Thursday, April 6, 2017

Kevin Harvick still looking for first Texas win

Kevin Harvick dominated at Texas' sister track in Atlanta.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

Normally you have a test or some helpful information before heading to a newly resurfaced racetrack for the first time. Does it feel like you’re going in blind this weekend at Texas?

“It does feel like we’re going in somewhat blind. I think there might be some rough data, maybe, and some video of people driving pace cars around the racetrack, but it’s going to be a unique weekend just for the fact that the track is different in turns one and two. Eddie Gossage spent a lot of time talking to the drivers and really trying to figure out what they could do to make their racetrack better since they were going to have to repave it. Texas was at a point where they were going to repave it because they basically just had a big sponge. They couldn’t get the water out of the ground in the asphalt and they had to repave their track. Turns one and two are much wider with a little bit less banking. The hope is that we’ll be able to carry a little more speed in there and have to use some brakes to slow the cars down. Turns three and four are virtually the same. They put a lot of thought into making things different. But, we’re just showing up at the racetrack and having two hours of practice basically for the Cup cars and then a couple Xfinity practices before jumping in the car to qualify. It’s going to be very unique because, usually, we have an open day of testing in these situations. I think it’s going to be a great challenge. It’s like going to the roller-coaster park and getting on a roller coaster that scares you to death the first time. There’s nothing like going out there and getting scared to death, sliding around trying to figure out where you’re going. There’s a lot more to think about than normal.”

Does running both the Xfinity and Cup races at Texas work as a benefit for you?

“I think the progression throughout the weekend is definitely going to feed off both cars. This is the second race that I get to drive the No. 41 Xfinity car. It’s the first weekend that we’ve got Hunt Brothers Pizza with their four races on the Xfinity car this year. When we picked Texas, it was just a racetrack I like to race at and a market they wanted to be in. Little did we know it was going to be part of a repave and now it’s part of this weekend. It’s really going to be beneficial for me to see how the racetrack evolves and progresses throughout the weekend. To get a race underneath my belt on Saturday before we have to get in the car on Sunday is something where you can take a lot of information from the same tires and same air pressures. Just from the driver’s standpoint, to see where to drive on the racetrack is going to be very beneficial.”

Chassis Information: Chassis No. 4-1038: Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-1038 in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Built new in 2017, Chassis No. 4-1038 will make its NASCAR Cup Series debut this weekend.

Texas Motor Speedway Notes of Interest:

 Freaky Fast Since 2014: Harvick enters his 17th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and his fourth at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with crew chief Rodney Childers at the helm. In their first three seasons together, Harvick and Childers combined to produce 12 victories, 11 poles, 54 top-five finishes and 75 top-10s; led 5,815 laps; won the 2014 Cup Series title; finished runner-up in 2015 to champion Kyle Busch and eighth in 2016.

 Points Position: Harvick arrives at Texas Motor Speedway ranked 10th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings with 154 points after a 20th-place finish Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. He trails points leader Kyle Larson by 114 points.

 Leader of the Pack: Through the first six NASCAR Cup Series events of 2017, Harvick has led 342 of 1,808 laps. That’s nearly 19 percent of the total laps contested. That ranks second in the Cup series to Kyle Busch’s 413 laps led.

 Missing From The Trophy Case: Harvick has reached victory lane at 19 of the 23 stops on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. The four tracks where he has yet to visit victory lane in the NASCAR Cup Series are Texas, Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

 Harvick in the NSCAR Cup Series at Texas: The O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 will mark Harvick’s 29th career NASCAR Cup Series start at Texas. He has six top-five finishes and 16 top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval. The 41-year-old driver has led 116 laps, has an average starting position of 17.9, an average finish of 12.0, and has completed 96.5 percent (9,009 of 9,335) of the laps he’s contested there.

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