Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Harvick's Talladega approach "better to stay up front"

Kevin Harvick is 15/1 to win this week at Talladega.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

Describe the intensity of restrictor-plate racing? 
“Plate racing is something you have to be aggressive at just for the fact that, if you’re not aggressive, it always seems like you are not going to be where you need to be. Nine times out of 10, I believe, the aggressor is going to be the guy who comes out on the good side of things just for the fact that you’re making things happen and you’re not waiting for something else to happen. When you wait for something else to happen, that’s usually when you get in trouble because it’s usually someone else’s mess. You can still get in trouble if you’re aggressive, but it seems like, with this rules package and the way that things are, it’s best to stay aggressive and try to stay up front.”

You’ve won at both superspeedways on the circuit – Daytona and Talladega. Do you approach these races with a strategy in mind? 
“I think, with the current points system, it’s better to stay up front and try to get as many points in each stage as you can throughout the day. Obviously, if you don’t qualify well, that makes it much more difficult but, with the new points system, I think you’re going to see a much different race. Guys aren’t going to be able to leave 20 potential points and playoff points on the table. They’re going to be racing for every point – that’s a good thing for the fans and should make it an exciting race.”

Chassis Information: Chassis No. 4-814: Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-814 in the GEICO 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Built in 2014, Chassis No. 814 finished fifth in the 2014 Clash and served as the backup for both races at Talladega in 2014. Chassis No. 814 finished second in the 2015 Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and fifth in the 2015 CanAm Duel at Daytona. Its most recent start came in May 2015 at Talladega, where Harvick started 24th, led one lap and finished eighth. It served as a backup chassis for the July race at Daytona and the October race at Talladega in 2016, but never saw race action.

Talladega Superspeedway Notes of Interest: 

 Jimmy John’s Dollar Sub Day: Jimmy John’s Dollar Sub Day was set for 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday (May 2), during which customers could buy sandwiches for just $1. The $1 sub deal was limited to in-store purchases only. All sandwiches – Nos. 1 through 6 on the menu, as well as BLT, Unwich lettuce wraps and slims – were part of the deal. Jimmy John’s first started Dollar Sub Day with “Customer Appreciation Day” in April 2016.

 Earning It Since 2014: Harvick is in his 17th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and his fourth at StewartHaas 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 Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway ranked sixth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings with 286 points after a fifth-place finish Sunday at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. He trails leader Kyle Larson by 112 points.

 Leading Laps: Through the first nine NASCAR Cup Series events of 2017, Harvick ranks first in laps led with 444 of 3,042 total laps contested – nearly 14.6 percent. He leads Martin Truex Jr. by 12 laps.

 Harvick at Talladega since Joining SHR: Harvick has six NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega since joining SHR at the beginning of the 2014 season and has finished in the top-15 and led laps in five of the six races. He started eighth, led 15 laps and finished seventh in April 2014. He started 39th, led two laps and finished ninth in October 2014. He started 24th, led a lap and finished eighth in May 2015. He started seventh, led four laps and finished 15th in October 2015. He started 29th, led nine laps and finished 15th in May 2016. He started 22nd and finished seventh in his most recent start at the 2.66-mile superspeedway in October 2016.

 Harvick in the NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega: The GEICO 500 will mark Harvick’s 33 rd career NASCAR Cup Series start at Talladega. He has one win (April 2010), six top-five finishes and 14 top-10s at the 2.66-mile oval. The 41-year-old driver has led 187 laps, has an average starting position of 22.3, an average finish of 15.1 and has completed 95.9 percent (5,827 of 6,074) of the laps he’s contested there

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