News and notes from each week of NASCAR racing using a Las Vegas oddsmaking perspective
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Kevin Harvick using sixth-place Atlanta chassis at Richmond
Kevin Harvick is 6/1 to win at Richmond on Sunday.
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (April 20, 2016) – Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will feature Busch Light for the first time during this weekend’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. It marks the first appearance for a Busch brand on the No. 4 since February’s season-opening non-points Sprint Unlimited during Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
While Busch Beer has a rich racing history dating back to 1978, Busch Light, which was introduced to the public in 1989, will make its debut as a primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series.
Busch Beer first sponsored the award presented to the pole winners of what was known as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1978. Busch Beer went on to be the “Official Beer of NASCAR” from 1988 through 1997 and was the title sponsor of the stepping-stone division to Sprint Cup – currently known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series – from 1984 through 2007.
Busch Beer’s history as a primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series dates back to the first race of the 1979 season, when NASCAR champion Cale Yarborough drove Junior Johnson’s iconic No. 11 car to a third-place finish at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway. Yarborough drove the No. 11 Busch Beer car for the entire 1979 and 1980 seasons. He went on to score 10 wins, 38 top-five finishes, 44 top-10s, 15 poles and led 4,130 laps over the 62-race span.
This weekend marks the first of four appearances by Busch Light on the No. 4 Chevrolet SS in 2016. It will next appear on the No. 4 Chevrolet SS in the non-points-paying Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, before appearing in July at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in October.
Harvick’s history with Busch Beer goes back to his days racing in the Xfinity Series, which was then known as the Busch Series. He won two championships in the stepping-stone division to the Sprint Cup Series. He won his first championship in 2001while racing in the No. 2 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing (RCR). The Bakersfield, California native won five races, scored 20 top-five finishes, 24 top-10s and led 1,265 laps in 33 starts that season and beat runner-up Jeff Green for the championship by 124 points.
The 2014 Sprint Cup champion scored his second Busch Series championship in 2006 while racing both the Nos. 21 and 33 Chevrolets for RCR. He scored nine wins, 23 top-five finishes, 32 top-10s and led 1,197 laps. That season, he dominated the competition and won the championship by 824 points over current Sprint Cup driver Carl Edwards.
Harvick is hoping to continue his success racing with Busch Light this weekend. He has three Sprint Cup wins and seven Xfinity Series wins for a total of 10 wins at Richmond between NASCAR’s top two touring series. His most recent Sprint Cup win there came in April 2013, when he led only three laps but beat runner-up Clint Bowyer to the finish line by .343 of a second in a green-white-checkered finish.
This weekend, Harvick will attempt to put Busch Light in victory lane for the first time while he scores his second win of the season and his fourth Sprint Cup win at the .75-mile Virginia oval. KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Do you have a favorite win at Richmond? “I remember the ones I lost more than I do the ones I won. The first one where Ricky Rudd and I were racing in 2001 was pretty cool. But, as you look back at the last one, we won in 2013 as part of a green-white-checkered finish – I think we came from seventh to win, so I didn’t really expect to win that one. I think the other two were probably fairly strong nights for us.”
Is back-to-back short tracks a good thing for the No. 4 team this time of year? “I think short-track racing is something that we all enjoy any time we get to go do that. I don’t know if having back-to-back short tracks is good or bad for us. I think right now we are fortunate to be on the side of things going well. We’ll just show up and race again.”
Do you consider yourself a short-track specialist? “I think we’ve had success on short tracks in the past. It’s really just a matter putting a weekend together. It’s really no different than any other racetrack. This business is hard to be successful at and sometimes you go through years where short tracks are good and some years not so good. Some years, longer tracks are good and some are not so good. It’s really just about putting together a whole weekend. It all starts with practice on Friday and trying to qualify well. I enjoy the short tracks because we don’t get to go to quite as many as I think we’d all like.”
Busch Light Racing Team Report Round 9 of 36 – Richmond 400 – Richmond International Raceway Teammates: Danica Patrick – No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS Brian Vickers – No. 14 Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy Chevrolet SS Kurt Busch – No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS
Chassis Information – Chassis No. 899: Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Busch Light Chevrolet SS built on Chassis No. 4-899 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Richmond 400 Sunday at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Built in 2014, Chassis No. 4-899 made its debut in September 2014 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, where it started sixth, led 79 laps and finished fifth. Chassis No. 4-899 made its 2015 debut in April at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, where it started fourth, led 184 laps and finished 38th after being collected in an accident. It also raced at both Sprint Cup races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon in 2015. In July, Harvick started 12th, led 59 laps and finished third in Loudon. He started second at Loudon in September, led 216 laps but ran out of fuel with less than three laps to go and finished 21st. Its final race of 2015 came in October at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, where he started fourth, led 21 laps and finished 16th. Chassis 4-899 made a strong showing in its first race of 2016 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where it started sixth, led 131 laps and finished sixth.
Richmond International Raceway Notes of Interest: Earning It Since 2014: Harvick is in his 16th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and his third at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with crew chief Rodney Childers at the helm. In their first two seasons together, Harvick and Childers combined to produce eight victories, nine poles, 37 top-five finishes and 48 top-10s; led 4,431 laps; won the 2014 Sprint Cup title; and finished runner-up in 2015 to champion Kyle Busch.
2016 Race Winner: Harvick is one of six Sprint Cup winners through the first eight races of 2016. He scored his lone Sprint Cup win of the season March 13 at Phoenix International Raceway in one of the closest finishes in series history when he beat runner-up Carl Edwards to the finish line by .01 of a second. The win should secure Harvick a spot in the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Points Leader: Harvick scored a seventh-place finish Sunday at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway to reclaim the Sprint Cup Series points lead. He now holds a one-point advantage over Carl Edwards heading into this weekend’s race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
Busch is Back: Busch Light makes its Sprint Cup debut as the primary sponsor of the No. 4 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Richmond. This marks the first appearance for Busch in a points-paying event in 2016. Busch Beer ran as the primary in February’s non-points-paying Sprint Unlimited at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
2016 Loop Leader: According to NASCAR Stats and Information, Harvick leads all Sprint Cup drivers in 2016 in points (287), bonus points (13), driver rating (118.9), top-10s (seven), average running position (5.784), quality passes (588), fastest laps run (352), percentage of fastest laps run (75.2), miles led (672.54), laps run on the lead lap (2,640), percentage of laps run on the lead lap (99.66), laps in the top-15 (2,508) and percentage of laps in the top-15 (94.7). He ranks second in laps led (499), percentage of laps led (18.8) and average finish (6.8).
9,000 Laps Led and Counting: Harvick led 139 laps in the Good Sam 500k at Phoenix to surpass 9,000 laps led for his Sprint Cup career. He is one of only five active Sprint Cup drivers to lead more than 9,000 laps. The others are Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. After leading 13 laps at Bristol, Harvick now sits at 9,356 laps led for his Sprint Cup career.
Leading Laps: Harvick has led 499 laps through the first eight races of 2016. He has led at least one lap in seven straight races, including 13 laps last weekend at Bristol. The Daytona 500 is the only race of 2016 in which Harvick was unable to lead at least one lap.
Harvick in the Sprint Cup Series at Richmond: The Richmond 400 will mark Harvick’s 31st career Sprint Cup start at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Harvick has three wins (September 2006 and 2011, and April 2013), one pole (September 2005), nine top-five finishes and 18 top-10s at the .75-mile oval. The 40-year-old driver has led 987 laps, has an average starting position of 15.0, an average finish of 10.8, and has completed 99.0 percent (11,891 of 12,009) of the laps he’s contested there.
Harvick in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Richmond: Harvick has made 27 starts in the Xfinity Series at Richmond. He has seven wins, three poles, 18 top-five finishes and 21 top-10s. He has led 1,387 laps, has an average starting position of 8.4, an average finish of 6.8, and has completed 99.9 percent (6,754 of 6,763) of the laps he’s contested there.
Richmond Sweep: Harvick won both the Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series races at Richmond in September 2006. In the Xfinity race, he started fifth, led 154 of 250 laps and beat runner-up Greg Biffle to the finish line by .925 of a second. In the Sprint Cup race, he also started fifth, led 54 laps and beat runner-up Kyle Busch to the finish line by .153 of a second.
Career Totals: Harvick has 32 wins, 140 top-fives and 264 top-10s in 546 career Sprint Cup starts heading into Sunday’s Richmond 400.
Kevin Harvick Foundation Park: On March 16, Harvick and baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. cut the ribbon to unveil the Kevin Harvick Foundation Park at the Boys & Girls Club of Kern County in Harvick’s hometown of Bakersfield, California. The park will provide a clean and safe environment in which local youth can play, learn and grow. The facility marks the second collaboration between the two organizations, which commenced their alliance by opening the Kevin Harvick Foundation Park in Greensboro, North Carolina, in November 2015. Much like the Greensboro park, the state-of-the-art facility in Bakersfield is designed for multisport use, featuring four outdoor fitness stations, a rubber track surface circling the field’s perimeter, and a digital scoreboard. The park, a gift to The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Kern County, will be maintained by the organization, with which the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and Kevin Harvick Foundation will collaborate to create and implement character education programming and clinics for the children who utilize the facility.
- True Speed Communication for Stewart-Haas Racing