Kevin Harvick may not remember the 1980s Michigan television commercials that ended with the tagline “Yes, Michigan!”
But as the NASCAR Cup Series rolls into historic Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, he is thinking “Yes, Michigan!”
Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has three wins, seven second-place finishes, 13 top-fives, 19 top-10s, one pole, and he’s led a total of 517 laps in his 38 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Michigan.
A closer look reveals his time at Michigan in SHR equipment since 2014 has been really impressive.
In his last 12 Cup Series starts at Michigan – all of which have come with SHR – Harvick has two wins and four runner-up finishes and only one finish worse than 14th – 29th in June 2015. And of the 517 total laps Harvick has led at Michigan dating back to his rookie year in 2001, 369, or 71.3 percent, have come with SHR despite only 12, or 31.5 percent, of his 38 Michigan starts being with SHR.
He’ll have two chances to add to those totals with a Michigan doubleheader weekend, starting with Saturday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 and concluding with Sunday’s Consumer Energy 400. They are twin 156-lap 312-mile races at the 2-mile oval.
Harvick is closing in on 15,000 laps led in his Cup career. At the Homestead-Miami Speedway season finale in 2019, Harvick became just the 11th driver to have led 14,000 laps. He’s know been in front for 14,740 laps and trails 10th-place Kyle Busch, who has led 17,633, and Jimmie Johnson, who is ninth with 18,933 laps led. Harvick has led 10,314 laps as an SHR driver, surpassing the 10,000-lap milestone with the team when he took the lead on lap 37 of the June 7 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
He’ll race again with Busch Light Apple on his car, as he did in the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Busch Light Apple is a refreshing, light lager, which combines the crispness of Busch with the light sweetness of apple flavor. It’s like the sound of refreshment meets the taste of the orchard, and is the first flavor innovation in the history of the Busch Light brand.
Harvick is hoping to score his fourth career Michigan victory Saturday. And perhaps he’ll score number five on Sunday. For as the late, great Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs once said, “Let’s Play Two.”
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No, 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
You and the team have seven consecutive top-five finishes with two wins. Can you describe this season coming out of lasts Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon?
“We’re just kind of grinding away. We kind of got behind at New Hampshire and were able to make up a lot of ground. Our team is doing a great job and we’re doing what we need to do each week, and we’ve been fortunate to win a few races and we’re ready to get through the final few races before the playoffs start.”
Talk about what it will take to be successful this weekend at Michigan in the doubleheader?
“Well a fast car is the biggest key. Our organization has run really well at Michigan. The Roush Yates folks from the engine side and Doug Yates love going to Michigan. Ford, from a manufacturer’s side, loves having the manufacturing trophy sitting in its facility. So there is a lot of motivation going into Michigan. For us, being at a racetrack we have run well at and won at, the expectations are in the same category. We want to get to victory lane and have two solid races. The races are a little bit shorter so there will be some strategy that will come into play, and putting yourself in a position to get up front and stay up front and do the things you need to do to win the races. That side will be a bit different, but we’re looking forward to hopefully running well.”