Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), kicked off his Tuesday-night SiriusXM Radio show “Happy Hours” by announcing that he and wife DeLana are expecting to add a daughter to their family around the first of the year.
The surprise announcement comes as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, where Harvick is the most recent Cup Series winner on the 1.058-mile oval.
In September 2016, things didn’t go as planned for Harvick and the No. 4 team at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet to kick off the NASCAR playoffs. The 20th-place finish at Chicagoland had the team ranked 13th in points, trailing SHR teammate Tony Stewart by one point with two races before the cutoff for the Round of 12.
Harvick started 19th in the 40-car field at New Hampshire and quickly made a charge to the front, cracking the top-10 within the first 50 laps around the track. By the halfway point, he had become a fixture among the top-five. The last restart of the race turned out to be the game changer for Harvick and company.
The 2014 Sprint Cup champion was in second place for the restart with six laps to go. He charged into the first turn alongside race leader Matt Kenseth and maintained the inside position on the track as the field raced down the backstretch into turn three. He emerged as the race leader at the exit of turn four and started to stretch the lead during the final laps en route to the victory.
The victory allowed the No. 4 team to automatically advance to the Round of 12 in the 2016 playoffs and continue its pursuit of Harvick’s second championship.
As the second half of the 2017 season continues, Harvick and the No. 4 team are ranked fourth in points with a win to their credit and eight playoff points. The goal moving forward is to score as many playoff points as possible in the remaining seven regular-season races.
The best way to gain playoff points is to win races and win stages. Harvick and the No. 4 Busch Beer team will attempt to do both this weekend at New Hampshire as he continues his march toward a second NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Harvick is hoping the good news continues with a win on Sunday.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion:
Harvick on his family expecting the arrival of a baby girl around the first of the year:
“(Son) Keelan (Harvick) obviously broke the news this week but, I think for us, we had a birthday party with DeLana’s birthday being on Friday of Kentucky weekend and Keelan’s birthday on Saturday, so we had a big birthday party at the house for DeLana and Keelan. We had all of DeLana’s family, we had my mom come out, and we had everybody in the yard. We figured, ‘You know what? It’s just a good time to tell everybody.’ So, we weren’t going to tell anybody else, and then this week I did my call-in at the shop and my good ole buddy Clint Bowyer, who has known for a long time everything that has been going on, and he said, ‘Well, how’d it go?’ And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’ So he says, ‘Well, did you tell everybody at the party? You know, you were going to tell everybody at the party.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, yep, told everybody.’ So he was like, ‘Well, tell everybody else!’ So I had to tell everybody in the competition meeting. Then we walk outside on Tuesday morning to go to Pocono for an appearance, and Keelan is going with me, but he sees the pilot when we get to the airport and he says, ‘Guess what, Mr. Chris? I’m going to be a big brother.’ I was like, OK, so I told DeLana, ‘Keelan is going to tell everybody because he seems to be pretty excited about the situation and everything that’s going on.’”
What does it take to be successful at Loudon?
“I’d say the most important thing at Loudon is track position just because it’s hard to pass. You want to be up front and on the right strategy no matter what you do. If the caution flag falls in the wrong spot and you lose track position, it usually becomes a longer day than it could have been.”