Jimmy John's Racing: Kevin Harvick Daytona Speedweeks Advance

Feb. 10, 2016

 

KEVIN HARVICK

Jimmy John’s Uses Daytona 500 Debut To Say Thank You America; Busch Beer Is Back for the Sprint Unlimited

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Feb. 10, 2016) Jimmy John’s already feels like a winner heading to the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

For the first time in the company’s 32-year history, Jimmy John’s will be the primary sponsor for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 21. It is also featured on the hood of 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), serving as primary partner for 20 races in 2016.

The right-rear quarter panel will feature a special message from Jimmy John’s, saying “Thank You America” to all its customers throughout the country. The message is a genuine thank you to the American public for helping make this the greatest country in the world, for allowing Jimmy John’s the chance to serve the country and for making the company a part of each day.

Jimmy John’s was founded in 1983 by then 19-year-old Jimmy John Liautaud, who pursued the “American Dream” as he served up ridiculously fresh sandwiches quicker than you can say “Turkey Tom” – a customer favorite that, ironically, is No. 4 on the menu. Jimmy John’s is all about the freshest ingredients, the fastest service and “Freaky Fast” delivery. While most people are more than impressed with the quality of Jimmy John’s sandwiches, it’s the speed with which they are prepared and delivered that really puts the now Champaign, Illinois-based chain ahead of the rest.

While Jimmy John’s is on the hood for the Daytona 500, Busch Beer will make its official return to racing when its iconic logo appears on Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet during the Sprint Unlimited – the 75-lap, non-points race that kicks off the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season on Feb. 13 at Daytona.

Busch’s rich racing history began in 1978 when the brand sponsored the award presented to the pole winners of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, known now as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Busch went on to be the “Official Beer of NASCAR” from 1988 through 1997 and was the title sponsor of NASCAR’s stepping-stone division to Sprint Cup – currently known as the XFINITY Series – from 1984 through 2007. The last driver Busch sponsored was Cale Yarborough and his iconic No. 11 car during the 1980 season.

Both Jimmy John’s and Busch have reason to be optimistic as Harvick and the No. 4 team head to Daytona.

As Harvick enters his 16th Sprint Cup season and his third at SHR with crew chief Rodney Childers at the helm, he is looking to score his second win in the Daytona 500.  He won the famed Harley J. Earl trophy in 2007 when he beat Mark Martin to the Daytona 500 finish line by 0.020 of a second on the final green-white-checkered restart. It was the closest Daytona 500 finish since the start of computer scoring in 2003.

Harvick also has three wins in the Sprint Unlimited – 2009, 2010 and 2013 – tying him for second-most with owner and teammate Tony Stewart and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett.

In the 2009 Unlimited, Harvick survived an incident-filled race that saw a record eight caution periods and less than half the starting field make it to the checkered flag.

The following year, he joined Neil Bonnett, Ken Schrader and Stewart as the fourth driver in event history to win consecutive races, and he did so driving a backup car he never got to practice, passing Greg Biffle with two laps remaining in a green-white-checkered finish. He was declared the winner when a multicar incident ended the race under caution.

In his 2013 win, Harvick led 40 of 75 laps, dominating the second and third segments en route to his third Sprint Unlimited victory in five years.

If Harvick can score his second Daytona 500 win in the season-opening event on Feb. 22 at “The World Center of Racing,” the No. 4 team would put itself in prime position to secure a 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup berth and put it on a path to race for its second title in three years.

 

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John's Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

Does finishing runner-up in 2015 make you hungrier to win in 2016?

“No, I’d be just as hungry if we won and just as hungry when we lose, so it’s a weekly approach. For us, I’m excited to go to the racetrack, whether we lost last week or won last week. We’re ready to go back to the track and compete, and that’s what drives us on a week‑to‑week basis. Figure out what you did wrong, forget about it, and move forward. So definitely didn’t dwell on Homestead at all.  I mean, you want to go back and do – if we wouldn't have won in 2014, I probably would have dwelled on ’15 a little bit more. But we won in ’14, we lost in ’15, and we’re not going to win them all.” 

What changes have been made to the No. 4 team for 2016?

“Our team is intact. Obviously, our lead engineer Mike (Bugarewicz) went to be the crew chief for the No. 14, but I think that’s an important key to add that 14 car into the mix. Really keep everything that we had in house and everything that we did on our team in house keeps the communication really at a high level. Because those guys, Rodney (Childers) and Mike, have worked side by side for the last two years and established a great relationship along with myself, and you guys all know how my relationship is with Tony. So I think as you look at those scenarios and you see the culture within the doors inside of SHR, it’s much different than it was two years ago, because you have all four of those crew chiefs that are on the same page and getting along and communicating. So that’s a big key in pushing forward, especially when you have a new rules package. To be able to try to gather as many notes and common denominators as you can to try to check those things off the list. Check things off the list as fast as you can to push forward.”

How do you view your 2015 season?

“2015 was a great year. It was probably the best year I’ve had personally in my career. I think last year was probably better statistically than 2014 was in a lot of ways. But circumstances a lot of times dictate how things can either be great and win a championship, and I think with this new format, for us, we just missed it a little bit at Homestead. The No. 18 car hit it, and we beat the other two cars. That’s going to be, it seems like, the new norm. You’re going to have to go down there and have a car capable of winning the race. And I felt like that led us to a lot of discussions about what we needed to do when we went back to the Homestead test based upon the performance that we had in the previous two years at Homestead. So I think the strategy is still the same. Rodney instills that into our brain when we first started, and that’s to go out and try to win practice, try to sit on the pole and lead laps and win the race. So we didn’t win as many races as we probably could have last year, but a lot of those were dictated just by crazy circumstances. I’ve been fortunate and been around this deal long enough to know that you’ll win several races that hopefully you shouldn’t win and hopefully gather some of those back in the future. So just to be competitive week‑in and week‑out, and up in that top 5, up in the mix leading laps is where you want to be. Circumstances a lot of times are going to dictate the rest of it.”

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