Bringing It Home
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (Sept. 23, 2015) – Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 ditech Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finds himself in unfamiliar territory this weekend –16th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver standings and very much needing to bring home a win as the Sprint Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon for Sunday’sSylvania 300.
Following last weekend’s unfortunate 42nd-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, the only guaranteed way for Harvick to transfer into the 12-driver Contender Round of the Chase is to bring home a win in one of the next two races at New Hampshire or Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Harvick sits 22 points behind 12th-place Jeff Gordon for the last spot that will advance when the field shrinks from 16 to 12 drivers in two weeks.
Luckily, the sponsor on the hood of the No. 4 Chevrolet, ditech Mortgage Corporation, one of the mortgage industry’s best-known brands, is all about bringing you home.
SHR welcomed ditech as an associate sponsor of Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet for the final 10 races of 2014 before the company increased its involvement with the team to include two primary races in 2015. This weekend at New Hampshire is the second of the two. Harvick started sixth, led 91 laps and finished second in the ditech’s first race as a primary sponsor at Dover in June.
While Harvick and the No. 4 team may be at their lowest point in the standings this year, there is reason to believe that, if anyone can make up the difference, it would be the defending Sprint Cup champions.
Last year, the team was in a tough spot in the Chase after a 33rd-place finish following an incident at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The team was eighth out of eight teams remaining in championship contention and needed a win to advance to the final four-driver Championship Round at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. What followed was nothing short of miraculous – the No. 4 team finished second at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth before scoring a dominant win at Phoenix International Raceway in the final race of the Eliminator Round to advance to the Championship Round.
Once in the Championship Round, Harvick and the No. 4 team brought home their second consecutive win to capture the 2014 Sprint Cup title in convincing fashion.
In 2015, the Bakersfield, California native led the 26-race regular season with 978 points prior to the Chase driver standings reset following the 26th round at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Harvick’s point total through the first 26 races was the most under the current system that came into effect in 2011, surpassing the 914 regular-season points scored by Greg Biffle in 2012 and Jeff Gordon in 2014.
Twenty-seven races into 2015, Harvick still has been a model of consistency, scoring 10 second-place finishes, 18 top-fives and 22 top-10s to lead the series. The No. 4 Chevrolet SS has led a series-high 1,460 laps with an average finish of 9.0.
Harvick leads several other statistical categories: 117.7 driver rating, 35 bonus points, 981 fastest laps run, 25.5 percent of fastest laps run, 19.2 percent of laps led, 1,877.45 miles led, 6,981 laps in the top-15, and average running position of 7.976.
Harvick already has a Sprint Cup and an Xfinity Series win at New Hampshire. He won the Sprint Cup race from the pole position in September 2006 and led 196 of 300 laps in the process. He also won an Xfinity Series race from the pole in June 2007, when he led 166 of 200 laps to beat Carl Edwards to the checkered flag by .284 of a second.
This weekend at New Hampshire will be the first of two attempts in the next two races to bring home a win in order for the No. 4 team to advance to the Contender Round and keep its hopes of a second consecutive Sprint Cup championship intact.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 ditech Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What makes New Hampshire Motor Speedway unique?
“Loudon is tough just because the track position is so important there. It’s really hard to pass. It always seems like there is some kind of crazy strategy that plays out toward the end of the race with fuel mileage or something along those lines of when you pit, when you don’t pit. Restarts always play a big factor but, at Loudon, there is definitely going to be a lot of strategy involved.”
What makes the fans in Loudon so intense and so loyal?
“I’ve had a little bit of a different experience and I’ll go outside of Loudon a little bit. I was fortunate to go up and experience the Oxford 250 in Oxford, Maine and that’s really where you see those grassroots fans. I went up there in 2007 and, to this day, I still see a lot of the competitors and people who come by and say hello. It’s just fun to be able to have met those people. We were fortunate. Looking back on it now, it was fortunate but we might not have thought it was fortunate at the time. But to sit around in the rain for two days and talk to the folks – see where they were from and find out what they’re about – was a pretty cool experience. It’s a great region for us in terms of fans and competitors, and really a big racing community.”
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