Leading the Pack Out West
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (March 8, 2017) – Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is leading the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to Las Vegas for this weekend’s Kobalt 400. His impressive start to the 2017 campaign through the series’ first two events has led to a four-point lead over the 2017 Daytona 500 champion, fellow SHR teammate and Las Vegas native Kurt Busch, in the season standings.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the No. 4 Mobil 1 team securing the top spot in the Cup Series standings is that it has done it while transitioning through the offseason to Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Motor Company as its manufacturer.
The new Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series point system rewards racing at the front of the field throughout each event and, ultimately, winning stages. The No. 4 team has three stage wins through the first two events of the season and has led 342 of 525 total laps – more than 65 percent of the possible total. The driver who ranks second in laps led is Chase Elliott with 39.
Harvick’s three stage wins have also allowed him to score three playoff points. He ranks second behind teammate Busch and Atlanta winner Brad Keselowski, who each have five playoff points.
The Bakersfield, California native has reason to believe his strong start will continue at the 1.5-mile track in Las Vegas this weekend.
Harvick dominated the Kobalt 400 in 2015 to score his first win of the season and his first at Las Vegas in only the season’s third race. His No. 4 car led five times for a race-high 142 laps en route to his 29th career Cup Series win.
The 41-year-old driver also has two wins in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition at Las Vegas. His first came in March 2004, when he started 11th, led 14 laps and raced his way to victory by .119 of a second over runner-up Kasey Kahne.
Harvick’s second Xfinity win at Las Vegas came in February 2010. Driving his own No. 33 car for Kevin Harvick Inc., he started second, led 82 laps and beat runner-up Denny Hamlin to the finish line by 1.361 seconds. It was the sixth win for Harvick’s team in the Xfinity Series.
He is still searching for his first Cup Series pole at Las Vegas, but he did win the pole for the Xfinity race in 2007, when he turned a lap at 181.111 mph.
Harvick’s goal now is to score his first win of the 2017 campaign and score his second Kobalt 400 win Sunday on the 1.5-mile Las Vegas oval.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
You got married in Las Vegas, you’ve won a Cup Series race there, two Xfinity Series races, and celebrated your Sprint Cup championship in Las Vegas. Does the city have a special meaning to you?
“I have raced there for a long time but I don’t know that it has that special meaning other than the fact that we got married out there. Usually, DeLana and I eat at the same restaurant, we go to the same places and try to have some fun. It’s definitely been a good racetrack for me. It’s still a place where I have a lot of family and friends and people I enjoy. It’s a busy weekend but, all in-all, it’s still a fun place to go.”
From the driver’s seat how does the new points system change your approach to a race?
“For us, that’s the good thing. For us, Rodney Childers (crew chief) has always been pretty pressing on going out there and trying to get everything you can out of the car in practice, qualifying and at the beginning of the race to try and position yourself for the end as early as possible. That opens up a lot of windows, you know, where your car is, and we’ve tried to race that way for the last three years. When you go back and look at the history, the regular-season points, the segment wins and those types of things have been very good for us and hopefully that trend continues as we move forward.”
Does the new race format and points system fit your driving style?
“I think that fits our team well just to the fact that we’re an aggressive bunch of people. We want to go out and lead laps. We want to go out and try to position ourselves as far forward as we can because you just never know when it’s going to change and what’s going to happen. We’re definitely going to treat it aggressively and try and gain as many bonus points as you can.”
Mobil 1 Racing Team Report
Round 3 of 36 – Kobalt 400 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Primary Team Members:
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
Over-The-Wall Crew Members:
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: Matthew Custer
Hometown: Bedford, Pennsylvania
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
Road Crew Members:
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. 4-1009:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-1009 in the Kobalt 400 NASCAR Cup Series event Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Built new in 2016, Chassis No. 4-1009 made its Cup Series debut at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, where it started fourth and finished 20th. It made its most recent start at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth in November, where it started third and finished sixth.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway Notes of Interest:
– Mobil 1 Press Conference: Mobil 1 is hosting a press conference Thursday featuring Harvick and NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo at the MGM Grand Las Vegas from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. leading up to the Kobalt 400 race weekend. The event will take place outside the KA Theater inside the MGM Grand.
– Fast and Reliable 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.
– Mobil 1 on the No. 4: Harvick will drive the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for the first of six NASCAR Cup Series races in 2017. Mobil 1 will also appear on the hood of the No. 4 Ford for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway May 28; Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway June 25; Pocono (Pa.) Raceway July 30; New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon Sept. 24; and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth Nov. 5.
– Mobil 1 Lubricant Technology: 2017 marks the 15th consecutive year that Mobil 1 has served as the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR”. Mobil 1 is used by more than 50 percent of the teams in NASCAR’s top-three series and provides advanced vehicle performance and engine protection for both extreme and everyday driving conditions to drivers on and off the track. Stewart-Haas Racing’s technology partnership with Mobil 1 is a unique combination of experience, expertise and innovative thinking that strives to consistently deliver performance enhancing results on the track.
– Points Position: Harvick arrives at Las Vegas leading the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings with 90 points after a ninth-place finish in the Folds of Honor 500 at Atlanta. He scored eight points in the Can-Am Clash at Daytona, 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. Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he won two stages and finished ninth to score an additional 48 points.
– Playoff Points: Harvick is one of four drivers to score a playoff point through the first two Cup Series races of the season. SHR teammate Busch and Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski lead with five playoff points each. Harvick has tallied three playoff points and Kyle Busch has one.
– Leader of the Pack: Through the first two NASCAR Cup Series starts of 2017, Harvick has led 342 of 525 laps –65.1 percent of the total laps. Chase Elliott ranks second in laps led with 39.
– Harvick in the Monster Energy Cup Series at Las Vegas: The Kobalt 400 will mark Harvick’s 17th career Cup Series start at Las Vegas. He scored his lone win at the 1.5 mile oval in 2015 when he started 18th, led five times for a total of 142 laps and beat Martin Truex Jr. by 1.640 seconds. He also has four top five finishes and seven top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval. The 41-year-old driver has led 224 laps, has an average starting position of 19.6, average finish of 13.4, and has completed 99.2 percent (4,258 of 4,293) of the laps he’s contested there.
– Harvick in the Xfinity Series at Las Vegas: Harvick has made 11 starts in the Xfinity Series at Las Vegas. Harvick has two wins, one pole, six top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He has led 364 laps, has an average starting position of 7.0 and average finish of 9.3, and has completed 95.6 percent (2,120 of 2,217) of the laps he’s contested there. Harvick’s first Xfinity win at Las Vegas came in 2004, when he started 11th and led 14 laps, and his second in 2010, when he started second and led 82 laps. His lone Xfinity pole position came in 2007, when he ran 181.111 mph.
– Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) at Las Vegas: In 23 overall starts at Las Vegas, SHR-prepared cars have earned two wins (Tony Stewart in 2012 and Harvick in 2015), five top-five finishes and eight top-10s, one pole (Kurt Busch in 2016), have been atop the leaderboard for 494 laps, and have completed 98.2 percent of the laps contested (6,077 of 6,177).
– Career NASCAR Cup Totals: Harvick has 35 wins, 154 top-fives and 285 top 10s and 18 poles in 576 career NASCAR Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas.
– Overwhelming Start – Married and First Top-10 in the Same Week: 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 NASCAR Cup Series debut at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway the very next weekend, where he finished 14th. The following Wednesday, as the Cup Series headed west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Harvick married his wife DeLana. That Sunday, Harvick scored his first career Cup Series top-10.
– Harvick the Broadcaster: Harvick appeared in the television booth for FOX and called the Xfinity Series race Saturday, February 25 at Daytona. He also will broadcast NASCAR Xfinity races at Phoenix International Raceway on March 18, Bristol Motor Speedway on April 22, Talladega (Ala.) Super speedway on May 6 and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway on June 10. He is also slated to broadcast NASCAR Truck Series races at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on April 1, Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 21 and Talladega on Oct. 13.
– Crew Moves: Matthew Custer, originally from Bedford, Pennsylvania, joins the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion road crew as the interior specialist. Custer previously worked in the SHR shop in Kannapolis, North Carolina, as the in shop interior mechanic of the No. 10 Ford. He replaces Aaron Kuehn who has served as the road crew interior specialist of the No. 4 team since its inception. Kuehn is transferring to the No. 10 team as a shock specialist.