Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Kevin Harvick using winning Atlanta chassis in Coca-Cola 600

Kevin Harvick is 9/5 to win at Charlotte Sunday.
Chassis No. 4-1038: 
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Mobil 1/Busch Beer Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-1038 in the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Built new in 2017, Chassis No. 4-1038 made its NASCAR Cup Series debut in April at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Harvick won the pole with a lap of 27.217 seconds at 198.405 mph. He went on to lead 77 laps and secure a fourth-place finish. In its start at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in June, Harvick started 18th and finished ninth. At Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Harvick won the pole with a lap of 27.669 seconds at 177.730 mph. He went on to lead 22 laps and scored a ninth-place result, finishing the race one lap down. At the fall Dover race, Harvick started ninth and finished 17th. In its final start of 2017, Harvick started third, led 38 laps en route to his first-ever Cup Series win at Texas, where he beat 2017 champion Martin Truex Jr. by 1.580 seconds. In its only start of 2018, Harvick dominated at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, where he started third and led 181 of the 325 lap event and crossed the finish line 2.690 seconds ahead of runner-up Brad Keselowski.

Charlotte Notes of Interest:

 Dynamic Duo: While this is Harvick’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 19 victories, 17 poles, 77 top-five finishes and 108 top-10s while leading 7,485 laps. They won the 2014 championship, finished runner-up in the 2015 title chase to champion 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. 

 Back-To-Back – Harvick is coming off consecutive points-paying wins at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. He first scored back-to-back wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and made it three wins in a row the following week when he reached victory lane at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. 

 Three-Peat Notes – Harvick’s three consecutive wins at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix marked only the 24th time in NASCAR’s modern era (1972 to present) that a driver won three consecutive races. In 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, Kyle 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. Dale Earnhardt Sr. is the last driver to win three consecutive points-paying races in a row twice in one season, when he accomplished the feat in 1987. 

 DYK? Seven of the last 15 NASCAR Cup Series races have been won by a driver over 40 years old. Harvick, age 42, is responsible for six of those victories.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1/Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule. How do you manage that extra 100 miles on the engine? 
“It definitely throws a kink into things because you wind up with fewer practice laps. This comes from the engine department, because this year you have to run your engines twice and you have to take care of them as much as you can. There’s also been a much bigger interest in where you shift and the temperatures during practice. So from that standpoint, that’s where you see the extra 100 miles in the race that makes a difference. It’s always an interesting weekend to be able to practice enough to still run the same tolerances with engines being pushed for 600 miles instead of 500, and you get there by taking that time out of practice.” 

Is the Coca-Cola 600 more physically or mentally challenging? 
“It just depends on how hot it is, honestly. If it’s a good weekend and the weather is nice, then it’s more mentally challenging than physically challenging. Either way, it’s still challenging both mentally and physically in some way, shape or form. The hardest part mentally is just getting yourself to overcome those last hundred miles because you are used to the 400- or 500-mile races.” 

You have an added advantage with Mobil 1 as a sponsor. It’s more than a sponsor, with its technology directly benefiting how you perform on the racetrack. How advantageous has this relationship with Mobil 1 been since you joined SHR in 2014? 
“It was really mind-blowing when I first came to Stewart-Haas Racing. Every time we went to qualify, we really didn’t do anything different from the driver’s seat, but we’d always pick up a tenth-and-a-half or two-tenths of a second, and it literally came down to the oils in the engine, the oil in the transmission, the oil in the rear gear and the things they did from a lubricant standpoint – those were the biggest changes we made to the car before we would go and qualify. So, when you see that level of technology and commitment to the things that go in your car, every piece of it adds up to a pretty big chunk of speed. It’s pretty remarkable.” 

You’ve had quite a start to the season with five wins in 12 races. What has led to this kind of performance? 
“I would just point at the experience of the race team because of the fact this is our fifth year together. We’ve been through a lot of very high-pressure situations, low-pressure situations, good moments, bad moments. And everybody just gets along so well on our race team and, when you look at that as a group, it’s something that’s pretty special. I think the second thing is the fact that Ford has brought a lot to the table for our race team. It’s allowed us to expand our engineering staff over the first winter and really just brought resources to our team. So, when you add all those pieces to the puzzle up and look at the experience of the race team and you look at the partnerships we have with Ford and Mobil 1 and all the support we have from our ownership group to let us go out and explore and do the things and take the chance of switching to a different manufacturer and take the chance of bringing things into our own house and controlling more of our own parts and pieces, those things all added up.” 

What does it mean to honor and remember a military member on your No. 4 Mobil 1/Busch Beer Ford Fusion this Memorial Day weekend?
“There isn’t any sport that honors the military any better than NASCAR. I know a lot of sports do a lot of things for our military but, when you roll into this particular weekend with the Coke 600 and you are a part of the celebration and remembrance for all the things that have happened with our military, to see the support that NASCAR and everybody in our garage gives the military, especially on this particular weekend, is something that gives you goosebumps. We are honored to carry the names on our cars.”

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