Lighten Up – Busch is Back at Richmond
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (April 20, 2016) – Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will feature Busch Light for the first time during this weekend’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. It marks the first appearance for a Busch brand on the No. 4 since February’s season-opening non-points Sprint Unlimited during Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
While Busch Beer has a rich racing history dating back to 1978, Busch Light, which was introduced to the public in 1989, will make its debut as a primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series.
Busch Beer first sponsored the award presented to the pole winners of what was known as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1978. Busch Beer went on to be the “Official Beer of NASCAR” from 1988 through 1997 and was the title sponsor of the stepping-stone division to Sprint Cup – currently known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series – from 1984 through 2007.
Busch Beer’s history as a primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series dates back to the first race of the 1979 season, when NASCAR champion Cale Yarborough drove Junior Johnson’s iconic No. 11 car to a third-place finish at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway. Yarborough drove the No. 11 Busch Beer car for the entire 1979 and 1980 seasons. He went on to score 10 wins, 38 top-five finishes, 44 top-10s, 15 poles and led 4,130 laps over the 62-race span.
This weekend marks the first of four appearances by Busch Light on the No. 4 Chevrolet SS in 2016. It will next appear on the No. 4 Chevrolet SS in the non-points-paying Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, before appearing in July at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in October.
Harvick’s history with Busch Beer goes back to his days racing in the Xfinity Series, which was then known as the Busch Series. He won two championships in the stepping-stone division to the Sprint Cup Series. He won his first championship in 2001while racing in the No. 2 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing (RCR). The Bakersfield, California native won five races, scored 20 top-five finishes, 24 top-10s and led 1,265 laps in 33 starts that season and beat runner-up Jeff Green for the championship by 124 points.
The 2014 Sprint Cup champion scored his second Busch Series championship in 2006 while racing both the Nos. 21 and 33 Chevrolets for RCR. He scored nine wins, 23 top-five finishes, 32 top-10s and led 1,197 laps. That season, he dominated the competition and won the championship by 824 points over current Sprint Cup driver Carl Edwards.
Harvick is hoping to continue his success racing with Busch Light this weekend. He has three Sprint Cup wins and seven Xfinity Series wins for a total of 10 wins at Richmond between NASCAR’s top two touring series. His most recent Sprint Cup win there came in April 2013, when he led only three laps but beat runner-up Clint Bowyer to the finish line by .343 of a second in a green-white-checkered finish.
This weekend, Harvick will attempt to put Busch Light in victory lane for the first time while he scores his second win of the season and his fourth Sprint Cup win at the .75-mile Virginia oval.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Do you have a favorite win at Richmond?
“I remember the ones I lost more than I do the ones I won. The first one where Ricky Rudd and I were racing in 2001 was pretty cool. But, as you look back at the last one, we won in 2013 as part of a green-white-checkered finish – I think we came from seventh to win, so I didn’t really expect to win that one. I think the other two were probably fairly strong nights for us.”
Is back-to-back short tracks a good thing for the No. 4 team this time of year?
“I think short-track racing is something that we all enjoy any time we get to go do that. I don’t know if having back-to-back short tracks is good or bad for us. I think right now we are fortunate to be on the side of things going well. We’ll just show up and race again.”
Do you consider yourself a short-track specialist?
“I think we’ve had success on short tracks in the past. It’s really just a matter putting a weekend together. It’s really no different than any other racetrack. This business is hard to be successful at and sometimes you go through years where short tracks are good and some years not so good. Some years, longer tracks are good and some are not so good. It’s really just about putting together a whole weekend. It all starts with practice on Friday and trying to qualify well. I enjoy the short tracks because we don’t get to go to quite as many as I think we’d all like.”
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine