Cue Brent Musburger, Irv Cross and Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder or Bob Costas, Pete Axthelm and Ahmad Rashad, or even Howard Cosell.
We’ve arrived at halftime of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. Five races run, five more to go. And the first half highlights for Kevin Harvck and the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang team are exciting.
They began with an early win in the Round of 16 at Darlington (S.C) Raceway, followed by another at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, along with four top-10s, 301 laps led and completion of all 1,735 laps available. Harvick is second in the standings with 3,121 points and is 68 markers ahead of the Round of 8 cutoff, which will occur after Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
If Harvick advances, it will be the seventh consecutive year he has advanced to the Round of 8. But while Musburger, Costas and Cosell are catching everyone up on all the action from the first half, Harvick is looking forward to Sunday’s road-course race.
Harvick is a week-by-week guy and doesn’t look too far ahead. His concern this week is the tricky “roval,” on which he has finished in the top-10 twice in two outings. It’s a tricky layout where someone’s mistake can cost another driver a good finish.
Thankfully, Harvick will have the help of Mobil 1 as a sponsor and partner at the roval, and there is no better place to have that advantage for a road-course car that will depend greatly on oils, lubricants and grease.
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.
Harvick has had success at road races in his NASCAR career as he won at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 2006 and at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in 2017. He also won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race the day before the Cup Series race at Sonoma, and has also competed in eight NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Watkins Glen with a win in 2007, one pole and top-10 finishes in all eight races. And Harvick has competed in three NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races at Watkins Glen with a best finish of seventh in 1999.
Harvick is one of only three active drivers to claim a NASCAR Cup Series victory at both true road courses on the schedule – Watkins Glen and Sonoma. Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., are the others who can make that claim.
The “12 minutes” of halftime are almost up – and the second half of the NASCAR Cup Series season is about to begin.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Does the dynamic change as you advance further into the playoffs?
“We don’t change how we race. We go and we race exactly the same every week. The thought process – there is no thought process because we just don’t think about it. We want to try to put ourselves in position to win, score as many points as you can on the days when you’re not in contention to win, and see where it all stacks up in the end. You’re not going to do anything any differently just because of the fact you’re going to go and race as hard as you can. We’re going to bring the best car to the racetrack we think we can build. We’re going to put the best setup in it that we can. I don’t know what thinking about all that stuff really does because it wouldn’t change. Nobody is going to try harder or do anything differently than what we’re doing right now.”
Do you use the Ford simulator much for the road courses?
“We do. For me, it is just because I’m a big kind of visual person. So, that repetition for me is good just to get a visual and have that memory of curbs and direction of the track and all the things you remember from the last time stored in your memory bank as you use those simulators.”
Does the addition of more short tracks and road courses mean a change in how young drivers should be developed?
“I think, first off, I’m excited to see the changes just because I think that the conversation it creates, the markets it puts us in, are something that is great for our sport. I think as you look at the development side of things, I hope they keep mixing it up enough to where you can’t really pick one thing. I think that’s really what you want to see is you want to be as diverse as possible in the racetracks we race on and I think locking yourself into a particular market, and I think we’ve seen the roval is a great race, but it’s never going to be as great as it was the first time we were there because of the fact all of the hype and anticipation and everything that came with it is not there after you do it one time. So, I think as you look at the dirt race, you might have that with that particular race, but then just move on to a different racetrack in a different market. There are a ton of good road courses out there across the world that you can race on. And I think not locking yourself down to having to be at this particular racetrack during a given year is something that – you want to be nimble, and you want to be able to kind of move away from those things that seem like a good idea and you do it one time, and it was a great race. Then, leave it and come back and maybe do that again in three to five years and kind of keep that excitement around the event, instead of just grinding it into the ground and thinking that it’s going to be as exciting year after year. Being able to mix it up and being nimble enough as a company, to do that from the NASCAR side of things, I think, is a good thing because you look at Canada and you look at Mexico City and you look at those races we did back in the day with the Xfinity cars, those are road courses. And the thing, especially Montreal, when you go up there and you look at the amount of race fans there are up there, there’s no question there’s a lot of race fans up there and there’s a lot of ovals up there that you could run on, and that’s just an example of one area that we could go to. There are a lot of great places we could go, but I think locking yourself into knowing what the development needs to be, you should be good at everything. That’s what the schedule needs to promote.”
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.”