Fast Laps, Leading Laps and Completing Every Lap
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (May 4, 2016) – Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), heads to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race looking to keep the momentum going on his “Freaky Fast” start to the 2016 season.
The Sprint Cup points leader has continued to embrace the fundamentals that have made Jimmy John’s such a successful chain – high-speed execution – to make himself one of the most successful drivers of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
According to NASCAR Stats and Information, Harvick leads all Sprint Cup drivers with 430 fastest laps run – 135 more than next-closest competitor Carl Edwards’ 295. While Harvick ranks third with 571 laps led, he leads in miles led with 743.73, more than 212 more than second-ranked Edwards’ 530.
While racing fast laps at the front of the field is important, so is completing every lap. Harvick is joined only by his SHR teammate Kurt Busch as the only drivers to complete 100 percent of the 3,237 laps contested in 2016.
In fact, no other driver has spent more time on the lead lap or in the top-15 than Harvick, who has raced on the lead lap for all but 11 laps and spent 93.8 percent of his time on the track racing in the top-15.
The “Freaky Fast” trends should continue this weekend at Kansas Speedway.
The Bakersfield, California native won the Sprint Cup race at Kansas in October 2013, when he started from the pole position, led 138 of 267 laps and beat current SHR teammate Busch to the finish line by 1.140 seconds to score his only Sprint Cup victory at the 1.5-mile oval.
The 2014 Sprint Cup champion also owns the Sprint Cup qualifying record at Kansas, which he set on May 9, 2014 with a lap of 27.799 seconds at 194.658 in second round of qualifying. That attempt won him his second of three consecutive Sprint Cup poles at Kansas from October 2013 through October 2014.
Harvick’s 9.8 average finish at Kansas ranks second only to Jimmie Johnson’s 7.3 since the start of 2005. He is one of only three drivers with a rating over 100.0, his 102.5 trailing only Johnson’s 112.0 and Matt Kenseth’s 106.8 driver ratings during that span.
Harvick will seek his second Sprint Cup win of the 2016 season this weekend at Kansas. He scored his first of 2016 in only the third race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway. That win, by a .01-of-a-second margin over last week’s winner Edwards, tied for the 10th-closest finish in Sprint Cup history. A second win this weekend at Kansas would virtually secure Harvick’s spot in the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup and provide added bonus points to start the first round of the playoffs.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What has made you so successful at Kansas?
“I really don’t know. I think, as you look at the racetrack even before they paved it or right there before the repave, things started going well. After the repave, it seems to have gone really well, especially in qualifying the last few times. It’s just something that fits my driving style. The cars have a lot of speed and we’ve been able to capitalize on that.”
What is the importance of running well on the 1.5-mile racetracks?
“The 1.5-mile racetracks dominate the schedule, especially when you get into the Chase and end the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which is another 1.5-mile track. That’s a little bit different but, if you’re going to get to that point, you’re going to have to be successful on that style of racetrack. Kansas, Charlotte, Chicago – those types of racetracks are really where you need to make hay, I guess you could say, and get the results to be successful.”
Take us on a lap around Kansas.
“It’s definitely a little bit different just for the fact the (corner) entries are a little different than at most places. Turns three and four remind me of turns three and four at Chicagoland Speedway, but there’s a lot more grip and a lot fresher asphalt than what Chicagoland has nowadays. It’s a very high-speed racetrack. You run the middle to the bottom of the racetrack. But I’m sure, as time goes on, that the groove will move back up. But, for right now, it’s very fast and very sensitive to your line and, with all the speed and how tricky the entrance is into turn one, you can miss your line easily. So, you have to be very specific about where you put your car and pay attention to what you’re doing.”
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