When Kevin Harvick entered the 2002 Daytona 500, he had competed in 35 previous points paying races and won two, but was a “rookie” for that year’s edition of the “Great American Race.” He started second and finished 36th after an accident on lap 148.
He competed against veterans like Terry Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliott, Geoff Bodine, Ricky Rudd and Ken Schrader. And the guys with very little experience were Harvick, Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson, each making hist first Daytona 500 start. Kurt Busch was making his second career Daytona 500 start.
Fast-forward to 2020 and now Harvick, Newman, Johnson and Busch are the veterans and each is getting ready to make his 19th career Daytona 500 start. Time moves fast. And so do pit stops.
At the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s biggest race, fans watch their favorite driver’s every turn, pass, and pit stop more closely than usual, but in 2020 fans of Harvick’s No. 4 car will have yet another reason to keep their eyes glued to the track.
Introducing #Pit4Busch: the fastest sweepstakes in NASCAR history, with Busch Beer giving away multiple Ford Mustangs during this year’s race, offering fans across the U.S. the chance to take home a sportscar of their own.
Each time Harvick pits during the Daytona 500, fans will have however long the pit stop takes to tweet #Pit4Busch and #Sweepstakes to enter for a chance to win a new sportscar of their own. Bonus: this car comes fully wrapped with the classic Busch Light No. 4 paint scheme. With each pit stop acting as its own individual sweepstakes, Busch will be giving away a new car to multiple winners throughout the race.
Spectators watching this year’s race won’t have to look far in order to know what to do, because Harvick’s No. 4 car will be fitted with a one-of-a-kind #Pit4Busch paint scheme. The FOX broadcast of the Daytona 500 will also spotlight Harvick each time he heads into pit lane, reminding all NASCAR fans to get their Tweets ready for a chance to win.
While Harvick is hoping his fans will win in Daytona, he’s also hoping to score his second Daytona 500 victory. He scored a win in 2007 and would be just the 13th driver to win it twice. It would also be 13 years since his last Daytona 500 win, which would be a record between victories at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Harvick is used to making history as his 16 years between Brickyard 400 wins is a record in any series that races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Rodney Childers returns for his seventh year as crew chief and the core of the No. 4 team returns for 2020. The team has combined to produce 26 points-paying victories, a victory in the non-points-paying 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, 25 poles, 106 top-five finishes and 153 top-10s while leading 9,611 laps. It won the 2014 championship, finished runner-up in the 2015 title chase to champion Kyle Busch, finished eighth in 2016 and third in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Despite winning 26 times in their seven years, including the Southern 500 and Brickyard 400, the No. 4 team has yet to win the Daytona 500.
And that is the ultimate goal – to find victory lane in the biggest race of the season.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light #PIT4BUSCH Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
How has superspeedway racing evolved over the years? Last year in the Daytona 500, we could still call it restrictor-plate racing. It’s not the case anymore. We don’t call it tapered spacer racing. But what’s it like now? Is it the same, even if the rules are just a tick different?
“It’s basically the same. It’s still a restrictor plate, in my eyes. You’re still restricting the air that comes into the engine with a taper instead of a plate. I think as you go to Daytona, and we raced there in July (2019) with this particular package, it’s still basically the same restrictor-plate package, in theory. The way the cars pull up and the things that happen are a lot different than the previous package we raced on the superspeedway, so there are some changes as a driver because of the speed of those runs and the way the cars react and the things that happen. But in the end, it’s just adjusting those thought processes and things to the current package to make sure you’re up to speed on this particular package.”
What is the most iconic Daytona 500 moment for you?
“Yeah, this is one I’m going to be selfish with, just because it’s the Daytona 500, it’s the biggest race you can win in our sport. And so for me, winning the Daytona 500 in 2007 against Mark Martin is something that you’ll never forget and, heck, you may never do it again. These weekends of the Daytona 500 are hard to win and, as you look at some of the greats – our boss (Tony Stewart) included – come through this sport and never accomplish winning the Daytona 500. So it’s just a difficult weekend to put everything together and have everything go your way. And so for me, that’s definitely the best moment I’ve had at Daytona during the 500.
Who will be the first Ford driver to win in 2020?
“Well, I hope it’s us. Obviously, our goal is to do to everything first. We want to be the first Ford driver to win, we want to win the Daytona 500. That would be a great accomplishment to be the first to win by winning the Daytona 500.”
Which Ford driver will have the most wins in 2020?
“I hope it’s us. As you look at our seventh year going in and everything we overcame last year and having a great year in 2018. (The year) 2018 was the best year we’ve had at Stewart-Haas Racing as a company – seeing a lot of those rules come back, hopefully that really lights up what I think was our biggest weakness last year, which was the short tracks. With the old rules package coming back, hopefully that lights a fire under our short-track program.”
This is Jimmie Johnson’s final year in the NASCAR Cup Series. What’s your favorite Jimmie Johnson story?
“I think, I can’t remember the year, but they made the comeback in the Chase, because that’s what it was called back then, the Chase, just the way they came back to win it was impressive. When you look at this sport and what a grind it is, just to be able to compete and win those championships seven times is something that’s hard to do. The motivation to come to the racetrack has to come from different spots every year. To compete on that level on a yearly basis, and to be able to come back each year to win those championships, is really hard to do. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing, so I’m just going to pinpoint winning the championship and to stay motivated.”