For the sixth consecutive year, Kevin Harvick has made it to the final eight of the NASCAR playoffs and, for the fifth time in six seasons, he’s looking to make the final four.
Harvick is hoping he can heat things up by scoring a win in Sunday’s Round of 8 openers at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and locking himself into the Nov. 17 winner-take-all Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has one win, five top-three finishes, 18 top-10s and has led a total of 628 laps in his 36 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville. His average start there is 14.0, his average finish is 15.1 and he has a lap-completion rate of 98.1 percent – 17,696 of the 18,039 laps available.
His only Martinsville Cup Series win came in April 2011, when he started ninth and led only six laps en route to the victory.
While he’s looking for his second Cup Series win at Martinsville, his sponsor, Hunt Brothers Pizza, is looking for its first at the .526-mile, paperclip-shaped oval.
Hunt Brothers Pizza has sponsored Harvick in NASCAR for 10 years and last visited victory lane with him when he won last year’s Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Harvick has also won two NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races with Hunt Brothers as a sponsor at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, both in 2011.
Sunday’s event at Martinsville is the third and final race of 2019 in which Hunt Brothers Pizza is sponsoring. The company also sponsored him in the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race in 2014 and 2015, which were conducted at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Harvick finished second in both races.
With more than 7,800 locations in 30 states, Hunt Brothers Pizza is the nation’s largest brand of made-to-order pizza in the convenience store industry. Hunt Brothers Pizza offers original and thin-crust pizzas available as a grab-and-go Hunk, perfect for today’s on-the-go lifestyle, or as a customizable whole pizza that is an exceptional value with “All Toppings No Extra Charge.” Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Hunt Brothers Pizza is family owned and operated with more than 25 years of experience serving great pizza to convenience store shoppers through its store partners.
Harvick, Hunt Brothers Pizza and the rest of the No. 4 team are hoping they can “cook up” a victory this week – and lock themselves into the final four.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Does winning a Martinsville grandfather clock mean more to you than other trophies?
“The clock at Martinsville in pretty unique. I think, as you look at the clock and the history that comes with the clock and being represented by that particular trophy, it’s something that I like. I think some of the racetracks have boring and stale trophies and, when you go to Martinsville, they’re cool clocks that represent who Martinsville is. When you go to the Daytona 500 and win the Harley J. Earl Trophy, it represents who Daytona is. When you go to some tracks and have a Plexiglas and sticker trophy, well maybe that represents some of the racetracks that we go to and some of them are the same.”
Where do you want to be at Martinsville to help you avoid trouble on the racetrack?
“I think the best position to be in at any racetrack is in the lead. You want to be in control of the race and try to get yourself in a position to where you can have a good, clean restart and have as much clear track – especially at Martinsville – just for the fact that there is so much pushing and shoving on the restarts to get to the bottom lane that you want to try to be as far forward as possible.”
When you think of Martinsville, what comes to mind?
“Some guys just have a knack for Martinsville. There are some weekends when I show up and I feel good about where I’m at and some weekends I just feel like I’ve never been there before. You look at this little bitty racetrack and you think it would be so simple, and you go out there and it becomes so hard.”