Kevin Harvick Seeking a Second Cup Series Win at the Site of His First
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (March 1, 2017) – Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), will attempt to add a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win to his impressive resume at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday in the Folds of Honor 500.
He won his first NASCAR Cup Series race there in only his third career start on March 11, 2001. The circumstances surrounding the month leading up to Harvick’s first career Cup Series win in 2001 make it all the more remarkable.
Following Dale Earnhardt’s death on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, Harvick was named the driver of the No. 29 car for Richard Childress Racing and made his Cup Series debut the following weekend – Monday, Feb. 26 – at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway, where he finished 14th. Two days later, Wednesday, Feb. 28, as the series headed west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Harvick married his wife DeLana. The following Sunday, March 4, Harvick scored his first career Cup Series top-10 finish. Then, on Sunday, March 11, less than one month since his debut in NASCAR’s top series, Harvick won his first Cup Series race at Atlanta.
In addition to the Advance below, please click here for Kevin Harvick’s Track Performance History.
Harvick’s first win didn’t come easily. He was in third place with five laps remaining and chased down NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett for second, then overtook Jerry Nadeau for the lead. Once in front, Harvick had to hold off another future Hall of Fame driver, Jeff Gordon, to secure the win. As he and Gordon raced door-to-door to the finish line, Harvick prevailed to secure his first Cup Series win by .006 of a second.
Since that maiden NASCAR Cup Series win, Harvick has reached victory lane at Atlanta on five other occasions, four times in the NASCAR Xfinity Series – including three of his last four Xfinity starts – and once in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Harvick came close to adding a second Cup Series win at Atlanta in each of his last three starts at the 1.54-mile oval. In September 2014, he won the pole and led 195 of 335 laps before late-race tire strategy by several drivers led to a multicar accident involving his No. 4 car. He started from the outside front row in 2015, led 116 laps and finished runner-up to race-winner Jimmie Johnson by 1.802 seconds. In his most recent Atlanta start, he began sixth, led a race-high 131 laps and finished sixth after being shuffled back on a late-race restart.
If the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champ plans to achieve success Sunday at Atlanta, he is going to have to do it utilizing NASCAR’s new 2017 lower-downforce aerodynamic package as this is the package’s debut in a race event.
This weekend, Harvick will attempt to add that elusive second Cup Series win at the 1.54-mile oval in Sunday’sFolds of Honor 500. He will also debut Stewart-Haas Racing’s new No. 41 Textron Off Road Ford Mustang on Saturday in search of his fourth Xfinity Series win at Atlanta in five years.
What’s it like to be back at the site of your first NASCAR Cup Series win?
“You can’t ever win the first one twice. To come back here and know everything that was attached to that first win is something you look back on and realize the magnitude of the situation. I guess the second thing is I can’t believe we haven’t won there since. It’s definitely one of my favorite racetracks and we’ve led a ton of laps there. For whatever reason, on Sundays, we haven’t been able to put the finishing touches on it. Fridays and Saturdays in the Truck Series and the Xfinity Series, we’ve won a ton of races but, hopefully, we can end that Cup Series streak this weekend. I’m looking forward to having Folds of Honor there this weekend. They’re a big part of all the sponsors on our car and I would call Major Dan a good friend. He participates a lot in the activities we do. Usually, for whatever reason, when we’re around Major Dan, we’ve had a lot of success over the next weekend’s race so, hopefully, we can go to victory lane and have someone from the Folds of Honor hand us that trophy.”
What do you like about the Atlanta Motor Speedway layout?
“I just love the abrasiveness of the racetrack. It still has a lot of speed for the first three or four laps, but then it has a lot of fall-off and a lot of bumps that give it character. As a driver, you just love the challenge that comes with racing at Atlanta. This is always one that I circle on my calendar as a favorite and I look forward to racing in Atlanta this weekend.”
Round 2 of 36 – Folds of Honor 500 – Atlanta Motor Speedway
Driver: Kevin Harvick
Hometown: Bakersfield, California
Crew Chief: Rodney Childers
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Car Chief: Robert Smith
Hometown: Whitewater, Wisconsin
Engine Builder: Roush-Yates Engines
Headquarters: Moorseville, North Carolina
Engine Specialist: Robert Brandt
Hometown: Mobile, Alabama
Spotter: Tim Fedewa
Hometown: Holt, Michigan
Gas Man: Justin White
Hometown: Lynnville, Tennessee
Front Tire Changer: Eric Maycroft
Hometown: Algonquiin, Illinois
Second Gas Man: Marc Wulf
Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska
Front Tire Carrier: Matt Holzbaur
Hometown: New Egypt, New Jersey
Windshield: Aaron Kuehn
Hometown: Kensington, Connecticut
Rear Tire Changer: Daniel Smith
Hometown: Concord, North Carolina
Jackman: Stan Doolittle
Hometown: Ninety Six, South Carolina
Rear Tire Carrier: Mike “Shrek” Morneau
Hometown: Oxford, Maine
Truck Drivers: Rick Hodges and Stephen Mitchell
Hometowns: Raleigh, North Carolina, and Woodville, Ohio, respectively
Tire Specialist: Dustin Keath
Hometown: Reading, Pennsylvania
Shock Specialist: Mike McCarville
Hometown: Kensington, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Engineers: Dax Gerringer and Billy Keubler
Hometowns: Gibsonville, North Carolina, and Saline, Michigan,respectively
Mechanics: Richie Bean and Allen Mincey
Hometown: Bradford, Vermont, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida,respectively
Fuel Runner: Evan Kureczka
Hometown: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Chassis Information – Chassis No. 4-929:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-929 in the Folds of Honor 500 NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Built new in 2016, Chassis No. 4-929 made its NASCAR Cup Series debut at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in October, when it won the pole with lap of 27.547 seconds at 196.029 mph, led 12 laps, but failed to finish the race due to a mechanical issue. It made its second appearance in the 2016 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, when it won a second consecutive pole with a lap of 30.399 seconds at 177.637 mph. In preparation for Sunday’s 500-race at Atlanta, Chassis No. 4-929 has received several upgrades, including a new body and front clip.
Atlanta Motor Speedway Notes of Interest:
– Overwhelming Start – First Sprint Cup Win: Following Dale Earnhardt’s death on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, Harvick was named the driver of the No. 29 car for Richard Childress Racing and made his Sprint Cup debut at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway, where he finished 14th. The following Wednesday, as the Sprint Cup Series headed west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Harvick married his wife, DeLana. The followingSunday, Harvick scored his first career Sprint Cup top-10. Then, on March 11, less than one month since his debut in NASCAR’s top series, Harvick won his first Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
– 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 Atlanta fourth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings with 42 points after a 22nd-place finish in the Daytona 500. He scored eight points in the Can-Am Clash at Daytona, scored nine points in the first stage of the Daytona 500, 10 points plus a playoff point for winning the second stage of the race, and 15 points for the final stage.
– Playoff Points: Harvick is one of three drivers to score a playoff point at Daytona. SHR teammate and 2017 Daytona 500 champion Kurt Busch leads with five playoff points, while Harvick and Kyle Busch each scored one playoff point for a stage win.
– Harvick in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta: The Folds of Honor 500 will mark Harvick’s 27th career NASCAR Cup Series start at Atlanta. Harvick has one win, six top-five finishes and 11 top-10s at the 1.54-mile oval. The 41-year-old driver has led 679 laps, has an average starting position of 17.3, average finish of 17.6, and has completed 97.9 percent (8,242 of 8,415) of the laps he’s contested there.
– Harvick in the Xfinity Series at Atlanta: Harvick has won three of his last four Xfinity Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and has top-five finishes in nine of his last 10 starts. He will make his 16th career start in the Xfinity Series there Saturday. Harvick has four wins, nine top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. He has led 768 laps, has an average starting position of 9.1 and average finish of 7.2, and has completed 96.8 percent (2,809 of 2,901) of the laps he’s contested there.
– Career Sprint Cup Totals: Harvick has 35 wins, 154 top-fives and 284 top-10s and 17 poles in 575 career NASCAR Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s Folds of Honor 500 at Atlanta.
– Double Duty: Harvick will make his Xfinity Series debut for Stewart-Haas Racing driving the No. 41 Textron Off-Road Ford Mustang on Saturday afternoon. It marks his first of five appearances in the Xfinity Series for 2017. His 2017 schedule also includes Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on April 8, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on May 27, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta on July 7 and Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Sept. 3.
– Harvick the Broadcaster: Harvick appeared in the television booth for FOX and called the Xfinity Series race Saturday at Daytona. He also will broadcast NASCAR Xfinity races at Phoenix International Raceway onMarch 18, Bristol Motor Speedway on April 22, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on May 6 and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway on June 10. He is also slated to broadcast NASCAR Truck Series races at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City on May 11, Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway on July 21 and Talladega on Oct. 13.
– Jimmy John’s: Jimmy John’s, maker of gourmet sandwiches with “freaky fast” delivery since 1983, will be the primary sponsor of the No. 4 Ford Fusion for 16 NASCAR Cup Series races in 2016, highlighted by the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Sources: Ryan Barry/True Speed Communication