Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Kevin Harvick looking for second New Hampshire win

Kevin Harvick is 6/1 to win at New Hampshire Sunday
Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Budweiser Designate a Driver Chevrolet SS team travel to New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) this weekend to compete in Sunday’s Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race.

Designate a Driver… Harvick’s No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS will feature a special “Designate a Driver” paint scheme this weekend at NHMS in support of Anheuser-Busch’s worldwide effort to promote the responsible enjoyment of the company’s beers with “Global Be(er) Responsible Day” on Friday, September 19. As part of the program, Anheuser-Busch employees and wholesalers across the United States will go out into the trade to spread Budweiser’s message in every bottle – “Designate a driver and enjoy the great times” – to adults. This year marks the fifth anniversary of Global Be(er) Responsible Day.

Meet Me in St. Louis… Harvick’s No. 4 Budweiser Designate a Driver Chevrolet SS show car will be on display at the Anheuser-Busch Tour Center in St. Louis from noon – 6 p.m. CT on Thursday, September 18.

Chassis Info…The No. 4 team will utilize chassis No. 858 in Sunday’s race. Harvick last raced this car in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May and earned a second-place finish. The team also utilized this car for a two-day test at NHMS earlier this month.

New Hampshire Stats… Harvick has 27 NSCS starts at NHMS. He has earned one win (2006), one pole award (2006), five top fives and 13 top-10 finishes, and has an average start of 13.9 and average finish of 14.3.

A Look Back… During last year’s race at NHMS, Harvick started eighth, battled handling issues throughout the race and finished 20th.

Loop Data… Since the inception of NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics in 2006, Harvick has competed in 19 NSCS races at NHMS and owns several impressive marks heading into this weekend’s event, including: eighth in Average Running Position (12.782); eighth in Green-Flag Passes (970); ninth in Green-Flag Speed (124.716 mph); ninth in Laps in the Top 15 (65.2 percent/3,700 laps); and ninth in Laps Led (4.4 percent/252 laps).

Harvick on racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the Chase
What are your thoughts on racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway? “New Hampshire is a track that I enjoy going to. It’s a track where you have to have a good handling car, you have to have track position and you have to have everything going right. If you get yourself stuck in the middle of the pack you’re not going to have a very good day unless you have a really good car.”

What is the key to running well at New Hampshire Motor Speedway?
“The hardest thing is just making your car turn in the middle of the corner and being able to have enough forward drive up off. It always seems like the New Hampshire race comes down to a track position strategy call on two tires or four tires toward the end of the race. Track position will play a big part, but getting your car to handle right will probably play an equal part.”

As well as you’ve run this year, does it seem like it’s been since Darlington since you won last? “No, it doesn’t. It seems like we’re right in the mix of things every week. That’s really what you want and what you’ve got to do. You can’t force winning. You go out and you try to put those days together. Winning in this sport is hard even on the days when you have the best car. I mean, we absolutely crushed them at Atlanta and didn’t win the race just by the way that the circumstances worked out at the end and wound up crashed and finished 19th. You look at the scorecard and you say, ‘Well they finished 19th at Atlanta,’ and then you look at the laps led column and you’re like, ‘Wow!’ But you take those things all in stride. And for me, Atlanta is the best example of the difference of how you race when you have nothing really to lose other than to gain three points and how you have to race now and take a fifth or six-place finish and letting off the gas pedal and not wrecking. That’s just the scenario that we’re in now and you have to balance that consistency with opportunities to win.”

How do you look at the new Chase format? 
“I think you could go through the whole format and not win a race and win the championship. I think there is a balance, I know for us, that we’ve tried to focus on, because it’s really not something that you want to flip the switch on and off as far as how you call a race and how you run a race, unless you get like we did at Atlanta and you know if you don’t make it to Turn 1 in front of the other cars and leading the race, you’re not going to have a chance to win. Now you have to take that fifth or six-place finish and move on and not wreck the car. I think as far as going for it and trying to make up two laps of fuel or something like that like we did at Loudon (in July), you can’t do those types of things unless you’re just in a desperate position where you have to win a race. I think once we came back from the break and went to Indianapolis, the fast cars are still there, it was just the consistency that we needed to work on in my opinion and in Rodney’s (Childers, crew chief) opinion. I think we’ve done a good job with that and been very consistent as we came back from the break and the cars are still fast. As an organization we made a change for the last 10 weeks on the pit crew. I feel like with the speed and all the things we have, that it’s just going to come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes as a group. You’ve got to have a little good luck to go along with that and hopefully we’ve used our bad luck up along through the year and we can have a good 10 weeks. I’m excited and confident. You just never know how these things are going to play out, but if it plays out right, I think we have just as good a shot as anybody.”

How is your approach going to change as we go through the rounds of the Chase?
“It’s definitely going to become harder to advance as you go into each round. I think in this first round, you just need to have three solid weeks in order to get to the next one. And that’s really what it’s all about – just getting yourself to the next round.”

Who is your favorite pick to win the Chase?
“I think as you look at the group of drivers, there are a lot of people who can put together 10 good weeks. There are a lot of good race teams and a lot of good drivers that are in there. In the end, it’s going to come down to who can capitalize on the days when their cars are able to win and win the race and who can muster something out of a day when their car’s not that good and have the good luck to go along with things. You have to have it all line up, because if you don’t, somebody else will. I believe there are eight or 10 cars that can really win the championship if they put 10 weeks together.”

- Elevation Group of Companies for Budweiser Racing

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