|Kevin Harvick is 9/2 favorite to win at Homestead Sunday|
Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS team travel to Homestead-Miami Speedway this week to contend for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) championship in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400.
Chase Update… Harvick enters the season finale tied atop the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings with Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Newman. From that group of four, the highest-finishing driver in Sunday’s race will be crowned the 2014 NSCS champion.
Season Review… In the first 35 races of the season, Harvick has earned four wins, 13 top fives, 19 top-10 finishes and eight pole awards. He has also has led a series-high 2,083 laps.
Chassis Info…The No. 4 Budweiser team will utilize Chassis No. 850 this weekend. Harvick raced this chassis multiple times this season, including the following races: Auto Club Speedway (36th), the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (second), Kentucky Speedway (seventh) and Bristol Motor Speedway (August – 11th). The No. 4 Budweiser team also utilized this car during a two-day test at Homestead-Miami Speedway last month (Oct. 28-20).
Homestead Stats… Harvick has 13 prior NSCS starts at the 1.5-mile track. He has earned five top fives and 11 top-10 finishes. Harvick has led a total of 136 laps at Homestead-Miami Speedway and has an average start of 14.0 and an average finish of 8.1 there.
Loop Data… Harvick owns a number of impressive marks in NASCAR’s Loop Data scoring system at Homestead-Miami Speedway leading into this weekend’s event, including: first in closers (40 positions gained); fourth in driver rating (99.1); fourth in average running position (10.855); fourth in laps in top 15 (1,805 laps); fifth in fastest drivers early in a run (164.262 mph); fifth in fastest on restarts (160.051 mph); fifth in green flag speed (161.857 mph); seventh in quality passes (398); eighth in laps led (78 laps); ninth in fastest drivers late in a run (159.888 mph); ninth in green flag passes (681 passes); and ninth in speed in traffic (161.248 mph).
A Look Back… During last year’s Ford EcoBoost 400, Harvick started sixth, led eight laps and ended up 10th. The finish marked Harvick’s sixth-straight top-10 finish at the track.
Harvick on racing for a championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Now that you’re in the mix to contend for the championship, what’s your outlook for this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway? “Going there and knowing that you’ve been there and tested, the No. 22 (team) has been there and tested and the No. 11 (team) has been there and tested, you go down there and it’s just a matter of going through the notes and trying to put together one more weekend. I think, for us, we’re going to approach it as having a good time, having fun and really try to keep it as low key as possible, just for the fact that this is what we all signed up to do — to race for a championship and to go to Homestead and just have a chance. So, let’s go down there and go for it and see where it all winds up.”
Your team has shown speed week in, week out. Having fast cars certainly makes it a lot easier to go to the race track every week, doesn’t it? “It certainly does. I think for me and my confidence, when I climb into the car every week, I know that thing is going to be fast, and if it’s not, I know we can figure out what we need to do to make it better. I’m just really proud of everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing and particularly my team for everything that we’ve built this year and been a part of.”
Reflect on the progress your team has made this year. “The progress that we’ve made this year is really something that I think we’re all proud of, just for the fact that we were able to knock off a win early, we were able to overcome so many problems, we’ve won a race in the Chase now, we’ve gotten this far in the championship race and we’ve done, really well as a group. We’ve built a race team from scratch, really from not one nut or bolt in a trailer and not one race car. Everyone has done a great job and everyone at SHR has given us the financial ability and all of the tools that we needed to go about building a race team how we wanted to. It’s been a lot of fun to be a part of.”
How would coming out ahead at Homestead affect your legacy? “This is all about winning a championship. That’s what we all show up for. We all want to be competitive on a weekly basis, but at the end of the year, you want that championship trophy. I think I’ve been fortunate to have won all of the marquee races and won at different race tracks, Nationwide championships, Truck championships as an owner, so we’ve been able to achieve a lot of things. That Cup trophy is the one thing that’s eluded us up until to this point. I definitely want to check that off of the list and be able to experience that for not only myself, but for all the guys that work on my car and haven’t been able to win that championship either. It’s been fun and hopefully we can reach that goal if not this year at some point.”
- Elevation Group of Companies for Budweiser Racing
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