Kevin Harvick has started 658 point-paying races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and has raced 18 times in the non-points All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. In those 676 races, he’s never driven a car quite like what he will pilot this week.
Last week, Busch Beer officials released the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) that is “Millennial Pink.” Yes, Millennial Pink.
How did this occur?
Well, Busch Beer was so confident in Harvick at last year’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it tweeted the following on November 15, 2018:
“Old guys will rule again at Homestead. In fact, Busch is so confident that Harvick will win that if he doesn’t, we’ll give millennials the v lit paint scheme they always wanted in a race next year. Don’t @ us.”
Unfortunately, Harvick did not win Homestead or the Cup Series championship and, if that wasn’t bad enough, now he has to drive a Millennial Pink racecar in this Saturday night’s All-Star Race at Charlotte. The car also features things like avocados and toast, emojis, Snapchat filters and stickers reading “Squadgoals,” “Skrrrt Skrrrt,” “Busch is bae” and “AF.”
One can only imagine what the car would look like in victory lane after the All-Star Race, but that thought shouldn’t be brushed off.
In Harvick’s previous All-Star Race appearance, he has two wins, three second-place finishes, five top-fives, 11 top-10s and led 124 laps. He is the defending winner, having led 36 laps en route to victory in 2018.
And, Harvick hasn’t been bad in 35 career points-paying races at the Charlotte oval, either – two poles, three wins, four second-place finishes, eight top-threes, 16 top-10s and 528 laps led His average start there is 16.0, his average finish is 15.5 and he has a lap-completion rate of 94.2 percent, completing 11,863 of the 12,591 laps available.
As usual, this year’s All-Star Race will feature a different format and other significant wrinkles. The cars will feature two new technical elements that NASCAR may incorporate into the series’ Generation-7 stock car that is slated to debut in 2021. The event also will be five laps longer than the previous year’s running, increasing from 80 to 85 total laps split among four stages.
One new technical component is a single-piece carbon fiber splitter/pan that is expected to offer dramatic improvements in ride-height sensitivity for competitors. The splitter also is expected to provide a more stable aero platform and create more consistent performance in traffic.
The other element requires cars to be configured with a radiator exit duct through the hood. This will separate aerodynamic performance and engine temperatures, creating more parity across the field.
Despite the technical and race format changes, the All-Star Race is meant to be a fun event and nothing would be more fun for Harvick and the Busch Beer team than a Millennial Pink car pulling into victory lane.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Millennial Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Your thoughts on the Millennial Pink your car will sport this week in the All-Star Race?
“I think as you look at this week, they made the tweet and I didn’t really pay attention to it. Sometimes they get pretty edgy on their things that they say on Twitter, so I didn’t really think anything of it. Then I saw all the plans and paint schemes – let me take that back – I didn’t see all the schemes, I saw all the plans. Obviously, I didn’t see that paint scheme but I thought that particular plan was fun just because it is interaction. It is just kind of poking fun at yourself. In the end, I had to look up and I still don’t even know what ‘Yeet’ means. It says ‘SKRRRT SKRRRT’ on the skirts with no ‘I,’ and I don’t think that is proper spelling. I can kind of relate to ‘squad goals’ but I don’t really know what the frog in the tea means. In the end, it is something that I believe is a lot of fun. Really, it is the perfect event to put that at and kind of create some interaction. They have had great interaction. For God’s sake, we got Jeff (Gluck, racing writer) to change his name (on twitter). There will be some great merchandise, some great Busch AF merchandise to go with it. It is fun. I have learned that sometimes it is more fun poking fun at yourself because you don’t know what something is and this is one of those situations. It is the ugliest racecar I have ever seen, though, but I think that is part of what makes it great. And who knew there was a color called Millennial Pink. That is an actual color. It isn’t the prettiest pink though.”
Have you seen the car with the updates as far as the radiator ducts coming through the hood?
“I have not seen the car. I have seen the drawings. The guys tell me that the duct fits in there well. These cars are really, really sensitive, currently, with this particular splitter to the height to the ground and, if that improves the sensitivity to the splitter height and the cars lose less downforce because of where the cars run on the racetrack behind each other, then I am a fan. They are losing 400 to 600 pounds of downforce when you get behind somebody. At Texas, we had a weird situation where the splitter was at a weird height and the car vibrated and bounced so bad that you couldn’t drive it. Those are the types of things that you don’t really know but it was a strange thing. The radiator duct is really for underhood temperatures and to keep the underhood temps down because they make the engine guys nervous with all the wires and things under the hood. I think everybody will be fine with that. The splitter is the part that I am excited about. When you get behind a car right now, the car raises up. If it raises up a couple hundred-thousandths of an inch, it is going to lose hundreds of pounds of downforce because of the car coming up off the racetrack. It is not all the splitter that loses all the downforce. It isn’t just the splitter.”