014 – The combination of Harvick competing at Pocono in SHR equipment is impressive. In his last eight NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono – all of which have come with SHR – Harvick ranks second in total points with 284. He also has four runner-up finishes and only one finish worse than 14th (42nd in August 2015). And of the 68 total laps Harvick has led at Pocono dating back to his rookie year in 2001, 63 (93 percent) have come with SHR despite only eight (23.5 percent) of his 34 Pocono starts being with SHR.


· Freaky Fast Qualifier – Harvick has qualified in the top-10 in every NASCAR Cup Series race this season where he has made a qualifying attempt. An accident in practice April 13 at Bristol prevented him from making a qualifying attempt. He also failed to make an attempt at Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600 due to an issue in prequalifying inspection. Harvick scored his first Busch Pole of the year at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where he recorded a lap of 49.247 seconds at 194.448 mph. He scored his second pole of the season last week at Kansas, where he recorded a lap of 28.600 seconds at 188.811 mph.


· Starting on the Front Row – Harvick has started on the front row five times this season. The most recent came from the pole on May 12 at Kansas.


· Already Playoff Bound – Harvick qualified for the 2018 NASCAR playoffs with his wins at Atlanta, Phoenix, Dover and Kansas. He will enter the playoffs with a minimum of 24 playoff points, ranked second only to Busch’s 25 playoff points. He gained five playoff points for each race win at Atlanta, Phoenix, Dover and Kansas, and an additional point for each of his stage wins at Atlanta, Texas and Dover (total of four). The No. 4 team’s race win at Las Vegas does not count toward the team’s playoff qualification due to a post-race penalty.


· Make Your Mark – With his win on May 12 at Kansas, Harvick stands alone at 18th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series win list. Among active drivers, Harvick ranks third behind only series leader Jimmie Johnson (83 career wins) and Busch (46 career wins).


· Earning It at SHR – Harvick has earned 19 points-paying NASCAR Cup Series victories since joining SHR in 2014, in addition to the non-points-paying 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.


· Out Front – Harvick’s laps-led total since 2014 is 7,485, which is 3,059 laps more than the total from his 13 previous seasons before joining SHR (2001 to 2013). Harvick has already led 820 laps in 2018, which ranks as the sixth-best single-season total of his career, with 23 races remaining.


· 103 and Counting – Harvick scored his 100th career win in NASCAR’s top three series when he won the Cup Series race at Las Vegas and his 101st at Phoenix the following week. He now has 103 total victories – 42 Cup Series wins, 47 in the Xfinity Series and 14 in the Camping World Truck Series. Only four drivers in NASCAR history have passed 100 wins in NASCAR’s top three series: Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Busch and Harvick.


· Harvick’s Happy Hours on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio – Harvick is in his second year as the co-host of the award-winning radio program Happy Hours on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90. The show debuted on March 28, 2017. It airs 7 to 9 p.m. EDT on Tuesdays and features Harvick’s distinctive perspective on the 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. On April 12, the show won the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards “Radio Program” category. Other finalists in the category included SiriusXM’s Basketball and Beyond with Coach K, as well as the Dan Le Batard Show, Dan Patrick Show and Jim Rome Show.

TSC PR/Photo Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

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