Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of the summer season. It’s also known as the greatest motorsports weekend of the year as Sunday kicks off with the Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco, followed by the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.
After those two iconic events, a third completes the day’s impressive schedule in the form of the longest NASCAR event of the year – the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
The Coca-Cola 600 is one of the four “crown jewels” of the NASCAR season. And Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) is one of only four drivers to win all four crown jewels.
Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Harvick are the only drivers to see the checkered flag first at the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500.
Harvick is hoping he can score his third Coca-Cola 600 victory after posting wins in 2011 and 2013.
And he’ll do so with Mobil 1 technology on board as a sponsor and technical partner.
Mobil 1 isn’t just the world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand, it also provides the entire SHR organization with leading lubricant technology, ensuring that all SHR Mustangs have a competitive edge over the competition on the track. In its 17th consecutive season as the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR,” Mobil 1 is used by more than 50 percent of teams throughout NASCAR’s top three series.
And no place will better expose this than Sunday’s 600-mile marathon at Charlotte. Harvick and his SHR teammates will have an advantage via Mobil 1 during a race that’s 100 miles longer than the next-longest events on the tour, making durability key to success.
Memorial Day weekend is also a somber time to remember those who have been lost fighting for freedom.
All cars will feature a fallen solider and the No. 4 Ford will represent Sergeant First Class Bryan Allen Hoover, 28th Military Police Company, who was killed in action on June 11, 2010.
SFC Hoover was a 10-year veteran who served four years in the Marines Corps prior to his service with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. He received a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management at California University of Pennsylvania in 2009 and was an avid runner and cross country coach. He also loved playing hockey. SFC Hoover was killed by a suicide bomber in the Zabul Province, Shajoy, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He left behind his beloved dog Newton, fiancé Ashley (Tack) Sherman, his father Melvin, brothers Rick (Sarah) and Ben, and his sister Samantha.
SFC Hoover is remembered by his comrades as an irreplaceable leader and friend.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Is the Coca-Cola 600 more physically or mentally challenging?
“It just depends on how hot it is, honestly. If it’s a good weekend and the weather is nice, then it’s more mentally challenging than physically challenging. Either way, it’s still challenging both mentally and physically in some way, shape or form. The hardest part mentally is just getting yourself to overcome those last hundred miles because you are used to the 400- or 500-mile races.”
You have an added advantage with Mobil 1 as a sponsor. It’s more than a sponsor, with its technology directly benefiting how you perform on the racetrack. How advantageous has this relationship with Mobil 1 been since you joined SHR in 2014?
“It was really mind-blowing when I first came to Stewart-Haas Racing. Every time we went to qualify, we really didn’t do anything different from the driver’s seat, but we’d always pick up a tenth-and-a-half or two-tenths of a second, and it literally came down to the oils in the engine, the oil in the transmission, the oil in the rear gear and the things they did from a lubricant standpoint. Those were the biggest changes we made to the car before we would go and qualify. So, when you see that level of technology and commitment to the things that go in your car, every piece of it adds up to a pretty big chunk of speed. It’s pretty remarkable.”
What does it mean to honor and remember a military member on your No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford this Memorial Day weekend?
“There isn’t any sport that honors the military any better than NASCAR. I know a lot of sports do a lot of things for our military but, when you roll into this particular weekend with the Coke 600 and you are a part of the celebration and remembrance for all the things that have happened with our military, to see the support that NASCAR and everybody in our garage gives the military, especially on this particular weekend, is something that gives you goosebumps. We are honored to carry the names (of fallen soldiers) on our cars.”