Kevin Harvick Just This One Time

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is preparing to make his only trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon this year as the team is set for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Foxwood Resort Casino 301.

 

The realigned Cup Series schedule for 2018 dropped one of the traditional two Cup Series races run each year at the mile oval since 1997. New Hampshire’s typical second race date was in September during the first round of the NASCAR playoffs but was moved to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, another racetrack owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc., to open this year’s NASCAR playoffs.

 

The change is significant for Harvick as it marks the first time in his Cup Series career dating back to 2001 that he’ll only make one trip to Loudon.

 

The Bakersfield, California native has two Cup Series wins at New Hampshire, both coming during the September race weekend which was given to Las Vegas. His first came in September 2006, when he started from the pole, dominated the race by leading 196 of 300 laps and beat runner-up Tony Stewart to the finish line by .777 of a second.

 

His most recent Cup Series win at New Hampshire enabled the No. 4 team advance to the second round of the playoffs in 2016 after a 20th-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet and just before a 37th-place finish at Dover.

 

The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion had mixed results at New Hampshire in 2017. In July, he scored a top-five finish but, in September, he was caught in an eight-car accident on lap 150 and finished 36th.

 

Harvick and the No. 4 Busch Beer team are looking to continue their hot streak during which they have scored two wins, two poles, eight top-five finishes and led 512 laps in the last 10 races.

 

Also important for Harvick this weekend and the six races that follow is the accumulation of playoff points that are so critical at this point in the season. Thus, even more pressure to start up front and, ultimately, to try and win the Busch Pole award. Harvick’s 27 playoff points heading to New Hampshire rank him second to Kyle Busch, who leads the series with 30. Martin Truex Jr. also worked to close the gap to Busch last Saturday at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, when he scored both stage wins and the race win lift his playoff point total to 25, just two behind Harvick.

 

The “Big Three” of Harvick, Busch and Truex has accounted for 14 of the 19 race wins in 2018 and 65 percent of the total playoff points accumulated – 82 of 126 playoff points available through 19 races.

 

The best way to score maximum playoff points in a race is to start up front, earn stage points and win races. Harvick and the No. 4 team can accomplish all of those goals with a win this weekend in the team’s only visit to the Granite State in 2018.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
What makes the fans in Loudon so intense and so loyal?

“I’ve had a little bit different of an 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 those competitors and people who come by and say hello at Loudon. 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 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 No. 4-021:
Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 021 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Built new in 2018, Chassis No. 4-021 made its NASCAR Cup Series debut in April at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, where it started 10th, led eight laps and finished fifth.
New Hampshire 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, the non-points-paying 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, 17 poles, 82 top-five finishes and 113 top-10s while leading 7,666 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.

 

· Harvick has career totals of 42 wins, 23 poles, 182 top-fives, 322 top-10s and 12,131 laps led in629 starts.

  • His most recent Cup Series win came at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (May 12, 2018).
  • His last Busch Pole also came during the same weekendat Kansas (May 11, 2018).

· On Point – Harvick arrives at New Hampshire second in in the championship with 740 points after his fifth-place finish Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Harvick trails series leader Busch by 59 points.

 

· New Hampshire Numerology – Harvick has two wins, 10 top-five finishes, 18 top-10s, one pole and has led a total of 706 laps in his 34 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at New Hampshire. His average start at New Hampshire is 12.9, his average finish is 13.5 and he has completed 9,880 of 10,088 laps of competition – 92 percent. He won from the pole position in September 2006, when he beat Tony Stewart to the finish line by .777 of a second. His second win came in September 2016, when he led only eight laps and beat Matt Kenseth to the finish line by .442 of a second.

 

· 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 NASCAR All-Star Race May 19 at Charlotte for the second time in his career. Harvick’s five wins are also tied for best in the series with Kyle Busch, who scored his fifth win of the season July 1 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.

 

· Freaky Fast Qualifier – Harvick has qualified in the top-10 in 16 of the 19 NASCAR Cup Series race this season. He qualified 13th at Chicagoland, which marked the first time he was unable to advance to the final round of qualifying in a race where he made a qualifying attempt. An accident in practice April 13 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway 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 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 six times this season. The most recent came June 3 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, where he started second to polesitter Ryan Blaney.

 

· Three-Peat Notes – Harvick’s consecutive wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and ISM Raceway near Phoenix marked only the 24th time in NASCAR’s modern era (1972 to present) that a driver won three consecutive races. 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.

 

· Lap Leader –Harvick led his 12,000th lap in NASCAR Cup Series competition June 3 at Pocono. He is one of only 15 drivers to lead 12,000 laps in his Cup Series career. He joins Jimmie Johnson, Busch and Matt Kenseth as the only active drivers to accomplish that feat. Harvick’s laps-led total since 2014 is 7,666, which is 3,279 laps more than the total from his 13 previous seasons before joining SHR (2001 to 2013). Harvick has already led 1,040 laps in 2018 and has now surpassed 1,000 laps led in a season for the fourth time in his career. He’s done it three previous times, all with SHR.

 

· Already Playoff Bound – Harvick qualified for the 2018 NASCAR playoffs with his wins at Atlanta, Phoenix, Dover (Del.) International Speedway and Kansas. He ranks second in playoff points with 27. 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, Dover, Pocono, Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn and Chicagoland (total of seven). The No. 4 team’s race win at Las Vegas does not count toward the its playoff qualification due to a post-race penalty.

 

· Make Your Mark – With his win May 12 at Kansas, Harvick stands alone at 18th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series win list. Among active drivers, Harvick’s 42 career wins rank third behind only series leader Johnson’s 83 and Busch’s 48 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.

 

· 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 in the Cup Series, 47 in the Xfinity Series and 14 in the Camping World Truck Series. Only three other drivers in NASCAR history have passed 100 wins in NASCAR’s top-three series: Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough and Busch.

TSC PR/Photo Credit Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

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