|● Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, enters Sunday’s Richmond 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway in a three-way tie for the second-most top-10 finishes this season. Harvick has scored six top-10s in the eight races held this year, tying him with Kyle Larson and William Byron. Only championship leader Denny Hamlin has more top-10s (seven). All four drivers finished in the top-10 in the series’ last race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. |
● Harvick will be going with the flow Sunday at Richmond, Flowcode that is. The hood of Harvick’s No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang will feature a 27.5-inch pizza-inspired, next-generation QR code from Flowcode, the offline to online company that builds direct connections for brands and consumers. The custom-branded, ultra-fast scanning Flowcode provides Hunt Brothers Pizza with an interactive activation. Just by opening up a smart phone’s camera and scanning the hood of Harvick’s No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang whenever it’s prominently featured during FOX’s broadcast of the 400-lap race will give users a “Scan to Win” experience with instant and direct access to win prizes. The grand prize is two tickets to a NASCAR Cup Series race of the winner’s choosing during the 2021 or 2022 season. Twelve additional winners will receive a fan pack loaded with Harvick and Hunt Brothers Pizza merchandise including T-shirts, hats, floor mats, racing flags and koozies. Viewers can scan the Flowcode directly from their TV screen. There’s no need to hit pause on the racing action. The “Scan to Win” Flowcode will also be featured on the in-car camera that Harvick will carry with him during the Richmond 400.
● Harvick has made 726 career NASCAR Cup Series starts, with 119 of those starts coming on short tracks. And of his 58 Cup Series wins, seven have been at short tracks, with Richmond accounting for three of those victories. Harvick scored his first Richmond win in September 2006, his second in September 2011 and his third in April 2013.
● Harvick joined SHR in 2014 and has since recorded 35 of his 58 career NASCAR Cup Series wins. However, none of them have been at Richmond. But Harvick has remained stout at the .75-mile oval. In his last 13 starts at Richmond as a member of SHR, Harvick has two runner-up finishes, eight top-fives and 10 top-10s. He has never finished outside the top-15.
● Harvick has led 15,582 total laps in his NASCAR Cup Series career, with 1,180 of those laps coming at Richmond.
● The Richmond 400 will mark Harvick’s 40th NASCAR Cup Series start at the Virginia short track. His first start came on May 5, 2001. That race was won by SHR co-owner Tony Stewart, who beat then three-time champion Jeff Gordon by .372 of a second. Harvick finished 17th. It was Harvick’s 10th career Cup Series start and nine of the 43 drivers in that race have since been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame – Stewart, Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, Ron Hornaday Jr., Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte.
● Harvick is the winningest NASCAR Xfinity Series driver at Richmond with seven victories. (Kyle Busch is next best with six wins.) Harvick finished among the top-10 in all but six of his 21 career Xfinity Series starts at Richmond.
|Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing|
| Short-track etiquette – what’s OK and what isn’t in this day and age?“It depends on how mad you are. I think a lot of that just depends on the situation. When you’re not running well, there’s a lot more that’s OK in your mind because the day’s screwed up anyway and you feel like you want to run into somebody just to take your aggression out on the day. A lot of that just depends on who you’re racing and how that guy’s raced you that day, if you’ve had trouble and you’re trying to get back to the front and it’s late in the race, or at the end of a stage – it’s just different things at different times that are OK. In the end, it’s just like every other race, you’ve got to somehow be able to get to the finish with the best result you can get that day.” |
Where did you learn short-track etiquette, and is it still applicable today?“It’s applicable, and a lot of times there are still a lot of guys who don’t apply it and they wind up getting themselves in trouble – tearing their cars up and putting themselves in a bad spot. I think part of our success is being able to race like that when we need to race like that and understanding how that works. In my book, it’s just being smart. In today’s day and age, a lot of it is just go as hard as you can go and screw the other guy. In the end, there are a lot of guys who think that way, but there are a lot of guys who tear their stuff up, too. So, it’s a fine line, but you have to go on the restarts in today’s world. You have to just throw caution to the wind on the restarts because that’s when most of it happens. Once we get strung out and get to the racing part of it, that’s usually when you have to apply some of that and there is some give-and-take. But on the restarts, I would say all those rules go out the window because of how important the restarts are in today’s world.”
Who were the elder statesmen you learned from when you started racing in the NASCAR Cup Series?“A lot of that I would credit to Richard Childress just because of the fact he put so much emphasis on finishing races. I think most of that comes from the RCR mentality when I started of you have to finish the race, no matter what the cost or what you have to do, you have to finish the race. I would say that’s where most of that came from.”
What is it about short tracks that makes you passionate about racing?“I’ve been fortunate to be able to do a lot of things and, really, the thing that’s made me most passionate lately is racing with my son, Keelan, just because of the fact it makes me realize why I love racing. And being able to go and see people learn and being able to help people – that’s something I really enjoy, not only with Keelan, but being able to help the other kids. Sometimes it’s just the simplest things like steering wheel height, or pedal height – there are so many little things you do on a daily basis that you don’t even think about anymore. That has really reminded me why I love racing and why I love what I do. But being able to share that knowledge with people, whether it’s go-karters, or Cup racers, or whoever it is, that’s something I get a lot of satisfaction out of.”
When you provide help like that, does it give someone who maybe was uncomfortable in a racecar an “aha” moment?“It’s steps, right? Whatever that situation is, it gets them comfortable to be able to progress to their next ‘aha’ moment. In the progression, there are a whole bunch of those moments that lead to a point where you can race at a high level. When you look at Brent Crews, who’s won like 12 national karting championships and is now running midgets and sprint cars, it’s obvious he can drive. He’s an amazing talent who can do anything he wants to do, as long as he learns how to be a professional. In going from the short-track side of things and the dirt side of things, whatever you race, that step when you get to whatever it is from the Cup side, the Xfinity side, the Truck Series, even on down into the K&N and ARCA stuff, it’s really about learning how to be a professional, and that comes with doing the sponsor stuff, it comes with being able to speak well, it comes with how to handle yourself on social media and off the racetrack, and looking at data when it comes to being inside the car and being able to communicate with your crew chief and your team and the people around you. There are so many elements to it, and when you look at a kid like Brent, he’s got all the talent, he’s going to be able to be taught how to drive whatever it is he has to drive. It’s how does he handle all those things outside the driving side of it that really makes or breaks you when you get to a high level of racing.”
You mentioned the sponsor side of the sport – can you talk about your longstanding relationship with Hunt Brothers Pizza, as the 2021 season marks the 12th year of your partnership with them?“Our fans are pretty loyal to the brands that are on our cars. Many of my pictures come from the standees in the store. People take selfies next to them. There are a number of reasons you have sponsorships – you want that brand recognition, the brand integration. Hunt Brothers Pizza is a very family-oriented company and we’re a very family-oriented group. Those relationships you build through the years with brands that recognize and reflect what you believe in are few and far between. We’ve grown with the Hunt Brothers Pizza brand. They’ve grown with us and been very loyal to us and I think our fans are very loyal to Hunt Brothers Pizza. It’s fun to see that brand recognition and that understanding of loyalty and partnership. You realize how many Hunt Brothers Pizza stores there are as you drive to racetracks.”