A win in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth would lock Kevin Harvick in among the final four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff competitors and the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway two weeks hence.
Sounds daunting, but Harvick has won the last two fall races at Texas to lock himself into the previous two championship races.
To borrow a term from Don Cherry and Ron MacLean from the legendary show Hockey Night in Canada, Harvick is looking for the hat trick at Texas. In 2017, Harvick started third and led 38 laps en route to victory, and then came back in 2018 and dominated by leading 177 laps en route to taking the checkered flag first.
Those were Harvick’s first two career wins at Texas to go with his 10 top-threes, 21 top-10s, and he’s led a total of 495 laps in his 33 career Cup Series starts there.
His average Texas start is 16.2, his average finish is 10.7 and he has a lap-completion rate of 97.0 percent – 10,682 of the 11,008 laps available. Harvick has finished in the top-10 in 10 consecutive races at Texas. Six of those have been in the top-three, with the two wins.
Harvick’s car will have a bit of a different look at Texas as he’ll be driving the No. 4 Busch Beer Ducks Unlimited Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
The partnership between Busch and Ducks Unlimited builds on Anheuser-Busch’s longstanding commitment to creating a cleaner and more sustainable world for future generations. The company works closely with partners like Ducks Unlimited to ensure their commitments and programs drive meaningful change for the environment and contribute to a shared objective of a better world.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, the organization works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.
For every lap Harvick leads Sunday at Texas, Busch is going to donate $1,000 to Ducks Unlimited, up to $25,000.
The No. 4 team always supports Busch Beer and companies like Ducks Unlimited – and are hoping to put them in victory lane – and advance to the championship race in Homestead.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ducks Unlimited Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Is it more difficult to win a championship now with this format?
“I think it’s just hard to get there. It’s not really the same. It’s definitely different, whether it’s harder or easier you could probably debate that. If you look at the old-style points, it’s a pretty good points battle if you did it how it was 15 years ago, but it’s just hard to get to Homestead and put it all together through the nine weeks leading up to that. That’s the most difficult part.”
Did you learn anything about restarts at Kansas that will help at Texas?
“We’ve learned a lot about restarts all year. Restarts are the name of the game to get yourself in a position with the way you have to race. Every week, every restart is important as you go to any racetrack.”
How has the dynamic of restarts changed?
“I’m classically trained over the last 20-some years in NASCAR racing, so my days of short-track classically trained are over. You try to be as aggressive as you can and the restarts are different than they used to be, just because you have to be so aggressive on them.”
The playoffs are made for clutch moments. What does it mean to be clutch and what moment do you think defines that?
“Clutch moments – there’s nothing like them. It’s one thing to dominate a race all day and win – that’s great. But, making a last-lap pass, an end-of-the-race pass or winning on a day when you’re not supposed to, there is just no better feeling than getting out of the car and looking at those guys. Having the rest of the field asking how was he able to win today. Those are the types of moments that I love to be a part of. We’ve been fortunate to experience a lot of those. That’s the adrenaline rush that comes with what we do. There is no better feeling than those particular moments.”