Kevin Harvick One of Three Cup Series Drivers To Win at Both Road Courses

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), will make his 36th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at a road course this weekend when the series visits Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International for Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen.


The Bakersfield, California native is one of only three active drivers to claim a NASCAR Cup Series victory at both Watkins Glen International and Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are the others to make that claim. Harvick added his first-career win at Sonoma in June 2017, when he started 12th, led 24 laps and finished ahead of SHR teammate Clint Bowyer when the race ended under caution. He also won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma the day before.


The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion scored his lone Cup Series victory at Watkins Glen in 2006, when he started seventh and led 28 of 90 laps and beat current SHR co-owner Tony Stewart to the finish line by .892 of a second.


In 2015, Harvick started fourth, led 29 laps and appeared to have the race won with a sizable lead on the final lap. But he ran out of fuel in the final turn and coasted to a third-place finish behind race winner Joey Logano and runner-up Kyle Busch.


Harvick also visited victory lane in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Watkins Glen in August 2007. He started 11th and turned in a dominant performance after quickly racing his way to the front, leading 49 of 82 laps and beating runner-up Jeff Burton by 3.529 seconds.


Harvick will get additional seat time this weekend on the 2.45-mile road course as he seeks his second win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at The Glen. He will be behind the wheel of the No. 41 FIELDS, Inc. Ford Mustang for SHR on Saturday afternoon.


What is most important for Harvick coming into this weekend at Watkins Glen and the four 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 to win the Busch Pole Award. Harvick ranks second with 33 playoff points heading to The Glen,  just two markers behind Kyle Busch’s 35 and seven ahead of Martin Truex Jr.


The “Big Three” of Harvick, Busch and Truex has accounted for 16 of the 21 race wins in 2018 and 67 percent of the total playoff points accumulated – 94 of 140 available through 21 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 Watkins Glen in 2018.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
What is the key to having a good race at Watkins Glen International?

“Watkins Glen is really fast, so the biggest thing there is to get your car good under braking so you can make passes during the race. Usually, where you can gain the most time is in the braking zones.”


Are the road courses still odd-ball races, or do they seem like just another race, now?

“They are pretty much just another race, now. I think everybody knows that you are going to a road course and you’ve got a lot of different aspects from a driver’s standpoint and the team standpoint that you have to pay attention to.”


What sections or turns are the most challenging at Watkins Glen?

“It just depends on how your car is handling. I think they can all present problems. As the race goes on, turn one becomes more of an issue because it’s downhill and the brakes start to get worn out. The wheel hop becomes more prevalent as the race goes on. For me, that is the one you’ve got to watch during the race, but they all present different challenges.”


How does Watkins Glen International differ from Sonoma Raceway?

“There is a lot of speed difference. At Watkins Glen, you go from turn one, up through the esses and into the inner loop and end up running about 170 to 180 miles per hour down the backstretch. At Sonoma, you’re lucky to get above 100 miles per hour, so speed is definitely the biggest difference.”

Chassis No. 4-1034:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-1034 in the GoBowling at The Glen Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. Built new in 2017, Chassis No. 4-1034 made its debut at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June when it started 12th and led 24 laps en route to the victory over SHR teammate Clint Bowyer as the race ended under caution. At Watkins Glen in August 2017, Harvick started 20th and finished 17th. In its most recent start at Sonoma in June 2018, Harvick started sixth, led 35 laps and finished runner-up to Martin Truex Jr.
Watkins Glne 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 20 points-paying victories, the non-points-paying 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, 17 poles, 84 top-five finishes and 115 top-10s while leading 7,708 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 43 wins, 23 poles, 184 top-fives, 324 top-10s and 12,173 laps led in631 starts.

  • His most recent Cup Series win came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (July 22, 2018).
  • His last Busch Pole came at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (May 11, 2018).

· On Point – Harvick arrives at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International second in in the championship with 833 points after his fourth-placed finish on Sunday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The team was penalized 10 points on Wednesday for an issue in post-qualifying inspection at Pocono. Harvick trails series leader Busch by 58 points.


· Watkins Glen Numerology – Harvick has one win, three top-five finishes, eight top-10s and has led a total of 66 laps in his 17 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Watkins Glen. His average start is 13.4, his average finish is 13.5 and he has a lap-completion rate of 97.7 percent, completing 1,499 of the 1,534 laps available. His lone win came in 2006, when he started seventh, led 28 laps and finished .892 of a second ahead of his future SHR co-owner Tony Stewart.


· Uncharted Territory With Six Points-Paying Wins for No. 4 – Harvick’s six points-paying wins in 2018 is a new single-season best for the 18-year Cup Series veteran. His previous high-water mark was five races, accomplished first in 2006 and again 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 six wins is tied for best in the series with Kyle Busch, who scored his sixth win of the season last weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.


· Freaky Fast Qualifier – 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. He has qualified in the top-10 in 16 of the 21 NASCAR Cup Series race this season.He qualified 13th at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois and 14th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, which marked the only times he was unable to advance to the final round of qualifying in a race where he made a qualifying attempt. He initially won the pole at Pocono last weekend, but his time was disallowed following post-qualifying inspection and he was forced to start 29th. 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.


· 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 7,708, which is 3,321 laps more than the total from his 13 previous seasons before joining SHR (2001 to 2013). Harvick has already led a series-best 1,082 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, Kansas and New Hampshire. He ranks second in Cup series playoff points with 33. He gained five playoff points for each race win at Atlanta, Phoenix, Dover, Kansas and New Hampshire, and an additional point for each of his stage wins at Atlanta, Texas, Dover, Pocono in June, Michigan, Chicagoland and Pocono last weekend (total of eight). The No. 4 team’s race win at Las Vegas does not count toward its playoff qualification due to a post-race penalty.


· Make Your Mark – With his win July 22 at New Hampshire, Harvick stands alone at 18th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series win list. Harvick sits just one win behind Bill Elliott’s 44 for 17th on the all-time wins list. Among active drivers, Harvick’s 43 career wins rank third behind only series leader Johnson’s 83 and Busch’s 49 wins.


· 104 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 104 total victories after his most recent Cup Series win at New Hampshire – 43 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 Kyle Busch.


· 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. ET 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 Credit Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

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