In the 1999 film, For Love of the Game, Billy Chapel (played by Kevin Coster) is pitching for the Detroit Tigers and in the midst of a perfect game.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, with his arm weary and aching, he looks up to see Ken Strout ready to bat for the New York Yankees. Ken Strout is the son of Joe Strout, who Chapel played with 20 years prior.
Ken Strout is the last chance for the Yankees to break up the perfect game. As Chapel sees him walking up to the plate, he looks up and says, simply, “Why not?”
That’s how Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), might be feeling after this past week at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Harvick started on the pole and led early, but he brushed the SAFER Barrier on the outside retaining wall early on as the track may or may not have been a little wet during a constant mist. Then the rains came and, after more than 72 hours, the race finally got restarted late Wednesday afternoon.
Or, better than “Why not?” perhaps an overriding thought in Harvick’s mind is, “It’s a journey.”
That’s because 2020 has been a journey for everyone. NASCAR conducted four races, took a nine-week break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then contested 30 races in six months before getting delayed by rain for more than 72 hours this week at Texas.
Never fear, though, because we (might) be almost done.
Harvick finished 16th at Texas and is still first in points, 42 markers above the cutoff to advance to the Championship 4.
He now moves on to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway for the final race in the Round of 8.
Harvick has one win, five top-fives, 19 top-10s and has led a total of 628 laps in his 38 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville. His average start there is 14.1, his average finish is 14.9, and he has a lap completion rate of 98.2 percent – 18,695 of the 19,039 laps available.
Thankfully, Harvick will have the help of Mobil 1 as a sponsor and partner at the tight, half-mile Martinsville paperclip.
Mobil 1 isn’t just the world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand, it also provides the entire SHR team with leading lubricant technology, ensuring that all SHR Mustangs have a competitive edge over the competition on the track. In its 18th 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.
During the playoffs, Mobil 1 is giving fans the chance to win exclusive prizes, including signed exclusive SHR gear, race gloves, race used parts and die casts, one-of-a-kind stickers and a once in a lifetime opportunity to receive a zoom call from SHR co-owner Tony Stewart or Harvick’s SHR teammate Cole Custer.
To find out more or to enter, fans can head to http://officialmotoroilofnascar.com/.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Thoughts heading into Martinsville?
“For me, it doesn’t really change that much. Most of the preparing comes from videos and things you have done in the past. And I could do all that during the rain delay in Texas.”
Can you talk about the promotion with Mobil 1 that is taking place?
“We are always excited to have Mobil 1 on the car and they are such a great partner of ours as we go week-to-week through the entire season. The best thing I’ve seen that you can win in this promotion is a Zoom call with Tony Stewart. That is a little bit scary (laughs), but they have all sorts of cool racing prizes and things and you can go to http://officialmotoroilofnascar.com/ and find all these prizes. It’s always fun to have a sponsor that supports what we do and hopefully we can go to Martinsville and have a good showing.”
Can you talk about your relationship with Mobil 1?
“Running up front and winning races has been a lot of fun together. It’s great to see a partner like Mobil 1 come in be so involved in our race team. They are very involved day-to-day in our engine program and our lubricants, whether its transmission, rear-end hubs, whatever it is – we are always getting something that is better. It’s kind of a little bit of an unfair advantage, but one that everyone works really hard at to continue to get better.”
Why do your prefer Mobil 1 synthetic?
“I’m a synthetic guy because, in 1993 when we were sitting in the engine shop, we dumped Mobil 1 synthetic in and that’s all we did and gained seven horsepower. From that day on, we would actually save our money and then go to the local auto parts store because, at that time, it was like $5.50 a quart and the conventional and other oils were like $3.50. At the big races, we would put the Mobil 1 in the car and the regular races would put the regular oil in there. You know I’m going to say synthetic.”