● GEARWRENCH®, a premier hand tool brand from Apex Tool Group, joined Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 team of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) as a primary partner in 2022. GEARWRENCH is the No. 1 worldwide professional-grade mechanics’ hand tool brand, offering products that are designed and manufactured to meet the requirements of pros, mechanics and auto techs making a living with their tools. GEARWRENCH understands the problems mechanics face every day and provides tools that increase productivity through speed, strength and access. Since the launch of the original five-degree ratcheting wrench, the GEARWRENCH brand has led the industry with breakthroughs in pass-thru ratchets, sockets, screw/nut drivers, pliers, extraction tools and specialty tools. Learn more at GEARWRENCH.com.
● VIP me ASAP! GEARWRENCH is ready to make it happen. Enter the GEARWRENCH VIP Racing Sweepstakes for the chance to win a VIP racing experience with either the NASCAR Cup Series, Formula Drift or the NHRA. The winner and three of their best friends will go inside the ropes and behind the scenes at one of three events of their choice – the South Point 400 NASCAR race weekend Oct. 15-16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Formula DRIFT season finale Oct. 14-15 at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, or the NHRA season finale Nov. 12-13 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (Calif.). The grand prize includes hotel accommodations for up to three nights, transportation, a private meet-and-greet with GEARWRENCH drivers, VIP seating for the race, and $2,500 in GEARWRENCH products. In addition to the grand-prize winner, two first-prize winners will be randomly selected to receive $1,500 in tools, and four second-prize winners will be randomly selected to receive $500 in tools. And for the GEARWRENCH driver who refers the most entrants to the contest via their social media channels and their racecar, they get to donate $50,000 worth of GEARWRENCH product to the charities of their choice. So, scan that QR code on the C-post of Harvick’s No. 4 GEARWRENCH Ford Mustang if you’re on the grid before Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway or just go to GEARWRENCH.com.
● Harvick comes into Talladega with back-to-back top-10 finishes at the 2.66-mile oval. The driver of the No. 4 GEARWRENCH Ford Mustang finished eighth last October and fourth in last year’s GEICO 500. It is the first time since early 2015 that Harvick has had consecutive top-10s at Talladega. In three straight races at Talladega in 2014-2015, Harvick finished seventh (May 2014), ninth (October 2014) and eighth (May 2015). Until last year, a top-10 was always followed by a finish of 20th or worse.
● In last year’s GEICO 500, Harvick led three times for 12 laps, and in his return to Talladega in October for the YellaWood 500, he led five times for a race-high 16 laps, increasing his laps-led total at Talladega to 292.
● Harvick has made 42 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega, collecting eight top-fives and 18 top-10s, both of which are the second-most among all active Cup Series drivers. Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are tied for the most top-fives with nine apiece. In the top-10 category, only Busch is ahead of Harvick with 22 top-10s.
● Atop Harvick’s NASCAR Cup Series stat box at Talladega is a win. Harvick came out the victor in a dogfight of a race at Talladega on April 25, 2010. There were an incredible 88 lead changes and three massive accidents that collected a total of 24 cars. Harvick kept his car intact throughout each bout of calamity and despite leading only two laps, the second lap led was the one that mattered most. Harvick got underneath race leader Jamie McMurray in the track’s tri-oval to sweep past him and take the win by just .011 of a second. It was the 12th of Harvick’s 58 career Cup Series wins.
● In addition to his 42 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega, Harvick has eight NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, with a best result of second in April 2006.
● At Talladega in October 2008, SHR enjoyed one of its most dominant days ever. The team qualified 1-2-3-4 for the first time in its history. SHR drivers then led 155 of the race’s 193 laps (80.3 percent), including the last lap by Aric Almirola, who delivered SHR’s milestone 50th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series victory and the organization’s 11th win of 2018.
|Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 GEARWRENCH Ford Mustang|
| As you get ready for your second superspeedway race of the season, how much learning/evolution has happened with the NextGen car since you raced it in the Daytona 500?“I think it’s going to be pretty similar to Daytona. I think it’ll be more aggressive than Daytona just because everybody’s more comfortable, there’s more room to move around, and everybody has a little bit more time in the car. It’ll be the same style of race, just more aggressive.” |
Are there any differences as to how the NextGen car performs in the draft compared to the previous generation car? “It was different, but I’ve been through so many different styles of superspeedway cars and every package has its own little nuances. I think the superspeedways are probably the least amount of change than anything else that we’ve done so far.”
Despite the new car, is racing at Talladega and Daytona still pretty much the same as what you’ve known it to be throughout your career?“Every rules package has a difference. Some of them you can push really good, some of them you can’t push, some of them are pack racing, some of them are single-file, some of them are tandem. This one, you can push and it has some tandem, but it winds up being pack racing. Every package ends up migrating in a little bit different of a direction, it seems.”
There are some drivers who really seem to excel at Talladega and Daytona – almost like how some drivers rise to the challenge at a road course. What is it about superspeedway racing that makes some drivers stand out over others?“There are some guys who are really good at it. I think some guys look at it as, ‘This is my chance to win,’ and just take all the risks throughout the day to put themselves in position. We just want to finish where we’re running. I think we’ve been running in the top-five for five of the last six and wound up torn up. So, we just want to finish.”
They said that Dale Earnhardt could see the air when he raced at Talladega and Daytona. Are there things that you see behind the wheel that kind of foreshadow what will happen next? If so, are you constantly thinking two or three steps ahead when you’re in the draft?“You try to be one step ahead of everything, but as you go through the day, you learn the things that work and the things that don’t work, and you try to be around the cars that you want to be around. But, by the end of the race, a lot of time you just wind up in a position and just kind of go with your gut and your instincts and the things that you’ve learned all day. I think it’s important to race all day to try to not only get stage points, but to learn the tendencies of the style of race that you’re in so that you can do everything that you can in order to maximize your position.”
There are some physically demanding races on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Is Talladega mentally demanding?“Superspeedway racing, in general, is just a mentally demanding situation just because of the constant looking in the mirror and looking around and trying to keep the car going as fast as it can go and being aggressive and pushing and shoving and doing all the things it takes. There’s just a lot that you have to process from a mental standpoint, for sure.”
Describe the intensity of racing at Talladega.“You have to be aggressive just for the fact that if you’re not aggressive, it always seems like you’re not going to be where you need to be. Nine times out of 10, the aggressor is going to be the guy who comes out on the good side of things just for the fact that you’re making things happen and you’re not waiting for something else to happen. When you wait for something else to happen, that’s usually when you get in trouble because it’s usually someone else’s mess. You can still get in trouble if you’re aggressive, but with the way things are, it’s best to stay aggressive and try to stay up front.”