Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is helping to turn back the clock this weekend at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, site of Sunday night’s Southern 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. In true Southern 500 fashion – and celebrating the race’s theme of turning back the clock to the1985 through 1989 era – Harvick’s No. 4 Busch Beer Ford will feature a bold look inspired by Busch Beer’s iconic “Head for the Mountains” advertisements from the late 1980s.
Old-school race fans will recognize the paint scheme on Harvick’s car that is inspired by the No. 11 car piloted by Cale Yarborough during the 1979 season, but with a distinct twist: the rearing black stallion that was a mainstay in Busch advertising in the 1980s is prominently featured on the hood.
Yarborough drove the iconic Busch Beer paint scheme in one of the most significant races in NASCAR history – the 1979 Daytona 500. With most of the eastern part of the United States covered in snow thanks to massive winter storms, millions tuned in to watch the race, which was the first 500-mile NASCAR race televised in its entirety.
The 1979 Daytona 500 featured intense racing and an incredible finish that resulted in a brawl following the checkered flag. On the final lap, race leaders Yarborough and Donnie Allison collided on the backstretch. Neither driver was able to finish the race, opening the door for Richard Petty, who trailed by nearly a half lap at the time of the incident, to win his sixth Daytona 500.
As Petty made his way to victory lane, a fight broke out between Yarborough, Allison and his brother Bobby Allison inside of turn three where the cars came to rest in the infield following the on-track collision. The live television broadcast caught both the finish and the fight and NASCAR gained national publicity.
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.
Darlington is the perfect setting to celebrate Busch Beer’s deep racing roots, which date back nearly 40 years. Highlights of Busch’s storied racing heritage include sponsoring the Busch Pole Award in 1978, presented to Cup Series pole winners each week. Busch introduced the Busch Clash in 1979, held each year at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway the week prior to the Daytona 500. And it was title sponsor of NASCAR’s stepping-stone division – currently known as the Xfinity Series – from 1984 through 2007. Busch Beer also held the “Official Beer of NASCAR” status from 1988 through 1997.
While Harvick will drive a No. 4 Ford honoring the history of his sponsor Busch Beer, he is looking to score his second Cup Series win at the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval.
In 2014, Harvick won the 65th running of the iconic Southern 500 – one of the crown jewels on the 36-race Cup Series schedule – in dominating fashion. He started from the pole and led 238 of 374 laps en route to beating runner-up Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the finish line by .558 of a second.
The win at Darlington was the second of Harvick’s five Cup Series wins during his championship season.
With only two races remaining before the start of the 10-race Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, Harvick would like to add his second win of the season at Darlington Sunday night. He scored his first of the year at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June.
The win at Sonoma allowed Harvick to clinch his spot in the playoff field for the 11th time in his career. He only needs to attempt to qualify for the remaining two regular-season races to make his playoff status official.
While Harvick and the No. 4 team are locked into the playoff field by points and wins, gaining playoff points via stage wins and race wins is now their top priority through the next two races, starting this weekend at Darlington.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion:
Your thoughts about heading back to Darlington for this special race weekend?
“Darlington has kind of found its niche with all the throwback schemes and all the things that they do with the snack bars, tickets and all the cars. It’s great to see all the teams participate – and for me it’s something that bring backs a lot of memories as to when Fred Wagenhals was around selling diecasts and creating programs and things like we used to do in the past. It’s great when you see a program come together like that.”
What’s it like to have a past driver associated with your throwback weekend?
“We had a little experience with that last year with Cale Yarborough. We had him at the racetrack, driving around in the pace car and seeing some of the old-school guys who work on my racecar be as excited as they were, guys who don’t ever really get excited about anything. To see how excited some of those guys were when Cale came, we took a picture with the whole team at the car and, to have the whole paint scheme and everything to go with it, was really great. We do a lot of things with those guys now at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. To see those guys now at the racetrack signing autographs for the fans adds just a little bit to that event. To me, last year it was really neat to have Cale there, have him around and talk to him. It’s something that means a lot because they’re a big part of the reason we’re here today.”